These Vagabond Shoes

All God’s children need traveling shoes. Maya Angelou

I just learned a lot about feet and shoes in Thailand, thanks to a delightful blog called Koh Samui Sunset.  My current shoe collection is mostly unsuitable and I’ll have to rethink what to pack for my journey, keeping some of these facts in mind:

  • My sweet little pedicured feet are considered dirty in Thailand and are not invited to the party.  They are not for pointing or touching and should be kept on the floor and under the table.
  • I’ll be expected to remove my shoes before entering homes (including my hotel room), temples, and many shops. Some restaurants, too.
  • The heat will cause my feet to swell.
  • I’ll need special shoes for the rainy season.

I used to live in Florida and know a thing or two about warm-weather shoes so I hadn’t really given this matter much thought–until today.  Now I’ve got some shoe shopping to do.

FLIP-FLOPS

Flip-flops will be the most convenient shoe choice. Given the heat and the cultural custom of removing shoes, nothing else beats their slip-off immediacy.

Sweet!  I’ve got a serious Havaianas fetish and a collection to match. Here’s what’s left after downsizing.  Yes, those are Minions (bottom right). Don’t judge.

flipflops

SLIP-ON SHOES

I don’t own a single pair of clogs or slip-ons but I just found what appears to be the perfect shoe and ordered it online. Yay!

women_s_city_slippers_1_grande

They’re from Mohinders and have a very interesting backstory. Ethically handmade in India of veg-tanned water buffalo leather, they are versatile, breathable, and ready for everyday outdoor wear. I’ll always have these by the door.

DRESSIER SHOES

Thailand has great nightlife for all tastes, and high-end dining with matching dress codes. Flip-flops and slip-ons won’t cut it for nights out under the stars and high heels aren’t recommended (woo hoo!).  Even some sparkly sandals or sturdy wedges can be a problem if your feet swell in the heat.

My solution is dressy flats and espadrilles like these that can easily be slipped on and off:

RAINY SEASON SHOES

Chaing Mai averages 118.4 rainy days a year, mostly from May through September.  I’m arriving in March and have two months to get over my aversion to Crocs because they’re the best shoes to wear in the rainy season.

no_crocs_allowed_sign_by_topher147-d90sy2l

I don’t love this information but it’s the truth. Croc is atoning for past clog crimes with some improved offerings like boat shoes but they are still ugly with hideous rawhide lacing.  The pretty ones are canvas or suede and that would be just gross in the rain. I’ll keep  searching for a better option and buy these only as a last resort.

 

WALKING SHOES

I’ll be leaving all my great walking shoes behind and replacing them with slip-ons. Sketchers Go Walk shoes have great reviews and I found a nice pair on eBay today.

13530teal-skechers-1

THE ONE EXCEPTION

Hiking is one of the things that attracted me to  Chiang Mai and I plan to hike regularly. The hills and mountains are covered with different types of forest and terrain and the many hiking trails lead to places were you can truly enjoy the beauty of Thailand.

15_inthanon_trail_08-02-2012

I wouldn’t think of leaving my La Fortiva hiking boots behind. We’ve got places to go.

broa

 

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