Trekking in Sandals

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 Godwin 11 Feb 2024

I am currently backpacking in South East Asia, and the only footwear I have a Merrill Kahuna Sandals, because last year I took some walking shoes, and they hung off my bag for 8 weeks, only used on a trek in Nepal.

I am now going to go on a short punter friendly trek in Laos for 2 or 3 days.

I know I should just put them on and go, but has anyone got an amazing tales of walking in just sandals and and any tips and hints.

1
 MisterPiggy 11 Feb 2024
In reply to Godwin:

Leaches, perhaps? Chaffing, in a hot, humid climate?

Boots too, would have their downsides, I should think.

On balance, I'd go for the sandals and carry a lighter and a pack of ciggies for dislodging the little black wrigglers.

- Based on short hikes in a similar climate in flip-flops. Biggest challenge was slipping out of the flip-flops when going got muddy. Sandals should hold your feet in.

1
 leland stamper 11 Feb 2024
In reply to Godwin:

Walked for 3 weeks across Ladakh - desert, rivers, glacier edge - in local sandals with large plastic boots tucked in sac. Go.

OP Godwin 11 Feb 2024
In reply to Godwin:

Thanks for the replies, I have been wandering around in them now for 4 weeks, so my feet and the sandals are well acquainted. I also have some Seal Skinz socks and deet for the leaches, having said that, I kind of find the idea of a leech, a bit adventurous, but those could be famous last words 😳 

 Lankyman 11 Feb 2024
In reply to Godwin:

>I kind of find the idea of a leech, a bit adventurous, but those could be famous last words 😳 

I found a flattened leech lying in a pool of blood (mine) one morning in my sleeping bag. At least he died happy.

OP Godwin 11 Feb 2024
In reply to Lankyman:

The only leech I have seen, you showed me, in a puddle, near Malham Tarn.

OP Godwin 11 Feb 2024
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

That's interesting thanks.

I met a French guy on Kalymnos last year, never wears shoes, climbs in the 8s, barefoot. Only issue he has is on steep slabs as it can sheer the skin off. Looked a bit like Bear Grills TBH, nice guy. 

 Marek 11 Feb 2024
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

Hmm, I wouldn't confound wearing sandals with the whole 'barefoot' thing. Different objectives, different physiology, different application. A lot of modern sandals are as far from 'barefoot' as any running shoe.

To the sandals question I would suggest that if your feet are used to them then you should have no problem. I used to wear sandals all the time whatever the ground conditions were like (excepting then need for crampons) and once my feet were used to the abrasion of grit and mud, I had no problems. I always found 'adapted feet + sandals' to be far more resilient than 'feet + shoes' * (I was never a fan of boots except in winter conditions). The only thing I found them to be poor for was running. The structure of sandals is largely in the sole which tends to be less flexible than an equivalent 'weight' of shoe, so running tended to result in a Gollum impersonation: "Slap, slap, slap, slap..." Effective perhaps, but mildly annoying. 

* The only instance for sandal-related foot damage I remember was when I caught my big toe on some sharp metal at Pisa airport check-in desk and ended up leaving bloody footprints round the concourse till I found the first aid post (it was a while before I noticed the bleeding). So yes, with sandals you have to be a bit more careful where you stick your feet, but I'm sure you know that.

Post edited at 11:44
 CantClimbTom 11 Feb 2024
In reply to Godwin:

No, but I know someone who wears crocs fanatically --ever seen crocs caving? ever seen them scrambling? ever seen them paired with micro spikes? (Obviously never with socks, that would be crazy) 🤣

If you are suitably insane and do plenty of mileage in sandals, I'm sure it'll be fine.. half of Asia wears sandals anyway. I've seen a lot worse!

 Welsh Kate 11 Feb 2024
In reply to CantClimbTom:

Crocs are very grippy on rock. Obviously feet in Crocs aren't quite as grippy.

 Marek 11 Feb 2024
In reply to Welsh Kate:

> Crocs are very grippy on rock. Obviously feet in Crocs aren't quite as grippy.

Depends on make/model. My ones have a quite 'spikey' insole that really stop the feet sliding around very effectively. 

1
 CantClimbTom 11 Feb 2024
In reply to Welsh Kate:

But they are useless on slimy mud. We had to abandon a crossing of "mud hall" (Gaping Gill) with him once as he had his usual choice of footwear with no chunky tread 🤣 after he skipped totally ar5e over t!t at the very top of a 40m mud cliff

 Lankyman 11 Feb 2024
In reply to Godwin:

Good morning. Yes, on the way in to Great Close Scar IIRC? I think my profile pic might have been taken the same day. I won't ask why you're on your latest incarnation, perhaps you've gone all Buddhist! Nepal is great - we had our share of leeches in the rainforests outside of Pokhara. We'd added a few days in the hill country before joining up with the Annapurna Circuit. Once on the higher bits it was OK. Only oedema to worry about!

> The only leech I have seen, you showed me, in a puddle, near Malham Tarn.

ETA plenty of the locals wear sandals

Post edited at 12:19
 EdS 12 Feb 2024
In reply to CantClimbTom:

He needs Croc Duet Sports --- great in mud.

Handy at GG winch meet to

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Crocs-Unisex-Adult-Sport-Orange/dp/B008P8ASWO/ref=...

 Bulls Crack 15 Feb 2024
In reply to Godwin:

Plenty in the Stoney Banks stream above Gordale! 

 peppermill 15 Feb 2024
In reply to Godwin:

> I know I should just put them on and go, but has anyone got an amazing tales of walking in just sandals and and any tips and hints.

Not personally, other than after seeing Nepalese porters skip over glaciers, high mountain passes and the like carrying the gigantic loads that they do and feeling like an utter fanny in all my nice kit all I can say is crack on and let your toes enjoy some sunshine ;p

OP Godwin 15 Feb 2024
In reply to Godwin:

Well I survived the trek in Sandals, no leaches harmed, but did eat a snake. Vietnam next, might do some trekking there as well.

 Albert Tatlock 15 Feb 2024
In reply to Godwin:

Make sure you wear white socks with your sandals next time x 

 freeflyer 15 Feb 2024
In reply to Godwin:

> the idea of a leech ...

Reminds me of a true story about an Australian reality show, one of those jungle "get me out of here" ones.

Anyway the competitors were equipped with radios and told they had medical support etc if they needed it, and sent off on their quest into the jungle.

Some time later, one of the hapless victims gets on the radio in a right state demanding the medic, who is duly found and enquires what seems to be the trouble.

"Ah well," says the victim, "I was swimming across this creek and I felt something going on in my trousers, so when I got to the other side I had a look and I saw the tail of a leech disappearing up my thomas. HELP - what do I do???"

At this point you need to imagine a proper Aussie accent.

"Well, mate, relax - there's absolutely nothing to worry about".

Pause.

"Just drink lots of water and the little critter'll pop right out again when you take a piss."
 


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