Monday, December 15, 2008

Adidas kampung; the ultimate tropical jungle shoe

Adidas kampung- shoes for the tropical jungle

The Adidas kampung is a popular shoe when it comes to choosing the right shoe for tropical jungle of Malaysia. This cheap yet practical piece of footwear has decorated the feet of Malaysians for generations, especially among rubber tapers and estate workers for as long as the independent of Malaysia perhaps. Its light, fully water resistant and simple design makes it even more attractive among those venturing into a jungle that is constantly wet and humid.

Adidas Kampung is up for anything. They are shoes for jungle hiking. Great footwear for tropical water paddling and they make excellent tropical shoes for river crossing and general camp wear.

There are a number of designs for this rubber shoe. The one characteristic that makes the shoe stands out is the fact that it is wholly made of rubber. Some comes with fake shoelaces (they are actually rubber, part of the shoe itself) and some do come with simple cords.

Why is shoe called Adidas Kampung? Well, there is this one particular model that comes with studded soles. The entire shoe is still made of rubber and the sides are painted with 4 yellow stripes. Because of these stripes and the fact that they are the only ones normal kampung folks can afford as soccer boots…hence the name Adidas Kampung. The name was so popular that it is used to blanket almost all the similar types of rubber shoes available.

Looks familiar? The four yellow stripes that makes an Adidas Kampung

There are a number of reasons why this rubber shoe is the preferred choice by many locals for the tropical jungle. Its construction of being 100% rubber makes it fully water repellent, easy to drain out water and easy to dry. Compare this with any of the boots we can find in the shopping mall, to dry a pair would probably require only some dabbing with a piece of dry cloth! But of course, the rubber wear is by far not a perfect shoe. There are a few things one got to remember when using them.

For jungle use and river crossing, some people would actually recommend making two small holes on the sides of the shoe to help drain out water. Some models already come with ‘holes’ but more often than not, they are sealed tight out from the factory. But it is easy to solve this. Just grab a scissors or a knife and make the holes yourself. Very easy.

Use a sharp knife to make them holes

In the Malaysian jungle, crossing rivers and being drenched by constant rain makes any pair of our normal shoes a nightmare to walk in. The only setback I would say with these rubber shoes are its lack of ankle support and not so durable soles. The shoes are no hi tech bit of gear, they are simple and very basic. Their soft soles mean that they get eroded or eaten in much faster than usual shoes. This is especially when one walks on tarmac.

I have two pairs . One pair I use as my tropical jungle footwear and the other I keep in my motorbike’s storage box. I change into them whenever I travel in the rain to keep my work shoes dry.

Honestly, I don’t think anything beats the Adidas Kampung for light or medium walk in the jungle. For longer expeditions and trips, perhaps the more robust jungle boots would be much more suitable.

Thinking of those Cr*@s sandals? Well, if you can afford them to be thrashed in the jungle, then go ahead. Also, Cr*@s do not give you the traction you need, no matter what they claim. Have seen them worn on tracks, you can see how they ‘slide’ when it rains.

This new pair of Adidas kampung for my wife costs only RM4.80!

But with prices ranging between RM5 and RM10 per pair (yet another reason why they are the best jungle shoe) as compared to the hundreds of ringgit for a pair of Cr*@s, the decision is more than obvious I think.

Where to buy adidas kampung? If you are in KL town, some hardware stalls around Chow Kit or Jln Ipoh sells them. The Pasar Malam opposite Sunway Pyramid every Wednesday nights have them too.
Out of K.L? Head to almost any hardware, sundry or shops selling agriculture products and you are likely to find them. This is especially true with places where there’s many rubber plantations.

So…to summarize:

  • Water-repel, easy to dry.

  • Cheap…really cheap

  • Practical (use it to walk, camp use and rivers)

  • Easy to obtain

  • Field proven

  • Almost zero maintenance

  • Cons:
  • May not provide the support needed for tough climbs/ treks

  • Soles wear out pretty fast

  • Soles are soft, vulnerable to punctures. One can literally feel what’s been stepped on

  • Shoe may ‘slip’ when descending steep slopes