Shoes for Jungles...
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Sep 25, 2013 5:25 PM Last Post By: phil11
Feb 21, 2011 1:08 PM
Shoes for Jungles...Hi there,
This summer I'm going to be living in the midst of the Jungle in Guyana for 4 weeks. We'll be in a number of locations within the jungle and treking between them whilst carrying all our equipment in large rucksacks.
I was hoping that somebody might be able to suggest me some appropriate footwear. Some recommendations have been Jungle Boots (are there any brands in particular I should avoid? Or any good ones?) whilst other people have been saying that just normal hiking boots will be fine (Most people have been saying no Gortex, but others that they've had no issues with it). All in all I'm starting to get very confused and I just want to buy a pair of shoes and start wearing them in so I can have a relatively blister free summer!
If anybody has any recommendations that would be brilliant, I tried going to an outdoors shop and the only things they could think of were wellies, not really ideal...
Feb 22, 2011 1:24 AM
1No goretex and no leather.
I don't know about the particular weather in Guyana at time of your trip, but I have been in jungles during dry and wet seasons, with trail shoes or lightweight "jungle shoes", all fabric and rubber. They only need to be ankle high and comfortable to wear, no need for waterproofness if it's wet (they would be soaked anyway, when you have streams to cross). Ankle high for a bit of protection, and again if wet, stay on your feet when sucked into mud ;-)
Wellies are not that silly in extreme moosoon time, awfull hot and uncomfortable though, but most likely locals would walk in flipflops or sneakers...
Feb 22, 2011 5:47 AM
Feb 22, 2011 6:21 AM
Feb 23, 2011 5:39 AM
4Seriously….Wellington boots are standard footwear for locals in many jungle regions (either that or bare feet!). They are truly dry, don’t need drying out like any other boot would, are cheap, and are high enough to stop water going over the top. Most boots, gore-tex or not just get wet from water over topping them. In any case, having boots that are in any way water proof will result in you feet marinating and rotting in there own juices, which will destroy your feet (no waterproof lining is breathable enough in tropical conditions…not even gor-tex).
My mate who’s come back from 3 months in a Costa Rican jungle research outpost said he soon dumped his boots in favour of good old wellie (all the locals had them, or flip flops).
Jungle boots are good because they don’t even attempt to be waterproof and just concentrate on breathability and drainage which helps to avoid foot rot.
What ever you choose, just don’t spend much money as they WILL get trashed.
Feb 23, 2011 1:13 PM
5Rubber boots are also snake-bite proof, can't remember if Guyana has poisonous snakes (fer-de-lance maybe) but that was one of the main selling points for using them in Costa Rica. However I don't know how you'd go for hiking in them, it could be blister central.
Second option is some trail hiking/running shoes, ie running shoes with more tread than standard road-running shoes.
Feb 25, 2011 7:59 AM
Mar 5, 2011 3:26 AM
Mar 7, 2011 5:52 PM
I spent a month in Borneo last year and my goretex walking shoes got trashed. Once these waterproof shoes get wet they won't dry. I would definitely agree with other posts saying the more breathable and lightweight the better. In Borneo what seemed to be working well for people were those god awful looking sandals with a walking shoe sole. The type of thing that Merrell do. There wasn't enough material for the rain to trash them, they dried easily and yet they still gave the grip you needed whilst walking through the jungle. Only problem is they won't protect against snakes as they're open-toed, etc.... perhaps a pair of them plus wellies?? I went to the Amazon a few years back too and the locals gave everyone wellies - but they really do weigh you down, which makes trekking even more difficult than it already is in the humidity.However, if you end up knee deep in mud, wellies are the only things that will help you! I don't know if this is any use? Good luck!
Mar 10, 2011 6:37 PM
9The best shoes are those that don't cause blisters...!
Buying a new pair of expensive shoes for a trip can be a disaster...if after two or three days of walking you suddenly discover "hot spots"...and possible blisters...
It is almost impossible to tell how a shoe will perform in the store...or even on short walks around your home base...The real test is on location...for all day walking...and often only after two or three days.
Here's the problem...what if the shoes are bad...and you're stuck in the bush or out in the country side?
Do you throw them out...and buy something local...?
That is exactly what I did once...
I ended up lugging around a pair of higher end shoes...trying to dump them sometimes... and then changing my mind...and carrying them around a bit longer...
And finally ... walking for the rest of the trip in a pair of cheap open toed strap shoes I bought at a local market...for a few dollars...!
Mar 13, 2011 12:11 AM
Mar 24, 2011 5:00 PM
11Wellies, Supportive Insoles, & Runner's Lube= Happy Jungle Feet!
I did research deep in the mountains of Costa Rica that involved hiking at least 3 to 5 miles a day around the jungle. I quickly found that the adage 'when in rome' applied. The locals who lived in the jungle wore wellies or 'botas negras' as they called them. Thier 'black boots' were of a lighter weight and more flexible (one might say poorer quality?) than the traditional wellies; which may have been an advantage. I had bought an expensive pair of 'fast dry/drain' water-trekking shoes from LL Bean. The most use that I got out of them was to take the insoles out and put them into my black boots that I bought at a local hardware store. I never once got blisters b/c of three things: insoles for extra support, double socking- the long kind used for soccer/football, and RUNNER's LUBE. The runner's lube sounds weird, but it is a substance used to prevent chafing in sensitive areas during long runs. (web search 'runner's lube' or 'body glide' and you'll find a supplier) In this instance I always put it on the outside of the heel of my sock before pulling on my boots. Whallah! Dry feet, good arch support for prolonged hikes, and no blisters.
The suggestions for converse are valid, but you will inevitably be putting you feet into shoes that are still soggy the morning after a wet hike. (with the humidity in the jungle at 100% and greater, things took quite a long time to dry out.) And the trekking that I experienced involved a lot of tree roots and rocks- despite the fact that we often walked well used trails. Converse have such thin soles that I know my feet would have been killing me in no time.
Hope this helps all the future Jungle Explorers!
Mar 27, 2011 1:51 PM
12What about rubber strap-on sandals? I read about a guy in national geographic who walked through the entire central african rainforest with nothing but sandals and shorts. From the coast of Gabon to central Africa. That's usually what native people do who live out in the tropical bush do. The less the better. Just be sure to take your usual precautions against disease carrying insects (repellent, anti-malarial pills, etc.). Just an idea
Mar 31, 2011 10:55 PM
13I agree with the light weight wellies when in snake or rattan-thick areas but I prefer basic heel-strap sandals like Tevas. Make sure though that you've broken them and your feet in well and that your ankles are strong.
I've worn mine in many of the jungles and wet forests of Mexico, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Malaysia etc. and have only had trouble when a splinter of wood became lodged between my toes while I was knee-high in mud. Wellies would've been sucked off my feet in no time.
Keep your feet dry; skin dries much faster and breathes better when exposed to air than when confined.
Sep 25, 2013 5:25 PM
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