What Shoes to Wear in Thailand? The 5 Best Shoes to Pack for Thailand
What Shoes to Wear in Thailand? Discover the five best – and worst – types of shoes to pack for Thailand. Click through to read more: https://www.kohsamuisunset.com/what-shoes-to-wear-in-thailand/ | #bangkok #thailand #phuket #chiangmai #kohsamui
What Shoes to Wear in Thailand? Discover the five best – and worst – types of shoes to pack for Thailand. Click through to read more: https://www.kohsamuisunset.com/what-shoes-to-wear-in-thailand/ | #bangkok #thailand #phuket #chiangmai #kohsamui

What shoes to wear in Thailand? Whether you’re coming to Thailand for a never-leave-the-resort beach vacation, city-sightseeing or a top-to-bottom exploration – at most, you need to pack just 5 pairs of shoes to wear in Thailand.

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1. Flip-flops or sandals

You need sandals that stretch

What Shoes to Wear in Thailand? Why Sanuk Yoga Sling Flip-Flops are the best sandals for Thailand

Sanuk Yoga Sling Flip-Flops

First things first. Your feet will swell in Thailand’s heat. How much is anyone’s guess – but expect particularly puffy feet after a long flight and then “a bit bigger than usual” for the rest of your trip. Any shoes or sandals that you try on in a temperate climate is unlikely to fit the same when you put it on in Thailand – so your sandals need to adjust as needed. Soft and stretchy Sanuk yoga slings are perfectly suited to the task. These sandals are massively popular as well – and are sooo comfy. The footbeds are made from yoga mats (and the brand ‘Sanuk‘, loosely, means ‘fun’ in Thai).

You need sandals that slip on and off

The Best Shoes to Pack for Thailand: Birkenstock Arizona Sandals + Waterproof EVAs

Birkenstock Arizona Sandals + Waterproof EVAs

The second requirement for your Thailand shoes – avoid any sandals with buckles! Why? You take off your shoes before entering Thai homes, temples, hotel rooms and many shops. For convenience, all your shoes for Thailand should be slip-on, rather than lace-up or buckled.

Expect to take your shoes on and off roughly fifty times a day in Thailand – make sure it’s a task that takes exactly one millisecond.

The Best Shoes to Wear in Thailand: Elastic Flat Sandals + Crocs Sexi Flips

Elastic Flat Sandals + Crocs Sexi Flips

While the sandals above both have an ankle strap, they’re still quick to take on and off as they don’t have any buckles. Also, their design – elastic and a loose, stretchy rubber – can adjust to your feet as they swell in Thai heat.

You need flip-flops

What Shoes to Wear in Thailand: Sanuk Beer Cozy Flip-Flops + Havaianas

Sanuk Beer Cozy Flip-Flops + Havaianas

Given Thailand’s heat and its shoes-off culture, flip-flops and comfy, casual sandals are the de facto footwear in Thai beach towns and tourist hot-spots. On Koh Samui, I rarely wear anything else. If your itinerary will be a loop of hotel – beach – pool – spa – food/drink – repeat, these will be your most convenient shoes for Thailand. They’ll get you places comfortably, and will keep you cool while doing so. For comfort and quality, I favour Sanuk and Havaianas brands. Both styles last forever and – crucially – they don’t get hot when left in the sun. Given their superior arch support, choose the Sanuk style if you’ll be walking a lot.

The 5 Best Shoes to Pack for Thailand: Havaianas Flip-Flops + Vionic Beach Flip-Flops

Havaianas Flip-Flops + Vionic Beach Flip-Flops

TIP! As mentioned, you’ll take off your shoes and leave them outside many places in Thailand. With flip-flops, I recommend that you choose a bright colour or bold print so you can identify yours in an instant.

Either flip-flops or a “flip-flop-like friend” should be the first, and perhaps only, type of shoe to pack for Thailand. Do you need others? Let’s consider your itinerary…

2. Slip-on shoes

Walking shoes for hot weather

The Best Shoes to Wear in Thailand: Skechers Slip-On Walking Shoes

Skechers Slip-On Walking Shoes

If you’ll be doing lots of city walking or sight-seeing in Thailand, Skechers Go Walk shoes are your best choice for happy feet in strong heat. For an itinerary with lots of foot-mileage, I’d recommend something like this in preference to flip-flops or sandals. The Go Walks also fit the ‘good in hot weather’ stipulation – they have some anti-microbial sciencey magic in their fabric. They meet your ‘slip-on/slip-off’ shoe rules as well and – as with all shoes for Thailand – don’t require socks.

Avoid blisters (& stinky feet)

How to avoid blisters (& stinky feet) in Thailand: Odour Fighting Insoles + Washable Terry Insoles + Charcoal Shoe Deodorizers + Anti-Blister Balm

Odour Fighting Insoles + Washable Terry Insoles + Charcoal Shoe DeodorizersAnti-Blister Balm

To balance your new barefoot life with Thailand’s hot and humid climate, consider adding some odour-fighting insoles. While the Skechers above have an anti-microbial feature, if you’ll be wearing sneakers, boat shoes or loafers in Thailand, take a moment to consider extreme tropical heat + high humidity + the fact that you’ll be constantly removing your shoes. You are thus forewarned! I swear by the terry cloth shoe liners as they keep your feet cool and comfortable, and can be thrown in a hot wash when needed. The anti-blister balm is a nice back-up and the strange black pouches are charcoal shoe deodorizers to store in your shoes – both overnight and in your luggage.

Choose slip-on sneakers

The Best Shoes to Pack for Thailand: SeaVees Slip-On Sneakers + Vionic Slip-Ons

SeaVees Slip-On Sneakers + Vionic Slip-Ons

In Thailand you want shoes that (1) are easy to slip on and off, and (2) don’t require socks. Any of these options above will keep your feet reasonably cool and will remain comfortable when your feet swell in Thailand’s hot weather. For canvas sneakers, choose black or a dark colour as Thailand’s dusty roads will not be kind to white shoes. The ventilation offered in the Vionic sneakers is an added bonus – here come happy feet!

No shoelaces

The Best Shoes to Wear in Thailand: Sperry Top-Siders + Crocs Beach Line Boat Shoes

Sperry Top-Siders + Crocs Beach Line Boat Shoes

Avoid packing shoes with shoelaces for Thailand. Why? Sheer convenience. It’s customary to take off your shoes before entering homes, hotel rooms, temples and many shops. Messing around with shoelaces is a massive pain. Shoelacey-shoes tend to be hotter, too, and you’ll have more fun if you’re cool and comfortable.

Leave your socks at home

What Shoes to Wear in Thailand: Sanuk Scribble Flats + Sanuk Slip-On Loafers

Sanuk Scribble Flats + Sanuk Slip-On Loafers

Do you wear shoes with socks in Thailand? I don’t. With this one exception – never, ever. It’s too hot. (If you’re a dedicated gym-using-person, of course, bring your gear). Instead, always choose shoes or sandals that you can wear barefoot.

Ensure they’re easy to find

The Best Shoes to Pack for Thailand: Flat, slip-on shoes, like boat shoes, ballet flats, loafers, TOMs, etc., are ideal for your travel days and for visiting Thailand’s temples

(1) coral canvas + (2) blue multi birds + (3) navy shibori + (4) navy stripe + (5) tropical palm + (6) white popsicles + (7) printed tropical + (8) navy hibiscus + (9) batik stripe

Flat, slip-on shoes, like boat shoes, ballet flats, loafers, TOMs, etc., are ideal for your travel days and for visiting Thailand’s temples, where decorum asks that you wear closed-toed shoes. As with the brightly coloured flip-flops, recommended above, choose a vivid pair of TOMs so you can easily find yours in a pile of shoes. If you’ll wear them constantly, go with a darker colour – the white ones are better suited for light use around your hotel.

3. Slip-proof shoes

Quick-dry water shoes

The Best Shoes to Wear in Thailand: Quick-dry water shoes

Slip-On Water Shoes: Men’s + Women’s

While you might not have athletic endeavours in mind, you’ll need your shoes to help you get around Thailand without slipping or spraining your ankle. This might include hopping in and out of long-tail boats, kayaks, Jeeps and more. Any of the above will ask a bit more of your footwear than, “Please, wouldn’t you mind being so kind as to stay put and not kill me?” For boat trips or anything around the water, plan to pack a pair of shoes designed to keep you from slipping on wet surfaces.

Barefoot aqua socks

What Shoes to Wear in Thailand: Barefoot aqua socks

Aqua Socks: Coral Fish, Mid Green + Blue Pinto

For something even more packable, a pair of aqua socks rolls up to nothing but is great to have on hand for exploring a rocky beach. They won’t take the place of hiking sandals but in many spots will be preferable to bare feet.

Sandals with staying power

The 5 Best Shoes to Pack for Thailand: Sandals with staying power

Teva Originals + KEEN Sandals

Do you need sandals with staying power? Maybe – what do you have planned? Thailand is ready to offer you fantastic opportunities to explore jungle trails, waterfalls, national parks, remote temples and plenty of teeny, tiny islands. Your itinerary will determine whether sturdy sandals will be enough (or whether a light-weight but closed-toe/protective hiking shoe would be more appropriate).

Whatever its structure, it should (1) pack light, (2) provide excellent grip and (3) deal well with water (both in it and drying quickly afterwards). All of the above fit the bill perfectly.

4. Dressier shoes

Men’s dressy shoes for Thailand

The Best Shoes to Wear in Thailand: Men’s dressy shoes for Thailand

Sperry Top-Siders + Laser Perf Boat Shoes

Unless you’re going to a Bangkok wedding (in which case a suit is a suit, wear your normal dress shoes) then the easiest solution? Simply recycle your loafers or boat shoes from the slip-on shoe section. In beach towns, you can get away with nicer sandals and your dashing good looks.

Women’s dressy shoes for Thailand

What Shoes to Wear in Thailand: Women’s dressy shoes for Thailand

Foldable Ballet Flats

The packable option: If you aren’t sure of your itinerary and need a ‘just-in-case’ option, a pair of foldable gold flats is the Thailand-loves-shiny version of the black flats every minimalist packing list advises. Do you envision yourself changing out of flip-flops into these in a hotel elevator? You wouldn’t be the first – they’re genuinely purse-sized.

The Best Shoe Accessories to Pack for Thailand: Foot Petals comfort cushions

Foot Petals comfort cushions

Add a little squoosh: A little cushion insert can turn flats into a much more comfortable proposition – it just depends on your needs. Most every surface in Bangkok, for instance, is hard and unforgiving whereas an island trip might mean your shoes are discarded as soon as the party hits the beach.

The Best Shoes to Wear in Thailand: Gladiator Sandals + Thong Sandals

Gladiator Sandals + Thong Sandals

Best for the beach: On Koh Samui, I pack a pair of dressier shoes for dinners at nice resorts, etc. Though, when you’re dining on the beach, “dressy” can still be made of rubber. Often, gold sandals do the trick. Add a maxi skirt and no one will notice you’re wearing the same T-shirt from lunch.

What Shoes to Wear in Thailand: Aerosoles Loafers + French Sole Ballet Flats

Aerosoles Loafers + French Sole Ballet Flats

Business trip: For daytime dressy or a business trip to Thailand, you could take either of the above routes. First, embrace colour and sparkles in a way you might not at home. The tropics give you full license to get all kinds of bright. While fabric shoes with embroidery are a bad idea for clocking actual mileage in Thailand, these would be ideal for a mostly indoors trip – conferences, meetings, malls and chauffeurs. Taking a more subdued approach colour-wise, nude perforated flats add better breathability without sacrificing dressiness. French Sole are renowned for their cushy-comfort but note that they tend to fit narrow (always keeping in mind that Thailand-foot-swelling inevitability).

The 5 Best Shoes to Pack for Thailand: Aerosoles Slide Sandals

Aerosoles Slide Sandals

Slides not stilettos: Can’t dress up without a heel? For a thousand reasons, I urge you to slides and wedges in Thailand – ditch anything with a spike heel. Why? Potholes, uneven ground – even unevenly spaced staircases are surprisingly common. As with every shoe and sandal I’m recommending for Thailand – these are slip-on/slip-off.

Leave your high heels at home

The Best Shoes to Wear in Thailand: Comfort Soft Wedge Sandals

Comfort Soft Wedge Sandals

Be careful! Your feet will swell in Thailand’s heat so avoid anything with too many strappy parts. Ideally, your dressy shoes would also have a sturdy base and lots of breathing room.

Don’t face-plant in the name of fashion.

Why wedge? Unless you’re an utter pro in heels, I recommend sturdy wedges as the best dressy shoes for Thailand. Whether in Bangkok or a beach town, sidewalks are uneven, lighting can be patchy and surfaces can be Teflon slippery. On Koh Samui, I can find plenty to trip over in flat shoes in broad daylight.
What Shoes to Wear in Thailand: Aerosoles Dress Sandals

Aerosoles Dress Sandals

Check the soles: Expect to encounter at least one wet tiled floor and many marble surfaces. Both of these wedge options above have rubber soles with grippy aspects. Leave anything with a smooth sole behind – it’s not your friend on this trip.

Do you even need dressy shoes to wear in Thailand? Again, it depends what you have planned. Generally not, but Thailand has great nightlife and high-end dining – with matching dress codes. You’ve seen Crazy Rich Asians – you know. As for dressy clothes, see what to wear out at night.

5. Rainy season shoes

The 5 Best Shoes to Pack for Thailand: Crocs Slip-On Sneakers: Navy + Tropical

Crocs Slip-On Sneakers: Navy + Tropical

If you’re coming to Thailand in rainy season (that’s October–December “ish” on Koh Samui), you’ll definitely want to revisit the slip-proof options from above. Many Crocs shoes make ideal rainy season shoes because (A) they’re all rubber – nothing to dry out, (B) they’re grippy on the bottom, and (C) they’re comfy. Luckily, Crocs are atoning for past clog crimes with some much more acceptable offerings.
The Best Shoes to Wear in Thailand: Crocs Huarache Flat + T-Strap Sandal

Crocs Huarache Flat + T-Strap Sandal

Let the Crocs sandals above demonstrate that, in Thailand, ‘rainy day shoes’ can be sandals rather than rain boots. You just want something that’s not going to be slippery and will stay attached to your feet. (So flip-flops are out on both counts).
What Shoes to Wear in Thailand: Native Kid’s Slip-Ons + Crocs Kid’s Clogs

Native Kid’s Slip-Ons + Crocs Kid’s Clogs

As for kids, both Native shoes and Crocs are rubber and very sturdy. The Crocs clog is probably a little quicker to take on and off, but only fractionally so. For everything wet-weather, including the best packable rain jacket, see what to wear for rainy season in Thailand.

6. Barefoot and fancy-free?

The Barefoot Tips for Thailand: Foot Peeling Masks + 2-in-1 Foot Pumice + Wet & Dry Foot File + ‘Mermaid’ Nail Polish + UV Topcoat

Foot Peeling Masks + 2-in-1 Foot Pumice + Wet & Dry Foot File +
‘Mermaid’ Nail Polish + UV Topcoat

A discussion of shoes in Thailand wouldn’t be complete without some frank truths about … your bare feet. Sorry, I don’t like it either but needs must. Don’t blame the messenger but appearance and put-together-ness are extremely important in Thailand – and you’ll be spending a good portion of time bare-footed. How are they looking? Happy to endure a stranger’s scrutiny? Whether you’re Elle Woods booked for bi-weekly pedicures or the Cave-Man King of the Alpha Males, I merely suggest you take some time for yourself and make sure you’re, quite literally, putting your best foot forward. Pick up a pumice and I’ll stop the foot clichés – deal?

Recap: The best shoes to wear in Thailand

More Thailand questions?

Don’t forget to round out your bipedal experience with a well-earned Thai foot massage. Before that, arrive with perfect preparation. Here’s how:

Enjoy!

Becoming – Audible Audiobook – Michelle Obama

What Shoes to Wear in Thailand? Discover the five best – and worst – types of shoes to pack for Thailand. Click through to read more: https://www.kohsamuisunset.com/what-shoes-to-wear-in-thailand/ | #bangkok #thailand #phuket #chiangmai #kohsamui

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