Planning your next big trip to Thailand and wondering what shoes suit the tropical environment? Wearing the correct shoes is essential when traveling because of extended periods of walking and terrain you might not be used to.
Thailand has a variety of terrain, including sandy beaches in the south, the concert jungle of Bangkok, and mountainous regions in the north.
So to help you prepare for your trip, this article will provide guidance on selecting the appropriate footwear, along with personal recommendations based on experience.
Recommended shoe types:
|Sandals||Beach or City (short walks)|
|Sneakers||City (long walks)|
|Hiking shoes||Mountainous areas or rough terrain|
Pack at least one pair of comfortable sneakers for long walks and a pair of sandals or flip-flops for strolling around the hotel or beach. Pack other footwear you might consider packing based on your travel plans, including hiking, formal, running, and water shoes.
First and foremost, you want comfortable shoes that fit correctly.
While traveling in Thailand, you’ll be walking more than usual, traveling on long-haul flights, and exploring all Thailand has to offer, so you want comfortable shoes with good arch support and ventilation.
Uncomfortable shoes that don’t fit may cause blisters, increase your chance of foot injury and impact your enjoyment of the holiday.
Factors to consider for comfortable shoes:
- Correct size
- Arch support
- Match with your other clothing
Best Shoes for Thailand
Sandals are perfect for Thailand’s hot environment offering breathability, lightweight materials, and ease of slipping on and off.
They are great for beach walks, short strolls in the city parks, and getting lost in the shopping malls of Bangkok.
When not to wear sandals
Thailand is notorious for uneven footpaths, in which sandals offer minimal protection. Sandals also don’t fully support the foot, so they are not recommended for long walks or hikes.
Recommended for: Beach, Short walks, Rainy day
- Crocs Unisex-Adult Classic Clogs (available on Amazon)
- Birkenstock Unisex, Arizona Soft Footbed Sandal (available on Amazon)
Cool & Convenient: Birkenstocks suit Thailand’s heat with an airy design and easy on/off.
Versatile Wander: Ideal for beaches, parks, and city adventures.Buy it!
Flip-flops are ideal for the beach in Thailand because of their super lightweight waterproof material, ease of cleaning, and ultra breathability.
When not to wear flip-flops
Although inexpensive and easy to slip on, flip-flops offer little to no arch support, are not comfortable for walking, and have minimal traction/grip.
Swap out the flip-flops for some sneakers if you’re planning to walk a lot.
Recommended for: Beach, Poolside
Recommended flip flops:
- Crocs Unisex Crocband Flip Flops (available on Amazon)
- Clarks Women’s Breeze Sea (available on Amazon)
- Reef Men’s Phantoms Flip-Flop (available on Amazon)
Crocs Unisex Crocband Flip FlopsBuy it!
Going to be walking a lot on your trip? Sneakers are perfect for short/long walks in Thailand because of their arch support, cushioned sole, durability, and ease of slipping on and off.
When picking sneakers for Thailand, choose lightweight ones with good ventilation because of the humid weather.
When not to wear sneakers
Sneakers are not ideal for the beach because they can collect sand and be difficult to clean. Also, if it rains, most sneakers are not waterproof, so you’d be better off switching to sandals or flip-flops.
Recommended for: Short/long walks (not raining)
- New Balance Women’s 608 V5 Cross Trainer (available on Amazon)
- Reebok Women’s Classic Harman Run Sneaker (available on Amazon)
- New Balance Men’s 515 V3 Sneaker (available on Amazon)
- Cole Haan Men’s Crosscourt Modern Sneaker (available on Amazon)
New Balance Women’s 608 V5Buy it!
New Balance Men’s 515 V3 SneakerBuy it!
Hiking boots are essential if you’re planning to explore Thailand’s mountainous terrain and national parks or trek to waterfalls.
Proper walking boots offer great foot support, strong traction grip, waterproof material, and additional padding for foot protection.
When not to wear hiking shoes:
Hiking boots are not ideal for general city walking because they’re bulky and heavy than sneakers. They also add a lot of weight to your suitcase, so only bring them if you plan a trek.
Recommended for: Hiking
- Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe (available on Amazon)
- KEEN Men’s Targhee 3 Low Height Waterproof Hiking Shoes (available on Amazon)
- Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe (available on Amazon)
- KEEN Women’s Targhee 3 Low Height Waterproof Hiking Shoes (available on Amazon)
Tips for Packing Shoes
Once you know your travel plans in Thailand it will be easy to select the best footwear, but pack at least two pairs of shoes and some flip-flops.
Before packing, check the weather conditions in Thailand. If you’re traveling during the rainy season and plan a lot of walking, consider packing waterproof shoes.
Pack according if you plan on doing water sports, diving, or other special activities.
Attending a formal event such as fine dining or during your stay in Thailand? Although Thailand doesn’t usually have strict requirements for footwear, consider bringing some smart shoes to look the part.
Strategies for packing
Select comfortable, lightweight shoes that can easily fit into your suitcase without taking up too much space. Also, consider a good packing technique to make the most of your luggage space.
- Clean your shoes before packing them
- Pack the soles of the shoes against the side of your suitcase
- Pack shoes into a protective bag to avoid debris from the soles getting onto your clothing
- Pack the shoes into a zip compartment in your suitcase to separate them from the clothing
Forgot to pack the correct shoes? Don’t worry, Thailand has a lot of affordable shoes available in markets and malls around the country.
Footwear When Visiting Temples
Although temples have some strict dress code standards in clothing, they are more lenient towards footwear.
If you’re visiting a temple in Thailand, wear shoes that are comfortable, breathable, and easy to slip on and off because you’ll have to remove footwear when entering a temple building.
Looking for other packing essentials? Check out my comprehensive packing list for Thailand.
Thailand is a humid county, so selecting suitable footwear for your tip is essential to ensure you have the best time possible.
Pack at least two pairs of comfortable, lightweight shoes suitable for your planned activities when visiting Thailand. Also, pack some light flip-flops for the beach or poolside sunbathing.
Planning a beach trip to the south? Pack some sandals and flip-flops.
Planning a mountain trek in the north? Pack some strong hiking boots.
Planning a city break? Pack sneakers that are comfortable for walking.
Do you need water shoes for Thailand?
You should consider packing water shoes if you plan to do water sports, diving, snorkeling, or other water-based activities. They might also be helpful in Bangkok in the rainy season because the city is prone to flooding.
Do you have to take your shoes off in Thailand?
You should take off your shoes when entering private households or religious buildings such as temples.
Should I bring hiking shoes to Thailand?
You should consider bringing hiking shoes to Thailand if you’re planning to walk in rough terrains such as mountainous regions or national parks.
Can I wear flip-flops in Thailand?
There are no rules to stop people from wearing flip-flops in Thailand, and they’re a popular footwear choice with locals because of the hot climate. If you’re planning to walk a lot consider footwear with better support, such as sneakers.
Why is it rude to show the bottom of your feet in Thailand?
Feet are considered dirty in Thai culture, so it’s very rude to sit with your feet propped up on seats or point the bottom of your feet towards someone.