Humble rubber shoes winning fans

STRONG. Durable. Waterproof. And best of all, dirt cheap.

Trusted by many Penang Hill and Mount Kinabalu climbers, made-in-Malaysia black rubber shoes have become the default footwear of many Penangites after the recent bout of storm and flood.

Being one-piece -- moulded out of rubber polymers -- there are no seams or stitches that can break apart.

When Penang Hill hikers volunteered to help with the flood cleanup early last month, they quickly realised how useful the shoes were.

These rubber shoes cost only between RM6 and RM12.

Because the thick lugs on the soles of some of these rubber shoes made them look like football cleats, the shoes became known as ‘Adidas Kampung’, after the famous shoe brand.

Adidas founder Adi Dassler made his first football shoes in 1925.

Hiker Belle Lim, 32, bought her pair two months ago and was very surprised that the shoes cost only RM6.

When the corporate communication executive joined her colleagues to help flood victims, she wore them and found that they were “perfect flood footwear”.

“I was introduced to the shoes by my hiking friends.

“I have now stopped using branded hiking shoes because they do not last and are tedious to clean.”

She added that while her black rubber shoes do not look cool, they were comfortable and supplied good footing on slippery trails.

Retired teacher Lee Yew Khoon, 71, said he noticed his mountain guides using the shoes when he climbed Mount Kinabalu 10 years ago.

“I bought mine a year ago and they are hardy. Once you see cracks in the rubber, just get new ones.

“I wore these when helping to clear fallen trees after a downpour in Penang City Park.

“As they are so cheap, it does not matter if I change to a new pair every month,” he said.

Businessman K. Sathiasilan, 58, who bought his first pair yesterday, said he was introduced to the shoes by his hiking friends.

“I’m looking forward to testing them out. The types of shoes I wore in the past tend to spoil quickly,” he said.

Shoe seller Lim Poh Cheoh, 62, said she sold about 80 pairs last month.

“We have been offering them for 20 years and usually 30 or 40 pairs are sold a month.

“Many flood cleanup volunteers just throw them away after wearing them,” she said at her shop in Noordin Street, George Town.

About 7,000 volunteers gathered on Nov 11 and 12 to help flood victims clean up their homes and neighbourhoods.

Shoe wholesaler Lee Kah Ping said orders went up by 30% after Penang was paralysed by floods after a tempest on Nov 4 and 5.

“We usually order about 3,000 pairs a month from the factory in Ipoh.

“Lately, we had to order 1,000 more pairs to cope with demand,” he said.

Get the latest rubber shoes right now at Lazada.

To download the Lazada App and start shopping on your mobile devices, click here.

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