GEORGE TOWN: Strong. Durable. Waterproof. And best of all, dirt cheap.
Trusted by folks who hike up Penang Hill right up to Mount Kinabalu climbers, made-in-Malaysia black rubber shoes have become the default footwear of many Penangites after the recent bout of storms and floods.
Being one-piece – moulded out of rubber polymers – there are no seams or stitches to fall apart, and when Penang Hill hikers volunteered to help with the flood clean-up, they quickly realised how useful the shoes were.
Because the thick lugs on the soles of some of these rubber shoes make them look like football cleats, Malaysians fondly refer to these shoes as “Adidas kampung”.
These rubber shoes cost only between RM6 and RM12, and demand for them has been skyrocketing.
Shoe seller Lim Poh Cheoh, 62, said she sold about 80 pairs last month.
“We have been selling them for 20 years and usually sell 30 or 40 pairs a month.
“Many flood clean-up volunteers just throw them away after wearing them,” she said at her shop in Noordin Street yesterday.
About 7,000 volunteers joined hands on Nov 11 and 12 to help flood victims clean up their homes and streets.
Shoe wholesaler Lee Kah Ping said orders had gone up by 30% ever since 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 but lately, we ordered another 1,000 to cope with demand,” he said.
Hiker Belle Lim, 32, bought her pair two months ago for RM6.
“When I joined my colleagues to help flood victims, I wore them. They are perfect for wading through floods,” she said.