Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Choosing the wrong footwear can make your safari a sour one.

Getting the wrong shoes can actually make or break your safari trip. Especially if you will be venturing into the African wilderness where there are no shops or retail store to get a shoe replacement.

This article will help you identify some comfortable shoes that you can take on your African safari.

Make sure you have walked them in before you depart for your safari so you are comfortable and comfortable with the shoes you choose.

Pack Light

While traveling you want to minimize on travel accessories and definitely leave fins, goggles and gadgets at home. Same with shoes only carry the shoes you are going to use on your travel.

You will need some light comfortable shoes or even trainers for when you are in the cities and towns. You will need hiking shoes if you will be on safari and possibly walking on the African savannah. And finally you will need a pair of sandals or flip flops is you will be spending time at the beach and also for the evenings when you are at the lodge or hotel.

Comfort

If you are walking through muddy forest conditions, sand, or river crossings, a medium-high-rise, waterproof boot with a built-in tongue will keep water and sand out and keep you comfortable.

You should expect your hiking boots to show less dirt if they are darker. Go for a comfortable, strong, and lightweight pair of shoes. For wet conditions, you must purchase a boot with traction in its soles, and you should have higher ankle padding for support and to prevent pesky ants.

If you are paranoid about being bitten by a snake, wear mid- or tall hiking boots (safari boots) instead of low hiking shoes for your ankle protection. Wearing tall hiking boots is overkill for me personally, and they can be very uncomfortable in the hot months

Don’t Pack Too Many Shoes

It is also important to pack light. Shoes are often heavy, bulky travel items and will cost you more with the airlines and also be an inconvenience while traveling.

Heat and Footwear

Understanding the basic principles of heat transfer is crucial for selecting the right footwear. The main mechanisms affecting footwear are:

  • Conduction: Heat transfer through materials from high to low temperature regions.
  • Convection: Heat exchange between the shoe and the air.
  • Radiation: Heat transfer in the form of infrared radiation, which can increase the temperature of the shoe material.

Each type of heat transfer plays a role in how heat affects the foot within the shoe, influencing both comfort and health.

What Kind of Shoes Should You Pack?

Leather shoes are usually water resistant and easy to clean. If you walk thru mud, it’s much easier to throw the leather into the sink to wash which is not the case with cloth shoes and sometimes even trainers. If you’re traveling to areas with extremely hot temperatures, such as Namibia or the Kalahari, it’s crucial to consider that leather might not be the best choice for clothing or gear. Leather tends to retain heat and moisture, which can lead to discomfort and potential health issues in hot climates.

Synthetic safari boots do not have the classic look, but they weigh less and have more flexibility than leather boots which tend to be more expensive. In fact, most safari guides these days opt for these new style of boots due to their practicality and comfort. Why Sometimes You Need to Just Wear Normal Shoes

Mesh fabrics excel in hot conditions due to their high permeability, which allows for effective moisture and heat management. This property helps keep the foot cooler and drier, significantly enhancing comfort.

Weight of the shoe is also a very important factor. Finding a lightweight and durable boot is essential for walking safaris. The boot must still be able to offer you arch support and provide stability.

Our Top Picks Best Safari Shoes

best safari boots for men

Rockport Men’s Storm Surge Water Proof Plain Toe Boot

Why We Love Them

  • The textile lining enhances breathability, ensuring a comfortable feel throughout the day.
  • The EVA outsole and footbed deliver flexible, lightweight impact absorption for a smooth and effortless stride.
  • Featuring truTech technology, these shoes offer additional lightweight shock absorption, reducing foot fatigue.
  • Equipped with Hydro-Shield, the seam-sealed waterproof construction and materials provide reliable protection against the elements, keeping your feet dry in wet conditions.

Rockport Men’s Storm Surge are light very comfortable for men.

Advice for Footwear in Hot Climates

Based on the scientific findings and material performance, the following advice is offered for selecting footwear for hot climates:

  • Choose Breathable Materials: Opt for shoes with highly breathable uppers like mesh to ensure effective heat and moisture management.
  • Consider Activity Level: For active use, such as hiking or walking in hot climates, prioritize footwear that offers both breathability and good heat dissipation.
  • Footwear Design: Select shoes that combine breathable materials with appropriate coverage to protect from sun exposure while allowing adequate air flow.

Maintenance and Care: Regularly maintain and condition materials like leather to prevent them from becoming overly dry and brittle.

The Kind Of Sandals You Should Pack

You should also bring a pair of sandals or flip flops for pool areas if you will be spending some time at the pool.

Also if you are planning a coastal or beach vacation, flip flops or sandals would be appropriate.

In hot weather, you can wear flip flops everyday, but I prefer good quality sandals that have a thick sole. To avoid irritation, thick soles are designed for comfort.

You can use them to walk around camp, you should choose thick-soled sandals. Thorns are an issue in Africa, and thin-soled sandals will not protect your feet.

The best sandals I have used are from companies that make high-quality sandals that last a long time even after your African safari adventure.

Takeaway

It is important to pack light when going on an African safari. Comfort is very important and you shouldn’t place too much weight on your feet. It is also important to dress accordingly at the lodge and beach.

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