Having day-hiked many of Southern Luzon Mountains, I suddenly felt pity for the Merrel pair of shoes that accompanied me through many of my major climbs this year; enough reason to give it some well-deserved rest. As an alternative, I tried a pair of Reebok sandals but even for a Mt. Batulao climb, it failed miserably beyond my expectations. I had to tie it down using my emergency rope to restore the knots that kept on dismantling.
This suddenly reminded me of the tough Sandals my climb buddy, Ron, used in all of our climbs including the Akiki-Ambangeg traverse and the leech-infested Pantingan Dayhike among others. It successfully confronted other muddy trails and rock-faces thus giving me confidence that buying it would be a catch. It was the very popular and ever reliable Tribu Mangyan Sandals.
I bought the pair for only 595 pesos March this year and it was absolutely quite a bargain compared to the Nikes, Adidas and Reeboks. It may only have simple exterior design but I can assure anyone that it can surpass the capabilities of other branded sandals which are thrice its price.
For the break-in gear testing, I used it on a Mt. Natib dayhike Agnes and I did. At first I was hesitant on abusing the pair such that hiking gently through the path was the only thing on my mind but as the rock-faces became steeper, the sandals’ durability gradually surfaced out.
Compared to the previous pair I used, my Tribu sandals proved to be more flexible with its strong knots for support. My Reebok Sandals was utterly dilapidated with just one hike down the gradual slopes of Mt. Batulao, but this pair of Tribu Sandals conformed with my feet whichever directions they took.
For the downsides however, aside from the rubber soles, it gives no other protection for your feet. Likewise, be vigilant on selecting the size that perfectly fits since it lacks adjustment for a more comfortable grip.
Additionally, when I used it without socks, it produced blisters beneath my toe and other parts of the sole. But taking everything into consideration, with the right fit and a snug pair of socks, it can definitely pass as my perfect day-hike buddy. Although, this conclusion can change from one person to another citing personal preferences. I know other climbers who can not stand using sandals during treks and instead stick to their preferred pair of shoes.
So after the dozens of hikes and travels it confronted, this pair of Tribu Mangyan Sandals can absolutely give other brands a run for their money. It may not be as good looking compared to other sandals but I would pick these bad-boys over Nikes, Adidas or Reeboks any day of the year.
Product: Tribu Mangyan Sandals
Place of purchase: Toby's SM Mall of Asia
Price: 595 Php
Date of Purchase: March 2011
Times Used: Approx 10 mountains and beaches.
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