Adidas Kampung

Does this sound like a slogan you’d expect from Adidas?
Well, if you were in the Malaysian state of Sabah, northern Borneo, it would actually be quite adequate. Let us illustrate why by telling you a short story from our trip to Borneo.

We had just arrived on the island from peninsular Malaysia about two days before, and though our plans for the next couple of weeks included some hiking and possible climbing of Mount Kinabalu, Mariana was only carrying a pair of flip-flops and Miguel was sporting a pair of Onitsuka casual sneakers which didn’t exactly seem up to the task, as awesome as they looked.

Since we were quite aware our feet would need some serious reinforcements for our wild Borneo (very light) escapades, we took advantage of the fact that we were dropping by the tourism information center in Kota Kinabalu (capital city of Sabah) to ask about taking a land route down south, all the way to Kuching (ahah, we were so naive, back then..). So we just tried our luck:

— “By the way.. what kind of shoes do you think would be most appropriate for hiking and climbing Mount Kinabalu?”, we asked the two nice ladies at the counter.
They replied in unison: — “Adidas Kampung! They are very popular shoes around here, and every local’s favourite for hiking in the mountain.”
At first, Miguel didn’t get the name right: — “Oh, Adidas Campus? Seriously?? That’s a weird choice..”
— “No, no! Not campus, kampung! It means village in the Malay language!”
— “Ahhh! Kampung, yes! In fact we learned that word in Melaka! So would you recommend those shoes for us as well?”
— “Yes, of course! And they’re cheap, too. Only 10 Ringgit!”
— “10 Ringgit?? 😮 Reeeaaaally?”

— “By the way.. what kind of shoes do you think would be most appropriate for hiking and climbing Mount Kinabalu?”, we asked the two nice ladies at the counter.
They replied in unison: — “Adidas Kampung! They are very popular shoes around here, and every local’s favourite for hiking in the mountain.”
At first, Miguel didn’t get the name right: — “Oh, Adidas Campus? Seriously?? That’s a weird choice..”
— “No, no! Not campus, kampung! It means village in the Malay language!”
— “Ahhh! Kampung, yes! In fact we learned that word in Melaka! So would you recommend those shoes for us as well?”
— “Yes, of course! And they’re cheap, too. Only 10 Ringgit!”
— “10 Ringgit?? 😮 Reeeaaaally?”

Jump ahead a few hours later, and we had found them quite easily in one of the markets in Kota Kinabalu, and we did indeed pay only 10 Malaysian Ringgit for each pair! That’s like 2€!!
We were now the proud owners of our own Adidas Kampung! An authentic piece of modern Bornean culture right out of Sabah! 😀

Jump ahead a few hours later, and we had found them quite easily in one of the markets in Kota Kinabalu, and we did indeed pay only 10 Malaysian Ringgit for each pair! That’s like 2€!!
We were now the proud owners of our own Adidas Kampung! An authentic piece of modern Bornean culture right out of Sabah! 😀

The multipurpose Adidas Kampung are all made from rubber, which makes them waterproof (a plus if you feel like doing something very adventurey, like wading a river or something like that). The ones we bought had cleats (like football boots have) and laces, but since there are many different local manufacturers and brands, you can find quite a few different versions.

As you can probably tell from the pictures, the nickname “Adidas Kampung” came from the fact that their design usually includes something like the german sports brand signature diagonal stripes, though ours are almost like a mix between a Puma and an Adidas design.

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