GLOBAL GAMING PROJECT: We travel to Laos where we learn the right way to throw a shoe.

We love games of all shapes and sizes, and guess what? So does the rest of the world. This is part of a larger project to document a homegrown game from every country in the world.

People love throwing things. Especially at other people. The quickest way to earn respect in my elementary school was to prove your worth on the dodgeball court. Two teams, two dozen foam-rubber balls and the metal shriek of a standard issue whistle was all it took to turn gym class into a gladiatorial match.

I don’t know how public school does it these days, but the tradition of intense pelting of rubberized objects is still alive and well around the world. On the dusty red roads of Laos, in fact, the kids play a game called “Kaeng Kerp”. Many thanks to my friend Saleumsai, who taught me how to play.

NAME: Kaeng Kerp (Throw the Shoe)

PLAYERS: 10-14

ITEMS NEEDED: Sandals, Wooden Stick (1-2 ft long)


1. Form two teams (5-7 players each) and pick a team captain. 

2. Everyone takes off their sandals and piles them in the center of the court. (The “court” is usually about 15 to 25 feet square)

3. At the start of the game, the two team captains play Ishiken (Rock Paper Scissors). The loser picks two players from his team to throw shoes, while the winner’s team occupies the court and runs, cyclically, from one side to the other.

4. The “throwers” (who may be changed out with anyone else from their team) snatch sandals from the center and lob them at the other team from outside the court. The first person to (inevitably) get hit goes to the center of the court and holds a wooden stick vertically.

5. The remainder of the team must pick up the sandals and hang them on the stick held by their friend in the center, while keeping away from the hail of sandals from the throwers. If a player is hit by a sandal, they are out, and have to leave the court.

6. If the team puts all the sandals on the stick, they win. If the throwers get everyone out, their team wins.

Josiah Harrist