To be honest, when I found out I’d be getting another pair of Olukai flip flops to review, I wasn’t excited.
I almost never review or write about Olukai because:
I’m not confident pronouncing, let alone spelling, the Olukai brand name. And the names of their flip flops are even more of a challenge. Okay, that’s a lame excuse. If spelling were even a tertiary life requirement, I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed.
Honestly, I think I’ve steered clear of Olukai because they’ve been something of a siren to me. Always pulling me close and then letting me down.
I was first introduced to Olukai through the Ohana line, of which I’ve owned two pair over the years. In fact, it was the Olukai Ohana that got me into flip flops generally and, more specifically, into critiquing flipflops.
“Always pulling me close and then letting me down.”
I liked the high arch, but not the too squishy insole or the too loose and too large strap that created way too much toe curl or that the toe area was sized wrong. Granted my original Ohana’s are going on six years now and a lot can change in that time.
More recently, I picked up a pair of Olukai Pikoi flip flops. Sadly, we’re still not on speaking terms, even though I’ve fought for their friendship through two road trips. The fact that they are my current “pair in the car” is due more to my persistent hope of making a connection with them that simply isn’t there.
So, my experience to date with Olukai has led me to conclude that Olukai flip flops look good and provide some initial comfort, but they have no staying power, no follow through. Both the Ohana and Pikoi called to me with their looks and initial feel, only to let me down after any significant ambling.
“…perfect for even pitch-black late-night walks on gravel roads.”
Which explains my trepidation about reviewing the Ulele’s. I’m happy to report that I’ve worn my Ulele’s all summer and it is true love. So far this summer I’ve put five plus miles on my Ulele’s each day.
I’ve worn them across all terrain, from urban sidewalks to steep trails and late-night gravel roads. Never once have I felt that they were the wrong choice. I’d assert that there is no place where the Ulele’s aren’t the perfect flip flop option.
Take late night walks down a dark gravel road for example. Normally a recipe for disaster due it being too dark to see. Typically, in flip flops, my toes get stubbed by rubble or I have to deal with pesky toe clipping against rocks. Not with my Ulele’s, the tight strap and better sizing make them perfect for even pitch-black late-night walks on gravel roads.
“From urban, to rural, to beach the Ulele’s are what I want to wear.”
For an extreme test I wore my Ulele’s opal mining. Let me not take too much time describing this here other than to say it is hot, dirty, rocky, and really boring. After spending days driving, then looking at rocks in piles of dirt for hours, with my Ulele’s as my only footwear, I can officially say that you can literally do anything in these flipflops; beach, drive, hike, walk, mine…it’s all there.
They are still slippery between foot and insole when wet, but a bit better than the other Olukai lines I’ve worn. Unlike the Ohana’s, which get a slimy feel all day if they get wet, the Uleli get wet and loose a little bit of foot traction, but within ten minutes are back up to speed.
Then there are the looks. “Those look new” – a comment from a well-intended family member. This was after the aforementioned opal trip. But he was right. The Ulele’s don’t seem to age. Over the three plus months of constant daily urban, trail, puddle, and mining wear, they look almost new. To say that the Ulele’s age very well is an understatement. A large part of this may be due to the fact that the strap repels dirt and the white sole seems to not retain any of the muck you trudge through.
From urban, to rural, to beach the Ulele’s are what I want to wear. I honestly get a tinge of “giddy” when I grab them and head out the door. They are my absolute go-to pair of flip flops for pretty much everything now. Heck, there’s a good chance that I’ll wear them to a few weddings and not bat an eye.
Looking back on the great adventures my Ulele’s and I have had together this summer it’s hard to believe that I was less than excited when they first arrived.
Thankfully and much to my surprise and joy, the Ulele has fixed all of my Olukai concerns. They are truly amazing flip flops.