– Split-toe construction
– Injection molded removable heel
– Quick-drying breathable air mesh
– Water drainage ports on the instep
– Octopus inspired suction cup tread design
– Non-marking rubber outsole
– Women’s (three colors) sizes 5-11, Mens (four colors) sizes 7-13
– Retail $100
Once again, OluKai has proven that they know their customers well. I love the water, so it’s no surprise that even cross-training takes me to the same shores as my weekly open water swim. We took a pair of the men’s and women’s Maliko’s on a series of canoeing, stand up paddle-boarding (SUP) and kayaking adventures. The first thing I noticed was how much easier it was to navigate slippery rocks getting in and out of the kayaks/canoes. Loading and unloading was made a lot more simple than with the flip-flops I usually end up wearing. The split-toe made them a lot more comfortable even though at first the difference was pretty subtle. When I really noticed, was SUP when my feet had been wet for a few hours. It helped to prevent chaffing and blistering between my toes as well as helping with agility and balance on the board. The Maliko’s are light-weight and were surprisingly easy to swim in as well. Sizing was right on with my street shoes.
(Click to enlarge)
The ample drainage system and quick-drying mesh kept my feet comfortable. They did a great job of making sure that the shoe is super soft on the inside with no hot points that rub or chafe once your feet are wet and especially vulnerable. At one point, we ended up having to haul our kayaks for a bit and I was pretty impressed with how comfortable the Maliko’s were on land. I ended up leaving them on to set up camp and found myself putting them on right away in the morning. While they’re not intended for hiking I found them durable enough that they would have held up just fine if needed. They’ve wrapped the sole up the toe and heel to give you some good solid protection- less stubbed toes getting in the water and around camp!
My only ‘complaint’ was that they were a bit tough to get off once wet. That being said, the minor issue I had with them took nothing away from how much I liked them. I pondered if I would prefer a larger size, but they molded so well to my feet when wet, that I would rather do the little dance to get them off. They come with a mesh bag that made it easy to hang them on a tree to dry and quick to toss in my pack.
Anyone interested in water sports, should definitely invest in a pair of Maliko’s. The more I wore them, the more of a ‘necessity’ they became. When solid, well thought out construction and design combine with testing on the shores of Hawaii with actual athletes, the results cannot be anything but good.