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OluKai Ohana Sandal Review

Updated OluKai Ohana
Editors' Choice Award
Price:   $65 List | $35.72 at Backcountry
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Pros:  Amazing! Great arch support, smooth and comfortable footbed and straps, durable
Cons:  Heavy, a bit stiff/bulky
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Olukai

Our Verdict

The OluKai Ohana is hands down our favorite flip flop in our lineup, earning our Editors' Choice award easily with high marks in comfort, performance, and support. It performed excellently in all of our metrics, and most importantly, it passed the ultimate test of a flip flop: we never took it off no matter what we were up to, whether it was a bike ride, trip to the grocery store, a short hike, or just general lounging. When each day's flip testing was over and we got to wear any type of footwear we wanted, we reached for the Ohanas every time.

Product Update - March 2017
OluKai has confirmed with us that they have updated the toe post to the Ohana. Read on below to find out more.

How did they compare to others? Check out our complete The Best Flip-Flop Sandals Review.

True, it is the heaviest of the supportive flips we tested, but it makes up for that with its smooth footbed, non-chaffing straps, and superior arch support. If you are sticking to pure water sports, go with the Chaco EcoTread Flip Flop, but for dabbling here and there in the wet, the Ohana is just fine. It's also practically as comfortable as the Sanuk Yogi 4 Flip Flop with far more support and hence all-day possibility. It is an awesome, versatile flip for almost any occasion. The only reason not to buy this flip is the price. If you want a less expensive excellent flip flop, check out the Reef Phantoms Flip Flop.

Updated for 2016
The Ohana Sandal has seen some changes for this season! Keep reading to check it out.

RELATED REVIEW: The Best Men's Flip Flop Sandals of 2017

select up to 5 products
Score Product Price Sole Material Strap Material Footbed Material
Editors' Choice Award
EVA / gum rubber Soft nylon toe post webbing Anatomical compression-molded EVA midsole with ICEVA drop-in footbed for personalized fit.
Sponge rubber Nylon Webbing (no animal products) Therm-a-Rest foam
CMEVA, polyurethane water-restant nubuck leather airbag heel support, arch support (molded EVA footbed)
Best Buy Award
durable / grippy EVA outsole airmesh lining arch support (molded EVA footbed)
non slip rainbow bottom nylon toe piece single layer arch, premier nubuck leather
Eco Tread Nylon LUVSEAT
Top Pick Award
Happy U Synthetic Leather yoga mat

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Brian Blum
Review Editor

Last Updated:
March 30, 2017


New Ohana vs. the Old Version

The Ohana has seen a small change in the material of the toe post. OluKai hoped to increase its durability while maintaining comfort, but we haven't been able to test this out for ourselves just yet.

Check out the side-by-side comparison below, with the updated version of the Ohana pictured on the left and the older version shown on the right.

Updated OluKai Ohana
Olukai Ohana

The only difference confirmed for the Ohana this year was the toe post material, which we have summarized below.
  • Toe post update — OluKai told us that they are now using a stronger webbing for the toe post in the updated version of the Ohana.

Since we have not had a chance to test out the new Ohana just yet, the text in this review reflects our sentiments for the older version we tested.

Hands-On Review

The Ohana is truly a flip flop for every occasion. It wins our Editors' Choice Award as the best overall flip flop, and performs at the top of the game in every category considered.

The BURLY footbed of the Olukai Ohana. Ahh the San Juans...
The BURLY footbed of the Olukai Ohana. Ahh the San Juans...

Check out the chart below to see where the other flip flops in our lineup ranked behind the Editors' Choice winning Ohana.

Comfort and Fit

There isn't much that we don't like about the Ohana from the standpoint of comfort and fit. Out of the box it feels broken in and literally conforms to our feet and feels great immediately. It is incredibly comfortable and super supportive for a flip flop. In addition to having a footbed that molds to your feet instantly, it is lined with something called ICEVA, making it feel like you are walking on suede. Such a welcome change from other flips! We wore the OluKai on almost every occasion and it continued to perform beautifully, feel great, and stay snug on our feet.

From the standpoint of fit we felt the Ohana's were sized very well. I wear a 12.5 and got a 12 which started out snug and stretched ever so slightly, enough to fit well and stay firmly on my feet to stay with me during quicker movement. In reviews on the web we noticed several suggestions to purchase a size larger; however we recommend you stay with your regular shoe size and allow the toe strap to work any tightness out. Unlike the Rainbow Premier Leather Sandal the toe strap is extremely soft and will not wear a blister in your foot during the very short break-in process.

So what does it mean when a flip flop has anatomical compression-molded EVA midsole with an ICEVA drop-in footbed for personalized fit? We have no idea, except that in this reviewers opinion it means you are walking on clouds. The toe strap never rubs or chafes, the material underfoot feels velvety, the strap between your toes is soft and unnoticeable, and the arch is firm and feels supportive yet not too built up to make you feel tilted forward the way you do in the Reef Fanning Sandal.

Stability and Versatility

So what can't we do in the Ohana's? To be completely honest, there were a few things; however we can't hold it against the Ohana's that they don't perform while bouldering, sprinting, climbing, and doing yoga. What they do do is offer an excellent flip flop which stays nice and tight on your feet and offers genuine stability in any reasonable flip flop certified activity. When pushed to the limits they continue to perform, even when slacklining (although we don't recommend it) or making quick out of control turns at the grocery store. We walked miles and miles at a time in these and never felt they stopped supporting us. On the beach, they were great in the sand and even stayed on in the waves. However, for river kayaking or other water sport activity we do recommend checking out the Best Men's Sandal Review to pick something more appropriate for the occasion.

If we had to complain about anything it is worth mentioning that the material is not specifically ideal for wet conditions as they soak up water and become slippery where your foot connects to the shoe. Also they have been reported to catch on the toe when walking, making a few friends trip from time to time and feel a bit clumsier than they would be normally. We did not have this issue directly, and guess that it is a result of sizing the sandal on the larger side rather than on the smaller and more snug side of the size spectrum.


While we didn't have years to test this product, in the months we did have we tried to break them - we REALLY tried. In fact, this author tried so hard that on one occasion he nearly broke himself, and had to consult with his boss about health insurance only to realize that he's an independent contractor. And after pushing the Ohana's to the limit in everything we could imagine doing in a flip flop and more, we looked over them with a microscope and realized they were in much better shape than we were.

The tread on the Ohana's held up extremely well and showed almost no sign of wear after months of scraping and grinding on rock and pavement. The material in general was also in impeccable shape, with only dirt making them look anything less than new. The one thing we do question, although only time will tell, is whether the thin toe may be the first thing to break or bend to a point where it is no longer supportive. This one weakness could be the demise of this otherwise excellently manufactured sandal.


We hate to defer to our friends on this one, as we have some generally weird friends, but we felt a large survey of the opinion of the outdoor climbing, hiking, slacklining and yoga community would serve to help us identify the most stylish flop flops available. In this respect the Ohana's performed only OK, with a clear preference (although not by me) for the more simple Rainbow design. However, I personally believe that a nice clean black or dark brown pair of Ohana's will serve its purpose on any date, coffee shop encounter, or wedding - at least here in San Diego. The OluKais come in nine color variations, most of them dark, which is great for hiding dirt. We recommend you stay strong in this category and don't let your friends push you into buying something because of its consumer appeal.


The Ohana tied with the Chaco EcoTread Flip Flop for the best in traction, which is impressive as its main competitor in this area has the word tread in its name. On a simple test where we placed flip flops on a board and slowly increased its angle until the last flop was standing, the Ohana stuck it out until the end. In another test where we put on each pair and tried to walk as high as we could on an increasingly vertical slab of granite, the Ohana's also beat out their competition. The tread is great, and the fact that your foot remains snug and tight (assuming proper fitting) inside this shoe allows you to control this energy and move it in a desirable direction.

Best Applications

So what are the Ohana's good for? We usually walk around our houses barefoot (and sometimes we walk around the neighborhood barefoot), but it was a welcomed change to instead essentially live in these flip flops. Aside from dog walking, grocery shopping, scooter riding, and general living we also recommend these for light climbing approaches (we love to be in a flip flop that slides off and on so easily when it's time to climb), belaying, light hiking (if you want to take it that far), bird watching, spelunking (ok, maybe not spelunking), and, well, mostly everything where you won't roll an ankle or get really wet. Basically, choose this flip flop for everything dry that you might choose a flip flop for.


$65 is the most expensive of all the models tested, but I'd say it's worth it if you want to invest in a solid, versatile sandal that will last. An excellent choice, especially if you don't have the luxury of being a tester and only want to buy one pair that will last a long time.


An excellent, well-made, enjoyable flip flop for every occasion. The Ohanas win our Editors' Choice Award because we know that no matter how you use them you are going to be happy.

Other Versions

Ohana Leather Slide
  • Cost - $90.00 ($25 more than the original Ohana)
  • Style- slip-on sandal
  • Leather drop-in footbed
  • Adjustable Velco closure for custom fit
Brian Blum, Chris McNamara

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews

Most recent review: March 30, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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0% of 2 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
3 Total Ratings
5 star: 33%  (1)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 33%  (1)
1 star: 33%  (1)
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   Jun 8, 2015 - 01:16pm
The sole separated from the sandal after 1 day in the AZ sun. Granted this is AZ, but it was in May…not even near the hottest part of the year. They were on the patio, not in a car.

I therefore cannot recommend an expensive sandal like this unless perhaps you live in a cooler climate.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jun 8, 2015 - 05:53am
I recently bought a pair of these sandals and have absolutely nothing good to say about the quality of the product.

I was looking for a good, strong leather sandal that would hold up for my trip in which I would be traveling around the world in 90 days. I was recommended the sandal by a local gear shop, but was a bit turned off by the price. I ended up paying the price thinking I was buying a high quality product.

Within one month the middle leather strap that holds the thongs together broke. One month. As a lightweight backpacker, this is an issue to me as I do not have the space to carry broken, useless sandals. I was also quite upset that these expensive sandals were broken.

So here I am walking through the streets of Cambodia with a broken flip flop. I buy a cheap pair and return to the place I am staying. Another traveler helps me repair them with a bit of superglue. The broken flip flop holds up fine after that. Once I arrived in Ukraine I decided to continue wearing the flip flops while trying to contact customer service in regards to replacing the sandals.

I assumed the company would try to help me out as much as possible, being that their "top-quality" sandal broke within a month of their use. Nope, I am currently emailing back and forth trying to have something worked out, but i seem to be getting nowhere.

It gets even better though, I continue to wear the one good flip flop and the one super glueded flip flop because they are very comfortable sandals. Well the other Sandal breaks the exact same way! No joke, both sandals break in the exact same location.

This review seems very off putting to me. I would definitely like the pair of sandals this review team received if they wore them for a year and had no issues with them. Horrible product, horrible customer service. Ill take my 60$ loss on the crap sandals and write a few negative reviews about the sandals in hopes I save some other cheap traveler the loss of money, headache and frustration this company has caused me.

My background: Ex-Military, Scuba Diving licensed, Skydiving Licensed, Backpacker, Boating. So I'd say I know a little about outdoor gear and quality.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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