Whether you are someone who lives in flip-flops, or someone who only busts them out on summer weekends, the OluKai Ohana has the potential to change the way you think about warm weather footwear. The first time each tester slipped on this sandal, eyes widened, and audible sounds of pleasure were uttered. The footbed has a magical and luxurious texture that is meant to mimic the way it feels to stand in wet sand with bare feet. It is a quality that sets the Ohana apart from all the other shoes we tested and why we bestow it with a Best Buy for Comfort Award.While nothing else has the unique feel of this sandal, there are a couple of other options in our review worth mentioning. If you like the idea of a more supportive and contoured footbed that will mold to your feet, we recommend the Birkenstock Gizeh, our Editors' Choice. And for simple, easy comfort at an excellent price, check out the Sanuk Yoga Mat 3 with its yoga mat soles. The Yoga Mat is the other most comfortable shoe in our review.
OluKai Ohana - Women's Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Very comfortable, grippy footbed, stable
Cons: Sporty look, runs a bit big
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The women's Ohana excels in almost all our rating metrics. It's an incredibly comfortable and supportive shoe that handles water well and provides decent enough traction to impart confidence and security if you end up on an impromptu hike. It does run a bit wide and loose, so if you are a half size, you may want to size down, and if you have narrow feet, be prepared to have more wiggle room. While the Ohana looks great with a casual dress, it has a sporty and athletic look that pairs more naturally with shorts or active wear. All in all, we love this flip flop and feel it's a durable and reliable item at a very reasonable price.
The Ohana elicits the "oooooh ahhhh" factor when you first put it on; this is thanks to the cushy inset ICEVA footbed, a design choice by OluKai meant to mimic what it feels like to stand in wet sand with bare feet. It's a pretty unique textural feeling unlike any other sandal in our test suite — hence the perfect score we awarded it for this category, one of very few awarded in this entire review.
While the footbed material doesn't repel or absorb water as quickly as some of the other models we tested, it continues to feel pleasurable to have on and walk around in when wet. The synthetic nubuck leather straps are wide enough that they don't dig into the foot, and they have a bit of padding underneath for added comfort. The fit on the Ohana is broad and roomy, something to keep in mind if you have narrow feet or you're a half size, as it can cause the shoe to feel less supportive and secure.
Support & Stability
The Ohana has a gracefully contoured footbed with decent arch support, giving it far more support than a minimal flat shoe.
Of note: our chief tester has narrow size 8.5 feet, and we gambled by sizing up to a 9. Because of this, the Ohana ended up feeling less supportive than we believe it could have because it runs a bit wide and loose. This is a trend we see discussed repeatedly in online customer reviews as well. While we still felt confident and secure in this contender, it seems apparent that had we sized down instead of up, this shoe may have scored higher in this category, though by how much, unfortunately, we can't say.
The Ohana is a well-made sandal. And despite all the obstacles we put it through — everything from mud pits to river beds to sharp rocks — it barely looked a day past brand new when all was said and done.
Rubber and synthetic leather meet high-quality construction, making for a highly durable warm weather companion. This flip flop will be able to withstand many years of wear in all kinds of conditions.
While the Ohana handles water decently well, it fell a bit short of some of its competitors. The footbed doesn't resist water so much as absorb it, but this happens rather slowly.
After getting doused, the footbed on the Ohana is slightly slippy and insecure feeling until the water thoroughly soaks in. However, once the water is fully absorbed, the amazingly grippy footbed traction returns, and the shoe feels great — cooling and lovely to wear damp on a hot day. After full immersion in a river, the footbed took about 15 minutes to be thoroughly dry while the straps took just over 40 minutes.
We assessed traction for our flip flops by considering both how sticky the bottom outer sole felt as well as how effectively the footbed gripped our feet. The Ohana finishes near the top because of the soft yet grippy ICEVA footbed.
When overly wet, we had some brief moments of feeling slightly insecure in the Ohana. But once the water absorbed into the footbed, we went back to feeling confident and at ease. Overall the traction of this flip is suitable for almost all conditions.
Style is decent for the Ohana but nothing over the top. We polled a group of women to determine style rankings, and repeatedly, this flip ended up in the middle of the pack.
While this sandal isn't unattractive by any means, it does have more of a sporty, active look that doesn't pair as well with summer dresses as some of our style favorites like the OluKai Lala and our Editors' Choice, the Birkenstock Gizeh.
Honestly, we can't think of too many flip flop scenarios where we wouldn't want to be wearing the Ohana. It's fantastically comfortable, well constructed, and able to deal with all kinds of conditions. If you're looking for a classic sporty sandal that will regularly make your feet feel like royalty, this is a great one to consider.
On the high end for one of our Best Buy winners, this flip is considerably less than some of the fancy leather models we tested. And after spending about five minutes in these flip flops, you'll know, as we did, that the price tag is worth it. If you want your feet to love you all summer long, shell out the bucks for the Ohana, we don't think you'll regret it.
If, on the other hand, you need to be more budget-minded, check out the Birkenstock Gizeh Essentials EVA, another of our Best Buy picks. It's quite a bit cheaper and, while not quite as comfortable, still very satisfying.
The Ohana excelled across almost all of our metrics and made our feet feel like they were walking on clouds. While the sporty look isn't for everyone, this is still a decently attractive shoe that offers great support, traction, and durability. It runs a bit big, so if you're a half size you will almost certainly want to size down, and people with narrow feet should be aware that the sandal might feel a bit loose. But overall OluKai continues to impress and we think that most everyone will love the Ohana from the first moment they slip it on.
— Penney Garrett