Olukai Paniolo Review
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|Bottom Line||The gorgeously stitched model is durable, water-resistant, comfortable, and a real treat for classy feet||Stylish, comfortable, and highly supportive, this is an amazing and durable sandal that can handle more activities than you might think||A superbly comfortable flip flop that handles water well and provides good support||A great way to experience the amazing contouring of a classic Birkenstock without forking over a ton of money||While it may lack contour, the yoga mat footbed makes for a pleasantly comfortable experience and the wide straps are just the icing on the cake|
|Rating Categories||Olukai Paniolo||Birkenstock Gizeh||OluKai Ohana - Women's||Birkenstock Gizeh E...||Sanuk Yoga Mat|
|Specs||Olukai Paniolo||Birkenstock Gizeh||OluKai Ohana - Women's||Birkenstock Gizeh E...||Sanuk Yoga Mat|
|Sole Material||Gum rubber infused with burlap||EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate)||Non-marking rubber or gum rubber||EVA||Rubber|
|Footbed Material||Compression molded EVA, full-grain leather||Cork lined with suede||Molded EVA with soft ICEVA drop-in footbed||EVA||EVA|
|Strap Material||Full-grain leather||Birko-flor (PVC) lined with fleece||Water-resistant synthetic nubuck leather lined with quick-drying jersey knit||EVA||95% synthetic/5% polyester|
|Weight (per pair)||12.9 oz (size 9)||13.5 oz (size 39)||13.7 oz (size 9)||6.5 oz (size 40)||5.0 oz (size 8)|
|Length||10.75" (size 9)||10.625" (size 39)||10.75" (size 9)||11" (size 40)||10.25" (size 8)|
|Length of Toe Box (just above toe post)||1.75"||1.50"||1.75"||1.375"||1.50"|
|Unique Features||Saddle-inspired stitching on footbed||Adjustable strap, contoured footbed that molds to feet||ICEVA (soft EVA) drop-in footbed||Adjustable straps||Made from real yoga mats|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Anyone who wants a beautiful summer shoe that can still handle variable terrain and weather should consider the Paniolo. The saddle-inspired stitching on the footbed is eye-catching and also helps supply some internal traction. This flip flop dries quickly, breaks in easily, and is highly durable — a reliable option for the fashionista in all of us.
The Paniolo isn't the kind of shoe that's squishy and welcoming right from the get-go. The toe post takes some breaking in, and the footbed takes time to mold to your feet and get soft. And even then, this won't ever be a pillowy-feeling shoe. But for those that like a firmer footbed and can be patient with the time that leather takes to get lush, this flip will mold to your feet and heart.
This isn't an overly supportive sandal, but it's decently firm and stable. We would have awarded it higher scores if the straps had been more snug instead of stretching out a bit with wear. This issue is mentioned often by other users online, some people claiming their straps stretched so much as to render the sandal unwearable. That certainly wasn't our experience, but the straps are noticeably looser than many other models we tested.
Traction isn't a strong suit for the Paniolo, though it is decent. When compared to some of the more outdoorsy or supportive models in our review, it doesn't quite measure up, but on its own merits, this flip did just fine and will serve you well for any urban adventure or simple trek in the outdoors. The stitching on the footbed provides a bit of additional internal traction as well.
It's easy to look at the Paniolo and think it's a just good-looking sandal without much more to offer, but that's not the case. Don't let the supple leather and fancy stitching fool you; this Hawaiian-based shoe can hold its own around water or rough terrain. We walked through barren New Mexican desert and straight into chilly Colorado streams, and it always came out unscathed. The durability and craftsmanship are highly impressive, and the thick leather becomes more attractive with age. We've worn the Paniolo for years now, and every part of it wears in beautifully. That said, while it's nice to know this shoe can handle whatever you might get into, it's just too lovely and too expensive to buy solely for adventuring. It's definitely more at home paired with a dress in the city, but you can rest assured that if your day takes a turn onto a trail or into some puddles that this flip flop can handle it.
No surprise the Paniolo scores well here. Simple yet classy and elegant, this is an easy flip to dress way up; in reading user reviews online, we found someone even bought them for her wedding. Our testers love this shoe as well and think that it would be a welcome addition to almost anyone's closet.
This flip flop is pricey, it's true. But if you're looking for something beautiful that will retain its elegance and integrity over the years, then it might make sense. The full-grain leather and stitching wear gracefully, and the footbed molds to your feet over time. The price tag on this isn't so outrageous as to not be reasonable for the right individual.
All in all, the OluKai Paniolo is a well-constructed flip flop that is easy on the eye and comfy on foot. It's pricey but handles water well, feels stable, and is quite durable. This is a special flip flop that will surely dress up your summer wardrobe and be ready for almost anything, year after year.