Olukai Hokua Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Comfortable, durable, good in water
Cons: Heavy, a bit pricey
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
If you're on the hunt for a versatile, comfortable, and good looking pair of flip flops, look no further. The Hokua are as comfortable as they are durable. While other flip flops might specialize in one area, these are an all-around workhorse that looks good and feels like you're wearing a fluffy cloud on your feet.
True to OluKai form, the Hokua are far and away one of the most comfortable flip flops we tested, only rivaled by other OluKai models. The highlight is the anatomical compression-molded footbed. After a long day of hiking or even just standing around at work, slipping these on feels like foot therapy. The high arch support allows the feet to relax, and the rest of the anatomical fit felt as if it had been molded to our feet specifically.
The high level of comfort is surprising. Most flip flops we found comfortable were made from extremely soft material that inevitably compromised durability. The Hokua, while highly comfortable, are also impressively durable — they showed no signs of delamination or wear other than conforming to our feet. If we wore all of the flops tested daily until they disintegrated, it would be no surprise if the Hokua were the last pair standing.
Support and Stability
Our testers found the Hokua to be uniquely stable and supportive not only compared to other flip flops but compared to footwear in general. While some might not appreciate a large arch support, those who generally need a medium to high arch will find the Hokua helps lift the arch and alleviate pressure points and even some knee discomfort often felt with totally flat flops.
The superb stability offered by the Hokua seems to be a product of the intersection of an excellently grippy, dense, and wide sole combined with a tacky cupped footbed. Our testers were impressed with how poised each step felt even when off-camber with baby-heads strewn about. Finally, the low profile of the Hokua works excellently in eliminating the potential for ankle rolling by keeping pressure in uneven settings extremely low to the ground.
The Hokua strikes an excellent balance between having grippy solid rubber soles and not looking like a monster truck tread. The adequately lugged soles provide great traction on slick granite slabs, gravel roads, and smooth interior surfaces like tile and wood. Even wet environments don't slip up the Hokua.
While it might be easy to assume that flip flops with chunkier tread on the outsole would have better traction, that isn't necessarily the way it works. The Hokua tread pattern puts a lot of rubber in contact with the ground but also has channels to allow water to escape. The result is a tacky grip on rock and substantially better wet-environment grip than you get with a flip flop that has a flat bottom that will hydroplane. We have all experienced this hip destroying hydroplane phenomenon while wearing foam rubber flip flops from Walmart while walking on the wet tiles at the local pool. The Hokua kills it in the traction category, providing excellent grip no matter where you are walking.
Rocky trails, sandy beaches, river crossings, rock slab, you name it and the Hokua can probably handle it (don't say, "What about snow?", that's so sarcastic…) Many of the same attributes that lend themselves to excellent comfort also boost the versatility of the Hokua. The brushed drop-in ICEVA footbed offers excellent foot to flop grip, and the chunky low profile outsole transfers that grip to the earth.
This workhorse isn't just an outside dog; it's also an indoor horse. The mark-free outsole won't scuff up your tile floor (we tried), and the stylish appearance communicates that you know how to chill the heck out. All kidding aside, we took the Hokua on adventures better suited for hiking boots, and they just wouldn't die. The high level of grip, durability, comfort, and style all lend themselves to excellent versatility — just don't wear them while you're using a chainsaw.
By the end of our testing period, the Hokua had become part of our crag climbing kit. We wore approach shoes on the loose rocky hike in, but once we made it to the crag, we knew our feet would be happy. Yes, it is probably ill-advised to wear flip flops at the base of a crag, which is why we exercised extreme caution and usually only belayed climbers on top rope so we wouldn't hurt our feet when we were launched into the wall catching a lead fall.
While our testing period of a few months isn't enough time to really break down a pair of flip flops, we were extremely impressed with the hardiness of the Hokua. From the all-rubber outsole to the synthetic uppers, we didn't notice any hint of delamination, tearing, or breakdown with the grippy rubber soles. By the end of our testing, the footbed had conformed to our foot nicely and was more comfortable than when we pulled them out of the box on day one.
It's no mystery why the Hokua flip flops have worn as well as they have. The materials feel heavy and durable, stitching is chunky, and the overall weight indicates dense materials were used. These things are the cockroaches of the flip flop world; even after a nuclear blast, they will still be around.
It's no simple task to make a sturdy and dependable pair of flip flops that can take you from mountains to the beach, and still blend in with the rest of the humans back in society. If aliens did in-fact land in area 51 and were trying to blend in with society, the Hokua would help get the job done. The grippy sole has a low enough profile to remain inconspicuous when compared to other flip flops with a similar grip. Additionally, the straps don't draw too much attention, but if you do examine them with a magnifying glass, you'll see excellent stitching and craftsmanship.
Many different color choices offer significant customization and reduce the chance of you showing up to a party with the exact same pair of flips as that "guy from high school." Crack open a crispy boi and prop your feet up on the fire ring proudly, these flip flops look good.
The Hokua is one of the most expensive pairs of flip flops we tested. What you get for the hulking price is unquestionably an excellent product. The quality is apparent from the moment you open the box. Heavy materials, thick sewing, and chunky rubber outsoles give this flip a long life during which they only become more comfortable. Our testers are suckers for well made, comfortable, and durable equipment, and these flip flops fit right in that category. If you're looking for a disposable pair of flops for your beach vacation and don't care if the toe strap rips out of the footbed on day two, that's fine, save yourself the expense. If you're looking for a comfortable, durable, and stylish flip flop, the Hokua is worth the money.
Typically when sorting through online gear reviews, it's important to determine the exact use for the desired equipment. This isn't as important when looking at the Hokua as they will perform excellently whenever a flip flop is needed. The bottom line is that these flip flops earned their place as the Editors' Choice because they are extremely comfortable, versatile, durable, and stylish.
— Brian Martin