Episode 2: Olukai Nohea Lace Mesh
Updated: Jul 20
The second pair of shoes that were not quite barefoot but getting me closer to the barefoot life. This one has a wide toe box and once the insole is replaced, is very minimal indeed...
The Journey Continues...
After wearing my crocs for a couple months almost exclusively, I began my search for a shoe with similar attributes to the crocs clog. I was looking for something a bit more practical, and something i wouldn't face social exile with.
Countless nights were spent browsing the Internet with no real sense of direction other than searching for “shoes with a wide toe box”. As I wasn’t yet accustomed to barefoot shoes, my conditioning for the social norm of a shoe lead me to search only the well known mainstream brands. I found that the influx of unfamiliar brands and pictures of what a normal shoe should look like confused me if anything. One thing I was all too familiar with; was the frustration of having to continuously try on shoes, only to return them a few days later.
Brands such as Keen and Merrell were a couple of names that stuck in my head, so when I saw a store that stocked them, I decided to investigate…
Once again, I had to go through the painful process of explaining the reasoning in my needs for a shoe, and the reason why I was wearing crocs. However, it was neither a Keen nor a Merrell shoe that I went home with, but the Nohea Lace Mesh – by OluKai.
About the brand
Olukai was founded on the passion and enthusiasm for the ocean; it’s cultures, and traditions. The founder, Bill Worthington was born and raised on Oahu, HI. He often recalls spending much of his childhood roaming the sandy shores of Hawaii barefoot. As a graduate from the Art Center of Design in Pasadena, California, Worthington took on roles as a footwear designer for NIKE and FILA before finally founding his very own company. After Auburn University released a study showcasing that “flip-flops” can often result in orthopaedic problems, in 2006, Worthington teamed up with Matt Till to bring the first OluKai line to life, and design the ultimate footwear for the island lifestyle.
My first Impressions:
I actually thought these were, and still are a decent looking shoe, and they gave me a vibe as though I was constantly on a holiday. They fulfilled my requirements of having a wide toe box and mid foot (widest I ever wore), and a soft heel (which could be pushed down as a slipper), and this was quite liberating.
The only problem I could foresee was the contoured insole, which to my delight is removable. I found an old yoga mat that day and cut out a custom foot bed. I had won the lottery… I was comfortable, yet could save face in public simultaneously.
Upper: Lightweight, breathable air mesh upper with tight-mesh quarter panel. Soft moisture-wicking Dri-Lex lining. Foot bed: EverFit long lasting anatomical contoured foot bed with Dri-Lex microfiber cover. Removable and washable.
Outsole: All-weather rubber outsole with heavy gauge sidewall stitch. Non-marking rubber. Weight: 11.5 oz Stack Height: 18mm Sizing: My shoe size in the OluKai Nohea Lace Mesh is a EU 44, when in comparison to a Vivobarefoot (including a size up for sensory purposes), Is an EU 47.
For someone with injury still looming, and unaware of an existing barefoot market, these shoes were revolutionary. They have a fairly wide toe box, zero drop, a fairly flexible sole, however, the stack height is 18mm. as opposed to 5mm for vivobarefoot.
They look decent, and in my opinion are a great transition shoe.
- Alex, Thebarefootshoereview