Many words in the Hawaiian language start or end with wai, the Hawaiian word for water. From the ancient people of Hawai’i to the current residents, the waters, or wai, of the Pacific Ocean have played a huge part of life on this island chain. Island kings would paddle war canoes between the islands for battle. Fisherman use the sea for food and trade. And I, like many other visitors, use the water for recreation and relaxation. While visiting Maui, I found that the Waimea Sandal Fromm OluKai is the perfect companion for island travels. In fact, as I walked into the Kahului airport after an 8-hour flight from the mainland, I was greeted by the beautiful OluKai advertisement below.

Waimeatranslation~ Birthplace of the paniolo.

OluKai Waimea
Kahului Maui Airport

Aside from the pure aesthetics of this sandal are several features that make it so comfortable. From the outside, it’s clear that the Waimea is fully wrapped in full grain leather, top, and bottom. The outsole features non-marking rubber traction pods in all the right spots. I never once had issues negotiating the rugged shoreline of Maui. Helping maintain all-day comfort, the Waimea utilizes a compression-molded, anatomically correct EVA midsole. Atop this comfortable footbed, OluKai tattooed the rugged leather with decorative paniolo (Hawaiian Cowboy) stitching. Making this sandal clearly stand out from the rest of my collection.

OluKai Waimea
On red sand beach, Hana Maui

An additional yet unique feature of the OluKai Waimea is the outboard strap. Common sandals and flip flops mount the strap to the top of the footbed. OluKai wrapped it around the outside creating a secure yet free fit. Placing the double stitched leather strap on the outside also frees up real estate for the ample arch support. Another reason these are suitable for all-day comfort. One of my favorite details is the baseball glove hand stitching on the toe post. And the trademark Makau fish hook logo embroidered into the leather.  Like all products from OluKai, these little details add up to create something special.

OluKai Waimea Sandal details courtesy of

  • High-character, full-grain leather with soft microfiber lining, hand-sewn leather toe-post and decorative paniolo stitch detail on footbed.
  • OUTSOLE. Full-grain, leather-wrapped outsole. Features non-marking molded rubber traction pods.
  • FOOTBED. Compression-molded EVA midsole wrapped in full-grain leather. Anatomically correct contour for a personalized fit and sustained comfort over time.
  • OUTBOARD STRAP. Built into the outside surface of the sidewall instead of the footbed, our unique Outboard Strap Construction offers a free yet secure fit for the most comfortable arch support possible.
OluKai Waimea
Image courtesy of

If you haven’t heard of OluKai, please take a minute to look at their unique and masterfully crafted footwear. Not only will your feet thank you, but the environment as well. OluKai, like many Hawaiians, are stewards of the environment. Committed through various nonprofit organizations, OluKai is heavily involved in preserving the Hawaiian culture, the land, and the sea. No matter where you live, you can always #anywherealoha with OluKai.


This article is courtesy of The Loadout Room.