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OluKai Maliko Shoes review
Written by Jason Elliot   
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OluKai MalikoBuffalo creek feeds into the Allegheny River, and its shallow moving waters, clay filled banks and rising hillsides where the testing grounds for the Olukai Maliko. The river banks in Western Pennsylvania are far from the white beaches of Olukai's home, Hawaii.

Hiking in the area takes you through Buffalo Creek at several points. Instead of switching between a traditional hiking shoe and a sandal or water shoe, I donned the Maliko for the stream crossings and trudging along the stream banks.

 The OluKai designers didn't dream up the product's design with muddy Western Pennsylvania stream banks in mind, but they definitely had versatility on the brain. I reviewed the Kia'i Trainer previously, and they borrowed from its versatility and made a minimalist shoe that will serve you on land and water.

Maliko2 Thumb

The Maliko is designed with a mesh upper and a minimalist rubber outsole. Olukai includes a split-toe design with your big toe residing in its own mesh pocket. The outsole extends over your toes for protection from shells and driftwood if you are using the Maliko as a minimalist runner on the beach.

Water drainage ports are located on the shoe's instep which made it ideal for stream crossings. Around the sandy shores, the Maliko will be forgiving to the ocean's white water flowing into your shoes.

The design on the outsole mimics tiny suction cups. Parlayed with the shoes overall minimalist design, it can also be used for light bouldering. And I can see it being used even for some canyoneering.

I had the same issue with the Maliko as I did with the Kai'i Trainer, finding the right fit. It fits your foot like a glove, so go to a brick and mortar retailer to get sized properly. OluKai's footwear has typically run small on me, and I need to get a half-size larger than I would normally. The right fit is key with a minimalist shoe. If it's too tight, you will be miserable; too loose and it won't perform as it should.

Olukai LogoThe OluKai Maliko is an ideal shoe for your gear closet due to its versatility. Throw them on for a dawn run on the shore or venture to the rocky cliffs for some bouldering. Or follow my lead and use them for stream hikes on Buffalo Creek. (MSRP $100)

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Jason Elliot

JElliotJason Elliot is the Editor and Publisher of Elliot has established a respected following with the top industry professionals and gearheads for his nonbiased reviews of outdoor gear and apparel. Elliot is a regular contributor to, and other publications on top of his editorial and writing role with

Elliot left a successful fifteen-plus year management career that he worked at Fortune 500 and S&P 500 companies to pursue his passion for writing about the outdoors. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Clarion University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree from La Roche College.

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