Most days, I come home from work, and the first thing I do is take off my shoes. But–I’m not kidding you–I don’t do that with my Hamakua Pokos from Olukai.
Yeah, seriously. They’re so comfortable that I don’t feel the need to kick them off at the end of the day. For me, that’s rare.
And while they’re the perfect shoe for looking and feeling chill, the leather also looks great, which keeps them from looking overly casual. And the quality craftsmanship makes them ready for adventure as soon as you cinch up the laces.
The Hamakua Poko shoes are named after a mountainous region on the Big Island of Hawaii, and the Hawaiian culture is central to the Olukai brand. Each of their shoe designs, including these, are centered around the ocean lifestyle, which means they’re rooted in both comfort and durability.
Personally, I was drawn to the Olukai brand for two reasons: Most of their shoes are zero-drop (no heel) and many of the designs have a fairly wide toe-box. They’re also known for their drop-in heels. Once I got a pair of these shoes, I was pleased to discover the excellent build quality, and I’ve become a fan of the brand (these are my second pair of Olukais).
Despite the fact that they have laces, I want to call the Hamakua Pokos loafers. Or you could call them slides thanks to the drop-in heel. Whatever you want to call them, they’re comfortable. They’re made from top-grain nubuck leather, which is soft and sort of velvety to the touch. The leather is hand-sewn, and the seam design gives it a bit of a moccasin style.
Mine have worn well so far: I’ve walked 30 or so miles in them (but admittedly haven’t done any rugged or dirty terrain). The soles are pretty thick, and while that adds durability, mine took some breaking in. They were stiff at first and didn’t flex much as I walked, which caused a little chafing on my right achilles tendon. But after a couple days it was smooth sailing.
The insoles are made with a polyurethane gel wrapped in microfiber. They feel great to walk in, and these insoles are also removable and washable (which makes wearing them barefoot much more feasible). Combining that with the wide footbed, they call it “the perfect environment for you foot,” and I have to agree.
The outsoles are made with a thermoset rubber process, which casts a liquid into a die to create the distinctive shape. The sole itself is made of a combination of synthetic and natural rubbers which have never left a mark or scuff on any surface that I’ve walked on.
My friend Cameron told me that in Thailand it’s rude to show someone the bottom of your shoe. So it would be a bummer to wear these there because the bottoms are one of the coolest features. Similar shoes from competing brands have soles that wrap up around the sides and back, creeping up beyond their bounds, which I personally think is really ugly. The Hamakua Pokos do the opposite. The leather actually wraps under the tread–as if it’s retaking lost ground, which is the way you want the battle to turn, in my opinion. It’s a sweet design–or dank design, as one of my friends called it.
Before getting them, I was curious how the leather on the bottom would wear. And as you see in the picture below, it has gotten a little scratched from gravel and rocks. But the leather is dark enough it’s hardly noticeable. More importantly, the stitching that holds the leather onto the sole is holding up well. Not yet sure how it’ll hold up over the course of a year or more, but so far so good.
I did encounter one negative aspect. My fashionista sister gave these shoes a snooty look because they weren’t trendy enough. Aside from her, I’ve actually gotten a couple compliments on the shoes, but mostly people tend not to notice them at all. I guess that’s fine for an easy-going shoe like this.
Mine are the dark wood/dark wood style (which means dark leather for upper/lower), and that’s what you see featured in my photos. Olukai has a few other styles to choose from though, which you’ll see on the site.
Olukai’s Hamakua Poko shoes are a relaxed style and are built really well.If your feet have been asking for an easy going sort of shoe, these are probably the the ones.
Truth is, I’ve been wearing mine too often. Like even when I ought to be wearing something a little more dressy. But I just can’t help it. They’re so dang comfortable.
Although I’m not an islander (far from it, in fact), I respect the culture and the accompanying attitude.
And I love these shoes.