Split-Toe, Minimalist ‘Octopus’ Adventure Shoe

Taking inspiration from minimalist shoes like the Vibram FiveFingers, old-school aqua socks, and octopus tentacles, a to-be-released shoe from OluKai Inc. promises to be something different. The Maliko, available for sale in 2012, has a split-toe design that the company touts as providing “big toe freedom” to help with balance and dexterity.


The Maliko promises in and out of water performance

I picked the shoe up at a recent demo in Utah during the Outdoor Retailer trade show. It felt solid in the hand — more a trail runner build, less something you’d usually find near the water. There’s a removable insole, arch support, and heel cushioning. It is made of mesh for draining water after submerged, and it has what the company calls “octopus tentacle-inspired rubber suction cup” detailing on the sole. This includes raised rubber stripes with tiny suction cups as well as small slits in the rubber that grab for traction.


Split toe and ‘octopus tentacle detailing’ on the sole

The company, based in Irvine, Calif., but with inspiration taken from Hawaii and other island places, calls the Maliko a “crossover, minimalist adventure shoe.” Around the water next year, there will be few other shoes like it. Available in March, 2012, for $100.

—Stephen Regenold

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Stephen Regenold is Founder and Editor-In-Chief of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for nearly two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of four small kids, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.