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.

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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.

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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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