Split-toed, suction cup shoes designed to provide octopus-like grip
By C.C. Weiss
April 2, 2012
Apparently, OluKai Maliko is Hawaiian for funky, hoof-like shoes. The name also carries a hint of innovation. Not only do these shoes split your toes, they give you extra grip. Forget sticky rubber and aggressive traction patterns, the Maliko brings a sole that's lined with suction cups.
The first thing that you'll notice when looking at the Maliko is its double toe. It doesn't give you quite as much freedom as five-toed shoes, but the double toe separates your big toe from the rest of the pack. This is designed to give you more balance and dexterity.
The uppers of the Maliko are a cool, lightweight mesh that dries quickly. Instead of regular laces, it has a one-pull quick-lacing system that gives you quick, secure fit. Inside, a removable, water-resistant insole adds a little support and cushioning.
The real magic of the Maliko is located on the underside. A series of purposely placed suction cups are designed to give you more traction on both slick, wet terrain and dry terrain. They won't exactly propel you up the side of a building or branch-less tree, but they should make each step a little surer on sketchy, slippery ground. OluKai says that the traction soles were inspired by octopus tentacles.
As you can probably tell from the feature set, the Maliko is designed for both land and water. It's a go-to "minimalist all-island adventure" shoe if your day includes any combination of hiking, walking the beach, paddle boarding or boating. The shoes will hit the market in the coming weeks in both men's and women's versions. Retail price is US$100.