MELBOURNE, Australia - I made a potentially risky footwear decision packing for my 17-day golf trip Down Under.
I went with a new, untested golf shoe - the OluKai golf shoes - instead of a trusted, more traditional pair that I knew would perform while playing the walking-only courses of the Australian Sandbelt and Tasmania. After walking nine rounds, I couldn't be happier with the comfort and durability of my new OluKai Kapalua golf shoes. They're the real deal.
If you're not familiar, the SoCal-based OluKai has become the sandal of choice for many on the West Coast. They're a bit pricey but totally worth it. I've got two pair, one of that I permanently keep in my golf travel bag, so they're ready for my next trip to some beautiful beach and golf destination. OluKai's brand touts an "ocean lifestyle" for the "waterman." The new styles of the OluKai golf shoes are perfect for the bogeyman like you and me.
Reviewing the new OluKai golf shoes
OluKai's men's and women's golf collections launched in April 2022.
All three men's styles of the OluKai golf shoes - Ka'anapali, Kapalua and Wai'alae - are lightweight and similar in price. The Kapalua is water-repellent while the more traditional leather Wai'alae is waterproof. I was a bit worried the Kapalua's trench-blue modern look featuring a mesh tongue on top and unique straps on the sides that hold the laces might be too flashy for traditional clubs like Royal Melbourne and Kingston Heath, but nobody seemed to care.
What's most fascinating about the OluKai design is the Drop-In Heel. It holds firm when you tuck the foot inside the shoe but is flexible enough to fold in case you want the shoe to act like a slide-on sandal. After a couple long days of walking 36 holes, I would use this sandal transformation for a different feel on my tired feet. I also used the shoe as a true sandal without socks while moving among the many outdoor hot and cold soaking tubs at the Peninsula Hot Springs on Australia's Mornington Peninsula and walking the beach at Torquay, Australia's surf capital. The versatility was impressive.
The footbeds inside the shoe are removable and washable in case they get sandy or wet. They offer strong arch support, too. Best of all, they're stylish. Mine look like a dreamy scene from Kapalua's famed Plantation Course (check out the photo above).
If you're looking for a street-style golf shoe that can be worn on or off the course, OluKai delivers sporty sneakers that look good and feel good. They won't replace my OluKai sandals as beachwear, but they can work in a pinch if I need to go straight from golf to the seashore.
What is the cost of OluKai golf shoes?
The three styles range from $150-$160 per pair. That cost seems fair considering you get three shoes in one - a street shoe to wear anywhere, a golf shoe for the course and an emergency sandal replacement for the beach.
I have 4 pairs of Olukai casual shoes and sandals, and have had them for years, durable, comfortable, and stylish, all in one. I have to try the golf shoes on my next on-line purchase.