Born out of Hawaiian-bred founder Bill Worthington’s wave-chasing way of life, OluKai (which roughly translates to “comfort ocean”) launched in 2005 as a flip-flop brand that incorporated core comfort and it quickly garnered shelf space and luxury boutiques alike. For Fall ’13, the Irvine, CA-based brand continues to stretch its reach beyond the beach by expanding its closed-toe offering with wedges, slip-ons and lace-ups and putting a particular emphasis on boots.
Each boot features removable, washable footbeds that cup the heels, provide anatomical arch support and allow the toes to spread out. “Our consumers can’t wear sandals all the time, whether at work or in inclement weather,” says Kerry Konrady, marketing director. “But the consumer had this passionate association with our brand and really wanted to have that OluKai spirit, so it was a natural demand to capture the DNA of the sandal and translate it to boots.”
Pull-up leather, crushed vintage suede and signature hand stitching can be seen throughout the fall collection, and the suggested retail price ranges from $180 to $300. Standouts include the Holo Lio II (“to ride horseback”), the brand’s take on an equestrian boot, featuring supple and distressed full-grain leather with a suede accent underlay and lined with soft pigskin. The Pa’ia (named after a town on Maui’s North Shore) is a pull-on style made with naturally weather-resistant leathers and accented with straps and press cast metal buckles.
“The leathers were hand selected for both the men’s and women’s boot collections,” Konrady notes, explaining that with wear and over time, OluKai leather develops a rich patina – unique accents that make every pair one-of-a-kind. And OluKai only works with environmentally friendly tanneries that use ISO certified leathers. “In anything we do we strive to be authentic. It’s what drives us,” Konrady says. “That’s what true premium brands do – they lead and they innovate.”