OluKai Nohea Mesh

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the OluKai Nohea Mesh for Blister Gear Review
OluKai Nohea Mesh

OluKai Nohea Mesh

Size Tested: Men’s 10

Measured Weight per Shoe: 379 & 382 grams

Color: Grey / Sulfur


• Upper: Lightweight air mesh.

• Footbed: EverFit, anatomical contoured footbed with Dri-Lex® moisture-wicking cover. Removable and washable

• Outsole: All-weather rubber outsole with heavy gauge sidewall stitch. Non-marking rubber

• Versatile Drop-In Heel™ for shoe or slide functionality, elastic gore panels for customized fit, hand-sewn whipstitch details

• Vegan Friendly

MSRP: $85

Days Worn (Updated): ~75

Reviewer’s Feet: street shoe size: 10.5. Left foot: 27.0cm long; Right foot: 27.5cm long. High arch, high instep, C-width. Narrow heel. Fairly stable, solid platform. A bit of a pronator.


Let’s get right down to it: I love good flip flops. And the OluKai Nohea Mesh shoes are the best alternative to flip flops I’ve come across.

Which means that they are some of my favorite shoes ever, and the first shoe to interrupt my longstanding love affair with flips.


The upper of the Nohea Mesh is lightweight, soft, spongy, and super breathable.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the OluKai Nohea Mesh for Blister Gear Review
OluKai Nohea Mesh

The breathability part is one primary reason why the inventor of the flip flop was such a genius. Wrap your foot in any material, and your feet will feel clammy and sweat. Well, the Nohea Mesh has the most breathable upper of any shoe I’ve ever worn, even more than my highly breathable Merrell Mixmaster 2 trail running shoes. Gently swing your foot back and forth in the Nohea Mesh, and you can feel the air pass through.

Going sockless is great, till your feet start to feel gross in your shoes. The Nohea Mesh handles sockless-ness better than any shoe I’ve ever worn.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the OluKai Nohea Mesh for Blister Gear Review
Cheating on my flip flops with the OluKai Nohea Mesh.

Plus you can collapse the heels of these shoes, wear them as a slide / clog, and get even more air in there.

Midsole & Sole

While the upper of the Nohea Mesh is incredibly light and minimalist, the midsole and sole are light and very flexible without feeling insubstantial. Most shoes that lean light and minimalist (e.g., Vivo Gobi, Patagonia Advocate Lace) are highly flexible with a great ground feel, but they feel like there is nothing to them. Because there isn’t. Which is great if that’s what you’re looking for, but the Nohea Mesh manages to exhibit a whole lot of flexibility but with a more substantial lower.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the OluKai Nohea Mesh for Blister Gear Review
Sole of the OluKai Nohea Mesh

I very much like the combination, and I’m not sure I’ve come across it before.

I tend to like more minimalist designs that don’t have a ton of squishy cushioning or a lot of arch support.

The Nohea Mesh has a relatively firm platform and doesn’t have some overbuilt arch. It’s not a zero cushion, zero support shoe (like the Vivo Gobi), but it doesn’t go overboard with the cushioning or support, either. It’s also a pretty flat / low-drop shoe.

Fit / Sizing

OluKai says about the Nohea Mesh, “Runs large; order ½ size down,” and I concur. I typically wear a size 10.5 street shoe, and I dropped down half a size to a 10. (I also wear a size 10 in OluKai and Chaco flip flops.)

The Nohea Mesh shoes run wide, and a little bit long. So do drop down ½ size, but I wouldn’t recommend going down a full size. The Nohea Mesh isn’t supposed to be a tight-fitting shoe. It’s a wider, casual, insanely comfortable shoe that was designed to be slipped into and out of easily.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the OluKai Nohea Mesh for Blister Gear Review
OluKai Nohea Mesh

Your Nohea Options

In addition to the “Mesh” model, OluKai also makes the Nohea in Twill, Canvas, Wool, and Nubuck. It’s hard to imagine that the other options will be as breathable as the Nohea Mesh, but they all might make for better cold weather options. I want to find out…

Bottom Line

The OluKai Nohea Mesh is the next best thing to flip flips. And actually, for many occasions, it’s better than flip flops. It’s the most breathable and one of the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn, and it is definitely the most comfortable shoe I’ve ever worn barefoot.


5 comments on “OluKai Nohea Mesh”

  1. I have the nubuck version, love the shoe, the fit is 1/2 size down. I usually wear 11.5, went 11 on these, even tried 10.5, to small. They are wide, loose and comfortable. I really like the ability to go heal up or slide mode. I will go get the mesh version. These guys are on to something.

    Your review is spot on.


  2. I have size 10, quad E feet. I can seldom buy shoes that fit except for some from New Balance. I purchased these for working on a pool deck for long hours (standing/walking). Because of my wide feet, I never believe anyone who says that their shoes run large and I’m glad I didn’t. When these arrived, they were tight, hard to put on, but still oddly comfortable. I removed the insole and found the shoe itself was a perfect fit. Hoping the insole would compress with use, I wore them for a day. They fit better the next morning, so I wore them to the pool. By the end of the day, they were perfect. I’ve worn them for about 3 weeks now and they are the most comfortable shoe, and arguably, the first comfortable shoe, I’ve ever worn. I never realized just how uncomfortable other shoes I’ve worn were.

  3. I have purchased 2 pairs of the mesh shoes. Best Casual shoe for around the house I’ve ever had. Unfortunately both pairs started tearing at the top near my big toe. The stitches just come out. What’s up with that?

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