Sneaker Style with OluKai Laeʻahi Lī ʻIli

Leather sneakers is the closest my husband, a certified beach dude, gets to dressing up. I think his dress shoes for his suit from our wedding are long gone. But when it comes down to it, we live a pretty laid-back life, so he’s never needed to wear those shoes again.


The absolute best “dressy” shoe he owns is the OluKai Laeʻahi Lī ʻIli. Aside from his slippas, they’re his favorite shoes of all time.


Made from full-grain leather with a soft microfiber lining, the shoes look like an upscale version of your favorite performance sneakers. The leather details on the tongue top and heel only add the the sweet street style. Inside, the dual-density PU footbed, cushy gel insert, and washable microfiber cover work together to keep you comfortable on your feet all day while you’re looking good wearing the shoes.


The lightweight EVA midsole and non-marking “Wet Grip Rubbe” outsole add support and excellent traction on wet surfaces. Wear them to the pool deck or out on the street after it’s rained, and you’ll trust them to keep you upright.


One of my favorite OluKai features is the brand’s patented Drop-in-Heel, that instantly makes the shoe a slide if that’s what you need in the moment. The best time for that, I’ve found, is when you’re exiting the security zone in the airport, or trying to give your feet a rest while on the plane.


Another excellent feature to buying shoes from OluKai is that a portion of the proceeds from every shoe directly supports the Ama OluKai Foundation, which honors those who preserve and celebrate the cultural heritage and Aloha spirit of Hawaiʻi.


The Laeʻahi Lī ʻIli comes in white, charcoal, fox, and dark wood, and lists for $140 on the OluKai site.


Jill Robinson is a freelance writer who lives in a small California beach town near the big wave surf spot, Mavericks. She divides her time between writing about travel, running a kayak business and trying to wring awe-inspiring adventure out of every day. Her articles have been featured in the AFAR, National Geographic Traveler, Outside, the San Francisco Chronicle, and more. Catch up with her adventures on and IG/Twitter at dangerjr.

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