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OluKai Mio Li Review | Good Training Shoes for Daily Wear?

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The OluKai Mio Li athletic shoes are designed to tackle a variety of workouts while delivering an island-inspired construction. This shoe’s name “Mio Li” can be translated to “cool, lace” which makes sense when you consider this model’s construction.

I was intrigued by the OluKai Mio Li and I wanted to know if they’re a good model for serious versatile training. As a shoe marketed for daily wear, working out, and even tackling shorter runs, I was interested to see how they’d fair in different training settings.

As a whole, I like the Mio Li and I can see them being a good training shoe for working out in warmer climates and for those that want arch support in their trainers. Despite liking this shoe, I did notice a few cons, which I’ll discuss below.

Who Should Invest In the OluKai Mio Li?

The OluKai Mio Li is an interesting training shoe and I think it fits best for those with a few unique asks for their training shoes. For starters, if you’re someone who prioritizes the convenience of daily wear in your training shoes, then the Mio Li could be a good fit for you.

The Mio Li’s Drop-In heel makes these easy to slip on so if you’re like me and like having a pair of trainers to easily put on for walking the dogs or wearing out and about these fit this ask well.

OluKai Mio Li athletic shoes for walking and comfort

I also think these trainers are a good option for anyone that wants a shoe that can double as a fairly strong general training shoe and good looking casual shoe. You can easily rock these to the gym, then to work and they look casual enough to be worn in a variety of settings — even more formal settings.

Lastly, I think these trainers will work well for those that need more arch support. This model’s insole features an anatomical construction with a gel insert that provides a fair amount of support for those with medium to high arches.

OluKai Mio Li

OluKai Mio Li Training Shoes

Best For

  • Recreational Lifting
  • Cross-Training Sessions
  • Light and Short Runs
  • Daily Wear
  • High Arches

Falls Short

  • For CrossFit
  • For Heavy Barbell Training

OluKai Mio Li Pros

Over the course of my testing and reviewing of the OluKai Mio Li, I’ve found multiple characteristics to like about this model.

  1. Good Training Shoe for Casual Cross-Training
  2. Drop-In Heel Is Convenient for Daily Wear
  3. Decent Training Shoe for Arch Support

The first to like about the OluKai Lio Li is that they’re a pretty good shoe for general cross-training. If you want a trainer that can be worn for some light to moderate lifting, some explosive movements, and casual HIIT sessions, then the Mio Li is a good shoe to explore.

Testing the OluKai Mio Li for working out

The EVA foam midsole in this shoe provides a nice blend of stability and versatility for lighter sessions and the upper construction breathes really well. I think the blend of these two construction features makes the Mio Li a good cross-training shoe for diverse workouts in warmer climates.

Another aspect to like about the OluKai Mio Li is the Drop-In Heel construction. This is a feature that is unique to OluKai and I was uncertain about it when getting these shoes, but it’s grown on me steadily since investing in them.

OluKai Mio Li drop in heel review

This construction feature enables you to easily slip your foot into these shoes due to the thinner boot material. This material folds down and you can wear these almost as loafers if you just need to slip them and go out and about.

Personally, I can be pretty lazy when putting on my shoes for daily wear, so this feature is nice because it prevents book breakdown, but also provides enough support to keep these shoes secure when training — assuming you get your sizing right.

OluKai Mio Li drop arch support

The final aspect to like about the OluKai Mio Li is that they have a good amount of arch support. In dual-density insole in this model has a gel insert for comfort and a good level of width and support for medium to high arches.

If you need additional arch support in your training shoes and don’t feel like using a custom orthotic or insole, then this is a good shoe to explore as the stock insole should work for your training shoe wants and needs.

OluKai Mio Li Upper Construction

OluKai Mio Li Cons

Despite liking the OluKai Mio Li for particular training and daily wear settings, there are a couple of cons to note about this shoe.

  1. Serious Training Will Be Limited
  2. Sock Bunching Can Occur for Some
  3. Exposed Foam On Midsole Can Limit Outdoor Training

The first drawback that I have and that I could others have with the OluKai Mio Li is that their performance in the gym will be a little limited. Since this model is designed to be a bit more casual in nature, the Mio Li lacks some niche construction details that you’d want for serious lifting and training.

Training and Testing the OluKai Mio Li for Lifting

For example, if you’re tackling heavier barbell work, then I think you’ll find that this shoe’s stability lacks as a whole due to the EVA foam midsole compressing under heavy loads.

Outside of lifting, another training scenario where the Mio Li will fall short is with CrossFit workouts due to their construction and durability. I’d suggest passing on the Mio Li for CrossFit workouts and instead opting for more CrossFit specific demands

Another drawback to the Mio Li is that sock bunching in the heel can occur for some. Since these shoes feature OluKai’s Drop-In Heel construction, the heel’s material easily folds down and back up depending on how you want to wear them.

OluKai Mio Li training shoes review

This is great for convenience, but since the boot of this shoe is fairly low-profile it can pull down your socks at times if you have excessive room at the end of your shoe’s heel, especially if you’re wearing no-show or ankle socks.

Personally, I’ll rock these barefoot if I’m wearing them casually, then at the gym when I’m wearing socks, I’ll tie them tight enough to where this isn’t an issue. I don’t think the bunching will occur for everyone, however, it is something to keep an eye on.

OluKai Mio Li training Outsole

The last drawback to the OluKai Mio Li is that if you want to use these for outdoor training on concrete or road runs, then you may run into some durability issues long-term due to the exposed foam at the midsole of this model.

The midsole at the forefoot and heel are covered in rubber, but the midfoot does have exposed foam which could be problematic for those who have a midfoot strike and want to do some road running in these.


To discuss the performance of OluKai Mio Li, I’m going to break this section into a few different parts. This can hopefully help you contextualize if this training shoe is a good fit for your training needs.

OluKai Mio Li Performance Review

I tested this shoe specifically for lifting, versatile training, shorter runs, long walks, and daily wear. I did not test these for CrossFit and I capped my lifting once I noticed performance started to drop off.

OluKai Mio Li for Lifting

In regard to lifting, the OluKai Mio Li is best for light and moderately heavy sessions. This shoe is not going to give you as much stability in squats and deadlifts as other cross-training shoes that have more stability.

Performance Testing the OluKai Mio Li

I started to notice compression around 335 lbs in back squats and around 405 lbs in deadlifts. I think if you’re staying under these thresholds with your lifting, then the stability in this shoe will be plenty fine for your performance needs.

Personally, I like the Mio Li best for my accessory days where I’m doing more unilateral lower body exercises and upper body training.  I like the blend of the higher heel-to-toe drop and EVA foam midsole and how they interact with my training on these accessory days.

Trying out and testing the OluKai Mio Li athletic shoes

OluKai Mio Li for HIIT Workouts, Classes, and Versatile Training

For versatile training, HIIT workouts, and classes, I think the Mio Li can be a viable option for many. They provide enough bounce to make them comfortable for plyometrics, and more specifically, I think they’ll work best for short and mid-length workouts.

The upper is breathable, too, which is nice for wearing these in warmer gym settings or if you’re training outdoors on turf. The midfoot also provides enough security to lock down the foot when doing forward and backward like box jumps, box jumps, and backward running.

OluKai Mio Li athletic shoes for hiit workouts

My only gripe with the Mio Li and versatile training is that they’re not the best model for lateral work. They’ll get the job done for most activities like casual lateral bounding, but I did notice that the upper’s security started to fall off as I did more explosive lateral work.

In future models, I think a slightly more reinforced upper, especially on the lateral midfoot could help limit this.

Reviewing the OluKai Mio Li athletic shoes for hiit workouts

OluKai Mio Li for Short Runs, Walking, and Daily Wear

For short runs, the OluKai Mio Li is okay, but I’d suggest capping your mileage in this to around 2-miles or less. This model can be a little uncomfortable for longer runs and I think it will work best with warm-up and cool-down treadmill running pre and post-workout.

For walking, I like the Mio Li and I think they’ll work best for those that like a little more stability in their shoes for walking. These will not provide as much cushion as other OluKai models like the Moku Pae, but for those that like a bit more stability then I think these will tick the comfort box.

OluKai Mio Li athletic shoes for standing review

Personally, I found these shoes to take about a week to break in. I had to get used to the arch support in this model and once I did I started to enjoy them more for walking, standing, and casual wear.

OluKai Mio Li Sizing

In the OluKai Mio Li, most lifters and athletes should be safe going true to size. The length in this shoe fits true and it has a neutral width through the midfoot and forefoot.

The Mio Li has a more athletic fit and it should work for anyone with narrow and neutral width feet. This model also features a fair amount of arch support so if you need additional arch support in your training shoes, then the Mio Li should be a good fit post-break-in period.

  • OluKai Mio Li Sizing Thoughts: Go true to size.

OluKai Mio Li Athletic Shoes Sizing and Fit

If you have additional sizing questions on the OluKai Mio Li or how they compare to other training shoes, drop a comment below.

Price Breakdown

For the OluKai Mio Li, you can expect to pay $130 USD. This price is similar to other top cross-training shoes on the market and I think the price point for this model is pretty fair for specific contexts.

OluKai Mio Li athletic shoes sizing and fit review

I think if you’re someone in need of a training shoe for warmer climates that works well for gym sessions and daily wear with adequate arch support, then the OluKai Mio Li’s price point is fair.

Conversely, if you’re looking for a training shoe for maximal lifting, CrossFit, or with more cushion for walking, then you may want to explore other models as these won’t match the training and walking demands that you want out of them.

OluKai Mio Li

OluKai Mio Li Training Shoes

Best For

  • Recreational Lifting
  • Cross-Training Sessions
  • Light and Short Runs
  • Daily Wear
  • High Arches

Falls Short

  • For CrossFit
  • For Heavy Barbell Training

Construction Details

There are a lot of subtle and cool construction details about the OluKai Mio Li athletic shoes. I like these shoes because they do have a fairly unique construction compared to other traditional training and workout shoes.

  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 8.5mm
  • Weight: 11.25 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Drop-In Heel Construction
  • EVA Foam Midsole
  • Dual-Density Anatomical PU Footbed (with gel insert)
  • Mesh Upper
  • Midfoot Embossed Leather Eyelets
  • Wet-Grip Rubber Outsole

If you have additional questions on the OluKai Mio Li’s athletic shoes construction, drop a comment below.

Takeaway Thoughts

Overall, I really enjoyed training in the OluKai Mio Li athletic shoes. This shoe was a subtle surprise in the gym for cross-training and I think it will work best for those that want training shoes for high arches and for daily wear.

While the OluKai Mio Li does perform strongly in the gym as a whole, its performance will start to drop off when working with heavier barbell training and more serious CrossFit.

If you have any questions on the OluKai Mio Li, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly).

Jake Boly, CSCS, MS Sports Science

Jake Boly, CSCS, MS Sports Science

Jake Boly is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of That Fit Friend. He's often regarded to as a go-to resource in various performance shoe communities. He’s been formally reviewing shoes and training gear for over 7 years and has hand-tested over 400 pairs of shoes. Jake is known on the internet and YouTube for blending his review process with his educational, strength sports, and personal training background.

Jake has a Masters in Sports Science, a Bachelors in Exercise Science, a CSCS, and he's been personal training for over 10 years helping hundreds of clients get stronger, lose weight, and accomplish their goals. He uses his exercise science brain and personal training background to make curated and thoughtful review content on the fitness gear he's testing.

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