Gear review:
Holey Soles

Comfy footwear

As we get further along in our travels, we will be posting reviews of some of the gear that we brought with us. Since putting together our packing list was one of my main obsessions before we left, I hope that these reviews will prove interesting and helpful to any future wanderers, or even to any other gear-heads out there like me!

These Holey Soles are one of the two pairs of footwear that I brought with me. They are the Canadian version of the more well-known brand Crocs. The differences between the two brands are very slight. Holey Soles seem to use a very slightly softer and more flexible foam/rubber material than Crocs, and the shoe is slightly narrower. Other than that, they are almost identical in terms of design and look. In fact, I almost always refer to them as Crocs anyways, even though that’s a disservice to the Canadian company. It’s just easier to say, and then people know what you’re talking about.

Why I brought them: I opted to bring the Holey Soles instead of flip-flops or sandals because of their versatility. They are very lightweight, they don’t absorb water, and they stay on my feet much better than flip-flops. While I realize that I don’t get any points for style while wearing them, they seem like they will be appropriate for wear almost anywhere, from the beach to the city to campsites to sailboats.

– lightweight
– great for wearing in the water or shower
– stay on my feet if I’m running after a bus or train
– very, very comfortable
– good arch support
– breathable

– not the most stylish footwear (although it depends who you ask!)
– poor grip on wet, smooth sidewalks (the kind they have all over the UK)
– have a tendency to cause very painful toe stubbings

The last point there may seem counter-intuitive. In fact, I often used to insist that they were great for toe protection while canoeing etc., but this is not true of all situations. Because they fit quite loosely on my feet, and the soles are slightly soft, they have a tendency to catch on raised edges and curbs. Unfortunately, the sidewalks that we’ve encountered over here in the UK are absolutely full of uneven, raised edges. When the sole catches, it tends to stop the shoe dead in its tracks, and my big toes ram painfully into the end of the shoe.

I should mention that ever since I started climbing a few years ago, my big toes have been extremely damaged as a result of cramming them into a pair of climbing shoes that I bought one size too small. Now any toe stub feels like a broken toe. The average person may not find this to be a problem with the Holey Soles at all.

Overall: Highly Recommended

I am very happy that I brought these along. They are great for throwing on quickly, for hot weather, and even as slippers around hostels or houses. I guess I just have to learn to pick up my feet as I walk, and all will be well!

Check out my moves. Awesome!

crocs 1
crocs 3
crocs 2


    You have ALMOST convinced me to go and buy a pair… ALMOST. (Refer to “Cons”, point number 1.)

  1. Adam Palmer

  2. Two tips:

    -To add style, add as many of those charm thingys as you can to the holes.

    -Walking backwards will prevent toe stubs.

    I just happened to catch your blog this evening. For transparency, I am the President and owners of Holeys. You are showing our older Explorer model. One of the similarities of all shoes with an EVA bottom is that they slip on smooth wet surfaces. I myself have gone for a real ‘ride’ when wearing them one cool morning when stepping onto my porch and swore that would never happen again. Since then, we have made our second generation footwear that have what call Soletek on the bottom of the sole. It is a rubber bottom that is slip resistant, provides more color and helps keep the form of the shoe. All of our footwear have this feature which clearly distinguishes it as a class onto its own.

    Travel safely!


    I neglected to mention in my review that I have owned this pair of Holeys for over three years now, and they are still in great condition. Check out the new soles on the website Perhaps when this pair finally gives out, I’ll have to upgrade to one of the new pairs!

  3. Brian Rosen

  4. Hey Bro,
    Why not just wear your climbing shoes around instead?:) You’ll be more delicate with your walking and you could climb anything you see. I bet the U.K has plenty of fun looking buildings and such to monkey around on. Have fun out there.

    Oh Mark, I love how much YOU love your Holeys!

    I hear you about leftover toe pain from our tiny climbing shoes! My sister and Kurt asked Mike and I if we would start climbing with them this fall and I swear my big toe cried out “please Sarah, noooooooooooooo…!”

  5. Tracy Norris

  6. Sold! I am off to buy a pair. I can no longer teach in high heels. Comfort reins supreme!

    all the best and thinking of you,

  7. marg scott

  8. where in regina sask canada , can i purchase these closed toe holeys . i had some which have worn out , bought at a tanning salon , dis. I love those shoes i have bad feet and legs and they are wonderful , i am wearing Crocs rt. now not nearly as comfortable . I would truly appreciate the info to have them shipped c.o.d. marg

  9. marg scott

  10. comment left , love holey soles , need to be ableto purchase the same closed front holey soles clogs

    I have owned both the older “Explorer model” and the new generation model with the “Soletek” surface. The early model is very comfortable but the soft rubber wears out somewhat quickly and, yes, it slips on wet or smooth surfaces.

    The second generation pair I got about a year ago and seem to be working well. I love these shoes. They are great for putting on to go out in the garden or down to the store. They breath well and are quite comfortable.

    I get ribbed by my band mates for wearing them to the practices I have with my rock band. Not exactly rock-star wear but they are convenient and comfortable. I even wear them to the University I work at sometimes. Gotta love the West Coast of Canada
    – Victoria B.C.


  12. I have had Holeys for about 10 0r 12 years. I find them awesome…..way better than other foam sandles that we know. I have all colors and I Love them!!!!!


  14. I have travelled over all of Europe and my Holey Soles have been my major stand-by when walking……I wear nothing else!!!!

    I wore my favorite red holey sole flip flops all over Italy last year and sadly lost one there..??
    Cannot find them anywhere..was told they are no longer sold online by the company.
    Nothing else feels as good on my problem feet. Help!
    size 8 US.

    I have several pairs, all different styles, that I wear all the time. I have the Coastal boot that I wear to do barn work. One of my horses stepped on my door last night and, to my horror, tore the boot.

    I figured I’d just pick up another pair… but I can’t find them anywhere. Does anyone know why? I’ve spent hours online trying to find a pair, with no luck.

  15. Afton Olsen

  16. I’ve discovered I have neuropathy in my feet and my old Holeys are the only shoes that don’t give me lots of pain. I live in Washington state and can’t remember where I bought this old pair. I would give my eye teeth to find someplace where I could stock up on them. I’ve spent hundreds on special shoes and can’t stand any of them. If anyone knows I’d sure be grateful. These old things have size W8-9 M (for medium I presume) on the sole. I too have spent hours on the internet looking for a source.

    If you stillare looking for Holey soles you can find them here
    in black in sizes from XS-XL

  17. Aimee Marshall

  18. Hi there, very interesting to read your blog! I have Holeys that I bought 10 years ago> I loved them so much that I went back and bought 3 more pairs, in various colors. The issue is I can’t find out where they are sold around here now, the stores stopped carrying them. I live in Belleville, Ontario. An hour from Kingston and 2 from Toronto…!? My Holeys are almost gone!!

  19. Lolli Hamrick

  20. I bought a pair of these at our pharmacy 10 years ago….I love them but can’t find where to buy them anymore??? Help !

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