Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Deckers Lab KO-Z Women's Sandals Review : The GLDTR- Chunky Sandals - Flip Flops Style

Article by Dominique Winebaum and Allison Valliere

Deckers Lab KO-Z GLDTR ($120)

Intro, Fit and Style

Dominique: The KO-Z series from Deckers X Lab comes in many shapes and forms – high tops and low tops lifestyle shoes, as well as sandals. The KO-Z line of sandals will cover you year-round, from mules, to slides and flip-flops, as well as strapped versions. 

The topic of this review is the KO-Z GLDTR 3, a sandal akin to a flip-flop - Y shaped strap -  but designed with a maximalist approach to comfort, support, and style.

The KO-Z GLDTR 3 is a flip-flop  that will get the approval of your podiatrist (stamped with the APMA seal of acceptance) and fit for the flaneur, fashionista, hipster, athletes in recovery mode, in stay-at-home scenarios or when getting out and about.  

There is a wide range of options when it comes to wearing your KO-Z GLDTR 3, as they are so trendy looking in addition to being extremely comfortable and supportive.  

Chunky sandals are in style, yet, the extended heel - squaretail rear - may look a bit odd and requires some growing into when it comes to walking. 

The ergonomic design of the footbed creates a perfect fit and secure environment for my feet. 

I am a size 9, and in prior Deckers Lab reviews, two out of four, the sizing was too big. Here, I received a size 8 men, which corresponds to a size 9 women (41⅓), and my foot sits perfectly on the footbed. In short, the KO-Z mule and GLADTR 3 both fitted perfectly in my regular size 9.  

As a seasoned Deckers Lab tester, I have learned to embrace the over-the-top design elements that characterize this line of footwear; if it appears excessive, it is for a reason.   Jean-Luc Diard, the master mind behind Deckers Lab (and Hoka) has redefined footwear as “FLOW WEAR” -- and I am happy to be part of the “Xperience.” 

Allison:  A maximal flip flop designed for those looking for the utmost kitchen and house lounging comfort, with enough rubber outsole for trips to the mailbox, garden or to feed the chickens.  The KO-Z out of the box was a bit surprising because of the size, thickness and styling which might be a bit polarizing, with sort of an old school 50’s sorta look, but grew on me over time.

Fit is a bit on the large side for me, as I am normally a pretty consistent size 9, but I feel like an 8.5 in the KO-Z would be more appropriate.  I have a good bit of extra room on the footbed, but the heel of the shoe is pronounced and adds a lot of additional length to the flip flop, which in turn amplifies the length.

Features and Tech


Dominique: Of all the KO-Z GLDTR 3 features, let’s start with the 5 layers of foam that creates an incredibly cushioned and protective platform for your feet.  

The design of the footbed is ergonomic and is made with ultra-soft memory foam with a top sole (next-to-skin) made of perforated leather (PU) for moisture management and a looped wool arch for optimal grip and gentle support.  That’s only the top layer!  

The midsole is made with three layers of CM EVA Foam with a density gradient (Xponent) from top to bottom, which means the softest layer of foam is closest to your feet, and which is characterized by an extended heel – squaretail rear.   

Add a rocker in the midfoot and you’ve got the perfect set-up for a full motion of your feet from heel to toe, all in a sandal!  

With all Decker Lab shoes, stats regarding the height and width of the shoe are marked on the outside of the midsole.  We are in the realm of a maximalist run shoe , and to boot this is a sandal flip-flops style, with a 129-98-105 width and a 22-30 stack height.  After all Deckers sandals are created by Jean Luc Diard the founder of Hoka who set the running world on its ear with the first maximally cushioned run shoes about 12 years ago. As a runner who likes a high heel to toe drop, there is no transition to speak of, when switching gears by wearing my KO-Z GLDTR 3.

The outsole is made of an ultralight 3 mm sponge rubber with Meta-Rocker geometry for a great grip.  Extremely lightweight, yet spongy durable and secure.    

The upper, namely the Y shaped strap, is well padded and wide.  For maximum comfort between the toes, the toe post is surrounded by foam and silky soft lycra. 

The strap, which is made of EcoTan Nubuck leather is lined with 10mm wool, hugs the sides of your forefront feet and feels great next-to-skin. 

The KO-Z GLDTR 3 is available in 5 different colors: pastel pink; pastel yellow-green blue; pastel pink-red; black-dark grey; and grey.   

Performance and Conclusions 


Mostly, I have been wearing my KO-Z GLDTR 3 indoors thus far, as I am recovering from a light case of plantar fasciitis, which has greatly improved thanks to a supportive pair of insoles. I find relief and piece of mind wearing my KO-Z being a busy bee at home as I can’t be wearing sneakers (with supportive insoles) all day long!  The KO-Z is not a fix for my plantar fasciitis akin to supportive insoles, however, they allow me to walk or stand on my feet safely and comfortably when I do wear them for part of the day.  

The KO-Z GLDTR 3 is not about dragging your flip-flops walking to the beach but getting the most of your footwear in a multi-faceted kind of way.  Supportive and comfortable, it is also responsive and energizes your steps and works as a recovery shoe too.  Quite secure, my feet are not sliding sideways as with other types of recovery flip-flops, such as Ofoos.

I received a pair of black-dark grey, which suits me just great, as they also work as casual chic sandals.  In New Hampshire, we are fortunate to live within walking distance to the beach, however, I will save my Ofoos for that, as I don’t want the sand and water to damage the beautiful upper. 

Allison:  Performance is a bit of a stretch for a flip flop, but since the KO-Z is intended to provide comfort, I would say that they certainly deliver in spades.  

The deep cushion if soft yet supportive, while the “upper”, being the over the foot Y strap is soft, fuzzy and holds the flip flop to my foot well.  I can spend the whole day on my feet bustling around the house and yard in them without feeling the need to put on real shoes, unless of course I need to leave the house and drive the car, which would be a bit risky.  

Traction is good for most house and yard tasks and they definitely are proving to be durable, with very little, it any wear.  Being a sandal where sock use is difficult (unless wearing Injinjis), they KO-Z is best suited for summer use and warmer temperatures.  

The footbed is somewhat perforated, which helps keep the feet somewhat cooler.  $120 is a lot for a pair of flip flops, but they are very comfortable, much more supportive than other flip flops and I think will last for many years.


Dominique: For comfort and support, I have been wearing Birkenstock sandals, mostly when I am home.  I have also owned a few pairs of Ofoos, which are perfect to walk to the beach as they are easy to rinse, and are much more supportive than a regular pair of flip-flops.  The KO-Z GLDTR 3, has brought a new level of comfort and support to my feet, which is difficult to match. They are much more of a recovery shoe than my Birkenstock. The GLDTR's foam and rocker, including the 8 mm drop also do not compare to my Ofoos sandals which lack support from their "upper" and soft footbed.  

Trendy fashion can be expensive -- a pair of chunky Prada sandals is in the $600 range.  Considering that the KO-Z GLDTR in black/dark gray is $120 and fits the casual chic look, in my opinion, it is comparably much cheaper, and you are guaranteed to wear the most comfortable and supportive sandals.  

Reviewer Profiles 

Allison is a 5th generation Coloradan who is passionate about the outdoors and has been hiking, backpacking, skiing, snowshoeing and running in the mountains since she was young.  She has completed all but 5 of the Colorado 14ers (a dozen or so in winter), has many hundreds of year round ascents of 14ers, 13ers and other peaks in Colorado and the West.  Allison has also traveled the world and trekked to over 18,000 feet in the Himalayas, to high altitudes in Ecuador and has worked for the National Park Service mapping plants in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California .  Her almost daily routine involves runs/power hikes in the foothills above Boulder, or 4-5 mile flatter runs at 8-10 minute mile pace if schedule necessitates.  But what really keeps her on her toes is working as a labor and delivery nurse and taking care of her 10 year old twin daughters who are also growing to share her love for the outdoors.

Dominique has run for over 40 years, consistently about 25 miles per week at paces between 10 and 11 minute miles. She races rarely, but always surprises more hard core runners in her age group when she does. She has a 1985 marathon PR of 3:16 in her second marathon which at the time put her on the top 10 Swiss women’s lists. She is the mother of two grown children, both runners post college, and enjoys nordic and alpine skiing, hiking and trekking, and gardening. 

Shop for women's (and men's) KO-Z GLDTR, Mules and Slides 

Running Warehouse HERE

Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. No other compensation was received by RTR or the authors for this review beyond potential commissions from the shopping links in the article. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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