By Tina Dubois
For barefooters and minimalist shoe enthusiasts alike finding winter footwear products that can stand up to northern climates can be challenging. As part of our winter barefooting series, we are pleased to review the Feelmax Kuuva boot.
We are very pleased to review our second minimalist footwear product from Feelmax, the Kuuva boot. The Feelmax Kuuvas are a great regular wear winter boot. They are incredibly comfortable, light-weight, warm to about -10oC or 14oF, have fantastic grip on ice, and look great for a winter boot. They have an excellent barefoot feel with their 2.5 mm rubber sole. I highly recommend them for spring, fall, and mild to moderate winter conditions.
The Feelmax Kuuvas are incredibly comfortable. The lining is soft and the minimal padding is located in just the right places. The lace system allows one to adjust the tightness along their length for maximum comfort. They are roomy in the toes and just tight enough around the heel to minimize heel slipping. Although I have narrow to normal width feet, I do wear two pairs of socks with them (a habit of mine in the winter) and have never found them too narrow and my toes can wiggle happily. I can’t say whether this would be the case if you had extra wide feet, however.
One size 39 Feelmax Kuuva boot weighs 7 7/8 ounces or 223 grams. I was amazed with their meagre weight as soon as taking them out of the box. After wearing them on several walks outside, I can honestly say that their weight while on my feet is practically non-existent. It is a true pleasure wearing these boots in the snow and cold and not feeling the weight of heavy winter boots.
Flex / Sole
The sole is 2.5 mm thick allowing for excellent ground transmission. It is very flexible across its width allowing for plenty of movement along the toes and the ball of your foot.
The sole is made of texturized rubbed and, when asked specifically, Feelmax responded with a ‘special material from Continental’. It is made of at least two pieces: a bumpier textured outline of about 1 cm with a more gritty textured inside portion glued into the outline.
Support / Insole
The Kuuvas come with a thin, non-removable insole that is very comfortable against socked feet. The insole is glued into the bottom of the boot where the ball of the foot rests. It has no arch support of any kind.
The Kuuvas have incredible grip. I am astounded how well the texturized rubber sole handles snow- and ice-covered asphalt and concrete. The boots also performed well on steep dirt and on loose rocky trails.
Of all the things that impress me about the Kuuvas, the barefoot feel is the most significant. With a mere 2.5 mm sole, your feet literally feel every pebble on the trail or crack in the concrete. Considering most winter boots are so far removed from the ground with an ample cushion of rubber, Feelmax has designed a fantastic winter boot with outstanding ground feel.
Quality of Materials / Manufacturing
The Kuuva upper is made out of canvas and Clarino, a synthetic, leather-like material in addition to the rubber sole. The quality of manufacturing of the upper is impressive; the stitching is impeccable.
Although the sole of the Kuuvas arrived in perfect condition, after much wear, I can see how the design may cause problems with durability. Because the sole is glued together, after a while, the glue may come apart. There is already a spot on the medial side of the boot where flexing occurs that is starting to come apart. Although this is easily repaired, a better quality glue or a change in sole design may alleviate this problem.
The water resistance of the Kuuvas is also impressive. After long walks in 6 cm of snow and slush, as well as walks in wet grass, my feet remained dry. They are, however, not a rubber boot; if you were to stand in water that was above the height of the canvas (probably 3 cm) the boots would eventually become saturated and your feet will get wet.
The Kuuva is designed as a unisex boot. According to the chart provided on the Feelmax website, my 24 cm feet should fit a size 39, which is the size I received and they fit perfectly. At least for my size, the sizing chart provided the perfect fit.
The Kuuvas are offered on the Feelmax Online Store in Finland for 99.90 Euros. They are also offered in the United States through a couple of online retailers (links provided at the end of the review) for $119 USD. Considering that good-quality conventional winter boots costs about the same amount, I think the Kuuvas are reasonably priced.
The design of the Kuuvas is a sharp and good-looking style. From all angles the Kuuva upper looks like a conventional winter boot but the detail added with stitching gives them an expensive look. The imitation leather, Clarino, looks so much like real leather I believed that they were made of real leather until Feelmax told me otherwise. They only come in the one brown color at the moment, but as long as you like brown footwear, then they’re perfect.
The Kuuvas did not require a break-in period. After several weeks of wearing them, the upper has become more flexible. If you find them comfortable but slightly stiff, you can expect them to become more flexible over time.
Feelmax recommends treating the upper with an all-purpose footwear protector. This will probably lengthen the life of your Kuuvas, as it would any pair of winter boots.
I have worn the Kuuvas in temperatures ranging from -10oC to 12oC (14oF to 54oF) and had warm and comfortable feet. If you were to wear these boots in temperatures colder than this, I would recommend inserting an additional thin insole to protect your feet from the cold ground. Although these boots have excellent ground transmission, you can also feel the cold of the ground beneath them.
The Kuuvas are a good-quality, general purpose winter boot. They are great for dry conditions as well as snow, slush, and ice. I would recommend them for general winter street-use as well as off-road terrains like forest or gravel paths. They are not recommended for terrains including sharp boulders as this may cause damage to the sole and upper.
I am thoroughly impressed with the Feelmax Kuuva. Their quality, comfort, and barefoot feel are all superb. They are great in dry conditions to about -10oC or 14oF and for mild winter conditions including dry snow (up to about a foot in depth) or short periods in wet, slushy snow. The mysterious but incredible grip inspires confidence while walking on ice or loose dirt. The Kuuva is not designed for the extremes of winter but they are a great choice for a regular wear winter boot.
To purchase these shoes in Europe, visit the Feelmax website at http://www.feelmax.fi In the U.S., you can purchase them at Outdoor Tactical Enterprises at http://outdoortactical.com/Feelmax.html as well as Extreame Outfitters athttp://www.extremeoutfitters.us/feelmax.aspx.
As you read our reviews, please keep in mind that our reviewers review shoes in terms of their suitability for those looking to find the highest quality minimalist shoe products. All reviews are as factual as possible. In an effort to be transparent and ethical, we will point out any defects found, even if these do not affect the usability of the product. Not all defects will be present in final production shoes as we are sometimes offered “seconds” or pre-release products in an effort to provide you with reviews in a timely manor. In the event that serious issues are found with a review sample we will give every opportunity for the manufacturer to replace to explain the review samples before the final review is released. We never accept payments for reviews. We do not guarantee a good review for any products sent to us. We do not review products that do not claim to be minimalist or “barefoot like” unless we receive a significant number of requests from readers or listeners.
Should you have any questions about our review process or would like your product reviewed on our site, please do not hesitate to contact us using our contact page.
Find “Living Barefoot” in iTunes and download it onto your iPod / iPhone or listen online
Stay updated by being notified when we release a new reviews. Subscribe Here.
As Living Barefoot continues to grow our costs keep increasing. In order to cover the many costs necessary to provide our readers and listeners with the great quality reviews and content on Living Barefoot we would like to request your help.
If you like what we are doing, we are asking for a tiny contribution to show your support. We guarantee you won’t notice the missing contribution, but if enough people participate, it can be a significant contribution to help continue to innovate and bring you great reviews, news, and personalities through the Living Barefoot Show.
What will we do in return? We’ll continue to offer you great free news, reviews, and guest interviews on our show. We will also decrease the amount of advertising on our site as subscriptions increase.
Donate as little as $1 monthly. The subscription will simply deduct $1 from your bank or credit card monthly. You can cancel the automatic withdrawal at any time. You won’t notice $1, but we will!