The Feelmax Panka was one of the first minimalist shoes on the market. Many people started running or hiking in them before the barefoot craze came alive.
These were my first minimalist shoes also. That first model had the Keprotec sole which was not abrasion resistant enough. Later, Feelmax introduced the Continental sole, still in use in their Panka shoe. Feelmax was out of business for some time but now they're back with worldwide availability via their own online shop and local retailers.
Since coming back on the shoe scene, Feelmax has introduced some new models and updated others. But the Panka essentially has remained the same. The Panka is also an affordable shoe; because of this and its multi-purpose design it is a very good minimal shoe to start with. It can be used for hiking, running, daily use, and traveling. For all of these activities Feelmax is releasing other models that are purpose specific, as well as more expensive. But the Panka is the one that does it all.
The new Panka is a really red shoe. I recolored my Pankas a little by changing the laces and colouring some of the red stitching with a black marker.
The soles are very thin. I wasnt used to soles this thin anymore for running and hiking. Feelmax has one of the thinnest soles on the market: 1.3 mm (0.05 in), excluding the 1.5 - 2 mm (0.06 - 0.08 in) insole. The increased proprioception made me rethink my running stride. The sole, with its very fine irregular pattern gives more grip than you would expect.
The very flexible soles can easily flex around objects to get more grip. On some slopes the soles are slippery. This depends on the ground surface and on how you place your feet.
The uppers of the Panka are made of leather with mesh at the midfoot. Moisture and sand can easily pass through the mesh. The first time I hiked in the Pankas was on a sunny spring day with temperatures rising up to 16C. The Pankas felt hot on my feet, even with thin socks.
I think the Panka is a great hiking and running shoe for moderate, dry circumstances. Feelmax has not improved the original Panka but I think it can be made much better. One improvement could be to decrease the piece of mesh at the sides to keep moisture out. Another improvement could be a different mesh that will keep sand out. But the Pankas price should be kept the same because it is a big selling point for this shoe.
The Feelmax Panka is a great shoe for exploring nature. Also for barefoot walks because the shoe easily fits in a backpack and can be brought along for extra protection, if needed.
The Pankas fit better than the Feelmax Aapa in the heelcup. With the Aapa, my narrow heels could move around very easily in the heelcup. As for the toebox, it is wide and there is plenty of room for the toes to spread out.
My new Pankas are larger than my old ones which had a tight fit. I think the footsize is now more accurate.
Feelmax does not make women's and men's shoe models. However, the sizes below 41 are shaped a little differently to give a better fit for women and youth. There is also a Panka kids available with sizes from EU 22 to EU 34.
My Pankas weigh 326 grams (11.5 Oz) for a pair in size EU 45 (approx. US 11.5).