Last week I talked about my first impressions on the Feelmax Niesa shoes. This week I would like to talk a little about the Kuuvas, Feelmax's first minimalist boot.

The Kuuva is a boot that comes up to about mid-calf. The uppers are constructed using a water-resistant, breathable synthetic leather called Clarino, a canvas fabric, and a touch of padding/insulation. The soles are made out of CeraPrene, the same material found on the latest versions of all Feelmax footwear. The soles are slightly thicker (2.5mm) than the rest of the footwear in their line, giving them a similar ground feel to FiveFingers. According to Feelmax, these boots are designed primarily for spring and fall use when the weather is cold and wet, or in milder winter conditions where a lot of insulation is not required.

I have wide feet (well, my feet are wide in places where shoes usually aren't) and therefore my initial concern was that the stiffer fabric wouldn't easily stretch/mold to the shape of my foot. When I put the boots on I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the shape of the boot was almost perfectly contoured to the shape of my foot. I didn't notice any pressure or restriction on the outside midsole of my left foot, which is where I typically see the most problems. Despite having a thicker sole than the Niesas, I found the flexibility and feel to be quite adequate. In order to have warm footwear more insulation is required under foot and thus some ground feel will be lost - a sacrifice I recognize has to be made. I am not willing however, to sacrifice flexibility. So far based on my initial tests, I think Feelmax has found a nice balance.

One thing I am not so excited about is the added stiffness to the ankles. The combination of the stiffer fabric, mid-calf uppers, and high lacing restrict ankle movement more than I am normally accustomed to. I did find that the ankle stiffness could be varied by the tightness of the lacing, and perhaps this might be the best way to handle it. I did wear the boots for an evening while doing house maintenance and found that by the end of the evening I didn't notice them on my feet any more. I am hoping that they will soften-up with use. On the plus-side, the stiffer fabric offers great abrasion resistance which can be important in backcountry situations where you may be walking through thick brush, thorns, or sharp gravel (scree) which is known to easily tear-up lesser fabrics.

I have not had the opportunity to test these boots in the cold and wet conditions they were designed for yet. They definitely feel warmer than the Niesas so I am looking forward to trying them out on fall hikes once the conditions become too cold for summer footwear. As I continue to test out the Kuuvas I will report on my findings, so please check-back for updates.

I am told that the Feelmax Kuuva will be available for purchase in the USA this fall.