Kailas has been in the outdoor gear-making arena for nearly two decades now, founded in 2003 in response to the quickly growing number of Chinese hikers, climbers, and mountaineers. For 12 years, the brand focused solely on the high altitude community, sponsoring athlete ascents of mountains and making high quality technical gear like ice tools and belay devices. In 2016, shortly after Kailas stepped up to sponsor the Vibram Hong Kong 100k, the company made its first foray into the trail running world with the original version of the Fuga shoe. Only two years later it had a fully fledged trail running line of products including shoes, packs, and apparel.
The Kailas shoe lineup now consists of multiple models of the Fuga, and we’re diving deep into the Kailas Fuga Pro 3, which is billed as an all-around trail running shoe. In this article, we’ll first take a look at the Kailas Fuga Pro 3 specifications, then we’ll look at a few of the shoe’s special details, and finally we’ll find out how Kailas-sponsored runner Scotty Hawker puts this shoe to use.
Kailas Fuga Pro 3 Basic Specifications
Let’s dive in deep on the details of the Kailas Fuga Pro 3.
- Weight: Actual weight is 256 grams/9 ounces for a men’s size 42, which is a U.S. 8.5 according to the Kailas size chart
- Drop: 8-millimeter drop
- Stack Height: 23/31 millimeters toe/heel
- Upper Material: Covering much of the upper is breathable ripstop mesh. There are TPU overlays which are meant to give structure to the upper to help the foot feel locked into the whole shoe as well as to protect the toes from errant tree roots and rocks. The upper also features a very solid four-point sand gaiter holder to be used with Kailas’s gaiter.
- Lacing System: The Fuga Pro 3 features a quicklace system with bulletproof laces. Instead of messing with tying and untying traditional laces that can easily come loose, just pull these tight and tuck the extra lace into the pocket on the tongue.
- Tongue: A very plush tongue is gusseted about halfway toward the toes, part of it a squishy neoprene-type material to protect the top of the foot for all-day comfort. There’s also a built-in pocket on the tongue to store the quicklaces. On the lateral side of the upper, there is a hook instead of a top eyehole for quick release of the laces. On top of the shoe, there is a thin and breathable layer of mesh overlaying the tongue to prevent debris from entering the top side.
- Insole: The Kort insole is grippy on the bottom, which aims at preventing slippage around the inside of the shoe. The insole also has antibacterial/wicking properties, to hopefully prevent odor build up in the shoe.
- Midsole: The dual-density midsole is made of Eccavai Phylon, designed to be both well-cushioned and responsive. Phylon is made when EVA pellets are heat expanded, pressed into a mold, and then cooled, the purpose being a precise fit and style of midsole.
- Outsole: The outsole is a narrow compared to other shoes, as these are made to be a lightweight racing shoe. It is made of Vibram Megagrip Litebase – meaning it is incredibly grippy, able to be used on all types of terrain, and engineered to be 30% lighter than regular Megagrip outsoles.
Special Features of the Kailas Fuga Pro 3
The Kailas Fuga Pro 3 has implemented a number of changes and technical innovations from other shoes to make this a more high performing, comfortable, and effective trail running shoe.
Adjust Whole Sole (AWS) 2.0 Lacing System
The upper features a quicklace system called Adjust Whole Sole (AWS) 2.0. Halfway down the top of the foot, the laces cross through an innovative foot-holder buckle, which helps the quicklace system to tension evenly across the top of the foot so that the foot can’t slide forward on long, steep downhills. The laces and their eyelets are bulletproof material, said to be nearly unbreakable. There’s also a lace hook at the top of the laces on the lateral side, which should help you lace ’em up ever more efficiently.
Four-Point Sand Gaiter Holder
Unique to Kailas is their four-point sand gaiter holder. There are three loops on the shoe’s heel cup, and the fourth hook is meant to be fastened on the front of the shoe. The hooks are incredibly durable, there’s no flopping around of these like other shoes that may have fabric gaiter hooks, these are solid. They are also super low profile so that they won’t catch on grass and other brush while you’re trail running.
This patented design works best when using the Kailas-specific gaiter which is highly elastic and breathable yet still durable, with an ergonomic design to help runners’ ankles move without chafing. There are also reflective details of the Kailas logo on the side for increased visibility.
Vibram Megagrip Litebase Outsole
It’s all about the Vibram Megagrip Litebase material here, which is a well known and respected outsole material in the trail running world for is ability to grip to everything, whether it’s wet or dry, and rough or smooth.
The Litebase element takes all the grip of the Megagrip material but lightens the load of it so that the shoe weighs less. A traditional outsole is usually about 1.7 millimeters thick; the Litebase outsole has been shaved down to 0.9 millimeters, making the outsole lighter and the runner more able to have better contact with the ground.
The front of the outsole curves up at the slightest three-degree angle on the right and left sides in what Kailas calls a tire-curve sole. This curve reduces pressure on either side of the foot and thus, foot pain and fatigue. There are also spaced-out multi-directional lugs, sitting in a V-shaped pattern at the center, with small diamonds extending outward toward the bordering lugs.
Scotty Hawker and the Kailas Fuga Pro 3
Professional trail runner and ultrarunner Scotty Hawker is sponsored by Kailas and runs in the Fuga Pro 3. Hawker’s list of accolades is long and includes third place at the 2019 UTMB and second at the 2021 CCC. In 2018, while on Team Vibram, Hawker was having trouble finding a shoe the fit all of his needs: one that was grippy enough to take on the technical trails he runs, but also cushioned enough to take on long distances while still being a nimble shoe. Vibram suggested Hawker look toward Kailas, as the company was using the Vibram Megagrip Litebase on the Fuga Pro at the time – he tried them out and never looked back.
“The Fuga Pro 3 is such a great shoe, it has everything I need for an ultramarathon. It hits the sweet spot with cushioning without hindering performance. I can run in this shoe for 10 to 20 hours without an issue. My foot sits so naturally in the shoe,” said Hawker. He elaborated, “I think one of the best parts of this shoe is the Vibram Megagrip Litebase, it’s so grippy. In ultramarathons and mountain races, it’s so important to have a tight and secure fit in the upper with decreased tension around the toes, and the lacing system is great for this. Also, you don’t have to spend a lot of time untying the shoes if you need to empty them out during a race.”
Speaking to the technological innovations and changes Kailas has made since the shoe’s second iteration, Hawker stated the brand has always been open to feedback and making changes that are the best for the runner, “Kailas has listened to my feedback, and they’ve always applied new tech to shoes. Between the Fuga Pro and Fuga Pro 3, the shoe model has really improved, including changing the density of the midsole. The Fuga Pro 3 is a super light, responsive, and cushioned shoe.”
[Editor’s Note: This article is sponsored by Kailas. Our recent article introduced the brand, and you can purchase Kailas running products on its website and in many Amazon stores around the world. Learn more about our sponsored articles.]