Who should buy the Kailas Fuga EX 2

I would recommend this trail shoe from Kailas to runners looking for the following:

  • a super-cushioned trail shoe for long distances (including ultra)
  • a highly grippy and durable Vibram outsole
  • an easy-to-adjust speed lacing 

Who should NOT buy this running shoe

The Fuga EX 2 is not a budget-friendly one ($160). Despite being a less known brand and relatively new to the running shoe scene, Kailas puts a higher price tag on its products. For comparison, the average price of trail running shoes is $129.

I have no complaints about the Fuga EX 2 itself (I LOVE it!) but I’m just a bit baffled by the price, given that you can get a very similar shoe for less. For example, Salomon Ultra Glide, another amazing max-cushioned model, which costs $20 less ($140)! And for $155, you can get the iconic Hoka Speedgoat 5.

But if you don’t mind the price tag and want to give this rising brand a go, you won’t be disappointed with the Fuga EX 2.

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Amazing fit! But check with the size chart

My regular running shoe size is EU 41 (US 8). But in Kailas, I sized up to EU 42 (US 8.5). Given that it is a Chinese company, their sizing approach is likely to differ, so it’s best to double-check.

Start by measuring your exact foot length and then check the official Kailas size chart. My foot is 260 mm, so I went with US 8.5 and it fits perfectly.

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Fit-wise, the EX 2 feels very similar to all the other Kailas shoes I’ve tested. It hugs the foot so well in the heel and the midfoot but leaves enough space in the toebox for the comfort of your toes.

I never had to worry about heel slips as the rearfoot has a really firm hold. Checking up the heel stiffness, I gave it 5/5 on our scale.

The upper fabric itself is very form-fitting but not restrictive. It conformed to my foot very well all throughout the run.

Quick lacing stays put and is so easy to use!

If you’ve run in Salomon trail shoes before, you will find Kailas’ bungee closure quite similar. It is called AWS (Adjust Whole Shoe) because it has two buckles, one for the forefoot area and one for the midfoot.

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You might think that these are only needed to accommodate various footshapes. But the brand actually designed this setup to prevent your toes from getting battered on steep downhills. I also found it very helpful on the hilly trails where my toes would usually bump into the front of the shoes. Not with the EX 2 though!

And for the fans of the BOA closure out there, there is a Fuga EX BOA available from Kailas.

Oh, and the convenient lace pocket is there on the tongue too! No more worries about the extra laces hanging around and getting on your nerves.

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Kailas Fuga EX 2 exceeded my expectations in cushioning

The EX 2 comes with the highest stack out of all the Kailas Fuga shoes. This max-cushioned wonder got me excited from the very first step and made me run longer than I intended to!

I measured the heel thickness at 38 mm (midsole plus the insole) which is above the average 32.9 mm across our lab-tested shoes. In Kailas, you only find thicker in the Fuga Elite 2 (40.4 mm). The drop shows 10.6 mm on our device. It is 2.6 mm more than in the brand’s official specifications (8 mm).

In normal people speak, that’s a ton of cushioning! So far, the longest I’ve run in the shoe is 10K but I can see myself choosing the EX 2 for an ultra marathon with no second thoughts.

The softness of the foam is also optimal, in my opinion. The durometer shows 38 HA, which is slightly softer than the average 40.5 (the higher, the firmer). I think it’s a fine balance of softness where you get enough impact protection but also a good level of firmness to keep you stable on the trail.

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The cushy insole also contributes to underfoot comfort. At 5.3 mm, it is thicker than the average 4.6 mm. The insole is also removable, so you can replace it with custom orthotics if needed.

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Warning: foam gets firmer in cold conditions

The foam gets 23.7% firmer in colder temperatures. I was able to measure it with the help of our signature freezer test (putting the shoe in the freezer for 20 minutes to check the difference in softness). So, if you take the Fuga EX 2 out on a cold morning, keep in mind that it will need some time to soften up.

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Not carbon-plated but propulsive!

I’ve run in Kailas’ carbon-plated Fuga Elite 2 prior to testing the Fuga EX 2. And I’ve got to say, the latter is impressively springy.

I think the shoe’s somewhat stiffer forefoot plays a part in this. The flexibility measurement shows 42.2 N, which is stiffer than the average (30.8 N).

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The shoe also has a very noticeable curve (5 degrees more than standard, according to the brand). Such a rocker design does promote a quicker foot transition and I could feel a little kick with each step.

Max-cushioned shoe that doesn’t drag the foot

The Kailas Fuga EX 2 weighs 286 g in men’s US 8.5. This is a nice surprise given that maximalist trail shoes on average weigh 318 g.

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Fuga EX 2 bites them all

With its Vibram Megagrip rubber and 4-mm deep lugs, the EX 2 has an impressive level of traction.

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Even on the very rocky, technical terrain, I always felt surefooted. To me, it actually seems like the EX 2 has got the best grip out of all Kailas shoes I’ve tested.

The only potential issue I see for this shoe would be the really soft, muddy areas. If that’s where you run often, then I would recommend a trail shoe with deeper lugs, such as the Saucony Peregrine 12 (4.6 mm) or the Altra Lone Peak 6 (4.4 mm).

High price means high quality in the Fuga EX 2

If you are looking for a trail shoe that’s going to last you well beyond 500 miles, the Kailas Fuga EX 2 is the one to consider.

From the first glance, you can see the quality of selected materials as well as the overall craftsmanship involved. And after several test runs, I cannot see any areas of premature wear-and-tear.

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To me, it’s clear that you get what you pay for in the Fuga EX 2.

Plenty of airflow in the Kailas Fuga EX 2

The mesh is doing its job very well in the EX 2. I never felt like my foot was getting too warm or suffocated in the shoe.

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I could recommend it for your summer runs.

Attaching the gaiter couldn’t be easier

I don’t normally wear gaiters with my running shoes but if I ever have to, choosing the Fuga EX 2 would be a no-brainer. It’s got a 4-point holder system which makes it so easy to put on and take off the gaiters!

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Complete lab-specs overview

  Kailas Fuga EX 2 Average
Whole shoe
Weight (g) 286 277
Drop (mm) 10.6 8.9
Flexibility of the shoe (N) 42.2 30.8
Flexibility of the shoe (Freezer 20 min) (N) 53.0 40.5
Flexibility of the shoe (% of change) 25.6 31.3
Longitudinal flexibility (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest) 4 3.3
Torsional flexibility (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest) 4 3.5
Upper
Thickness - Tongue (mm) 3.8 6.2
Width Upper - Forefoot (mm) 98.2 98.8
Width Upper - Heel (mm) 72.9 89.1
Flexibility of the heel counter (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest) 5 3.1
Tongue: gusset type no -
Heel: pull tab no -
Midsole
Width Midsole - Forefoot (mm) 110.7 111.8
Width Midsole - Heel (mm) 83.8 89.1
Stack - Forefoot with insole (mm) 27.4 24.1
Stack - Heel with insole (mm) 38.0 32.9
Durometer Midsole Heel (Room temperature) (HA) 38.0 40.5
Outsole
Outsole thickness (Heel) (mm) 2.5 3.7
Lugs Depth (mm) 4.0 3.4
Durometer Outsole Heel (Room temperature) (HC) 87.0 82.2
Insole
Insole Heel Thickness (mm) 5.3 4.6
Insole: removable yes -

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Trail
Weight: Men 9.5oz / Women 7.5oz
Drop: Men 8mm
Arch support: Neutral
Forefoot height: Men 28mm
Heel height: Men 36mm
Pronation: Neutral Pronation / Supination / Underpronation

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Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.