Who should buy the Kailas Fuga EX BOA

This Kailas trail shoe can be recommended to runners of all levels, from beginner to advanced. Here are the characteristics that make the Fuga EX BOA stand out:

  • max-cushioned trail shoe that works for any distance, even an ultra-marathon
  • high level of grip and protection from debris
  • the BOA closure allows you to adjust the fit with one hand, on the go.

Who should NOT buy this running shoe

The Kailas Fuga EX BOA is not a cheap running shoe ($170). Even though I can’t complain about the shoe at all, to me it appears a bit overpriced compared to the average price of trail running shoes on the market ($129).

Even shoes with BOA closures that tend to be more expensive are averaging $140. The most expensive one on our list so far is the New Balance Hierro BOA ($160).

And if you hope to save about $10 and don’t care about the BOA so much, the original Fuga EX 2 is essentially the same shoe but with a Quick Lacing. It also has attachments for gaiters that are not present on the BOA version.

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Fuga EX BOA holds your foot so well, you don’t want to take it off

Straight from the box, I was pleasantly surprised with the fit of the Kailas Fuga EX BOA. Even though it has a nearly identical upper design as the other Kailas shoes I’ve tested, there is just something about the BOA version that made it feel special for me.

My foot felt really nice and secure as the upper wrapped around it in a snug yet non-constricting way. I don’t think anyone should be concerned about heel slippage or foot shifting around inside the shoe given how firm the heel hold is. It is a solid 5/5 firmness on our scale.

But in order to experience the best fit in this Kailas shoe, you have to make sure you’ve got the right size in the first place. Personally, I had to size up to EU 42 (US 8.5), one full size from my regular EU 41 (US 8).

I measured my exact foot length (260 mm) based on this guideline and checked my size in the official Kailas size chart.

BOA closure works wonders!

Having tested other Kailas shoes with the Quick Lacing system, I was very pleased with how easy it is to regulate the fit. But then the Fuga EX BOA came along and blew my mind.

I’m generally biased towards running shoes with the BOA because I just LOVE the way it works.

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BOA completely eliminates the need to stop, bend over, and fiddle with the laces during your run. It allows you to fine-tune the fit easily with just one hand. The regulating knob moves by a millimeter, so you can really achieve the most customized fit in seconds. It also stays tight and doesn't loosen up as you run.

Tons of amazing cushioning in the Kailas Fuga EX BOA

The most max-cushioned among Kailas shoes, the Fuga EX BOA is also above the average stack height across our lab-tested shoes.

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My measurements show 38.5 mm in the heel and 27.6 mm in the forefoot, which gives us a drop of 10.9 mm. For reference, the average stack height of trail runners in our database is 25 mm, while the average drop is 7 mm.

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All of this cushioning has kept me well-protected and energized all throughout the 10K run. I can see myself running a marathon or even an ultra in this cushy jumbo.

Additional underfoot comfort and padding are offered by the insole. It is quite thick, showing 5.2 mm in the heel, while the average across our lab-tested insoles is 4.6 mm. It is also easily removable in case you need to insert your custom orthotics.

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Soft for protection, firm for the spring

The Kailas Fuga EX BOA strikes a fine balance between soft and firm in its cushioning unit. As you can see from the clip below, the foam compresses better in the heel and midfoot. This has been really helpful in softening the impact, especially for a heel striker like me.

Keep in mind, however, that the foam tends to get firmer in colder temperatures. Based on our freezer test, the difference is 14.3%. I measure the shoe’s softness with a durometer, then put it in the freezer for 20 minutes, and then take the measurements again.

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The forefoot of Fuga EX BOA is not only firmer but also significantly stiffer, meaning less flexible. Its stiffness measures at 46.4 N, which is way above the average 30.8 N. If the numbers don’t really speak to you, check out the video below.

Because it is harder to flex, the toe area becomes a sort of trampoline which adds a little kick to your step as you take off. It’s nowhere near the carbon plate on the Kailas Fuga Elite 2 of course, but I could feel the benefit especially when running uphill.

Contributing to that “kick” is the shoe’s raised up toe area. You can see it when the shoe is standing on a flat surface. This design kind of recreates the motion of a rocking chair but in the shoe.

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Amazing cushioning-to-weight ratio

The Fuga EX BOA is light on both the foot and the scales! In my men’s US size 8.5, it weighs 272 g. This is considered super light for a trail shoe with that much cushioning. The average weight of maximalist trail shoes is 318 g.

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Superb grip and protection of the Fuga EX BOA

As I was running through some really tricky terrain full of rocks and roots, I never once felt insecure in the EX BOA. The Vibram Megagrip rubber felt very sturdy and sticky and the lugs were biting into the ground like hungry.

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According to the brand, the shoe has a 4-mm lug depth, but in my measurements, it’s 3.7 mm. Not a big difference though, considering that it’s still above the average 3.4 mm anyway.

Kailas calls its tread pattern “decelerating,” as the shape, size, and allocation of the lugs are meant to keep you surefooted on both the ascents and the descents. Having run on some pretty hilly trails, I can fully subscribe to its efficiency.

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And if your toes are like magnets for rocks and you bump into them a lot, the protective TPU layer around the forefoot will keep you safe. It is pretty substantial to the touch and creates a solid bumper on the run.

Kailas plays its A-game in the quality department

The brand really did a fantastic job designing the Fuga EX BOA. Every detail in the shoe screams quality: the welded overlays, the hard-wearing rubber, the sturdy foam along with many other parts. It is the kind of shoe that will last you well beyond 500 miles.

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You can literally feel the quality while fingering over the shoe.

Kailas Fuga EX BOA can be your summer shoe

This Kailas shoe breathes very well even on the warmer days in June when I tested it. It is both the outer mesh fabric and the inner lining that let enough air pass through and keep your foot fresh from the inside.

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Complete lab-specs overview

  Kailas Fuga EX BOA Average
Whole shoe
Weight (g) 272 277
Drop (mm) 10.9 8.9
Flexibility of the shoe (N) 46.4 30.8
Flexibility of the shoe (Freezer 20 min) (N) 66.0 40.5
Flexibility of the shoe (% of change) 42.1 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) 8.0 6.2
Width Upper - Forefoot (mm) 98.2 98.8
Width Upper - Heel (mm) 72.7 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) 108.5 111.8
Width Midsole - Heel (mm) 83.3 89.1
Stack - Forefoot with insole (mm) 27.6 24.1
Stack - Heel with insole (mm) 38.5 32.9
Durometer Midsole Heel (Room temperature) (HA) 42.0 40.5
Outsole
Outsole thickness (Heel) (mm) 1.8 3.7
Lugs Depth (mm) 3.7 3.4
Durometer Outsole Heel (Room temperature) (HC) 84.0 82.2
Insole
Insole Heel Thickness (mm) 5.2 4.6
Insole: removable yes -

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Trail
Weight: Men 9.6oz / Women 7.6oz
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.