Our verdict

A max-cushioned trail shoe with a nearly 40 mm heel stack? With a carbon plate? For $160? We loved all of these in the Kailas Fuga YAO, which we also think is a hidden gem in the sea of trail running shoes. It is very easy to overlook due to the brand's relatively recent appearance on the market. And yet, since you're already here, a long list of the shoe's benefits might end your search for a new high-performance pair right now.


  • Highly cushioned
  • Unbelievably lightweight
  • Propulsive carbon plate
  • Rocker shape rolls you forward
  • Stable platform
  • Versatile (road-to-trail)
  • Breathable upper
  • Secure lockdown
  • Quick and easy lacing
  • Affordable for its kind


  • Not for wide feet
  • Shallow lugs

Audience verdict


Who should buy the Kailas Fuga YAO

This curious offering from Kailas is likely to attract runners who:

  • need a door-to-trail shoe that feels at home on paved roads and hard-packed trails
  • want a speed-oriented carbon-plated trail shoe
  • are after a max-cushioned beast to tackle long distances


Who should NOT buy the shoe

If the 1.7 mm lug depth of the Fuga YAO doesn't cut it for your trails, we encourage you to consider the Saucony Endorphin Edge (3.4 mm) or the Hoka Tecton X (3.5 mm). Both shoes offer the same advantages as a max-cushioned and carbon-plated shoe. The only caveat is their higher price point ($200 retail price).

Runners with wider feet might as well stay away from this Kailas shoe. The abovementioned Endorpin Edge is a better alternative for wide-footers.

Summer-ready trail shoe

The Kailas Fuga YAO scores high on our breathability tests. On a 1-5 scale where 5 is the most breathable, we rated the shoe at 4. This measurement is based on how much smoke is able to pass through the shoe's upper material and how fast it does so compared to other shoes.

Kailas Fuga YAO (left), Adidas Runfalcon (right)

You can also see how transparent (=breathable) the mesh fabric is when put against a source of bright light.

One of the most cushioned trail shoes out there!

This generously cushioned shoe screams long distance.

We measured the heel stack of the Kailas Fuga YAO at 38.6 mm! This is 5.7 mm thicker than the average and is in the top 1% of trail shoes with the biggest stack height.


Meanwhile, in the forefoot, our caliper measurement shows 27.9 mm. This is 3.5 mm thicker than the average.


Disclaimer: We measure each shoe's stack height with the insole included.

The insole in the Fuga YAO measures 4.6 mm in the heel. This is exactly the average for running shoe insoles.


The difference between the heel and forefoot stack gives us a 10.7 mm drop. This is higher than the average 8.5 mm and is more conducive for heel strikers.


Kailas Fuga YAO keeps it lighter than average!

According to the brand's product page for the Fuga YAO, it weighs 10 oz (285 g) in a men's US 8.5.

Fact check

We can (almost) confirm that weighing the shoe in the same size. Based on our measurements, it is 10.2 oz (289) g per shoe.


This is a very impressive weight for such a heavily cushioned sole. For reference, trail shoes with a heel stack of 35 mm and more weigh 10.6 oz (300 g) on average.

Plush cush

The Kailas Fuga YAO welcomes the foot with a soft hug.

Measuring the shoe's foam softness with a durometer, we found it to be 26% softer than the average.


Disclaimer: We take measurements five times prior to noting down the result. The photo shows the final measurement.

A small caveat for those planning to take the Fuga YAO out on a cold day. The shoe's sole tends to get firmer and stiffer when exposed to low temperatures and needs a little breaking in to restore its original softness.


After sitting in the freezer for 20 minutes and going through the tests again, the shoe got 67.7% firmer and 69.4% stiffer (less flexible).

Carbon plate and rocker help your need for speed 

Speaking of flexibility. Given that there is an almost full-length carbon plate embedded into the shoe, it stiffens up the sole just enough to propel you forward, kind of like a springboard.

Meanwhile, the curved rocker shape of the sole contributes to a faster turnover from heels to toes. 


You can see the carbon plate in the photo below - it is the black streak between the white and red foams.


A plate of such length reflects in the minimized pliability of the Fuga YAO. Measuring its resistance to flexing, we found that it is 34% stiffer than average. It is similar to that of the Saucony Endorphin Edge.

Even when simply bending and twisting the shoe with our hands, the shoe's stiffness clearly stands out. On a scale from 1 to 5 where 5 is the stiffest, we rated its longitudinal flexibility as 5 and its torsional flex as 4.

As stated by the brand, the presence of a carbon plate "prevents twisting," making the shoe feel more stable.

Stable cornering in the Kailas Fuga YAO

The shoe ranks pretty high in the stability department.

Despite the fact that the shoe's primary cushioning is soft, it is cradled inside a firmer foam (the red one) to create a steady platform. And with the stiff plate placed in between the two foams, it gets even more stable. Ankle twisting is not experienced in this shoe.

Another contributing factor is the sole width.

We measured the shoe's heel width at 95.2 mm which is significantly wider than average - by 6.1 mm!


In the forefoot, it is not as impressive. At 111.6 mm, it is within the average range for running shoes (112.1 mm).


Seamless transition from road to trail

The shallow lugs of the Fuga YAO speak for themselves - this is not a shoe for technical trails.


Even though it is obvious even to the untrained eye, the treads on this Kailas shoe are only 1.7 mm deep, based on our measurements. This is significantly thinner than the average 3.3 mm for trail shoes.


This puts the shoe in the hybrid category meaning that it is best for moderate, hard-packed trails, parks, and paved roads.

Perfect fit for narrow-to-average feet

The Kailas Fuga YAO has a form-fitting upper with a solid lockdown. It fit close to the foot in the heel and midfoot but opens up a little in the toebox.


However, it is by no means a roomy toebox and is likely to be restricting for wider feet. We measured its widest part to be 98 mm which is right at the average among running shoes.


On the bright side, no heel slippage is expected from its clutching heel counter. We assessed its stiffness as 4 out of 5, where 5 is the stiffest.

Kailas sizing might differ from your normal US size

Here is the best way to know your size in Kailas:

1. Find out the MM measurement of our current running shoe. It is often found on the inner side of the tongue (a three-digit number like 260 or 26.0); or, measure your foot, if you have time.

2. Check Kailas' official shoe size chart to find what US size your MM measurement corresponds to. Because the brand makes its shoes in the EU sizing scheme, some of the US sizes can be missing for the Fuga YAO. Like, the men's US 8 and 9, for example.

Based on our measurements, the Fuga YAO runs true to size (based on Kailas' chart).


Speed lacing for quick on-off

Bungee laces are often a very welcome feature in trail running shoes. It takes seconds to pull up the toggle and adjust the fit on the go. A handy lace pocket is added on top of the tongue too to let you hide the excess shoestrings.


There is also an open lace hook, similar to those found on hiking boots which lets you unlace the shoe in an instant.