Barefoot Shoes

Feelmax Kuuva 3 Boot Review

With a waterproof lining, a 2.5mm zero-drop sole and wide toebox, the Kuuva 3 from Feelmax is perhaps the lightest and most flexible waterproof boot in the world!

Read on to hear my thoughts as well as a comparison to boots from Lems and Vivobarefoot!

With a waterproof lining, a 2.5mm zero-drop sole and wide toebox, the Feelmax Kuuva 3 is perhaps the lightest and most flexible waterproof boot in the world! Read on to hear my thoughts as well as a comparison to boots from Lems and Vivobarefoot!

About the Kuuva 3 boot from Feelmax

Here’s what Feelmax Says about the Kuuva 3:
All new waterproof barefoot hiking boot. Excellent for Hunting, Hiking, Mountaineering and City. All-year use, but one of the few barefoot boots suitable for severe winter conditions. Very flexible and very light. Weight — 10.2 oz (41 Euro, US 9) Total Stack Height — Roughly 4mm

Pros —

  • 100% waterproof
  • Traditional laces with pegs that go up the entire height of the boot
  • Very thin, yet protective sole
  • Lightweight
  • Flexible

Cons —

  • Waterproofing hinders breathability
  • Shallow treads lack traction
  • Needs a true heel loop for ease of putting on and taking off.
Barefoot Scale — The best waterproof barefoot boot in the world! Great for hiking, shoveling, and playing in the snow. Take a spin around the Feelmax Kuuva 3 via these photos:


The Kuuva 3 features Feelmax’s NatuRun 2.5 mm outsole that is very flexible and provides a fantastic amount of ground feel that rivals and exceeds many other minimalist shoes, letalone boots! With the Kuuva 3, you can feel plenty of details from the road, sidewalk, or trail. Little rocks, stray twigs, etc—they can all be felt through the super sensitive, yet protective sole from the Kuuva. The overall ground feel is similar to a Bikila LS, which is fantastic in a boot of all things! The boot is so thin that I actually decided to take it for a test run of three miles during the Boston blizzard and they could actually be running shoe in a pinch! Of course, the height of the shoe does prevent you from being able to truly jog with, but everything is flexible enough to get the job done if you need to make a run for takeout or snacks during the big game. The sole is completely “squeezable” from all sides and angles and you can even perform an upward toe flex. Some may be concerned about cold toes with such a thin sole, but the boot materials are fantastic and even after playing in the snow for a couple hours and shoveling a few driveways, my feet were never cold with nothing else but a very thin pair of sport socks and the natural insulation of the boot. One thing to keep in mind with the Kuuva 3 is that the sole does not provide a lot of traction. The tread and lugs are quite shallow compared to other boots and grip is limited in snowy conditions. The rubber itself is somewhat soft so the Kuuva is quite capable on ice, but if you encounter too much snow, you may find yourself slipping around quite a bit. This, of course, is a sacrifice that had to be made to make the sole of the Kuuva so incredibly thin and did not detract from my enjoyment of the boot for walking around the city, light trails, shoveling, and sledding, but other users may want a more aggressive sole for some more specialized activities and even among other barefoot boots, traction with the Kuuva is simply average.

Fit and Materials

The Kuuva is comprised of a soft inner lining fabric, the 2.5mm NatuRun sole, and a combination leather and nylon upper. The leather extends from the sole of the shoe and about ¾ up the shoe and ankle. The Nylon takes over around the hinge point of your foot and in the construction of the tongue. One thing that Feelmax can do to improve the overall design in terms of function is in its heel tab. Much like in many running shoes, this tab helps you put the Kuuva 3 on, but this little tab would be much better if it was a true loop. The waterproofing occurs at the inner lining level, so the leather and nylon upper can actually get wet, but your foot will remain dry inside. The tongue of the boot does not articulate until about ¾ up the ankle of the boot, so the boot is 100% waterproof from that point and below. Above the tongue placement, snow is very unlikely to get in, but submerging the boot beyond that point will allow puddles to pour all over your foot. Feelmax made a deliberate decision to place the tongue this high to enhance the waterproofing of the shoe and it’s very appreciated when trudging around during a blizzard, enjoying a day of sledding or building snowmen. The Kuuva 3 has a “Cleanport NXT” organic anti-odor treatment (similar to Aegis) in the insole, which is removable insole. The insole is very thin at around 1mm and is quickly compressed on impact with each step.
The lining material and inner fabric does a fantastic job keeping everything warm. Despite the thin sole, your toes are likely to stay warm while enjoying winter activities. However, if you stand in place for too long, you may find yourself getting a bit chilly. Because of the waterproof lining, the boots are not as very breathable. After wearing The Kuuva 3 for an extended period of time, my feel did get a little sweaty, even with socks on, but it’s a compromise to have a truly waterproof boot. Enjoying the boots in cold weather definitely cuts down on the humidity within the shoe and overall, it is not much worse than non-waterproof boots. However, that is something to think about when deciding between a waterproof boot like the Kuuva 3 and a non-waterproof one, like Lems Boulder or the Gobi (and Gobi II) from Viviobarefoot.

Comparison to Lems Boulder and Vivobarefoot Gobi Boots

From left to right, the VivoBarefoot Gobi, the Lems Boulder (in black), and the Kuuva 3.
From left to right, the VivoBarefoot Gobi, the Lems Boulder (in black), and the Kuuva 3.
In this shoot-off, we have the Vivobarefoot Gobi and Lems Boulder boot. Both have been reviewed on birthdayshoes and they are fantastic boots. The Vivobarefoot Gobi has a thin leather upper and a TPU sole, while Lems Boulder has a nylon upper and a 9mm injection rubber sole. Here are some stats! As you can see, the Kuuva has the thinnest sole, yet is also the heaviest. At a featherweight at 10.2 oz, the Kuuva 3 the lightest waterproof boot in the world, but it is still a couple ounces heavier than its non-waterproof barefoot boot counterparts. The Vivobarefoot Gobi weighs 8 oz and Lems Boulder weighs 8.2 oz. The difference is noticeable, but at only 2 ounces, it’s essentially negligible. However, the Kuuva 3 is a great deal warmer than the other barefoot boots in my collection and the extra ounces of lining and fabric definitely goes a long way in making it a warmer boot. It is also the only boot among the three that is completely waterproof—of course. In terms of flexibility, it is a tie between the Kuuva 3 and the Gobi, while the lightweight Boulder is VERY flexible for a 9mm boot, but is just not quite in the same league as the other two boots—regardless, you can roll of ALL THREE of these boots into a little ball with ease. With such great boot options for minimalist lovers, it’s a wonder why anyone would want a traditional boot, all of which feel like cement by comparison. If you are looking for a flexible and light boot, you can do no wrong any of these three. In terms of warmth, the Kuuva 3 easily beats out the competition. The Gobi was never marketed as a winter boot—though it will do just fine as long as you avoid jumping into piles of snow, and the Boulder’s nylon upper is simply not as insulating as the combination leather and waterproof lining upper of the Kuuva 3. These three boots have completely different looks and while looks are subjective, I would say that Kuuva 3 is the plainer looking of the three. The Gobi is a stylish boot and is geared towards the urban crowd. The leather upper gives it a supple look and the entire boot has a very trendy look to it—almost hand-made and somewhat hipster. This is cool, since Vivobarefoot just started making actual hand-cut shoes in the form of the Porto, which Justin gave a fantastic review for a couple months ago. The Boulder is in my opinion, the best looking of the bunch, with a higher toe box, tartan interior and workman appearance. Unlike the Gobi and the Kuuva 3, the Boulder has a structure-stitched toe box, which gives it a more masculine, traditional boot appearance. By comparison, the Gobi and Kuuva have a single-toe design, which makes them look wider and more “clown-like” from some angles (which is common in casual barefoot shoes with wide toe boxes). The Kuuva 3 is the most winter-capable of the bunch, but its appearance does not scream, “snow boot”. It has a very clean design and the nice, thick lacing buckles are a nice touch, but its design is not quite as eye-catching as the other two boots. Everything serves a purpose: The simple leather upper as insulation and the first barrier to snow, the nylon bits at the top for some texture change and lighter weight, the buckles for enhanced tying and security—it is a waterproof and functional and simple looking boot. In terms of fit, all three have nice wide toeboxes, but there are quite a few differences to the last used by each manufacturer. The Kuuva boot is the widest of the three overall, from toe to heel, while the Boulder quite a bit more snug in the midfoot and ankle, and the Gobi is somewhere in between. The Kuuva also has the most room for toe splay, while the Gobi has the least amount of vertical space for your toes. For my feet, the Kuuva 3 is the more comfortable of the three; it has a wide last throughout its entire construction and has plenty of space for toe splay, wide feet, and—perhaps most importantly—thick socks. As a side note, the Kuuva 3 also appears to be the most durable of the bunch. After enjoying both the Gobi and the Boulder for a year, the Gobi has started to show some loose thread around at the seems in the front of the shoe and the Boulder has exhibited some fraying around the toe box area. The Kuuva 3, on the other hand, does no not have exposed seams, which was most likely a design choice to increase its waterproofing and it’s overall construction feels more robust and durable than the other boots. I would expect the Kuuva to though many tough winters.


If you are a minimalist enthusiast looking to keep your feet happy during the winter months, the Feelmax Kuuva 3 just about perfect. With a 2.5mm sole, it is super flexible and lightweight, while its waterproof lining and interior fabric keeps things quite warm. Compared to other barefoot boots, the Kuuva 3 gives you much more interior space, warmth, and the addition of a waterproof lining is great for all your winter activities. And you can get all that for €159.90 (That’s about $180). If you’re feeling Feelmax and in the market for their fitness shoes, check out my previous reviews of the Panka 2 and Niesa 3! A huge thanks goes to Feelmax for sending me the Kuuva 3 for review!

By Jarvis

Minimalist ultra-marathon runner with flat dinosaur feet.

50K Ultra-Marathon Runner

I hold a PhD in Political Science.
You can follow my photography adventures at and Instagram at

27 replies on “Feelmax Kuuva 3 Boot Review”

Great review I’m curious if you have tried out the vivobarefoot tracker would love to hear your comparison as I’m looking for a barefoot boot for hunting. Makes it easier to sneak up on deer when you can feel the ground under foot and still have that protection.

Could you please compare kuuva 3’s toebox width to panka 2 and niesa 3..? I have tested first panka and niesa and they were too narrow, but i just got vasko and it has same naturun sole as kuuva 3 and seems to be wide enough. And pretty awesome shoe also.


Unfortunately, I have not tried the Tracker from Vivobarefoot. It’s not available in the US for men yet (you can find it for women, but the shape of their shoes are different between genders).

I would say that based upon what info I can find on the Tracker, it would be more appropriate for rugged use, but the lugs would have diminished groundfeel compared to the flat sole of the Kuuva. The Kuuva 3 is more comparable to something like the Scott, rather than the Tracker or the Gobi II weatherproof (which has a lower collar and is only “weather resistant”).


Both the Panka 2 and Niesa 3 are NARROWER than the Kuuva 3. My toes are basically going pushing from edge to edge on the Niesa, while they have more room in the Kuuva 3.

It has become my favorite winter boot, by far.


Just a short comment on the Kuuva price: it´s 159€ in Europe (including the Value Added Tax of 24%), Outside Europe 128,95€.

Great review. I might order a pair to help me through local winter hikes. Warm feet are a nice thing to have.
I am curious to how it would compare to the Sole Runner Transition Vario. Altough that boot is water repellant.

Hi Jarvis. I have the Tracker and they are a great boot with one fundamental flaw: the waterproofing just doesn’t work. Went on 7 mile stomp across a moor and shoes, socks and feet were sodden! In correspondence with Vivo to see if they are faulty, but in the meantime I’m looking at the Kuuva as a potential audience.

Can you answer a couple of questions? 1) Just how waterproof are these bad boys? Any issues? 2) how does the sizing relate to vivos? I wear UK size 9 (US10) generally, but had to go up a size on the tracker.




From my experience, the Kuuva has never let in water this entire winter (and I live in Boston!)

Unfortunately, I have not tried the tracker, so I cannot provide a comparison. However, I have heard that the Scott boot lets in some water in, but that one is “weather resistant”, not waterproof like the tracker is advertised as.

But, in looking at the Tracker, its sole and lugs, the Feelmax Kuuva will be MUCH more flexible and lighter.

Their toebox is very similar to the Vivobarefoot Gobi and is plenty wide for my feet. They are also very flexible and pretty collapsible. By far, my favorite waterproof boot.

To give you an idea of sizing, I wear a 41 in Vivobarefoot AND Feelmax, 43 in Lems (boulder boot), 41 in Vibrams, 9 US in everything else.

So, if you sized up for the VIvobarefoot Tracker, you should do the same for the Kuuva.

The waterproofing for the Kuuva is in the lining, so the leather uppers can get a little wet, but the rest of the boot stays dry. They don’t breath as well because of this, so wear good socks!


Hey, thanks for the review. I’m concerned with the durability of this boot. I’m willing to sacrifice traction for a flat sole but I’m not confident that these boots will hold up to a few hunting seasons… Do you have any thoughts on durability when it comes to rips/tears (i.e. bushwacking or catching the boot on sharp sticks.) I’m only averaging like 1.5 seasons with vibrams but on top of that they just aren’t keeping my feet warm enough so I don’t end up pushing as far as I should. Would you advise me to look for a different boot?


I’ve worn these guys almost everyday during the historic Boston snow storm. They are a little bit broken in, but definitely good for another season or two–maybe three if I ever decide to start taking care of my things.

I would bet that some leather conditioning or wax would go a long way to preserving them.

I have not experienced a single rip or tear yet and no water ever gets inside. However, I did manage to snap one of the metal eyelets where the laces criss-cross (my fault, really, but I think Feelmax should have made true eyelets instead of these half-open metal ones)

Feelmax says that it’s good for “All-year use, but one of the few barefoot boots suitable for severe winter conditions” and I’ll agree. It’s definitely more rugged than my Gobi’s from Vivobarefoot (non-waterproof), but they are probably not as rugged as the old rockports I used to wear in my non-barefoot days. Overall, these are my favorite barefoot boots and they will stay that way until they die on me, which I expect would definitely last a couple of hunting seasons in your case.

A review of the previous version of the Kuuva (2) shows that they weren’t durable past 18 months, but I think Feelmax has gone a long way in improving their design.
(youtube search kuuva review and you’ll find it!)

thank you for the great info and reviews……I’m going to go for a pair of these over the Vivo Trackers.
much gratitude,
Samantha…..from France 🙂

Hi Jarvis,

You mentioned that this boot is not ideal for running. For those who run in minimalist shoes outside of winter, why would this boot not be a great winter alternative? I used to wear VFF Lontras, but they fell victim to the elements and my feet would become cold quickly. Excellent review btw.


The boots are getting a lot SOFTER, but are still doing pretty well. The waterproofing is still there and the sole has not separated or anything of that sort, but they are starting to look tired–not worn, but tired. Floppy?


the sizing is standard to minimalist shoes. Meaning they are true to size when you know what is your size with minimalist shoes. For example, I used to wear size 11 to have wider shoes, but I am a 9 with minimalist shoes because they are typically wider and with a nicer toebox.


These are not great for running in the show in that they are boots! They collar is higher up and you’ll feel a bit restricted. BUT if you run in boots anyways, these are fine. I would say that there are no boots that are appropriate for running, but you can run with them in a pinch (catching an uber, for example).
These are pretty warm for what they are. The Vibram KSO EVO WP that I previous reviewed were FREEZING, while I can stay pretty comfy in the Feelmax boots. If things get cold, I can keep moving.

Also wondering what else is in this class of waterproof and minimalist? For me this will be a rainboot, no snow encounters


The fit is true to size. I’m a size 9 US and 41 EU in most and these fit great with the 41.

As you can see from the photos and the review, this is a great snow boot.

I’d be interested in hearing about comparisons with the cheaper Uura boot as well. (And if you guys decide to do a review of that other boot, so much the better…)

Sigh. I’m never going to find the right winter hiking boot/shoe for me, lol. I don’t know if I need full waterproof (I like breathability), but I do need traction (but still have good sole flexibility) and some amount of warmth (not a summer shoe, but if it were warm, I wouldn’t be needing a “shoe” lol). What do you think? =(

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