Barefoot Shoes

Feelmax Kuuva 4 Boot Review

With a waterproof lining, a 2.5mm zero-drop sole and wide toebox, the Kuuva 4 from Feelmax is the most versatile waterproof boot in the world!

What Feelmax Says
“All new barefoot hiking boot. Improved waterproofing, new lacehooks and more…

I reviewed the Feelmax Kuuva 3 almost two years ago and found them to be a great pair of waterproof minimalist winter boots. In fact, they continue to be my favorite winter boots to this day. Not one to stand on their laurels, the Finnish team at Feelmax have updated their popular boot yet again with some much-requested features for handling tougher winters.


Here’s what Feelmax says about the Kuuva 4:
All new barefoot hiking boot. Improved waterproofing, new lacehooks and more durable laces. New Feelmax NatuRun Sierra outsole with “lugs” for improved grip.The outsole is zero-drop, with 2,5mm thickness, on “lugs” the thickness is 4mm. Higher design. Very comfortable and light. Waterproof inner lining and leather. Leather upper with fabric trim.
Weight | 14.2 oz (42 Euro, US 9.5) Total Stack Height | Roughly 4mm Barefoot scale | The best waterproof barefoot boot in the world gets updated for another season of winter fun! Ideal Uses | Great for hiking, shoveling, catching the train, and playing in the snow. Pros:
  • Taller and more durable than the Kuuva 3
  • Good traction with improved tread design
  • 100% waterproof
  • High-slung tongue
  • Thin, yet protective sole
  • Lightweight
  • Flexible
  • Not very breathable
  • The Heaviest Kuuva yet
  • Still no heel loop
  • Laces become untied easily
Price | €169.98 at time of review ($180 US) Sizing | My size 42 Kuuva 4 (I upped one size from the Kuuva 3 I reviewed for more space and comfort) is an excellent fit for my wide feet. There is a generous toebox and a pretty wide ankle area. If you have wide feet or odd ankles, this shoe will be a great fit for you. There is a very large opening for your feet and you can increasingly tie down your foot with the ample lacing points. It has a great anatomical fit. Get acquainted with the Feelmax Kuuva 4 via these photos:


The updated 2.5mm Naturun Sole
The updated 2.5mm Naturun Sole
The Kuuva 4 features an upgraded version of Feelmax’s NatuRun 2.5mm “Sierra” outsole that is also used in the Vasko II. This is paired with a new lug design that has deeper treads and extra traction “nub” textures for good grip. Like previous Kuuva boots, this sole is very flexible and provides a amount of ground feel that rivals many other minimalist shoes and is a standout for a true winter boot. One of the weaknesses of the Kuuva 3 was its shallow logs and somewhat poor traction, especially for a winter boot. The newest version of the Kuuva features deeper lugs, a more aggressive sole, and the addition of small textures to aid in traction. All things being considered, they were great for climbing on snowy rocks and setting up sled runs. The lugs are still not as aggressive as traditional snow boots, but they do a great job and are a definite improvement over the older sole. As an additional benefit, while the treads have been redesigned for better traction, they are still not as deep as heavy duty boots, which means you won’t track in as much of the nasty stuff when you come home or get into your car.
 The more aggressive Kuuva 4 sole vs the smoother Kuuva 3 sole
The more aggressive Kuuva 4 sole vs the smoother Kuuva 3 sole
Small details like twigs, variations in snow and ice, and small pebbles can be felt underfoot, especially if you wear thin socks. The overall thinness of this sole does not detract from its toughness as the treads get a bit more aggressive in this iteration and the boot gets a tougher build all around; while you feel a lot, you will be protected from the elements. You cannot smash things like with more block-like boots, so be careful when kicking ice or jamming your heel into a snowbank!
The groundfeel for the Kuuva 4 is similar to a Vibram Bikila LS (and better than the Bikila EVO and V-Run shoes); roughly equivalent with anything in the 4-6mm stack height range. The boot is so thin that I actually decided to take it for a test run of a couple miles during a hailstorm and they can do well to help you catch a runaway train or lyft. They are not quite as good for this purpose as the Kuuva 3 because the 4 is a bit taller, but you can still run around quite a bit in them. They are excellent sledding boots: When you need to feel what your feet are doing, but still need to jam your heels into the hill, or dash off to reach ramming speed. The boot itself is very flexible and you can easily do an upward toe flex, but not a downwards flex. The Kuuva 4 strikes a nice balance between insulation/warmth and moisture management. After shoveling for a couple of hours and hiking for the better part of a day in 20 degree weather, my feet never felt cold, but they did start to get a bit sweaty as time went on the day became warmer. This boots are fantastic for late fall-to-winter wear.

Fit and Materials

The Kuuva is comprised of a soft inner lining fabric, the waterproof mid layer, 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 (up the metatarsal guard in the front the and back stay). The Nylon takes over around the hinge point of your foot and in the construction of the tongue. The tall collar is nicely padded and feels great. It does a great job of keeping out snow. The tongue was smartly designed to start quite a bit more than halfway up the entire boot to prevent any water or snow for leaking in. However, this does make it a little bit more difficult to put the boot on; this is a boot that may require kneeling or sitting down to take on or off. Overall, I found the mouth of the boot to be more than large enough for me to put on and take off with ease, but not in a hurry. I do wish that they would include a heel loop so this process can be even faster. There is a little tab in the back, much like the Kuuva 3, but it’s not really usable because of how small it is.
The high-slung tongue starts about 2/3 of the way up the boot; higher than a standard boot for added protection from puddles and snowbanks
The high-slung tongue starts about 2/3 of the way up the boot; higher than a standard boot for added protection from puddles and snowbanks
Because the waterproofing is in the mid-lining, the leather and nylon upper can get wet. The leather and nylon is water resistant, but not waterproof. You will find that they will soak in a bit when you are active in the snow for a while, but your feet will stay dry, except for perhaps some sweat. I highly recommend that you treat your boots with some sort of waterproof treatment to help the leather last a long time and to further enhance the waterproofing of the boot. You can try sprays, such as Kiwi, Scotchgard, or Nikwax, but I highly recommend using wax for extra peace of mind and to toughen up various materials as well; I use boot beeswax for most of my outdoor gear and all of camera bags—just rub some on and use a heatgun/hairdryer to soak it into leather, canvas, or nylon.
The cushy, padded collar keeps stuff out and keeps feet warm
The cushy, padded collar keeps stuff out and keeps feet warm
The Kuuva 3 has a “Cleanport NXT” organic anti-odor treatment in the insole, which is removable. The insole is very thin at around 1mm and I just kept it in for the extra odor protection.
The Cleanport NXT-treated insole
The Cleanport NXT-treated insole
Because of the waterproof lining, the boots are not as very breathable. After wearing The Kuuva 3 for an extended period of time, my feet did get a little sweaty, even with socks on, but it’s a compromise to have a truly waterproof boot. The Kuuva 4 has six metal eyelets that run from the arch of the metatarsal guard to the collar: three set, three hooked. I only used five of the eyelets for better mobility, but utilizing all six will give you the most security and waterproofing. I did notice that the somewhat stiff and rounded laces tend to get untied more often than my other boots, but a double-knot kept them in place for hours. In the future, I hope that Feelmax tries out some new lace options. Personally, I find that plusher, squishier laces, like those found in the Vibram Trek Ascent Insulated, to have excellent tying retention and durability.
The Kuuva 4 features six metal eyelets for lacing. Three are set/fixed and three are hooked. I only utilize five of the eyelets for my own personal comfort.
The Kuuva 4 features six metal eyelets for lacing. Three are set/fixed and three are hooked. I only utilize five of the eyelets for my own personal comfort.
When placed side-by-side with its older brother, the Kuuva 3, it is immediately noticeable that the Kuuva 4 is a more substantial, rugged, and overall more attractive boot. The Kuuva 4 is a good deal taller than the 3 and it looks more premium and less busy that the rather flat-looking Kuuva 3. Interestingly, while the Kuuva 4 is taller, it actually has two fewer eyelets for its laces than the 3. One of the eyelets in the older boot actually snapped off when I was tying them in a hurry last winter, and Feelmax has improved the durability of the latest Kuuva with thicker metal in their eyelets.
Kuuva 4 vs Kuuva 3. The Kuuva 4 is taller, more substantial, and durable
Kuuva 4 vs Kuuva 3. The Kuuva 4 is taller, more substantial, and durable
In terms of fit, the Kuuva 4 has a bit more vertical space in its toebox than the Kuuva 3, but less arch space halfway into the boot; you can always increase this space by loosening up the first set of laces. The tongue is also more padded for comfort and security. In a waterproof test, I stood in a puddle with a Kuuva 3 on my left foot and a Kuuva 5 on my right foot…and waited, and waited, and waited. According to Feelmax they improved on the waterproof elements of the Kuuva 3 with the Kuuva 4 and I can say that both boots are 100% waterproof and my favorite boots for winters in Boston. The Kuuva 4 does have a higher collar and some updates to the materials that will contribute to it being better for deeper snow and puddles, but this comes at the cost of weight. At 14 oz, the Kuuva 4 is still lightweight, but it is nearly 3 oz heavier than its predecessor. This puts it in the same league as most minimalist trail shoes, which is an achievement considering the capabilities of the sole and the waterproofing. In terms of durability, my untreated Kuuva 3 boots are holding up nicely and should last a few more years. I expect the more substantial Kuuva 4 to last even longer. Unlike other chukkas or minimalist boots in my collection, I do not have to baby them; they can handle every game of king of the mountain, sled run, or the worst brown water that the city can offer. I will probably maintain a nice layer of wax to keep them waterproof and handsome for future adventures.
My favorite winter boot
My favorite winter boot

Future Improvements

For one, I would change the laces for better durability and tying management and, of course, add a heel loop. Besides that, there is not a lot that can really add to this nearly-perfected winter boot. To be honest, they are a bit on the pricier side, However, you are getting a premium boot that will keep your feet dry and happy when things get cold. If you love your shoes comfortable and flexible, then you probably see tons of thick, plodding boots around town and view them as strapping on cement blocks just to play in the snow. The Kuuva 4 bucks that idea with something that is more comfortable, just as durable, and just as playful as you are.


If you are a minimalist enthusiast looking to keep your feet happy during the winter months, the Feelmax Kuuva 4 are just about perfect. With a 2.5mm sole, you get a super flexible and lightweight boot, while its waterproof lining and interior fabric keeps your feet warm. While it is not as light as its predecessor, the improvements that Feelmax implemented in terms of durability and usability more than make up for it. The Kuuva remains the best waterproof boot on the market and the only boot I wear for my messiest, and most fun, winter adventures. If you’re interested in picking up a pair, head over to the Feelmax website!
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

24 replies on “Feelmax Kuuva 4 Boot Review”

I just wore my new Kuuva 4s out in the rain for a little while. Two hours later the inside of the toebox is still wet to the touch. It looks like, as with the Kuuva 3, the gigantic seams in the lining might have something to do with it.

Frankly I’m disappointed: two iterations with a big WATERPROOF label on the side, and acknowledging that it wasn’t really true for the K3, but it doesn’t look much better for the K4.

There’s nothing better out there, but they’re barely better than unlined leather moccasin boots at keeping your feet dry.

I bought the Feelmax Kuuva 4 and overall have been impressed. I’ll post a review soon on my blog too.

How does the fit of these compare to the Lems Boulder Boot? I recently purchased a pair of Boulder Boots, and while the fit is better than anything I have previously worn, I still wish they were a little wider.

Thanks for the review! I see you reviewed the Vasko a couple months ago. Any thoughts on version II that I reviewed earlier?


I am wearing one on each foot right now.

Boulder in 43 and Kuuva 4 in 42.

The fit is about the some, but I am surprised that the Boulder runs a bit smaller, despite being a larger size.

Similar toe splay, but the boulder is tighter around the middle of the foot. Same vertical space for toes as well.

The heel is roomier in the Kuuva and is a looser boot overall.
of course, the Boulder is much shorter and it’s a colder, less water-ready boot. I really enjoy both of them. The boulder for fall and the Kuuva for winter.


Just wanna send a WARNING. I bought a pair of Feelmax Kuuva 4´s in November of last year. Overall i was very pleased with them, I use a lot of fivefingers and these boots proved a good option for winter use. Since i live in Sweden temperatures go down quite low but that was never an issue. I have also had some troubles with the laces breaking, in fact four pairs of laces have gone in as many months which is a bit annoying.

The main issue however is the lack of promised waterproofing. After only 4 months the lining between the sole and the boot (both boots) has started to loosen leaving them completely useless in any sort of wet conditions, my feet will be completely soaked. Furthermore when i tried to adress this issue with Feelmax i was first given a lecture on how i should tie my shoes (!) since then i have been completely ignored so now i must take this matter to higher authorities since i personally can’t afford a pair of boots for 160 € that breaks after 4 months of use.

Its really a shame since i was very satisfied with them until all this happened.

Hope other people don’t get into the same trouble. Happy hiking!

I recommend you contact Feelmax about your situation. Even my two year old Kuuva 3 are still very waterproof in my experience. It’s possible that there are some variations and that is something worth highlighting.

I would say that boots such as these should last a while even with tons of wear and tear. If your experience is different, please check with Feelmax for them to make it right.


Dear Jarvis

My main complaint in this was not that the boots were leaking, such things can happen and they may just have been a malfunctioning pair. The issue was with feelmax and their claims department, their entire way of dealing with my claim was below all criticism.

I have now sent them back and I truly hope to be able to write a positive comment about how this situation progresses soon. When the boots were doing their job they were great and preferably I can keep using them. If the administrative hassle continues this will however be my last pair since it’s to costly and to much of a headache to deal with a company that treat you like a nuisance.

Have a nice day 🙂

I need a good boot with the natural toe box , have wide feet and so far nothing works. These boots look good. Problem is I live in Florida . Are these only for winter wear ?

Well, as usual I’m stuck between sizes. 10.5 us would be a 44.5 EU. All they have is the 44 and 45. My guess is that the 44 would be snug but ok, but the 45 would be a little sloppy. Any thoughts Jarvis? Love this review and the website. Keep up the great work.

I’m trying to figure out if the toe boxes in the Kuuva 4 would allow enough space for my big toes. From the pictures it looks like it tapers inward prematurely. Do the toe boxes push your big toes toward your other toes? Also, I live in the rainy NW and waterproofing is essential. Are these shoes waterproof or not? Looks like there are mixed reviews. Thanks!

JLM: I just took them out again in WA rain and knee-height wet vegetation, and the tongue immediately saturated and soaked my foot. I had waterproof pants fastened over the top of the boot, so it wasn’t rain ingress from above. My socks were wet after a one hour hike.

So far it seems that the seams at the front don’t work too well, the seams on the top let water through if the leather saturates, and the tongue is very vulnerable to moisture.

I haven’t contacted customer service — when I did so for the K3 they basically said “sorry, we said it was waterproof and it wasn’t; the next version should be better”, so I don’t expect anything better this time around.

I’m still looking for a waterproof minimalist boot.


An update from me.

I got my first pair of Kuuva 4´s last autumn and after about 4 months of use they were completely useless. The lining between the sole and the boot was loosening and they might as well have been made of canvas. After MUCH arguing with Feelmax they finally sent me a new pair that i received in april this year. Swedish summer has been very dry and warm so there has been no real use for boots, i therefor treated them properly and put them away. Now the autumn is coming and it was time to start using them. I have been doing so for maybe a week and have made sure to treat them and keep them dry in between since the first experience was less than desirable.

Sadly after walking in a rainy/damn forest for about an hour today my feet were absolutely soaked. Its like wearing a canvas shoe all over again. Don’t get me wrong, they are very comfortable to use in dry conditions but they are completely useless as soon as the weather turns wet. These boots are NOT waterproof and that little sticker on the side saying so is a lying little bastard.

It sucks to waste 160 € on a pair of shoes that don’t deliver but worst of all is that I am once again left without a proper boot for winter. Im done with this now, simply do not have the energy for another mail war with Feelmax and will try to find something else although we all know that options are slim.

I truly hope you guys have better luck than me.


Vasko 2 looks like the traction is improved. The original Vasko was not waterproof and the traction for the Blue was too minimal. Honestly I would have preferred the Vasko 2, but after having bought and am now selling my vasko blue, I’m not considering another pair

I use Kuuva every day, also as a business shoe, so I polish it well. In its nature it is ideal and in the winter I use the base.

I see there’s now a Kuuva 5 due for shipping later this month. Again it promises improved waterproofing. Lets hope so, because the wet feet comments above chime with my own experience of Vivobarefoot offerings over the years. Typically these keep my feet dry for a couple of really wet walks – if I’m lucky – and thereafter are useless. Waxing, sprays etc are of no help. Like Gunnar says of the K4, the Waterproof badge on the sides of Vivos is also a big fat.. well, “terminological inexactitude”. At least Kuuva are only claiming waterproofing “up to 4 hours”. Which of course includes waterproof for 4 minutes.. and does not exclude being waterproof only for the first four hours of the boot’s life.

Strikes me that some barefoot requirements do not sit well with the idea of dry feet on a four or five hour walk across wet muddy terrain and through fields of wet grass – which traditional leather hiking boots generally manage without difficulty.Perhaps we need to accept a greater degree of rigidity with thicker leather and ditch “breathable” fabric tongues altogether – or offer gaiter fittings. Not really barefoot – no – but still zero drop and a whole lot less harmful than going back to heels every winter….. or falling ill from walking several miles in boots full of cold water!!!

I bought the Kuuva 5 a month ago and love them. Finally a boot that is truly barefoot but warm enough to work for COLD Chicago winters. So my first impression is that the boots are Outstanding! If they hold up well then I’ll be hooked!

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