Thursday, March 11, 2010

Feelmax Osma Running Shoe

Over the last year, I have been trying to "go minimalist" in my running.  It's hard to find a running shoe that doesn't have a built up heel and extra cushioning and support.  Even "racing flats" aren't flat!  What's a runner to do?  Vibram FiveFingers are a nice alternative and I have enjoyed my KSOs.  Still, I wanted a shoe that looked like a shoe, but still let my feet do their natural thing (the Vibrams can be rather cold in the winter too, an actual shoe would be warmer).  Well, I found a shoe that works.

I just got my Feelmax Osmas in the mail yesterday (Feelmax is a company in Finland that makes several models of "minimalist footwear"--the Osma is their first running model).  Did a 5-mile run in them yesterday and I love this shoe.  FINNS RULE!  I love Finland, Thailand, and any other country or peoples that are involved with this shoe.  Seriously...these are the best shoes I've ever tried.  I haven't done a ton of barefoot running.  Lately it's been mostly Vibram KSOs, Mizuno Wave Universe 3, and New Balance 790s.  I still occasionally run in "puffier" shoes like the Nike Free, Inov-8s, and other even more clunky trail shoes.  I might as well toss them all after running in the Osma.  Well, I may keep the KSOs, Wave Universe, and the NB790s (I run mostly trails). 

Why do I like the Osma?  They are lightweight, have a wide forefoot, no heel lift (at least it seems like zero), no cushioning, no arch support, and they have a very thin sole.  You really feel the ground (more than the KSOs or Wave Universe).  The Osmas "only" cost $80 (actually $72 with the 10% off coupon code "VIP10" from Extreme Outfitters online).  They force me to run correctly (bent knee, no heel landing, short strides, etc).  I don't think about running correctly---I just do it.  Something odd, but I like, is that when I walk in them, they actually allow me to softly land on my heel.  I can't do that barefoot or in the KSOs.  My short run felt like I had rockets attached to my ass...I kept going faster and faster without effort.  It was a warm day, but I didn't sweat.  No hard breathing.  It felt right. And the laces actually allow for custom fitting and should work well for longer ultra marathons where feet expand and might need a lace adjustment.

Except for the dorky styling--my wife says they look like "an old man's bowling shoes"--they are awesome and I wouldn't change a thing.  Maybe a bit more traction--they are completely flat with almost no tread.  All the talk on the Google Minimalist Runner list about the new Terra Plana EVOs had me wanting to buy SOMETHING.  My wife was kind enough to say "You deserve them.  Buy the EVOs (and shut-up)!"  So, I bought the Osmas instead (half the price and they were in stock at Extreme Outfitters).

A few statistics for comparison purposes.  I wear size US13 in almost all of my shoes.  I never know what size to pick with these new minimalist shoes and their fancy euro sizes.  So far, I've got it right with the KSOs and Osma.  Currently these are my favorite shoes with their respective sizes and weights (weight is one shoe):

1. Feelmax Osma, EURO47, 7.8 oz
2. Vibram KSO (black), EURO46, 7.3 oz
3. Mizuno Wave Universe 3, US13, 4.5 oz
4. New Balance 790, US13, 9.0 oz

My love affair with the Osmas may not last, but I'm happy for now.  I'll get in a few more runs...including some long tough trails and let people know if they are still perfect shoes. I have a trail marathon in KY this Saturday...and I'm tempted to wear the Osmas.  I really should stick with the NB790s...but I'm in love and not thinking straight.  Can I move to Finland and retire there?  Thailand?  I want to be close to my new love's birthplace.  The Osma may not work for trail ultra marathons (which are about the only races I do), but I'm hopeful.

Too bad spring is around the corner...I think the Osma would make a good, warmish, winter shoe.  Isn't this minimalist running movement great?  We have several models of FiveFingers, huaraches, Feelmax Osma, Terra Plana EVO, a few "racing flats" and trail Inov-8s, and maybe a running Sockwa!  It's a great time to be a runner.  And with warmer weather's back to the "unshoe" that started it all...the bare human foot.

I bought my Osmas from Extreme Outfitters.  They are also available in the USA from "Gifts from Finland."

If you want a more detailed review of the Feelmax Osma, check out this fellow's blog post from September 2009.


janak said...

Thanks for the info. I didn't see any holes for water drainage in the magnified image. Can you say something about water drainage?

Chris Ⓥ said...

I haven't run in them through water or rain, but they do have a mesh upper that should drain quickly. The bottom part of the upper is suede-like and may not drain as easily as a pure mesh upper would. There are no specific drain holes in the sole (or upper material). The shoe is so light, I can't imagine it holding a ton of water.

Mark said...

You should also check out the Softstar RunAMoc...I have the "trail" version and it's getting awsome reviews from other trail runners. I haven't had it out on the trails yet, just one short run on asphalt today. But it was awsome.

Hand made in the USA for extra credit!

Chris Ⓥ said...

I have the RunAmoc on on my list of shoes to try. Also waiting for the new Altera minimalist shoe. We have so many choices now--it's great!

Mark said...

Yes, it is great that we are getting more minimalist options every day it seems...the more the better and I look forward to seeing some of the big name brands hopefully responding in kind. But on the other hand it's great to see new companies have an opportunity here where the big guys are afraid to cannibalize their existing market.

Jimmy Track said...

I've been running my Feelmax Osma for 2 months now and I'm very pleased with it. I actually bought another pair of Feelmax Osma and Feelmax Kuusaa for my brother as a birthday present and he so loved it. I just don't know which one is

Anonymous said...

Awww, I'm pleased to hear that you love us Finns. I've searched for sale pair of Osma's and I had to go this far to find a an opinion about them.

Obviously I have to get a pair. I'm a basic, more of a beginner in running, but you convinced me alright. Way to us!

Chris Ⓥ said...

Still have my first pair. Probably should buy another...if I can find a pair. They don't seem to have the highest production rate. Still like them. Not the best for tough trail running because they have very little protection and no real tread for trail running (just rough outsole material--fine for roads and easy trails).

Mikko K. said...

Looks promising, within a month or two you should be able to find Feelmax shoes again and perhaps the new models will look less like old man's bowling shoes than the old ones...?

Chris Ⓥ said...


Nice photos. I do like the look of the new Osma. I hope we can get them in the USA.

Bill F. said...

Love my green Osmas, I've run with them about 2 hours per week for 2 years. (After every 3-4 runs I put them in the washing machine, then let them air dry with no problems!) But, they're finally starting to look a little worn. (Probably have 1 year left in them.) Mikko K.: where did you get that picture of the new model? Wow that looks cool! Anyone have any news?

Chris Ⓥ said...

I wish the new models would go on sale in USA.

Bill F. said...

I got my very own pair of Osma 2s! They're shipping from The total cost was $112 including shipping. The shoes arrived about 4 days after the order was placed. I chose the same size as my original Osmas and they were a perfect fit. Yee haw! They feel just as good as the original, with a cooler look and some additional traction patterns on the sole. (Yet the sole still feels as thin as the originals.)

Mikko K. said...

The new Feelmax models have been available locally for a few months now and it seems like they are now available also internationally.


Chris Ⓥ said...

I'll see if I can find the new Feelmax in the USA. Post a long term review when you get a chance. Thanks.