Kailas’ journey to trail running – iRunFar


In 2003, passionate about mountain biking, skier and outdoor enthusiast Baggio zhong founds the brand Kailas to meet the needs of China’s growing camper and backpacker population. As it happens, its friendship with many dirtbag climbers has led the brand to develop and produce a growing selection of technical mountaineering products for those same friends.

Kailas, named after Mount Kailash, a famous Tibetan pilgrimage mountain, quickly established itself as a leading figure in China’s nascent mountain community. For example, the brand has sponsored the guide school of the Chinese Mountaineering Association since the school was created. Since 2006, Kailas has sponsored athletes attempting first climbs and new routes on more than 30 peaks as part of its Unclimbed Peak project, while also sponsoring events like the Yangshuo Climbing Festival and the Kailas Ice Climbing Festival. Along the way, the brand has won international industry awards (ISPO) for its ice screws, ice axes, technical climbing bags, harnesses, and more.

A target peak of the Kailas Unclimbed Peak project. All photos courtesy of Kailas.

After nearly a decade of Kailas making camping, trekking, and mountaineering gear, outsole maker Vibram approached Kailas about making clothing for beginners. Vibram Hong Kong 100km (HK100) circa 2012. While Kailas didn’t make dedicated trail running gear at the time, they agreed to make running shirts as well as hoodies for the event. Co-founder of HK100 and recently elected president of the International Trail Running Association, Janet Ng, reflects that Kailas’ mountaineering heritage, which requires lightweight products that sacrifice no performance, suits him well in the trail running space. His favorite Kailas product right now is the HK100 running jersey, which stands up to hot and wet races on the Hong Kong trails.

“They were very open to ideas and suggestions, and I think having that mountaineering experience helped … you need light equipment but without compromising on high-end performance and technical quality”, Janet said of Kailas outfitting.

Kailas - Hong Kong 100k

Kailas runners prepare to run the Vibram Hong Kong 100k.

In January 2015, Janet invited iRunFar Bryon Powell to run the HK100. During the race, he was given a Kailas short-sleeved running shirt. Since it was winter at home, the shirt remained on her shelf in Moab, Utah, until summer arrived. When he finally did, he found out what an amazing racing jersey it was. It instantly became one of his favorite hot-weather shirts, so he wore it for many days as he walked through Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument in 2017 and she continues. in its summer shirt rotation until its seventh summer.

Still, it wasn’t until 2017 that Kailas really started promoting its trail running products, even in China, and by 2018 it had a fully fleshed out and dedicated trail running kit, including shoes and shoes. backpack. Of course, the brand was reluctant to expand into trail running shoes. He had a model, the Fuga, from summer 2016, but didn’t want to rush while he found the right suppliers and put himself in his shoes. It didn’t take long, as in 2019 the Kailas Fuga Pro trail running shoe won an ISPO award based on the shoe’s AWS 2.0 system that allows for an ideal wrap of the foot from the upper.

Kailas Fuga Pro

The award-winning Kailas Fuga Pro.

that of New Zealand Scotty hawker, who rose to the podium at both UTMB and CCC in Kailas shoes, first ran in the brand’s shoes at the end of 2018 as a member of Team Vibram. He did this just to test a new trail shoe with a Vibram outsole, but liked it enough to pick it from his large quiver of shoes to run the HK100 in January 2019. During that time, he also gave Kailas some feedback on their trail shoe. , especially about the brand’s signature lacing system, worn the company’s mountaineering boots and wanting a firmer EVA in the forefoot midsole. He was impressed when he received a pair of prototype shoes a few weeks later incorporating his ideas. He signed up as a Kailas athlete in February 2019.

“Seeing the amount of effort and attention to detail… the whole research and development process…. [It was] really cool to be a part of this process.

Scotty spoke about the support and flexibility he has experienced working with the brand.

“It’s good for me… to be sponsored and supported by a brand that I think really supports me… that has listened and understood. It’s nice to know that they are supporting you through all the ups and downs.

Scotty Hawker - Kalias - Kamil Sustiak

Scotty Hawker in Kailas outfit.

Scotty continues to be impressed with the brand’s greed for feedback and its desire to improve. At the moment he is wearing the Kailas Fuga Pro 3 and he insists that he would run in the trail shoe, which he loves as much on the big mountain races in New Zealand as for the UTMB or the CCC , even if he did not run during the mark.

Janet also spoke about the quality of the shoe, saying: “The [trail shoe] I’m currently wearing the Fuga Pro 3. It’s super comfortable, super grippy…. I’m pretty picky with the shoes, gotta be like, wow [when choosing a shoe]. “

Kailas continues to grow, both overall and in the trail and mountaineering world. In China, Kailas has over 350 of its own stores and can be found in over 650 additional outdoor stores. With his commitment to trail running, not only in China but also around the world, you will hear a lot more about Kailas in the future.

Kailas Store - Made to climb

One of over 350 standalone Kailas stores in China.

[Editor’s Note: This article is sponsored by Kailas. You can purchase Kailas running products on its website and in many Amazon stores around the world.]

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