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Friday, February 21, 2014

Ice Killing Machine - IceBug Shoe Review




Last October while running Runner’s World 10K, Amy and I met Gary. Gary is a US rep for IceBug shoe company out of Sweden. One thing led to another and Gary offered to send us some IceBug’s to test once he got a new shipment from IceBug. IceBug is a fairly new name in the US, and just making their way into the market. 


Company description from their website reads: 
IceBug is a Swedish shoe company that in the year of 2001 started to challenge the global footwear giants. We were frustrated by having to choose between slipping and say no to outdoor activities because of the risk of slipping. The company started as a result of us wanting to be able to stay active year-round.
So we created shoes for running and activities on slippery winter surfaces. With a unique rubber compound that provides outstanding traction and smart studs, which adapts to the surface, we make shoes that allow you to move around as normal even when it’s slippery out there.
Fresh out of the box

I was very excited when I actually received my pair of IceBug shoes shortly after New Year. I received black DTSBUGrip in size 12. Site description for these shoes reads:
Stable, cushioned every day trainer with outstanding traction on slippery surfaces. With DTS we aim high in terms of comfort, with soft padding in collar and a wide foot shaped ergonomic last that your feet will love instantly. The upper in rip stop nylon is both durable and water repellent. The high torsion and fully cushioned midsole result in a stable shoe perfect for recreational winter runners and long distance training. The BUGrip outsole allows you to maintain the pace and keep the stride relaxed through whatever condition winter is throwing at you!
Side view

First Impression:

Out of the box these shoes seemed very intimidating. Studs on the bottom and very sharp looking. Right away in my head I was thinking that there was no way you can run in these on pavement due to the studs. After consulting with Gary, it seems like that you can run on pavement without an issue. More on that later. 
 
They look great

The upper is very solid. It is made out of rip stop Nylon and laminated Micro Suede. It is also water resistant. The shoes seem rigid out of the box, but fairly light. The midsole is made out of lightweight EVA with what they call ESS stabilizers. Outsole is the heart of this shoe. It is made out of rubber with BUGrip 19 carbide tip studs. It is very aggressive, grippy and mean looking with studs sticking out of the shoe.

DTS BUGrip weights about 10.5oz for mens size 9. It is a 14mm heel to toe drop, but it is not very noticeable at first. The shoe feels very comfortable out of the box. However, just walking around in this shoe feels a little strange due to the studs on the bottom. Once you start running that feeling goes away. On ice and snow they are very silent, but on pavement you will hear clinging of the studs. Can be irritating at first, but you get used to it.
 
Aggressive outsole

Performance:

We have been very blessed this winter with ice and snow (NOT), so I’ve had several opportunities to take these shoes out for a spin. I’ve done 2 long runs in them, 14 miles and 20 miles, all in ice and snow. Surface was a combination of road and trail. While these shoes definitely prefer the trail, running on the road was fine. At times they do get loud if you are running over bare pavement. I can tell with certainty that without these shoes, I would have not made 100 yards from my house without falling. These shoes are simply amazing when it comes to running on ice. I was running over solid sheets of ice, frozen sidewalks, ice covered trails without any slipping. It felt I was running on bare pavement. In snow, they kept my feet dry and comfortable. I can say without a doubt that there is no other shoe on the market that competes with IceBug. They are in a category of their own. The only thing that compares are microspikes and trax that you can add to your existing shoes. 
Killer studs

I did develop minor blister and hot spots on ball of my feet that I could feel after going longer than 10 miles. Both times I was wearing same socks, so it is possible that was the issue. Also, I run mostly in zero drop shoes, so the 14mm drop could have been the culprit. Next time I will have to try different socks.


Pros:

- amazing traction in snow and ice
- water resistant – no need to worry about getting your foot in deep snow or puddle here or there
- comfortable
- wide toe box 

 
They are happy at home in the snow

Cons:

- single purpose – other than snow and ice there is really no function for these shoes, possibly a very muddy trail (they do have other shoes without studs that can be used for other purposes. I am talking specifically about this shoe)
- some blister issue after 10 miles
- 14mm drop – not a deal breaker but I would like to see it little lower. IceBug does have other shoes with 4mm drop

 
IceBug Buff is needed for this weather

Overall I am very glad to have had this opportunity to test out these shoes. Without them I would have been stuck on the treadmill all winter. While they are not my every day running shoe, they do serve their purpose and they will definitely stay in my arsenal. 
 
Our winter this year

Call for comments:

-          What do you wear in ice and snow?
-          If you had an opportunity would you give IceBug a try?
-          If there are any specific questions about this shoe I would be more then happy to answer it.
 
Man on a mission
Disclaimer: These shoes were provided to me free of charge. I was under no obligation to provide this review. Everything contained in this post is my own opinion.

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