Icebug Winter Traction Boots and Shoes

Built-in Winter Traction

Icebug Boot

 Wendy Bumgardner

For walking in winter weather, Icebug shoes and boots have built-in carbide stud traction cleats. The cleats grip in snow or ice so you have less risk of slipping. They are designed and tested in Sweden for winter-long performance. They come in a variety of designs suitable for running and fitness walking in snow and ice. These include running shoe designs, walking shoe designs, trail shoe, and fashion boot designs.

BUGrip Ice and Snow Studs

The Icebug Metro2 is the most similar to the model sent for review (which is now discontinued.) The shoe is designed for walking and the construction was very high quality.

This model, as with many Icebug shoes, features the BUGrip technology with 16 steel studs designed to give traction on icy surfaces. The studs get pressed in when you are on a hard surface such as dry asphalt but remain out to help traction when on snow or ice. They take pains to say that they don't guarantee you won't slip on any surface.

While slip-on cleats with your regular shoes or boots can slip off accidentally and leave you without traction, you won't have that problem with Icebug shoes and boots.

Rather than lacing, these boots (as well as the Metro2) have a zipper closure on the inside of the foot. The zipper closure can keep out more snow and rain. The drawback is that you might get a sloppier fit (which could result in blisters), or the boot might be too narrow at the ankle for you. Other designs of Icebug boots and shoes have laces, which allow you to modify your lacing pattern as needed for the best fit.

The upper of the Kallax and the Metro2 is made of water-resistant suede and is insulated to minus 20 C with fleece, yet the shoe is not heavy. The soles of these models are flexible in the right place for fitness walking, rather than being a stiff, inflexible boot.

Icebug Overshoes When You Don't Want Studs

The studs make your walking fairly noisy. You might not like the feel of them on dry pavement when the studs are not needed. One solution is to buy their overshoe, which is a full rubber extra sole that you can put onto your Icebugs so you don't have to take them off on dry pavement or when going indoors.

The BUGrip soles are not meant to be used indoors, as they can damage floors. This can lead to a bit of drama whenever you need to wear them. How can you get out the door wearing them without having to sit down on a cold, wet step to put them on or risk damaging the floors or carpets? As opposed to wearing slip-on ice cleats, this also makes them less convenient as you would need other shoes at your destination. By buying a pair of the Icebug overshoes, you can bring those along to slip on so you don't have to change shoes.

Icebug OLX Studs

Some athletic designs of Icebug shoes feature OLX fixed studs and are designated for off-trail use. These do not press in as with the BUGrip studs. Instead, they are always in use to grip soft trails. They are suitable for trail running, obstacle course running, and orienteering. They aren't specifically designed for snow and ice.

RB9X Non-Studded Icebugs

Icebug also makes shoes without studs but with Rubber 9 Extreme (RB9X) soles that grip asphalt better. They note that they use the same traction pattern as for a tractor tire. They can be a good choice for use in wet weather, on muddy courses, or on hills. That can be an attractive choice for obstacle course racing and triathlons. Be sure to check which sole an Icebug model has if you want studs.

If you want the option of having studs with the non-studded designs, Icebug also sells Trail BUGweb slip-on studs that are designed only to work with the Icebug shoes and not with any other brand.

Bottom Line on Icebug Shoes and Boots

Icebug shoes and boots can be a great addition to your walking shoe wardrobe if you frequently encounter snow or ice. They are best suited for outdoor activity where you are assured of a change of shoes at your destination. While they can be good for walking in town, consider snowshoes instead if you are doing a longer trek in the snow.

Disclosure: A review item was provided by the manufacturer.

By Wendy Bumgardner
Wendy Bumgardner is a freelance writer covering walking and other health and fitness topics and has competed in more than 1,000 walking events.