Living at close to 6,000 feet, we at Run Junkie are always on the prowl for items that make running on the ice and snow a bit easier as well as a bit safer. Winter runners are a rare lot here, and we can't afford to lose a single one of us to an icy mishap. To whit, our review of a spiked shoe from the 07/08 line from the Swedish company, Icebug (www.icebug.se): the MR3 BUGrip (retail, $129.95).
First impression out of the box: "holy cow, that's a heavy shoe." Second impression: "check out those cool carbide spikes." And that's basically the review in a nutshell. These shoes are really heavy, but they perform really well on ice and compact snow. The carbide spikes provide great traction and great confidence. No more cherry picking for clear asphalt or taking baby steps at icy intersections, with the MR3's it's full steam ahead. If you find yourself running at night, you'll love these shoes even more. A car may still kill you, but a night-shrouded patch of ice won't send you flat on your back.
Surprisingly, the Icebugs also work very well on clear road - something the company literature sure touts but that we were quite skeptical of. But, it turns out to be true. The spikes retract under the pressure of the clear pavement, and you can run pretty much as you would mid summer. And even if you hit long stretches of clear road, there isn't too much worry of wearing down the carbide, at least not very quickly. After many miles on ours, the spikes looks the same as they did coming out of the box, and our fellow runners with Icebugs report the same thing.
Of course, being persnickety runners, we have a few caveats. Aside from the shoe's heft, it's also a bit stiff. Plus, even though company literature says the shoes work well in all types of snow, we find that with even just a bit of loose snow, they don't perform any better than a standard pair of trail running shoes. But, these are relatively small quibbles.
Our upshot: The Icebug MR3 BUGrip's are standout shoes for winter running on ice and hard-packed snow. Their heft, though, can add some extra tedium to longer runs.
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