Sweden-based Icebug produces a line of footwear with steel carbide studs integrated directly into the sole, which provides excellent traction underfoot when walking on ice and snow. If you spend significant time outside in the slip-sliding days of winter, or you're a dedicated runner looking to run year-round, then a pair of Icebugs is worth considering.
For maximum grip, Icebug offers a line of shoes with "BUGrip" technology. 15 to 19 steel studs
are built into the rubber sole and placed strategically to provide grip in key locations underfoot. Unlike most other traction systems, they don't move around when you move your feet aggressively—an advantage for running. The studs are also slightly dynamic, extending outward when pressure is applied to provide additional traction where it's most needed. Plus they are relatively low-profile compared to other traction systems, making them much less noticeable when you're off the ice and walking on hard pavement instead.
Icebug integrates steel studs directly into the sole for always-on traction.
While I've not had the opportunity to test out a pair myself (sizes stop at men's size 13, too small for my size 15 flipper feet), overwhelmingly rave reviews at Amazon speak volumes for their quality and effective grip (nearly every Icebug model earns four stars and above, with most earning 4.5 to five stars).
The Icebug Creek: Midweight winter hiker and urban ice trekker
Prices range from roughly $100 to $200 depending on the style, which includes everything from the Certo BUGrip, a studded trail running shoe (sole pictured above), to the Creek, a warm and beefy urban walker.
There's a tradeoff, of course, to having steel studs on your shoes at all times. Unlike other traction devices, which you can switch among different shoes, the studs stay where they are on a single pair of footwear. Icebugs are also less versatile; once the ice melts for the season, you no longer need (or want) them on your feet. And you certainly don't want to go traipsing indoors over hardwood floors with them on (unless you want to profusely scratch and dent the wood).
But if you're a regular ice-walking (or ice-running) winter warrior, you may want to become an Icebug as well.
“Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.