Icebug Pytho2 Running Shoe Review
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Over the past few years, I’ve developed an affinity for winter trail running. I can’t think of many things more exhilarating than running on a snowpacked trail while its dumping snow. Just when I thought winter trail running couldn’t get any better, I tried the Icebug Pytho2’s.
Started in 2001, Icebug is a Swedish-based company whose core mission statement is to provide “shoes with outstanding traction for running and walking in slippery conditions”. They offer an extensive line of shoes ranging from running shoes, boots, and casual shoes. Icebug separates itself from competitors by offering a specialized rubber compound sole and patented carbide studs to offer superior traction during slippery conditions.
Icebug Pytho2 Traction:
I happened to receive these shoes at the right time. We were coming off a 72 degree day and rolled right into three weeks of snowstorms. In the last few weeks of February, we received 54″ of snow in Boulder so the trails were prime for testing these shoes. I was fortunate enough to log about 30 miles in prime conditions and couldn’t be happier with the Pytho2’s.
The reason to consider this shoe is for excellent winter traction. You may ask yourself how good could the traction really be? The answer is: REALLY good. I ran the Pytho2’s in fresh snow, hard pack, slush, solid ice, uphill/downhill and every combination of the aforementioned conditions!
The highlight of this shoe is the traction built into the sole. Icebug has multiple grip technologies, but for the Pytho2’s they use BUGrip. BUGrip tech is intended for the most slippery conditions. BUGrip utilizes a specialized rubber compound and 15-19 carbide studs. In the case of the Icebug Pytho2, there are 17 carbide studs in the sole. The 17 studs work independently of each other. What that means, is when you put pressure on the sole during your strike, the studs dig in giving you superior traction where you need it.
As mentioned above, I ran this shoe in nearly every winter condition. These shoes were INCREDIBLE on hard pack and ice. As I was descending Mount Sanitas on solid ice/rock, I was in disbelief with how much traction I had. I finally entrusted myself to the Pytho2 and let it rip on the decent. Being able to run on ice like it’s dirt is an amazing experience. (Not to mention the people staring at you like you are crazy!)
Over this past weekend, the snow started melting. The icy trails I enjoyed so much turned to a combination of hard pack, tacky dirt and deep slush. These shoes performed amazingly in all conditions except deep slush. I still had traction but found myself slipping a little bit on steep descents. I happened to be with my wife on the slushy day. She was wearing a removable traction device and was slipping as well.
Icebug Pytho2 Upper/Fit:
My normal go to is a size 9.5. Using the Shoefitr app, I went with a 9.5. The Pytho2 fit perfectly with just the right amount of space between my toe and the end of the toe box. I have a slightly wider foot and felt right at home with the width of the shoe. I also appreciated how the shoe cupped my heel in to prevent any sloshing. During my many runs , I did not experience any hot spots or discomfort.
The Pytho2’s come with a more aggressive drop (5MM) and weigh in at 12.3oz. Don’t balk at the weight! Take your average trails shoes at 9oz plus a pair of Kathoolas at 12.5oz. With the built in traction of the Icebugs, you are saving yourself 7.2oz per pair! Also, having your traction built into your shoe gives you better trail feel and eliminates the “shifting” that frequently occurs with add on traction solutions.
The upper of this shoe is beefy. The toe box is reinforced well and will likely withstand anything you are bound to crash into. The laces are only exposed in 3 locations and and are reinforced with burly plastic eyelets. The balance of the upper is constructed of a combination of TPU, Protec PU and Ripstop Nylon and boasts water resistance materials. Overall, my feet stayed dry with the exception of really slushy days. My feet did not get soaked, but they were definitely a little damp by the end of the run. I think if I had worn a pair of gaiters on those days, my feet would have stayed drier.
Icebug Pytho2 Final Thoughts:
These shoes kick ass! If you have the extra cash to build up a quiver of trail shoes, I highly recommend a pair of Icebugs for winter trail running. I have no complaints about this product whatsoever. Remember to be fair in your expectations; this shoe will not be fun on pavement and you might slip a little in deep slush. Other then that, bundle up, buy a pair of Icebugs and experience pure excitement on your local trail this winter.
The Icebug Pytho2 is offered in 2 colors (Black/Poison and Sky/Black) and retails for $185.