Move over Ikea. If eco-friendly, assemble-yourself furniture is the only thing that comes to mind when you think of Sweden, it’s time to retool your thought process–especially if you’re a trail runner.
Swedish Icebug is on a mission to transform trail running footwear and is motivated to make strides in the North American running scene. Icebug holds itself out as being “driven by innovation, creativity and integrity” when making its functional and stylish footwear.
So…imagine my excitement when Icebug sent along a pair of its holy grail of trail running shoes, the Icebug Zeal – LRB9X for Kids Trail Running to review. Thanks for thinking of us, Icebug!
Icebug Zeal – L RB9X Features:
- Super lightweight EVA with HGMS2® technology
- Non absorbing, so they gain little weight when wet
- 6mm drop
- Half-lined with quick dry mesh
- Medium Cushion
- Designed for Trail Running
- Available in Dahlia/Grape & Blue/Orange
- Available in sizes 5.5+ (so good for tweens/teens who are ready for grownup sizing)
- Weighs 210 gr. (that’s like .46 lbs)
- Retails 139.99€
Kids Trail Running Tests the Icebug Zeal – L RB9X
My 13 year old and I had a blast testing Icebug’s Zeal Trail Running Shoes. Normally, her slightly bigger feet require a different shoe size than mine, but somehow we both seemed to fit just fine in the Zeals (that’s probably because I prefer roomier running shoes, while she likes them snug).
We tested the shoes on Vermont’s beautiful Kingdom Trails network, on dirt roads, in wet and dry conditions, and on the treadmill.
Here’s what my teenager who tested the Icebug Zeal on New England runs had to say about these Swedish designed trail running shoes:
The 13 Year Old: “They look awesome. Super Cool! They are very light weight. I’ve never worn a trail running shoe this lightweight before! The purple and lime green cleat bottom look great together. The Icebug Zeal has incredible grip. They are so grippy it feels like I’m wearing soccer cleats when I run, but the shoes are lighter and easier to move in. It kind of feels like I’m wearing nothing on my feet when I put on these running shoes. I wore them to a cross-country practice and a girl on my team immediately noticed them and mentioned that they were cool looking. These shoes are easy to maneuver in and could be great for other kids or teens.”
But in typical teen fashion, the 13 year old also had a few blunt remarks about Icebug’s Zeal Trail Running shoes. “On my first run, they were super comfortable, but the next time I wore them I got a major hotspot wearing them after just two miles. I’ve never had a blister before and I’ve logged a lot of miles on the trail. There’s not a lot of cushion in the front of the shoe and I could feel bumps and rocks on the trails. They felt a lot better on a well-packed trail. If not for these two problems, these are perfectly awesome shoes.”
The Mom: Icebug’s Zeal Trail Running shoes are so light! I love the eye-catching European mountain running look. They don’t look like the typical trail running shoes you find in sports stores in North America. As a mom of four, my hips and entire body appreciated the neutral 6mm drop and shoe stability on the trails.
In wet conditions the Zeal grip outperformed any other trail shoe I’ve ever owned or tried. I didn’t worry about slipping. In retrospect, the rugged cleats may have made me a bit overconfident–but they definitely inspired more risk taking on the trails.
One thing about the shoe that took away from my overall experience, however, was cushioning. The shoe’s lightweight factor seems to compromise some comfort. While I do prefer a well-cushioned trail running shoe, the Zeal offers medium to modest cushioning at best. On the trails, I could feel some of the punishment from the terrain through the shoes. I also feel there is a need for more cushioning in the arch area, as the sides dug a bit into my feet; I think a little cushion here might make the shoe more comfortable, although perhaps someone with very high arches would think these shoes are perfect as is.
Trying to balance raising four sporty kids, their schedules, activities, and frequent travel means that I sometimes find myself on the treadmill. I love wearing the Icebug Zeal’s on the treadmill. Better than on the trail, quite frankly. Cushioning is less of a problem because I’m not running over rocks and roots, and the cleats actually make me feel like I’ll stay put on the treadmill.
Once the snow flies, I’ll whip out the Icebugs again. I think they will also make a fun, snowy trail shoe.
As for tweens with big feet or teens who can fit into adult sizing (minimum 5.5 US), the Icebug Zeal could be a good pick for a serious trail running shoe. From a parent’s view, the weight and traction are great selling features. Little legs don’t have to lug around or wear heavy trail shoes. The responsive RB9x traction means less worry–and what parent doesn’t appreciate a little less of that while their kids are tearing up the trails.
Are you an Icebug fan? What are your favorite Icebug trail running shoes?