Review by Arnie P
Icebug Saunter Bugweb men’s shoes
Icebug provided the Saunter Bugweb men’s shoes for review purposes.
Icebug is a Swedish company. When I see a Swedish product I think of my grandmother who was born in Sweden. I have good memories of the times my parents dropped me off at her house for several hours. I mention this because she said little but accomplished a lot.
When I first looked at this shoe I was thinking it was more fashion and furry than being a serious outdoor shoe. Then I examined the soles and spotted the small nubs on the soles that looked like traction devices. When I touched the nubs, I realized they were a part of the webbing and were removable when traction was not needed.
The Icebug Company
Since this is the first appearance of this company on our website a few words of introduction follows. The starting of the company was in 2000 and the founding of the Icebug footwear brand was in 2001. Their goal was to produce footwear that runners and walkers could use for running and walking without fear of slipping. A special rubber compound along with smart studs that grip on ice make this possible. Their hope was eliminating the choice between slipping and saying no to your outdoor activities.
Saunter Bugweb shoe
This is one style of many styles offered by Icebug. The Saunter is available in a ladies and men’s version. Colors available are Black and Almond. Men and ladies sizes available are EUR 36-46.
Saunter shoe received
Size: 9 US EUR 42
Midsole: Molded EVA
Insock: Molded EVA, removable
Outsole: 50% recycled rubber, Bugweb 6 stud optional
Measured weights Saunter with Bugweb
Left: 19.4 oz/550 g
Right: 19.6 oz/556 g
Measured weights Saunter without Bugweb
Left: 18.0 oz/508 g
Right: 18.2 oz/514 g
Bugweb: 1.5 oz/42 g each
Features from hang tags
Icebug Urban Winter
Urban winter, smartest way! It’s about appearance, but it’s still the inside that counts. For the Urban Winter line, we’re all in, for design and traction. This is the perfect option for cold days when looks and style also matters!
Bugweb Optional Studs
For conditions that change between being slippery and not the Bugweb technology is just perfect. Bugweb is a traction technology that consists of a compatible outsole and a traction unit with six carbide studs that fits into the sole pattern. The shoe functions either with or without the Bugweb.
-20 C-(-4 F) Comfort Zone
-20 C (-4 F) comfort zone. The comfort zone indicates lower end and outside temperatures where the insulating properties maintain a comfortable temperature inside the footwear.
Water resistant shoes are either treated or have an upper material that is dense enough to repel water. They are not 100% waterproof but give you protection from foul weather, splashing, and slush, The gain is a high level of breathability. To maintain the water resistance of a treated material it needs proper care.
Ullfrotte Original is the material developed by Woolpower AB in Ostersund in collaboration with the Swedish military, scientist and survival experts. The textile is water resistant and consists of fine Merino wool, polyamide/polyester, and air. Wool is a material with excellent properties, with the addition of one-third polyamide the wear resistance of the wool increases.
The Lacing System
The lacing system consists of 7 pairs of metals eyelets riveted to the shoe. All eyelets are closed except for the open top pair. The eyelets appear to adjust while walking to provide articulation during movement. The laces are round with a non shiny or slippery finish. The laces appear to be long enough. I will look deeper into this under “Tying them on”.
The Bugweb uses the same size as the shoe and with good reason. The web that holds the carbide studs fits around 3 odd shapes on the sole of the shoe. On the shoes I have there is negligible space between the Bugweb and the shape near the toe end. On the other 2, there is some space on the center side of the sole. There Bugweb connects to the shoe via 6 traces, the traces fit into grooves in the sole of the shoe. The toe end connects 4 traces and the heel end connects 2 traces. The heel end has a large tab which facilitates the removing and putting on the Bugweb to the shoe. A Bugweb has right or left and the size in EUR marked on it. The markings on mine are 42-43A for my size 9 shoe.
Trying Them On
Now the fun part. My first time wearing a new shoe is in the house. I did put one boot on with the Bugweb and could hear them begin to scratch the linoleum on the floor. I took off the Bugweb. I started by grasping the tab at the heel and began to pull off and noticed that the 4 traces for the toes end were resisting so I pulled from the toe end. I did not have to do that but did not want to apply any more pressure when taking them off. Putting the Bugweb on was harder. The first time I put them on the traces needed some adjustment. This should improve with practice. I will have more on this in my next report.
I used a pair of thin Merino wool socks for the first use. I used all the eyelets and walked around the house and used the stairway to go to the cellar and return. The laces were long enough with some to spare, but not excessive. I then repeated the same steps with medium weight Merino wool socks. I could not detect any difference in shoe lace length or in the comfort or the way the shoes handled on the stairs. As I am writing this report today we are experiencing our first major snow storm of the year and season. My scheduled appointment to the dental clinic canceled as well as the closing of the schools in my town because of the storm, I did some shoveling earlier in the day. I then proceeded to go out and try these shoes with the Bugweb on. I have an asphalt driveway and the temperature may drop to 10 F tonight. The surface of the driveway will freeze and since this snow came down in the form of something resembling slush it will be heavy to shovel or push. I will soon be making good use of the Bugweb. I have not mentioned the pull tab at the heel of the boot. I do like a pull tab for my boots. This one is the widest largest and strongest I have seen so far. My short stubby finger fits with ease. I could have put a lot more pressure but I did not need much pressure to put these boots on.
I shoveled the snow in my driveway without any slipping. I could hear the carbide meeting the asphalt in the driveway. The driveway had not frozen yet but the threads on my wooden stairway had a thin coat of ice. I had excellent traction on the steps which are not a place I would want to fall. I went out again for about an hour when the drive was starting to freeze a little. I looked at the studs when I entered the house and the ends were now all shiny. The rubber coating was gone as I expected.
The Icebug Saunter Bugweb men’s shoes are light, comfortable, warm, and easy to put on and take off. I will be using these shoes several times a week in the next period. I wish to thank 4alloutdoors.org and Icebug for the opportunity to test the Saunter Bugweb shoes. Please check back in about a month when I will have more to say.
As mentioned in my last report the overnight temperature did get down to -10 F. The temperature has fluctuated from that to highs in the 60’s since then. In addition wearing the Icebug Saunter Bugweb men’s shoes for hiking in Harold Parker Forest, I have worn them daily since February 20 and will most likely continue doing this for the rest of this test.
Harold Parker Forest
I hiked three times in Harold Parker Forest with my Wednesday hiking group for 2 hours each time. There was snow on the ground for my first hike thus I put the shoes on with traction devices. They worked well, with no slipping to report. It had rained the day before the second time, thus the ground was bare except for wet leaves which could be slippery in places. I opted not to wear the traction devices and had no problem with slipping. On my last hike in this period, the temperature was in the 60’s and the ground was almost dry. There was one spot where there was a couple inches of water to walk through, I did not get wet. Another place there was a steep descent on a large boulder which I tried even though the other hikers opted for the alternate route. Even without the traction device, the traction was excellent on this boulder. See picture below of rock shot from the lower end of the rock.
The Built-in Traction Device
This is a first for me and the idea is great. They have worked well for me on icy steps and sidewalks. They are somewhat easy to take off. I found that starting with the back first then pulling the top end off next was the quickest and easiest was to remove the traction device. The traces fit in channels in the sole of the shoe and stay in place. Since they stay in place so well there is some resistance when removing them. This is a good thing for stability and for a reliable grip on icy surfaces. At my age, I don’t have the flexibility to put the traction device on while wearing the Icebug Saunter Bugweb men’s shoes. The easiest way for me to put on the devices is sitting and starting at the toe end and pulling back toward the heel while holding the heel tab. Once both ends are in place I make slight adjustments so all traces are in their grooves. I have never had to readjust after putting them on and using them. This means I am getting the same protection all the time. I have not experienced any caking of snow on the bottom of the shoe. This was also true for my 2-hour hike in Harold Parker Forest.
Although with most other boots I prefer not to use the top set of lugs, I have been happy to use the top set of lugs all the time with the Icebug Saunter Bugweb men’s shoes. I am not having trouble with the laces coming untied. This is a surprise since the laces are round. Since the finish is coarse, that may provide the friction to help keep the laces tied. They are longer than necessary. If this becomes a problem on a hike, I use the top lug twice.
At the Gym
The performance on the treadmill is second to none. I am able to sustain 4 mph. I used to go faster until I started having knee problems. It’s my body and not the shoes that are limiting me on the treadmill. Since the soles are more flexible than most hiking shoes I do a limited calf stretch. I will not be using these boots where I have to do vertical climbing in the mountains. I will have more to say about this in my last look.
As mentioned earlier, I have been wearing these shoes daily and am pleased with the comfort, warmth, and stability while walking. I walk to Market Basket and Starbucks on an almost daily routine with a backpack. The backpack is convenient for carrying groceries and bags of spent coffee grounds from Starbucks which I use for my composting. I decide to wear the traction devices based on the slippery conditions I might encounter. I had no problems slipping, with or without traction devices on, and with or without a load in my backpack. We did have a few nights when the overnight temperature was below zero, one night it was -10 F below zero. I could not tell any difference in the warmth of these shoes during these conditions. I wore my medium weight Merino wools socks for all the below freezing conditions. On occasion, I have worn light socks with almost equal warmth. I do prefer the medium weight socks for added comfort.
I am looking forward to wearing the Icebug Saunter Bugweb men’s shoes in warmer and hopefully drier, sunnier weather in the coming test period. I wish to thank 4alloutdoors.org and Icebug for the opportunity to test the Saunter Bugweb men’s shoes. Please check back in about a month when I will have more to say in my last look.
A Last Look 4-11-16
I wore the Icebug Saunter Bugweb men’s shoes a lot during this period. In addition to hiking 5 times with the Harold Parker group and attending a few seminars, I walked daily to the grocery or the coffee shops and sometimes walked my daughter’s dog. We had 3 small snow storms each amounting to about 2-8 inches. The temperature closed in on 70 F one day then two nights later to a low of near zero.
Harold Parker Forest
Our variable weather caused unique ground conditions. With the ground frozen it is unusual for the temperature to reach 70 F. The warm weather caused the snow to melt and settle in low areas on the trail. On some of the hikes, there were a few places where we were walking in water deeper than the height of low cut shoes. I did see the water rise over the top of one hiker’s ankle high shoe. Although the bottoms of my hiking pants got soaked, my feet remained dry and warm. There was snow on the ground for 3 of these hikes and I did not slip or slide once. The Icebug Saunter Bugweb men’s shoes kept my feet warm and dry and helped prevent slipping.
On the first day of spring, we had a 4-8 in snowfall. I wanted to go to the senior center but did not want to clear car and driveway of snow. I walked in my Icebug shoes. The sidewalks were not plowed and there was some added snow from snow plowing. It is about three miles roundtrip to the senior center. It was warm enough for the snow to pack, but the snow was not sticking to the soles of my shoes. As usual, the bottoms of my hiking pants got wet but my feet stayed dry.
Every year I spread mulch about my yard and this was no exception. This year I bought 25 bags, which filled my vehicle. Since it was a nice day when I got home, I spread all the bags in my yard. When I finished, I noticed my Icebug shoes were well decorated with mulch. I was too tired to do anything about it and wore the shoes for my daily local walk and on my next trip to the gym. When I looked at my shoes, there was only a small amount of mulch left on them.
When I attended a couple seminars, my feet did get warm but not sweaty. They were handy getting to and from the car as there were random patches of snow to walk through.
I have not had to do a lot of care but when I noticed a salt line on my shoes I did dampen a cloth and wipe over the surface. The surface looked good, considering I estimate I wore the shoes between 400-500 hours during this whole test. I could see some minor scuffing. When the warm weather arrives, I will be following a leather treatment as mentioned on the website.
The optional traction devices worked well. The only downside for me was that I could not put them on properly without taking my shoes off. I wanted to make sure the webbing was completely in the grooves. They performed well when I used them on my icy driveway.
It surprised me that the snow did not pack in the deep grooves in the shoes. The soles are more flexible than most hiking shoes, this is especially noticeable on flat smooth surfaces. On these surfaces, I can feel myself walk faster than with soles that are stiffer. The walk is smoother and quieter.
I enjoyed these shoes during cold weather hiking even when walking in snow and water. My feet were always dry and comfortable without any irritation on my feet. The traction devices were excellent in icy conditions and the shoes alone helped prevent slipping in non-icy conditions.
I wish to thank 4alloutdoors and Icebug for the opportunity to test the Saunter Bugweb men’s shoes. I look forward to using these shoes for many years to come.