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Review: Icebug DTS BuGrip

buggrip Thank you to Erick Coleman for the amazing, and lengthy, review!!

“I’m doing ________ race, what shoe should I wear?”  If I had a nickle each time I read this in this forum I would have a lot of nickels.  I’ve raced in a handful of other shoes, including the Speedcross 3.  Everything my feet have been in were always “okay” at best.  Everything until I was introduced to the answer *I* give every time I am asked this question.

What shoe should you wear? As long as you’re not racing Fenway, or Citi Field, your little piggies need to be firmly in a pair of Icebugs.

I personally wear the DTS BUGrip.  Any time I look for shoes it’s a hassle for me.  I have semi flat feet, and I over pronate when I run.  I wear a max control running shoe for road races and this is not easily duplicated in any trail shoe.  Trail shoes are largely marketed and pushed to a minimal seeking crowd.  At the direction of Paul Jones I called Jill Bogert Butler at Shale Hill.  We had a couple discussions of my needs and we settled on the best shoe for me.  The DTS has a 14 mm drop, full cushion, and a medium flex torsion.  We even tried inserts, I found the “factory settings” to be just fine.

I heard from a lot of folks these shoes had a bit of a “breaking in” period.  I live in a lot of land, including my own private “Amesbury” style trail running in my back yard.  When these arrived I even still had some ice cover in my “back yard”.  I will say this – the shoes were comfortable pretty much out of the box!  The shoe has rip stop nylon – water repellent and takes a beating.  No shoe is “water proof.”  These take on water.  Another “tale” I was told is they held water a little more than the Speedcross3’s.  I also didn’t find this to be true.  After a few steps out of a bog, or water obstacle, I find the water to be shed rapidly.  I personally feel the magic of water is in the socks.

eric1The shoes are VERY comfortable.  But hey, so are Crocs, right?!  So let’s get to the nitty gritty.  What sets these apart?  It’s in the name, the “grip” part of BuGrip.  There is no way I could describe what is under these shoes better than the company does, so please allow me to copy and paste the actual description of the Grip portion of these shoes:

“BUGrip® is the name of Icebug’s grip technology for the most slippery conditions. A BUGrip. sole is made of a special rubber compound and has 15-19 integrated steel studs. The design of the studs, together with the properties of the rubber compound, give these studs a dynamic function. The studs work independently from each other and are not completely fixed. When weight is applied the studs push in toward the surface of the sole. How far they are pushed in depends on the pressure exerted by the user and the resistance from the ground. This dynamic function makes the studs adapt to the surface and provide the best possible traction on anything from dry asphalt to pure ice.”


My first race in these was the brutal, punishing, wonderfully amazing Viking Challenge.  A 5.5 mile, 33 obstacle course set in the Catskills of New York.  I instantly fell in love.  Little to no elevation change, so where the shoes made a difference were the actual obstacles, such as Vikings’ take of the “slip wall.”  Take Spartan’s slip wall.  Make it three times the length.  Now make it twice as steep.  Now you have Viking.  My ‘Bugs dug right in and didn’t allow me any slippage.  I immediately knew after that obstacle I was in good hands.  Example of a “like” obstacle, Superhero Scramble’s “The Beast.”  I watched person after person have their feet come out from under them on that brutal wall.  My wife (who also rocks Icebugs) and I?  No issues.

eric2Terrain?  My ‘Bugs and I have taken on Mt. Snow / Tough Mudder, a handful of Spartans, Superhero Scramble…no slippage.  Not only do I have zero issues on hills and inclines, I have the confidence to pass and zip past people struggling on down grades who aren’t confident in their footing.

I almost forgot, that first day I wore them and I actually got to run on ice?  I saw the ice coming and my mind said “go around it, don’t be stupid.”  Then I immediately said to myself “self, be stupid.  Increase your pace, see what these things can do.”  The ice was wet, in the sun, as slippery as slippery ice can be.  My Icebugs and I ran across it as though we were on dry tar.

I’ve never taken my shoes off to remove rocks during a race.  I’ve never adjusted them for anything.  They the standard lace system, which I missed after going to the Speedcross speed lace.  I have already put them through hell and with some care they look new.

I have back to back races coming up, no way they will dry in time over night in a hotel room (they are awesome but can’t defy the laws of physics).  I love these so much I’m buying a second pair.

I can’t recommend these enough!  I will also say this:  Do not order these on line!  #racelocal #shoplocal — please reach out to Jill and talk to her about these shoes if you are interested.  We are all in this together, help each other out.  Jill and company are top notch, I could write a review on her customer service and product knowledge alone!

Rating: 5 star (amazing)

4 thoughts on “Review: Icebug DTS BuGrip

  1. Do they run true to size or do they run small?

  2. Based upon this review I bought these shoes and just need to add a couple important points. I decided to break them in volunteering course sweep for the NJ super ahead of running the VT beast and the grip was amazing as advertized. I mean amazing like I have never experienced anything like like ever and that in itself is worth the price of admission… They run HOT meaning they do not breath at all and on that 90+ degree day that was not pleasant. The toe box was perfect for me as my foot is somewhat wide and I always find myself in the middle of a regular or narrow shoe. When they get wet they stay that way meaning there is no drainage at all whatsoever and now I truly understand what Outdry means and I have to disagree with the assessment that thay drain like the Speedcross. By design they cannot drain in that way. I can literally pour water in this shoe and water my plants.
    3 days outside hanging upside down after washing they finally dried out. I know there must be a better way to dry them but this is what I always do with my Solomons and they are dry in 24 hours. I took them out for a one hour trail run and I am a slowpoke at like a 11 minute pace. The Icebugs were flawless in the muddy, rocky, and hardpack conditions. Felt awesome. No pain and great grip.
    Took them up to Hudson Highlands park for a hike this past Saturday. This is a very rocky ascent and the studs make a fair amount or racket and gripped well but I felt like I may ruin them in these conditions. After 8 miles feet felt good but on rock you sure can feel the studs through the souls.
    Overall satisfied and it was my mistake for not researching what outdry means. I cannot wait to trail run these in the winter. Like I really am excited. As for the Beast I ordered a pair of Icebug Ardors and I am sitting at my desk hoping to break them in quickly as they apparently have better water draining capability…

  3. Thanks for the great review Erick 🙂 I love selling to customers who love this sport and love being in a shoe perfect for OCR!

  4. Is this the DTS trail runner or grip outdry cross trainer???

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