Gear Closet: Icebug Anima2 BUGrip Winter Running Shoes

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Considering the nasty weather that is sweeping across much of the U.S. and parts of Europe this week, it seems appropriate that I share my thoughts on the Anima2 BUGrip winter running shoes from Icebug. If you’re a runner who refuses to move inside for the winter, but routinely has to deal with snow, ice and cold temperatures, then these are definitely the shoes for you.

Icebug is a Swedish company that designs excellent athletic shoes for dedicated outdoor enthusiasts. The company is relatively new to North America, but they are making a big move into the market now. You may not have heard much about the company in the past, but I’m willing to bet you’ll be hearing a lot more about them in the future.

At first glance, the Anima2 running shoes look a lot like many other running shoes you’d find on the market. They are a bit on the flashy side, but regular runners are use to unique color combinations on shoes that really make them stick out in a crowd. These shoes have an aggressive sole that makes them well suited for trail running in all kinds of conditions, and the waterproof uppers keep your feet warm and dry, whether you’re running on snow, slush, ice, mud or even dry trails. In short, they’re an excellent trail shoe that is comparable to just about anything else you’ll find on the market.

But what really sets the Anima2 shoes apart from the competition is the patented BUGrip system, which integrates a series of steel studs into the rubber sole to provide unprecedented grip in slick conditions. In the case of these shoes, there are 19 such studs, each working independently of one another to provide traction as needed. It is an impressive and sophisticated approach for giving runners the absolute best grip possible in some of the worst conditions imaginable.

Over the holiday break, I had the opportunity to put these shoes to their paces in a variety of unique conditions, including snow, ice and slush. Icebug’s BUGrip system performed extremely well in each of those circumstances, providing a sure grip no matter where I went. When paired with the waterproof uppers, my feet stayed warm and dry, even in ankle deep snow, and I ran more surefooted than I had previously thought possible. For runners who often take on poor winter conditions, this is certainly a shoe you’ll want to have in your closet.

On top of the excellent performance the Anima2 shoes bring to the table, they also happen to be quite comfortable. The shoes have thick padding that cradles the food nicely, providing yet more support for runners on the road. It’s a rare combination of shoes that provide this kind of performance and are also comfortable on the foot.

As much as I really like these shoes, I have to say that I mostly preferred them in the bad conditions. When I ran on a dry trail with these shoes, there was something about the way the spikes felt that just didn’t quite jive for me. On a regular trail, I’d still prefer a pair of regular trail shoes. But in the slop of the mud, ice and snow, there is no question I’d much rather have the Anima2’s on my feet.

Also, I’d recommend getting a pair of gaiters to wear over these shoes, as they don’t keep the snow and slush out of the top all that well. Aside from that, they are just about perfect for foul weather running.

MSRP: $155

Kraig Becker