Icebug DTS2 BUGrip GTX Shoe Review

The soles of the Icebug DTS2 Bugrip GTX running shoe hasve 19 carbide studs which provide traction on ice and packed snow.
The soles of the Icebug DTS2 Bugrip GTX running shoe have 19 carbide studs that provide traction on ice and packed snow.

The Icebug DTS2 BUGrip GTX Shoe is designed for running and walking on ice-covered roads, sidewalks, and trails covered with hard-packed snow. The sole of each shoe has 19 carbide steel studs that provide traction, much like studded snow tires on icy roads. They really provide an amazing amount of grip and stability, so you can run or walk without fear of slipping and sliding. Up hills, down hills, with forward momentum or none at all, these shoes are a real eye-opener in terms of grip comfort if you’re used to wearing external traction systems.

The rubber on the shoe soles is designed to have some give to it in order to adapt to changing surface conditions, allowing the studs to work independently from one another. When you land on the shoe, the studs imperceptibly push into the sole, adapting to the surface’s micro-topography, in order to provide the best possible traction. But this design works best on hard surfaces. Traction on loose snow is greatly reduced because the studs can’t “bite” into anything.

When worn, you cannot feel the carbine studs poking through the sole of the DTS2 BUGrip GTX shoe.
When worn, you cannot feel the carbide studs poking through the sole of the DTS2 BUGrip GTX shoe.

I found the shoes comfortable out of the box, requiring very little to no break-in time to use. Stability is excellent, with a padded heel cup and achilles support. Fit, however, is snug, so size up at least a 1/2 size. There’s a wide toe box, providing good freedom of movement for your toes. The laces provided with the shoe are a bit minimal and short, so you may want to change them or replace them with a speed lace if you prefer. Shoe insulation is a bit lacking, however, and I found the shoes cold to wear in temperatures below freezing, even with mid-weight wool socks.

The Icebug DTS2 BUGrip GTX shoes are best worn for running or walking outdoors on ice or packed snow surfaces and not on bare sidewalks or wooden, tile, or stone floors. In addition to potentially damaging these surfaces, they make a horrible racket (not to mention the screams from your partner if you accidentally wear them in the house.)

While I’ve found it possible to drive with them, even with a standard transmission, bear in mind that you won’t be able to pop into a store to buy milk while wearing them after a run. The shop owner will give you a dirty look and probably ask you to leave.

Disclosure: Icebug provided the author with a sample pair of shoes for this review. 

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  1. If accidentally worn in the house, would the loudest screams emanate from the partner or the wearer?

  2. Check out the Inov-8 Arctic Talon or Arctic Claw. Studded lugs that on their own work amazing in snow.

    I’ve been using a pair of old Inov-8 Oroc 340’s for winter running and it’s amazing the grip, confidence, and ease they offer.

  3. try Kahtoola Nanospikes … they work great and just under $50 …

  4. A far cheaper DIY alternative is to simply put a dozen or so 3/8″ #8 sheet metal screws into your trail runners. 3/8″ is shallow enough that it won’t make it all the way through the sole rubber (screw them into the lugs, duh) and you get excellent grip on hard pack snow and ice. This won’t do much for sheets of pure ice but is more than enough traction for any terrain you’d encounter during which you wear trail runners. You can put the screws into your favorite sneakers at the beginning of winter, pull them out in spring, and keep using them (of course this won’t hold true for gel, air pocket, or other cushions of that type). With this solution you still have enough grip for running/walking on pavement (although they are loud). I’ve been doing this the last several winters for trail running here in NH once the trails pack down a bit.

    • Been doing this for years myself. You feel like spiderman! When the screws wear just replace them. Very inexpensive way to go. I would think the large hex heads have better grip than the small studs.

  5. The loudest, or at least the most prolonged, screams will come from the person whose pocketbook/bank account is hit for replacing carpet/tile or refinishing wood floors!

    I like Aaron’s idea of screws in the soles. However, I’d much prefer something that can be added or removed at the door without taking off the shoes!

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