Icebug - Zeal RB9X REVIEW

5th August 2015


Icebug - Zeal RB9X REVIEW


The Icebug Zeal is the baby brother of the aggressive fell monster that is the Acceleritas, recently tested and reviewed by my colleague Steve. Don’t let that fool you though, this more structured and substantial show for the canny swedes over at Icebug, blends comfort, a racy feel, and a suitably aggressive and sticky outsole that will eat up anything that the UK countryside can throw at you!

As mentioned, Icebug is a Swedish brand based around running on, you guessed it, ICE! However, over recent times they have taken to developing rubber technologies solely based on eating up the trails and fells; as such, they are set to be a new player on the UK off road market. Many of you orienteers may well be aware of Icebug and their gear but for the rest of you, buying  Mudclaw’s and Speedcross’, we may well have something to tempt you away from the market leaders.


Icebug Zeal Statistics

Purpose: Lightweight yet stable aggressive trail/fell shoe

Weight: 250g (UK 8)

Drop: 6mm

Last: Semi-curved (racy yet comfortable)

Flexible forefoot stiffer in the mid and rear foot

Upper Material: Ripstop nylon, Non-absorbent and very hard wearing

Midsole Material: Lightweight compression moulded EVA with HGMS2® technology

Outsole: Rubber 9 Extreme


How do they fit?

As an individual with a rather wide mid foot, the Zeal fits pretty true to form. A snug high fitted heel counter holds the foot very well, however those with a penchant for no-show socks may find the shoe coming above the sock line. The innovative midsole design wraps around the inside of the mid foot (pictured below), providing a stable base which is somewhat of a welcome change in comparison to most aggressive trail and fell shoes. As a wearer of support shoes on the road, this the first off road shoe that has truly felt as though it is helping me out whilst running and not just preventing me from falling flat on my face into a muddy puddle. Having said that the Zeal fits true to form, those with more of a regular width foot may want to drop down a half size due to the roomy toe boX.

Zeal RBX9 icebug womens

When unboxing the Zeal, I had initial concerns about the rip-stop nylon upper and it creasing when flexing the shoe. These concerns were soon quashed, the material is very lightweight whilst being very robust. When moving to toe off, the material does indeed crease over the top of the foot but due to the lightweight nature of the upper, I’m sure you could only feel the creasing if you weren’t wearing socks.


How do they run?

After hacking around the Peak District for a month or so now, the Zeal is a fine blend of structured cushioning and racy feel. The lightweight upper, semi-curved last and aggressive sticky outsole mean the Zeal is at home on the start line of any fell race at any time of year. However the 6mm drop, forgiving cushioning and wrap around midsole mean that you’re in a shoe you’d be quite happy to do a decent amount of mileage in without the worry of coming home with a real dull ache in your legs, something I certainly find with other fell shoes.

Another major bonus of the Zeal’s innovative midsole is the security it gives you, its structure not only provides a little support for those with arches left wanting but also protects the inside of the mid-foot on those tricky ascents and descents over challenging terrain. The insanely grippy RB9X outsole only heightens the shoes ability to keep you upright when things get challenging!


What shoes is it comparable to?

Being relative newcomers to the UK off road scene, it is only natural that we punters will try to draw comparisons between Icebug and the stalwarts of the fell/trail market. I thought I’d be awfully kind and do it for you!

Zeal vs. Salomon Speedcross

  • Zeal is 63 grams lighter
  • Speedcross has a higher drop 10 vs. 6mm
  • Zeal has a harder wearing upper
  • Deeper lugs on the Speedcross
  • Zeal is more stable
  • Both have gender specific fits


Zeal vs. Inov-8 Mudclaw

  • Zeal is 50 grams lighter
  • Same drop (6mm)
  • Zeal has a broader fit, especially in the toebox
  • Both have gender specific fits
  • Mudclaw has a less structured heel counter


All in all, I honestly believe tat the UK market needs to sit up and take note of the canny swedes at Icebug. Shoes that a quite obviously built to perform, and that they do! As a runner that has spent a lot of time in Inov-8's, lets  just say, I will now be spending the majority of miles in Icebug's, the blend of an aggressive super grippy outsole, moderate cushioning and a super stable platform for an off road shoe, make the Zeal a serious bit of kit!



To view our range of fell beating Icebug's, please click on the logo below



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