Trail running can be a tricky endeavor under the best of conditions, but when the trails are wet and muddy, it can get even more precarious. For many years, Swedish footwear manufacturer Icebug has proven that it’s got a good grip on how to keep runners’ feet planted firmly on the trail in even the roughest environments, but the new Zeal trail running shoe is taking that commitment to an entirely new level.
The Zeal’s upper is actually made from Kevlar, and while it technically isn’t bulletproof (bad news for those of us who tend to shoot ourselves in the foot with frightening regularity) it is impressively stiff and creates a shell over the top of your feet that’s durable enough to protect them from those unexpected collisions with rocks and roots. The materials are also designed to not absorb water which means they won’t get weighted down when the storms roll in halfway through a race. And to help keep your feet on the ground where they’re supposed to be during that storm, the Zeal features Icebug’s new RB9X rubber outsole that will give you the ability to cruise over wet rocks with a stickiness rivaled only by Spider-Man himself.
The most impressive (but not surprising) attribute of the Zeal, however, might be the fact that their amazing traction and durability doesn’t compromise the comfort of the shoe. This is due largely to the soft but supportive heel cup that Icebug creates through a molded midsole cradle on the interior of the shoe. While it still might be wise to afford yourself a little break-in time before a big race, the Zeal have an out-of-the box comfort that is rare to find in even the most expensive trails shoes. And at $149.95, the Zeal might not be the cheapest pair of trail running shoes you can find, but it likely won’t take you more than one run in the rain to understand that what you’re getting for that price is quality. And maybe a little piece of mind.
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