You might have wondered how we had ended up partnering with a small Swedish brand better known for their ice running shoe, almost unheard of in Ireland? Shane Young, long time off trail runner and route creator of Gaelforce Events, explains why Icebug is the perfect fit for Gaelforce.
During the Gaelforce Sky Run in March 2020, just before everything changed, we had the chance to show all of our racers the brilliant Icebug running shoes. Some of you might have wondered how we had ended up partnering with a small not very well-known Swedish brand better known for their ice running shoe.
It all started with an article I read about 7 years ago after returning to Killary from my travels in Argentina. I was looking for a pair of shoes that ticked the right points for me. They had to be light, non-Gore-Tex and have very good grip on stone and soft bog. Believe me it is difficult to find the perfect shoe! Initially I tried all the inov8s and Salomon’s. All have good points but they didn't quite hit the 'holy trinity' I was looking for. Cue my efforts to get my first pair of Icebugs.
You couldn't buy Icebugs online at the time so I had to try and buy them from a random shop in the UK. Upon arrival they were definitely light and non-Gore-Tex, not recommended if you worry about getting wet feet when you run.
The model I had got was the Acceleratis which is more of a trail shoe , great for Coillte tracks or mildly off-road sections. This was still not 100% right for my playground. Those of you who have done the Gaelforce Sky Run will know the terriane in this area is rather soft and very slippy with no actual trail. I did feel I was getting close so I was willing to give them another go. This time I ordered the Spirit OLXs. Now here we had something! They have little steel studs in the bottom of the shoe for grip on stone and big rubber lugs for grip on bog. They were designed for orienteering and 'off trail' running which is what I need here. They are so light you don’t know you are wearing them and they provide as much grip as you can handle. I challenge anyone to use them and not be impressed. The only word of warning I have is that their sizes run small and they are a bit narrow so I go up a size in European. Price wise they are pretty competitive with other top brands.
In the words of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
So why did Icebug came on board as a sponsor for the Gaelforce Sky Run? This was the result of a chance meeting between me and the founder of Icebug, David Ekelund, at an Adventure travel conference in Sweden. Fair play to David he saw the opportunity as I think the only sales they had in Ireland were to me and my immediate family and friends.
The more we talked about it the more the symmetry worked for us. They are a small family business based in Sweden trying to take on bigger more well financed running companies. We are both passionate about being as sustainable as possible. They have an entire sustainable policy from the ground up and we here in Killary have a large sustainability program we are constantly working on.
If you are in the market for a new trail running shoe, we would highly recommend you give Icebug a go. When the country reopens you can hit the hills again look forward to doing it with improved grip and a great shoe!
Check out the full range of Icebug products here
Shane Young of Killary Adventure Company and Gaelforce Events
Killary Green - Our sustainability policy
Sustainable Icebug - how Icebug are doing their bit
Gaelforce Sky Run - Check out this amazing mountain running raceBack