Icebug Enlight RB9X Trail-Running Shoe (Fall 2014)
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8.3 oz / 8mm drop / $125
The Dirt: Unlike the airy mesh that graces most trail shoes, the minimalist Enlight’s solid nylon upper sheds water and is highly resistant to abrasion; the tradeoff is less breathability, suiting this shoe best for fall or winter running.
Modest, hexagonal lugs outfitted with absurdly sticky rubber grip well on waterlogged trails, craggy ridges and loose scree, while remaining soft enough to handle road miles. No rock plate allows plenty of ground feel.
Best For: Cool-weather or rainy-day runs; distances up to a half-marathon on rocky trails, or longer on smooth singletrack; obstacle races.
Fit: True to size, if not a tad long; medium width, with a roomy toebox.
- “This sleek-looking, lightweight shoe climbs like a dream and tears up the descents. That it felt great on moderate-length road runs was icing on the cake.”
- “My favorite feature of the Enlight is the nylon upper that easily and readily sheds water. In fact, within a half mile of a stream crossing, I did not notice any substantial water retention. The more water on the trail, the better the shoe will serve you. A cool, rainy day on slick singletrack at any distance would be ideal for the Enlight due to its aggressive sole, lightweight upper and excellent ability to shed water. Perfect for a Pacific Northwest runner!”
- “This really is a good overall shoe for the trails where technical rocky sections are commonplace and grippy feet will help the miles click by. The Icebugs transition well to varied terrain, which makes them a great multitalented trail runner suited to many conditions and running styles.”
Testers on Fit
- “I have a full-volume forefoot, and the Enlight fit nicely, akin to most minimalist shoe. Overall, the upper is pretty full volume, leaving room for a thicker sock in cooler weather but may be too roomy for some feet.”
- “The Enlights fit well. Occasionally I had to tighten a bit more than I do with most shoes to keep from feeling loose in the midfoot. This really was a non-issue, though, and once dialed in, I was not at all conscious of the fit of the shoes.”
- “When I took them out of the box, my first thought was, ‘Whoa! These are so narrow they will never fit my wide feet.’ [But] I actually found them to be surprisingly comfortable width-wise. I didn’t develop any hot spots.”
- “The Enlight has a long, narrow fit with a wide heel cup. For someone with a short, wide foot and narrow heel like mine, this shoe won’t be a go-to in my quiver.”
Testers on Tread
- “The grippy RB9X rubber compound sole holds well on craggy ridges and loose scree. The tread pattern has fairly modest lugs, but performs like a champ in really varied trail conditions. Buffed-out singletrack with extended climbing and descending will really bring out the best in this shoe. The grippy sole also shines on shorter sections of gnarly, rocky, scree-filled trail.”
- “The best part of these shoes is the unbelievably sticky rubber that is used for the soles. The traction is more than adequate for all but the sloppiest trail, but these shoes really shineo n the rocky, technical stuff. The rubber literally grips bare stone, providing confidence to hopscotch even the rockiest sections.”
- “The large, hexagonal lugs offer excellent grip on waterlogged trails while remaining soft enough for mileage on the pavement.”
Testers on Downsides
- “It lacks some features a lot of runners would like to see in a trail shoe, like a good toe cap to protect against rock bumps and a midfoot rock plate in the sole to protect against long stretches of rocky trail. Anything over a half marathon of technical trail and some runners may find themselves wishing the Enlight had a little more structure and rock protection.”
- “I am not crazy about the material used for the upper. It is kind of like a backpack designer decided to make a pair of shoes. While the thick ripstop nylon material feels durable, it lacks the ability to be flexibly snug and form-fitting, and also sacrifices a bit of breathability.”
- “While the Enlight is excellent at shedding water, it quickly felt like I was wearing a couple ovens on my feet on the more hot and humid summer days. Breathability wasn’t what I hoped for from this shoe.”