When I hike, I don’t like wearing micro spikes over my boots. They always end up bunched up over the front or rear, packed with snow. They never stay in place. I recently had a chance to try out the Icebug Speed BUGrip hiking boots while on a multi-day hike over the Presidential Range of the White Mountains in New Hampshire. These boots feature carbide inserts on the outsole to provide grip on slightly iced surfaces. They are not mountaineering crampons, though; on fully iced-up trails, you will need more grip.

The weather on that trip proved to be ideal for testing these boots. It had been sunny with warm temperatures, so the trails had melted and become hard-packed—borderline icy in places when the temperature dropped later in the day.

So here I am with new boots, my rucksack loaded with all the kit I would need for three days. The first thing I noticed was that these are not made as mountaineering or heavier-type hiking boots. The sole is flexible, and they do not offer all the ankle support you might desire. Still, I figured I would test them to their limits.

Carbide spikes on the Icebug Speed
Carbide spikes on the Icebug Speed

The BUGrip boots gave me plenty of grip on that hard-packed snow, even on steep terrain as we hit the alpine zone of Mount Adams. At one point, I had to use my snowshoes because there was so much snow that had drifted into slabs, but even with the carbide spikes, they still fit my MSR Lightning quite well with no damage to the footrest.

The BUGrip boots are also waterproof, which is extremely valuable considering that wet snow such as that you might encounter in the early spring season tends to make your boots, well, wet. My feet remained dry during the whole trip. They are rated to 0° F, so using them at around 30-40° F meant I sure wasn’t getting cold feet.

These boots retail for around $150 and are offered in men’s size 6.5 through 13.

Even though I used them outside their intended use, I was quite satisfied with the performance these boots gave me during my trip. I recommend them to anyone wishing to get positive traction in bad weather without using add-on spikes on their boots.