Sneakerhead I am none, more of the techwear-inclined: I like clothing that performs, in looks as well as function.
Shoes for that are actually somewhat hard to find.
Icebug with their Now4 sneakers is a good find also for that, not just for running…
[Full disclosure: They were provided to me by the company, for free, no payment made, to talk about as and even if I pleased, no influence whatsoever exerted.]
Sure, you can cover your feet with just about anything and they will be covered; many people are happy enough to just participate in some cultish sneaker fandom (just take a peek at Hypebeast); others follow certain function to the exclusion of all else (thinking of you, FiveFingers); most people just grab what somehow appealed.
Well, #EnclothedLiving that makes you #GetAtHome is not what most people follow. To my mind, though, shoes should look rather neutral, gladly with a nice design twist that makes them a bit extraordinary but doesn’t stand out, but also be built to last and perform.
For a bit over a year now, at least, I have had the Now4 from Icebug.
And, I am pleased.
The sneakers had already attracted me when I first saw them shown at a sports fair; they are basically nothing if you don’t look, but show a lot once you do:
With a black (or brown) suede leather upper, they fit into a good wardrobe requiring shoes that don’t stand out.
They do that a bit, though, with the asymmetric lacing running diagonally across the foot and the midsole in contrasting white.
And that’s just the looks.
Then comes the function.
The upper is nicely waterproof, and for me just exactly warm enough for winter use while remaining thin and breathable enough not to get hot when worn in other seasons – which I’ve done a lot.
Surprisingly for the material, it does not attract much dust or mud and hardly needs any care.
The sole is made from (black again, by the way) RB9X rubber, Icebug’s premier blend for grip, which they also use in many of their running shoes.
Some urban places such as subway stations are tiled in polished stone on which any type of sole slips – as will this. So, this is no miracle material.
On any other surface I can remember having been on, wherever sneaker-adequate I went in these shoes, there were no issues.
For the times when there would be issues – because it snows or gets icy, and roads turn slippery because of that – the Now4 have a special trick in the bag.
In the bag with the Icebug BUGweb for them, that is.
Like some kinds of slip-on “crampons”, the BUGweb adds spikes to the sole of the sneakers.
However, while most such add-ons are made to work with just about any shoes, to provide a secure grip with no regard for looks, the Now4 sneaker’s BUGweb is custom-made for these shoes.
It not only ‘hooks’ into the shoes’ front and back at exactly the right – made for it – points to become securely attached.
The way it attaches, it is hardly visible as anything that hasn’t always been a part of the shoe.
Even on the sole, it slips into exact places where there are no lugs so that it comes to lie flush (except for the spikes, obviously) with the rest of the shoes’ underside.
With the BUGweb on, you could pretty much go for a stroll on an ice-skating rink, it is that good.
I sometimes find myself wondering if I shouldn’t put insoles into them (of which I would actually have a set from Icebug) as they are not very supportive to a low arch, but that’s the only “complaint.”
Well that and the advice to make a double knot, because the laces slip back open somewhat easily.
If those are the problems, I’ll take them.
The sole, I should add, is a bit worn down by now. That is hardly surprising given that I have worn those shoes more than intensely, as one of only two pairs of shoes I have in daily rotation, meaning I must have put a few hundred miles on them by now.
There is some ‘folding’ to the leather where it bends with my foot rolling, too, but this is again a result simply of how much I have worn them and, while not looking ideal, is not an issue for looks or performance.
By the looks of it, I will wear the Now4 for a lot longer still.
They deliver good looks for the everyday, working well with performance menswear (and doable no problem with whatever else you might want to combine them), and protection – all in comfort, by the way – of the highest level.