DiscontinuedUpdate: Icebug Oribi 3 RB9X
Neutral / cushion / high arch
Shoes for runners who do not need any additional arch support (Around 50% of runners). Best for people with normal, high or medium high arches. See the best neutral shoes.
Stability / overpronation / normal arch
Shoes for runners who need mild to moderate arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a low arch. See the best stability shoes.
Motion control / severe overpronation / flat feet
Shoes for runners who needs a lot of arch support. Best for runners with flat feet. See the best motion control shoes.
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WeightMen: 8.1ozWomen: 8.1oz
Heel to toe dropMen: 7mmWomen: 7mm
The height difference from the heel to the forefoot, also known as heel drop, toe spring, heel to toe spring or simply drop.
There are many opinions about what a good heel drop is. We do not recommend any in particular. Lean more in this video.
Heel heightMen: 27mmWomen: 27mm
Forefoot heightMen: 20mmWomen: 20mm
WidthMen: normalWomen: normal
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86 / 100 based on 3 expert reviews
Icebug Oribi 3 RB9X: Light and fluffy with a dash of style and sleekness
Being new to the brand, I felt intrigued to try out a shoe whose primary purpose was to provide additional grip and support over varied terrain with road, trail, and track in mind.
Overall, the IceBug Oribi 3 RB9X doesn’t disappoint and clearly has been improved over the past few iterations, but could definitely still use a few tweaks to make it the best it can be.
Upper & Fit
While I do tend to like my shoes to run wide in the toe box, Icebug does list this model as a specifically narrow lasted shoe, and does provide fair toe box height and width while cradling the foot a bit on the firm and snug side. If you are new to the brand and tend to prefer the fit of an Altra, Topo, or Keen, this may not be the shoe for you.
I did order my normal size (US 10.5 or 44 EU) and even with thicker wool socks that I use out on the trails, it felt like a solid fit.
It took about 10-15 miles of breaking in and a good bit of moisture buildup in the shoe to allow the toe box to better mold to the foot. It still felt like it hugged the foot well, but provided a bit more flexibility to allow movement of toes for proper mechanics.
The material is very rugged but supple with overlays of TPU lining the sides and midfoot of the shoe as well as a lip of it over the top of the toe guard.
It does a great job during normal conditions with breathability for a trail runner. The mesh vents on the top contribute considerably to its ability to keep the foot cool during longer workouts and high temps. I have taken this shoe on technical trail areas, grassy trails, as well as through mud and through wooded areas and it keeps the foot blister-free.
The only weakness seemed to be that in the early mornings with grassy, dew-soaked areas and working through creeks and water, the side TPU doesn’t quite reach high enough to keep the foot dry. In addition, while the midfoot elastic system does a great job locking in the foot and the mesh possesses good moisture wicking properties. The light weight features though may leave the medial arch mildly susceptible to hotspots.
Having said that, for a nominal upgrade in price, the company does offer a “GTX” version with the patented Gore-Tex hydrophobic liner to remedy this for individuals seeking a more dry ride through wet conditions with a smooth feel to the foot.
The heel has a very spartan but relatively comfortable lining and does have a heel counter. It is forgiving and mild in its structure which cradles the heel and Achilles but doesn’t feel irritating or overly restrictive to natural rearfoot motion through the gait cycle.
In addition, the sausage-link lacing system is a very nice touch and I have never had the laces come undone. They are also thin and light enough to avoid attracting burrs and debris.
In fact, with the slick material of the overlays I found that even when using the shoe as a hiker or getting into the tall brush on my trips playing disc golf, the shoes rarely picked up a lot of unwanted seed, stickers and the like. On the rare occasion they did, it was easy to brush off with a towel or rinse off in water.
Midsole & Insole Cushioning Systems
In terms of midsole cushioning, this shoe really shines. The EVA foam is very light and feels plush for the stack height underfoot.
At a total weight of 8.29 oz. (235g) for a men's size 9, it is firmly toward the lighter end of the spectrum for a trail shoe. However, for a shoe that is designed for usage on the trails, it may be a little overly well apportioned in the heel.
With a 7mm heel to toe drop it is slightly lower than the industry standard, but will be noticeable if you are used to close to zero drop or minimal trail footwear. For racing and faster workouts, however, the mild drop can be helpful with accelerating through the stride and my heel felt protected even when I took a misstep off the trail or overextended when running downhill.
For those who tend to heel strike in general, this shoe should feel pleasing underfoot without feeling like running on a patch of marshmallows. The arch and rock plate give the shoe a firm ride in the forefoot, lending the toe off a moderately snappy feel.
Nonetheless, one thing that could improve is the addition of some type of indentation or flex points in the mid to forefoot of the shoe to allow for greater range of motion in the toes and a slightly less stiff transition.
The insole feels light and helps reduce friction. It has been holding up well in terms of molding to the foot and staying in place without glues or taping. However, the moisture management to the strobel and midsole leave a bit to be desired with longer runs in the heat.
As I build up more of a sweat than the average runner, I felt a mild squishy sensation on later miles with distances over 10 miles. Relatively thin in nature, this insole has developed pleats at the edge of the heel and near the lateral midfoot area for some reason after approx. 2 weeks of wear.
While not bothersome personally, this may again be an area for growth in later models to avoid the risk of friction and hotspots, especially for those who enjoy the sockless approach.
Outsole & Durability
The outsole on the Oribi 3 in terms of grip and overall feel is the strongest point of the shoe, as the company places the greatest emphasis on this part of the production.
The rubber feels almost sticky on soft surfaces and road alike and helps keep the footing sure over wet ground and varied terrain. The tractor tire tread also seemed to help on hills, both on ascent and descent.
If you are looking for a shoe to hug the trail while not feeling clunky and overly sticky on the road, this outsole delivers in this regard.
Impressively, unlike other aggressively-treaded trail runners, this pattern did not cause any undue irritation to the ball of the foot over the ridges. In terms of tread life, the outsole seems to be holding up better than average for the soft feel it provides.
After about 30 miles, one can start to notice the depth of the tread decrease slightly, especially at the toe of the shoe (a common trade-off with softer rubber compounds), but this does not seem to affect the overall traction to this point in the life of the shoe (now to about 100 miles in), but may affect performance over uneven or unstable surfaces in the latter stages of life in the shoe past the 200-300 mile marks.
One small consideration (although purely cosmetic) is the attachment of an exterior logo to the lateral midfoot of the shoe.
Unlike other models in the Icebug line, there is a rubber logo affixed to the mesh and TPU overlay versus a 3-D printing, screen or sublimation. While it seems to be holding up relatively well, the edges appear to be coming up near the hind legs and feelers of the logo.
While this model is still in the early iterations, it clearly is advancing in the overall look of the shoe.
While previous models had a more boxy and plain look, the Oribi 3 has a cross-hatched patterning through the midfoot and sleek curves through the midsole giving it as streamlined a look as the shoe feels on the road, track and trail. The main colorway fits well together and is pleasing to the eye.
However, the ever-present spectre of the white midsole tends to fade and look cream to taupe colored when used for its primary function as a trail shoe. It might be better served with a darker color to maintain the out of the box look for longer (although this certainly shouldn’t be a primary concern for most trail and outdoor enthusiasts, some day hikers, weekend warriors, and folks using this shoe as a winter road shoe).
One other area for potential growth as the Oribi 3 RB9X progresses is the addition of alternate colorways, as this current model boasts only one alternate color scheme. As the company expands its influence and grows in popularity, it would be great to see some additional options to meet a broader range of consumer tastes.
- Great feel underfoot through the midsole and insole
- Above average grip and performance over slick and unsteady surfaces
- Light and speedy ride with a touch of stability and snappy forefoot
- Generous but responsive cushioning for heel strikers
- Above average breathability for a trail shoe over shorter distances
- Stiff rock plate and one piece outsole limit forefoot movement
- At MSRP $169.95 this shoe may have difficulty competing with more economical and well-established options
- Decreased moisture management performance in wet conditions and longer runs in the heat
- Limited colorways and light colored midsole may turn off some mainstream buyers
While the Oribi 3 RB9X is still in the early models of development and has room to grow, Icebug has struck a nice balance of grip and ride with a rugged trail runner while staying light enough for road and track work.
For the purpose of review, I’d like to thank Icebug for providing me with a pair of Oribi 3 RB9X shoes. No additional compensation was provided and the review process objective over the course of a normal life cycle of my daily training shoes.
This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.
Level 2 expert (3-5 reviews)
Justin has been a distance athlete since 1999. A two-time IIAC JV All-Conference runner at D-3 Wartburg, Justin currently enjoys training for marathons and has run both Boston and NYC. In addition to coaching beginning adult endurance athletes & high school athletes, he has 4 years of experience rehabilitating endurance athletes as a physical therapist assistant.
5 reviews - average score 84/100
It’s a lightweight, protective, just lugged enough trail shoe with average drop. It’s fun to push the pace in and probably just enough shoe for most folks up to ~30k.
Level 3 expert (6-14 reviews)
12 reviews - average score 86/100
Icebug Oribi RB9X86
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With a much lighter feel and construction than most rugged trail shoes, including the midsole cushioning, it would work for runners who like a speedy flexible feel.
Level 1 expert (1-2 reviews)
1 review - average score 88/100
Updates to Icebug Oribi RB9X
- The Icebug Oribi RBB9X is an everyday trail running shoe packed with protective features and durable materials. The upper is made up of water-resistant materials. The mesh materials may absorb a small amount of water, but it will also dry up quickly.
- The shoe makes use of a lightweight EVA for cushioning. It is responsive and soft enough for long-distance trail running. It is lightweight in nature and delivers the right amount of flexibility for a smoother ride.
- The RB9X outsole delivers reliable traction on varied trail surfaces. The rubber compound comes with a tractor tire pattern for maximum grip. With this outsole material, the Icebug Oribi RB9X can surely withstand muddy and rocky surfaces.
Icebug Oribi RB9X size and fit
The seamless upper of the Icebug Oribi RB9X conforms to the natural shape of the foot. The shoe is available in standard running shoe length. Width option is D-Medium for men’s and B-Medium for women’s.
The RB9X compound made up the outer sole of the Icebug Oribi RB9X. It is a rubber material formulated to deliver reliable traction on wet and slippery surfaces. The tractor tire pattern of the outsole also offers durable grip over challenging surfaces like rocks.
The Icebug Oribi RB9X aims to deliver a bouncy ride and provide runners a kickback effect in every stride. It makes use of a molded EVA foam that is soft and lightweight. It provides durable underfoot protection without compromising flexibility.
Integrated into the midsole is the TPU rock plate. It shields the foot in rocky terrain, and at the same time, it disperses shock during impact. The rock plate is flexible in nature, and thus it helps runners experience a satisfying, springy ride.
The shoe also has a removable molded EVA sock liner. It gives additional level cushioning. It enhances in-short comfort while keeping the shoe cool throughout the run. The sock liner helps reduce odor, and it has a quick-drying capacity.
The Icebug Oribi RB9X has a non-absorbing upper. It uses a Polyester mesh with water shield for a breathable and water-repellent coverage. It has a seamless construction so; it provides the foot an irritation-free environment.
The welded TPU mudguard prevents mud and dirt from entering the shoe. It is lightweight in nature and does not affect the overall comfort and breathability of the upper.
Integrated into the lacing system are laminated ribbons which help in securing the foot in place. The laces are also reliable in providing midfoot security, and they do not untie easily.
The Icebug Oribi RB9X has a thin tongue. The sock-like construction delivers a comfortable, glove-like fit.