Not many brands offer shoes in different widths. The Swedish shoe maker Icebug builds on their popular model Spirit olx 2 with a wider option named the SPwider olx. Both shoes are primarily orienteering competition shoes that also serve well for trail running and orienteering training.
What has been redesigned is the upper shape and lining with improvements around a more padded tongue and semi-hidden lacing. The excellent outsole, technical details and materials remain the same. How will this work different or better? What enables the most effective running in the forest – a wider or a narrower shoe? These are some initial questions I have, while keeping in mind that finding the best shoes for different feet is mostly an individual thing.
The easiest might be to start with the previous pair of shoes: how they have worked the best and what main qualities could add something. My previous Icebug shoes – the Spirit olx – proved to work well for me. The only improvements I’d wish for are some minor things. They could be a little bit lighter with a more flexible upper material. My feet also seem to slide some millimeters lengthwise back and forth after a certain time while running.
So, while trying the different sizes of the Spwider olx, I was searching for a more precise fit and hoping that half a size smaller would do the trick. Otherwise I expected there to be more room than in the Spirit olx. The general impression running with the Spwider olx is that it has a confident grip and good support. The protection from water and mud is excellent and the half size smaller gives a very responsive shoe. There is still a slight issue with too little space and pain in the toes when I slow down to change direction or run downhill. The material will need a lot more use to be flexible enough to fit perfectly. It’s a pleasant shoe to run with, but it has very limited tolerance to stretch or follow the foot anatomy in the length direction. Since the shoe sole is similar to the Spirit olx 2 it is not a wider shoe on the ground.
To try to answer the question of what type of shoe that feels more effective, a narrower shoe can feel faster to me, with an easier kick and more precise landing on the ground. A wider shoe can give better support sideways, better cushioning when the whole foot has contact to the ground and a bigger footprint holding and preventing the foot from diving into a wet or uneven terrain. As Icebug has been aiming for, Spwider olx has those characteristics of a wider shoe with some feel of a faster and narrower shoe. Spwider olx comes as a technically improved and wider alternative to an already very good shoe. The result is a well-built orienteering shoe that gives some more room with an appealing minimal design.