Skip to content
Home » Barefoot Shoes

Icarus Ascent GEN 2 Review | Great for Casual Wear and Beginners?

That Fit Friend is supported by its readers. I [Jake Boly] run this site myself and buy the gear I review. If you purchase through my site, I may earn commissions on sales, read more here!

The Icarus Ascent Gen 2 is the follow-up model to the Icarus’ popular Ascent shoe. This model is similar in a lot of ways to the original shoe but has a few key updates that give it a nice upgrade feeling.

I’ve worn this shoe when traveling, commuting, and running errands and it’s been a strong option for anyone who wants a shoe for casual use and daily wear.

Report Card: Get the Quick Facts

Icarus Ascent Gen 2

Icarus Ascent Gen 2 Pros and Cons
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
  • Stack Height: ~5mm (without insole in)
  • Removable Insole: Yes (comes with 3)
  • Sizing: True to Size for Most
  • Width: Wide

Use the Code: “thatfitfriend” to save!

Pros

  1. These are great for casual use when grabbing coffee and running errands. They also work well when you want a plain no-frills leather shoe for business casual work contexts and meetings.
  2. If you have wider feet then you’ll enjoy this model. Their forefoot and midfoot should be plenty wide for most foot anatomies.
  3. The different insoles give this shoe a nice edge for beginners wanting a model that has a range of cushioning to it.

Cons

  1. These can run pretty hot and you’ll likely want to pass on them for warm weather days.
  2. If you have a really thick forefoot then I’d tread lightly with this shoe as its upper volume may be an issue if you use the thicker insoles.
  3. The tongue still moves a little despite being worked which can be a little frustrating at times.

Who Should Buy the Icarus Ascent GEN 2?

Over the course of my testing with the Icarus Ascent Gen 2 I’ve found a few contexts where I think this shoe makes a lot of sense.

1. You’re New to Barefoot Shoes

Not every barefoot shoe is great for beginners and that can be for a variety of reasons, but I think the Icarus Ascent Gen 2 is a nice exception here. For barefoot shoe beginners, this model can be a viable shoe to explore.

Icarus Ascent Gen 2 Review

For starters, you get three different insoles with this shoe all of which provide different levels of cushion. If you’re new to barefoot shoes then you’ll want to acclimate to using them slowly to avoid foot and ankle soreness.

Since the Ascent Gen 2 offers a range of cushions it’s a good “one-stop-shop” style of barefoot shoe for the beginner who doesn’t want to buy multiple shoes with different thicknesses.

Icarus Ascent Gen 2 for Beginners

This model’s three insoles have thicknesses of 3mm insole (zero-drop), 4mm insole (zero-drop), and a 4-9mm insole (not zero-drop). For true beginners, I’d recommend starting with the thicker one and then progressing slowly to the 3mm insole.

2. You Love Simple Leather Shoes for Daily Wear

In my opinion, it can be difficult at times to find barefoot shoes that have a simple and casual look or at least a look that more closely mimics your traditional casual wear shoes.

I love simple leather shoes for wearing to dinners, out and about to grab a coffee, and even to business meetings. If you’re similar then I think you’ll like the Icarus Ascent Gen 2.

Icarus Ascent Gen 2 Upper Construction

The white and black colorways both look solid and I’ve gotten a few compliments on my black pair regarding its gold branding on the heel and tongue, and how this shoe doesn’t look overly “clown-like” (their words) like other barefoot shoes.

I find that it’s easy to match the black Ascent Gen 2 with a range of outfits and this shoe feels like it should be plenty durable with good enough grip for casual wear in different settings AKA commuting and wearing to the office.

3. You Want a Barefoot Shoe for a Little Bit of Everything

I love barefoot shoes that can transcend into different verticals and I feel like the Icarus Ascent Gen 2 does a good job in this context. For example, this shoe works well for walking, and casual use, and can even work in the gym.

Icarus Ascent Gen 2 for Training

Now, that said, I know some individuals love training and going hard in the gym in their Icarus Ascent Gen 2, but I see them as a much more recreational and casual use style barefoot shoe.

For example, I’ve been wearing this model primarily for upper-body training and days with some light conditioning. I wouldn’t use these for serious cross-training and lifting; I use models that are more specific in that context.

Icarus Ascent Gen 2

$144.99

Icarus Ascent Gen 2 Product Shot
4.7
Stability
4.5
Versatility
4.6
Durability
4.7
Quality
4.7

Best For

  • Casual Wear
  • Business Formal Settings
  • Spring, Fall, and Winter Wear
  • Casual Training

Falls Short

  • For Warm Weather Wear
  • For Serious Working Out

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Icarus Ascent GEN 2?

For the most part, the Icarus Ascent Gen 2 has delivered in all my shoe asks and tests but there are a couple of scenarios where I think this shoe will fall short.

1. You Want a Barefoot Shoe for Summer Wear

If your primary ask is a casual barefoot shoe for hot weather then you may want to pass on the Icarus Ascent Gen 2. This is NOT to say you can’t wear these on warmer days, however, since they’re leather they will run hot.

This shoe is built with full-grain premium leather and it’s not the most breathable which is why I love this shoe’s performance for cold seasons, but for hot seasons, these won’t be your most breathable shoes.

Icarus Ascent Gen 2 Multi Season Use Upper

I’ve tried wearing them and going barefoot on hot days and I wasn’t the biggest fan of their feeling. For my friends who want that barefoot shoe for hot days, I’d look into shoes built with a knit or lighter upper construction.

2. You Want Barefoot Shoes for Heavy Lifting and Cross-Training

As mentioned above, you can train in the Icarus Ascent Gen 2 but it’s not your most specialized model on the market. On top of this, if you want the leather to last longer I think it’s a good idea to be conscious of your training volume in these shoes.

For heavy lifting, I’d look into models like the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III or AVANCUS Apex Power, as their constructions are specific to this task.

Testing the Icarus Ascent Gen 2 for Working Out

Then for cross-training, you’ll likely want to explore models like the Tolos Archetype 2.0 and different Primus iterations. The Icarus Ascent Gen 2 can feel a little clunky for cross-training and just because you can use them here doesn’t mean you should, in my opinion.

Icarus Ascent GEN 2 Performance

To break down the performance of the Icarus Gen 2, I’ll discuss how this shoe performs for working out and for casual use. Since most will be using these shoes in those verticals I tried to test them through a wide range of activities in these scenarios.

Testing the Icarus Ascent Gen 2 for Working Out

For working out, the Icarus Ascent Gen 2 does an okay job in the gym. If you’re debating this shoe versus other models for working out, I’d probably pass on the Ascent Gen 2 if that’s your main ask.

In the gym, I’ve used this shoe for various upper-body workouts and circuit-style training, including overhead presses, RDLs, dumbbell rows, biking, and dumbbell snatches.

Testing the Icarus Ascent Gen 2 for Lifting

For these workouts, the Ascent Gen 2 did a pretty good job and they didn’t really feel like they held me back by any means. They articulate well and have good flexibility and I like that you can use different insoles depending on your wants and needs.

Another perk of this shoe for working out is that their herringbone tread patterning has a good grip on different surfaces so you can use these for leg day if you really want to and I don’t think you’ll have slip issues as I haven’t yet for lower body exercises.

Testing the Icarus Ascent Gen 2 for Cross Training

I did notice that the upper can run pretty hot for even my casual workout sessions, so if you traditionally fight “hot feet,” then you might be in the population that should pass on this shoe entirely. You’ll get more out of them by not dumping sweat into them, too.

Testing the Icarus Ascent Gen 2 for Casual Wear

For casual wear, walking, and traveling, I’ve really enjoyed the Icarus Ascent Gen 2’s performance. This is the vertical where this shoe is going to excel the most and I’ve put countless miles into this shoe already.

My longest walking day in this shoe was spent walking around NYC and then flying from NYC to Portland. On this day, I walked a total of 6 miles and had these on for nearly 24 hours.

Testing the Icarus Ascent Gen 2 for Daily Wear

I liked this shoe’s comfort for this walking volume and I used the thicker insole to start the day because I personally like having a little more cushion if I know I’m wearing a barefoot shoe for long periods like this.

When I went to travel, I swapped back in the thinner insole and felt like I had enough upper volume for my foot anatomy to keep this shoe feeling spacious and comfortable.

Testing the Icarus Ascent Gen 2 for Walking

To add more depth here, my favorite occasions for wearing this shoe thus far have been on 60-degree days where I was walking around 2-4 miles and going out and about. It’s an easy shoe pick for these settings and their temperature regulation is perfect for this weather.

The Icarus Ascent Gen 2 is a strong barefoot shoe for anyone who wants a model for a range of casual and formal contexts. I’ve enjoyed this shoe for travel, work meetings, running errands, and walking my dog. This shoe can also be a great option for barefoot shoe beginners.

Icarus Ascent GEN 2 Sizing and Fit

I think most individuals in the Icarus Ascent Gen 2 should be safe going true to size in this model. The original Icarus Ascent ran long, and the sizing was one of the many updates Icarus made to the Ascent Gen 2.

This shoe’s length feels a lot more true and I’m able to wear them with a variety of sock thicknesses without running into them feeling too snug regarding their length.

Testing the Icarus Ascent Gen 2 Sizing

Their width has also been reworked and they no longer have that “bean-like” shape and construction that the original Ascent had. This made the shoe uncomfortable for some and I’m stoked this shoe’s width has been increased across the board.

For context, I have an E-width foot and went with my normal size in this shoe, so if you have a narrow, medium, and wider foot, I also think true-to-size will be the call. If you have wider than EE-width feet, then maybe you’ll want to go up a half-size.

  • Icarus Ascent Gen 2 Sizing and Fit Thoughts: True to Size for Most.

Icarus Ascent Gen 2 Sizing and Fit Assessment

If you have additional questions about the Icarus Ascent Gen 2 and which size you should go with, drop a comment below and I can help you out accordingly.

Price Breakdown

For the Icarus Ascent Gen 2, you can expect to pay around $144.99 USD. This price point isn’t too bad compared to your standard leather shoes for casual wear, especially when you compare this shoe’s price to premium models.

To be fair, I think this price point is pretty fair for what this offers. Plus, there aren’t a ton of really good-looking leather barefoot shoes for casual wear so its price could be worse due to limited competition for what it’s worth.

Icarus Ascent Gen 2 Outsole

I think if you’re buying this shoe for commuting and work and you can plan to rotate them in with other models then they make a lot of sense for the money. For beginners, I also see these as a good “first” casual barefoot shoe.

All that said, I do think this shoe’s price will be a miss if you want a model for all-season wear or you want a barefoot shoe that has good versatility but with a greater bias towards working out.

If you want to save a little bit on your Icarus Ascent Gen 2, I believe That Fit Friend does have a code which is “thatfitfriend”. Also, let the record show I bought my pair of Ascent Gen 2’s and I buy all of the shoes I review to avoid biases.

Icarus Ascent Gen 2

$144.99

Icarus Ascent Gen 2 Product Shot
4.7
Stability
4.5
Versatility
4.6
Durability
4.7
Quality
4.7

Best For

  • Casual Wear
  • Business Formal Settings
  • Spring, Fall, and Winter Wear
  • Casual Training

Falls Short

  • For Warm Weather Wear
  • For Serious Working Out

Construction Details

The Icarus Ascent Gen 2 is a pretty simplistic barefoot shoe regarding its construction and I think that’s one of the many things to like about this model.

  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
  • Weight: 12.20 oz (size 10 model with no insole)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • 3 Insoles (3mm, 4mm, 4mm forefoot/9mm heel thick options)
  • Full-Grain Leather
  • Herringbone Tread Pattern
  • Rubber Outsole
  • Padded Non-Gusseted Tongue With Loop
  • Icarus Branding On Heel/Tongue
  • 7 Core Eyelets

If you need additional clarification on the construction of the Icarus Ascent Gen 2, hit me in the comments below and I can help you out.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q:
Are the Icarus Ascent Gen 2 good for wide feet?

A:
The Icarus Ascent Gen 2 should work well for most foot widths. This model is designed to be wider compared to the original Ascent and it has a less tapered midfoot.

Q:
Can you work out in the Icarus Ascent?

A:
The Icarus Ascent Gen 2 works well for light workouts and cross-training sessions. For tougher sessions, you'll likely want to find a shoe with more specificity as this model's upper runs ho and you'll get more durability by limiting their gym use.

Takeaway Thoughts

Overall, I’ve enjoyed the Icarus Ascent Gen 2 and feel like they’re a step in the right direction for the Ascent shoe line. This model’s updates feel strategic and curated which I appreciate.

For casual wear, formal wear, and even some light training, I think most will be happy with the Icarus Ascent Gen 2. I also appreciate the updated sizing and fit of this model.

Will this be the best barefoot shoe for serious training and summer wear? Not necessarily, so I’d consider these points before springing for this shoe if those are your primary asks.

If you have additional questions about the Icarus Ascent Gen 2, leave a comment below or reach out to me via Instagram (@jake_boly or @that_fit_friend).

Jake Boly, CSCS, MS Sports Science

Jake Boly, CSCS, MS Sports Science

Jake Boly is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of That Fit Friend. He's often regarded to as a go-to resource in various performance shoe communities. He’s been formally reviewing shoes and training gear for over 7 years and has hand-tested over 400 pairs of shoes. Jake is known on the internet and YouTube for blending his review process with his educational, strength sports, and personal training background.

Jake has a Masters in Sports Science, a Bachelors in Exercise Science, a CSCS, and he's been personal training for over 10 years helping hundreds of clients get stronger, lose weight, and accomplish their goals. He uses his exercise science brain and personal training background to make curated and thoughtful review content on the fitness gear he's testing.

1 thought on “Icarus Ascent GEN 2 Review | Great for Casual Wear and Beginners?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *