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Icarus Ascent Review | Good Beginner-Friendly Barefoot Shoe?

The Icarus Ascent is a relatively new shoe to the barefoot shoe scene. This model is designed to be an “all-in-one” style barefoot shoe that delivers a classic and clean white leather upper construction.

As someone who routinely trains and wears barefoot shoes for daily wear, I was super excited to put the Icarus Ascent to the test. Overall, I’ve enjoyed the Ascent’s performance, and it has become one of my favorite barefoot shoes for daily use.

This model looks casual in formal settings, too, which I like because I find it difficult to find good-looking barefoot shoes that are not just focused on lifting and working out.

 

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Who Should Invest In the Icarus Ascent?

The Icarus Ascent is a great barefoot shoe for anyone wanting a model for daily wear in more casual settings. I think if you like classic white leather shoes, then you’ll resonate really well with the Icarus Ascent.

I also think the Icarus Ascent can be a great option for anyone wanting to get into barefoot shoes and are in the process of making the transition from traditional shoes. This shoe comes with three different insoles that vary in thickness and cushion.

Icarus Ascent On Feet

This is a cool and unique feature because it gives you a wider range of use based on your wear contexts. For example, if I’m walking 4+ miles in this shoe, then it’s nice having the thicker insole for a little more all-day comfort and cushion.

Conversely, if I’m doing short walks, standing, or working out, I’ll opt for the minimalist insole to get more ground feedback. For barefoot shoe beginners, this can be a great tool to expose you gradually to the “feel” of barefoot shoes.

Icarus Ascent for Beginners

If you want a casual-looking barefoot shoe for daily wear or light training, or if you’re a beginner getting into barefoot shoes, then I think the Icarus Ascent makes a lot of sense for your wants and needs.

Who Shouldn’t Invest In the Icarus Ascent?

While I appreciate the notion of the Icarus Ascent being a good barefoot shoe for everything, I do think there are daily wear and training contexts where this shoe will fall short.

For example in the context of training, if you’re in the market for a barefoot shoe primarily for working out, then you may want to explore other models. This shoe can feel a little heavy at times due to its upper.

Icarus Ascent for Working Out

Plus, if you want a barefoot shoe for versatile training, then you may want to find options that are a little more “athletic” with their fit and construction to give you a more seamless feeling shoe for stuff like jumping, running, and multi-directional work.

When it comes to daily wear, I like that this shoe can be an all-season model, but again, the upper is pretty heavy so in settings where the environment is really hot, you’ll want to probably limit their use a little bit depending on your preferences.

Icarus Ascent

$144

4.6
Stability
4.6
Versatility
4.7
Durability
4.6

Best For

  • Casual Lifting
  • All-Day Wear
  • Walking and Standing
  • Barefoot Shoe Beginners

Falls Short

  • For Serious Training
  • For Hotter Climates

Icarus Ascent Pros

Over the course of my testing and wearing of the Icarus Ascent, I found a few pros to appreciate with this model.

  1. Great Barefoot Shoe for Daily Wear
  2. White Leather Upper Is Casual
  3. Lifetime Warranty and Guarantee

The first thing to like about the Icarus Ascent is that it’s a great barefoot shoe for day-to-day wear. At times, I find it tough to find barefoot shoes that can be worn in more formal settings that look really good.

Icarus Ascent In Depth Review

I feel like the Icarus Ascent is a nice anomaly in this case due to its classic and casual appearance. If you like white leather shoes in the context of streetwear, then I also think you’ll enjoy the appearance of the Ascent as it matches multiple outfits really well.

I also like that this shoe comes with three insoles which give you a nice range of comfort with this model for walking and all-day wear. One insole has a forefoot thickness of 5mm and a heel thickness of 12mm, the other insole is 4mm thick, and the minimalist insole is 3mm thick.

Icarus Ascent Insoles

These are great because you can rotate them based on your preferences. For example, the other week I was walking around 4-6 miles in New York City so having the thicker insole made for a more comfortable ride.

For barefoot shoe beginners, this could also be a nice perk for acclimating to barefoot shoes as you can ease yourself into the thinner insoles. For context, the stack height of this shoe is 5mm without the insoles, so you have a nice range with them based on your preferences.

Icarus Ascent

Outside of the three insoles, these shoes also come with additional laces and toe separators which I thought was also pretty cool, especially for those who want some colorway variability and to try toe separators without buying something else.

Outside of daily wear, this shoe can also be used for casual training and working out. It’s not my go-to barefoot shoe for serious training sessions, but for my bodybuilding days and static lower body days, they work pretty well.

Testing the Icarus Ascent for working out

Another thing to like about the Icarus Ascent is its full-grain leather upper construction. I was a little skeptical at first of this shoe’s upper construction regarding how it would fare when it comes to stains and braving the elements.

Thus far, though, I’ve been impressed with the leather upper in this shoe and its ability to resist stains and get waterlogged when wearing these in the rain. I’ve worn these shoes multiple times in rain and snow and they’ve done a good job regarding their appearance and durability.

To follow up enjoying the upper, my final thing to like about the Icarus Ascent is that this shoe comes with a lifetime guarantee. I think this is a pretty classy act from Icarus and it shows that they believe in their product. 

Icarus Ascent Lifetime Guarantee

When you get your Ascent, you also get a prepaid return envelope which adds to my liking of this shoe’s lifetime guarantee. I think if you’re on the fence about this shoe, then this can help ease your mind a little bit because you can return them at any point with no questions asked.

Icarus Ascent Cons

For the most part, the Icarus Ascent has performed well, but there are a couple of cons to note about this shoe.

  1. It Will Have Some Limitations
  2. Outsole Can Be Squeaky At Times

The first drawback that I have with the Icarus Ascent is that it’s a barefoot shoe that will have some limitations, in my opinion. It’s marketed as a “do everything” style shoe, I think that’s a little generous especially when it comes to working out.

The upper runs pretty hot so I think for versatile training and sessions where you’re blending with jumping, running, and explosive work, you might find this shoe to be a little more uncomfortable.

Icarus Ascent Upper

Personally, I prefer other barefoot shoes like the Tolos Archetype 1.0 and Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III for serious training. These feel a little more seamless and have better breathability and upper security for a wider range of training contexts.

In addition, similar to other leather shoes, if you live in a really hot climate then you might find this shoe to run a little warm. In this context, I’d suggest opting for thin no-show socks to help with breathability and prevent excessive sweat in your shoes.

Icarus Ascent Outsole

The second drawback that I have with the Icarus Ascent is that they can be a little squeaky at times. Don’t get me wrong, I like the outsole and its level of tread on different surfaces, but on wood and concrete floors I think you’ll notice these squeak a bit.

I typically work at a WeWork with a smooth concrete floor and if I ever forget to pick up my shoes, you’ll hear me coming. This should fade as the outsole gets more worn, but it’s definitely something to note before investing in this shoe.

Performance Breakdown

To discuss the performance of the Icarus Ascent, I’ll cover how this performs for lifting, versatile, and daily wear. This model is said to be designed for everything, however, I’ve limited their use primarily to casual training and day-to-day wear.

If you’re interested in a performance vertical that isn’t highlighted in this review, drop a comment below and I can help you navigate your ask accordingly.

Icarus Ascent Performance Breakdown

Testing the Icarus Ascent for Lifting and Versatile Training

When it comes to lifting, the Icarus Ascent does pretty well for more casual weight training. I’ve found that I enjoy this shoe most for my upper body days and lower body days where I’m doing more strength work.

The stack height of this shoe’s sole is 5mm so if you use the minimalist insole while training in this shoe then you can get pretty close to the ground for things like deadlifts and RDLs.

Testing the Icarus Ascent for lifting

Additionally, I also enjoy the width of this shoe, its outsole traction, and its sole flexibility. This shoe moves well for things like split squats and I don’t think you’ll have issues with toe splay at all in this model.

For versatile training, this shoe hasn’t been my favorite and that’s due to its heavier upper construction. I found this shoe to run pretty warmly in longer sessions where I was doing a blend of movements.

Testing the Icarus Ascent for strength training

Plus, this model’s width is a bit wide for my foot so I noticed when catching cleans and jumping I was sliding a little bit in this model. If you have narrow or neutral-width feet, then this is something you’ll want to consider.

If you’re wanting a barefoot shoe for more dynamic training, then you may want to explore other models. Can this model work in those contexts? Sure, but I think there are superior barefoot shoes for versatile training on that market.

Testing the Icarus Ascent for Daily Wear

For day-to-day wear, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Icarus Ascent’s performance and I think this vertical is where this shoe will do its best. This model’s spacious fit is great for all-day wear and gives you enough room to let the toes splay and allow your foot to move freely.

Icarus Ascent Toe Box Width

The articulation of the sole is also great for giving you a nice level of ground feel when walking and standing all day. The outsole’s tread grips well, too, which is nice when you’re wearing this model in the rain on smoother surfaces.

For example, I didn’t have a ton of slip issues when wearing this model on damp New York City subway platforms. Granted, this model’s outsole can squeak a bit which I mentioned above.

Testing the Icarus Ascent for walking and standing

Another perk of this shoe for daily wear is its appearance. I found the leather upper to look casual and it pairs really well with different outfits for different contexts. This could be a good business casual work-friendly barefoot shoe.

The final aspect that I like about the Ascent regarding its performance for daily wear is its different insoles. These give you a nice range of comfort for different use cases and it makes this shoe great for both beginners and weathered barefoot shoe wearers.

Icarus Ascent Sizing

Icarus Ascent Sizing

When it comes to sizing the Icarus Ascent, I think most should be safe going true to size in this shoe. They run a smidge long, but not enough to warrant sizing down if you’re not a half size and they have a nice wide width.

At the moment, Icarus does not offer half-sizes and if you are in-between sizes, they suggest sizing down. I agree with this sentiment since these shoes can run a little long compared to other barefoot shoes.

Comparing the Icarus Ascent Sizing to Vivobarefoot

Personally, I don’t mind the extra width, though, because I like being able to wear these with different sock thicknesses and not feel constrained.

That being said, for narrow feet, you may want to size down due to the length and width, but for neutral-width and wide feet, you should be safe going true to size barring you’re not in-between sizes.

  • Icarus Ascent Sizing Thoughts: Narrow feet size down, and everyone else should go true to size. Half sizes, size down.

Icarus Ascent Sizing and Fit Assessment

If you have additional sizing and fit questions about the Icarus Ascent, drop a comment below and I can help you out accordingly.

Price Assessment

For the Icarus Ascent, you can expect to pay $144 USD. The price point of this shoe is a little higher than some of its peers, but I do think it can be worth it.

I think you enjoy white leather shoes and you want a model with a nice toe box that can be worn formally, then the price makes sense for these shoes. Plus, I think they have a nice barefoot shoe beginner-friendly vibe to them.

Icarus Ascent Different Insoles

In addition, I like that Icarus offers a lifetime guarantee on these, so if your model breaks down they should replace it. On top of this, if you try them and don’t align with their construction, then you can also return them with no questions asked.

If you want to try this model and save 10%, I believe That Fit Friend has a code, and it’s “thatfitfriend“. If you use it, awesome, let me know in the comments below or reach out to share your thoughts on this model.

Icarus Ascent

$144

4.6
Stability
4.6
Versatility
4.7
Durability
4.6

Best For

  • Casual Lifting
  • All-Day Wear
  • Walking and Standing
  • Barefoot Shoe Beginners

Falls Short

  • For Serious Training
  • For Hotter Climates

Construction Details

The construction of the Icarus Ascent is relatively simple which I personally like about this model. Below are the key construction details to know about this shoe.

  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
  • Weight: 12.05 oz (size 10 model with no insole)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • 3 Insoles (3mm, 4mm, 5mm forefoot/12mm heel thick options)
  • White Full-Grain Leather
  • Rubber Outsole
  • Padded Non-Gusseted Tongue
  • Icarus Branding On Heel/Tongue
  • 7 Core Eyelets

If you have additional construction-related questions about the Icarus Ascent, drop a comment below and I can answer whatever you have.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q:
Do the Icarus Ascent fit true to size?

A:
The Icarus Ascent should fit true to size for neutral-width and wide feet. For narrow feet, you'll likely want to size down in this shoe and for half-sizes, you'll also want to size down.

Q:
Can you work out in the Icarus Ascent?

A:
The Icarus Ascent works pretty well for casual training and working out. However, the upper can run pretty how and you may want to find a more specific barefoot shoe for versatile training.

Takeaway Thoughts

It took a while, but the Icarus Ascent has grown on me and has become one of my staple daily wear barefoot shoes. This shoe’s comfort and casual appearance are its star players for day-to-day contexts.

I also like that it can be used for casual training and that Icarus provides a lifetime guarantee on this shoe. In my opinion, it shows that they believe in their product which I enjoy.

There are certain contexts where I don’t think the Icarus Ascent makes sense, so I’d suggest nailing down how you plan to use this shoe before investing in it.

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

Jake Boly

Jake Boly

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.

2 thoughts on “Icarus Ascent Review | Good Beginner-Friendly Barefoot Shoe?”

  1. Hey a little late to the game im looking for a decent court style barefoot shoe. This definitely has the style i like but would it perform with the lateral movement for indoor soccer for example

    1. Hey Justin! I think you’ll want to pass on these for that context. I think their heavier weight will be a limiter for you and they may not fare the best durability wise for that use case!

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