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Shoe Review: Karhu Ikoni 2020

Karhu created the original Ikoni using data from more than 100,000 3D foot scans captured during Fleet Feet’s fit id™ outfitting process. Designers then took that data and created a one-of-a-kind running shoe.

With a new upper and the addition of a high-volume model, this year’s edition is even better.

Fleet Feet runners took the new Karhu Ikoni 2020 for a spin to see what’s new and find out how it compares to last year’s model. Here’s what they thought.

Tech specs

Karhu Ikoni 2020

Price

$130

Weight

8.9 oz (women’s); 10.9 oz (men’s)

Drop

8 mm

Category

Neutral

Use

Everyday trainer

Surface

Road, track

Karhu Ikoni 2020 Fit and Materials

A pair of the Karhu Ikoni 2020 running shoes in black

Karhu designed the Ikoni for a democratic fit, and it doesn’t disappoint.

Designers this year built the Ikoni around an updated last, which uses even more data from 3D scans to tweak the fit slightly from the previous version.

New for the Ikoni 2020 is a slightly more rectangular toe shape that doesn’t pinch your digits at the front of the shoe. The more squared-off toe is roomier than the original model, which makes it more comfortable for a wide array of foot shapes.

Karhu then draped it in a seamless engineered knit mesh upper, which adds a little more give to let your toes splay. Pairing the refreshed last with an adaptable upper gives the shoe enough room for even wider-footed testers.

“I was pleasantly surprised by the Ikoni,” one tester says. “Some shoes are too narrow on my foot to run more than a couple miles, but the Ikoni is perfect for me.”

Karhu also added a high-volume option called the Ikoni HiVo. The wider fit adds another level of comfort for runners with wide, flat or all-around larger-than-average feet. But it keeps the same locked-in heel and seamless upper as the regular-width iteration.

A runner checks her watch while wearing Karhu Ikoni 2020 running shoes

Another change between the outgoing Ikoni and the incoming model is the heel counter—Karhu again used new data from fit id™ to make tweaks that improve the comfort and security. The heel counter on the Ikoni 2020 is slightly narrower than last year’s version, making it comfortably snug and very secure.

One tester says she didn’t have to worry about any slipping or chafing with the heel.

“It’s just the right height,” she says. “The cushy heel collar is comfortable and doesn’t put any pressure on my Achilles.”

Designers pumped up the comfort again by threading the shoe with an anatomical lacing design. The laces are angled slightly toward the lateral side of the shoe to better conform with the natural contours of the foot, which reduces the pressure the laces put on the top of the foot when it bends.

One tester says the shoe is simple and comfortable, making it ideal for longer runs.

“The Ikoni is comfortable all around,” he says. “There were no pain points or chafing. It is just an easy going running shoe.”

Karhu Ikoni 2020 Ride and Performance

A man running across a bridge while wearing the Karhu Ikoni 2020 shoes

The Ikoni rides as easy as it fits.

Karhu fitted the Ikoni with its half-length Fulcrum technology. The Fulcrum is the rounded piece of denser foam under the midfoot. It’s a visible piece of technology that Karhu says works to keep your momentum moving forward, not up and down.

“Independent research shows that runners bounce up and down half an inch less per step in Karhu than in other running shoes,” Karhu says on its website. “Think of it like climbing stairs: runners climb fewer stories across every distance with the efficiency of Karhu Fulcrum Technology.”

The Fulcrum pulls double duty, though, as a stability feature: its shape provides light structure for overpronators. Karhu designed the Fulcrum to be longer on the medial side (instep) of the shoe than on the lateral (outside). The extra length of denser foam adds a touch of additional structure where overpronators need it most.

Designers then surrounded the Fulcrum with AeroFoam cushioning. The lightweight foam is soft without feeling mushy, which one tester says he loves.

“It feels well-cushioned for long runs on pavement,” he says. “It hits the right balance of soft and springy.”

Overall, the Ikoni provides a smooth ride. Whether that’s from the Fulcrum, the AeroFoam or a combination of both, testers couldn’t tell. But the Ikoni checks all the right boxes for a comfortable everyday training shoe.

Conclusion

Fleet Feet testers love the refreshed Karhu Ikoni 2020 for its light ride and nimble feel, but it’s the roomy, secure fit that stands out.

The new engineered knit mesh upper is seamless and adaptable for different foot shapes, and the last crafted from 3D foot scans gives it an accommodating fit. Plus, the addition of the Ikoni HiVo to the lineup this year gives more options to runners who might have trouble finding comfortable running shoes.

Still not convinced? Don’t sweat it. Fleet Feet's return policy means you can test drive your shoes and gear without risk. If you’re not happy with the way your gear performs, looks or fits, we’ll take it back within 60 days. Plus, you’ll get free return shipping on all fleetfeet.com orders. That's our Happy Fit Guarantee.

By Evan Matsumoto. Evan played many sports growing up but didn’t go pro in any of them. Now, he’s the digital copywriter for fleetfeet.com and editor for the Fleet Feet blog where he writes about different foam densities and engineered mesh uppers.

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