The name Ecco is uttered by certain members of my family with a kind of hushed, almost saintly reverence. You can practically see their eyes glaze over and they go into a blissed-out trance. However these members are… well, ladies of a certain age. So I have long since stuck the Ecco brand on a mental list along with Laura Ashley, Edinburgh Woollen Mill and the like.
So it’s fair to say that when I popped onto the Ecco stand at the Outdoor Trade Show in the summer I wasn’t really expecting there to be anything that would whet my appetite. Oh boy was I wrong… the brand may be synonymous with comfort, but they’ve certainly got some eye-catching designs too, and ones that I would happily pop on my feet… and no, I don’t yet shop at any of the retail outlets listed above!
So I was excited to take delivery of a pair of the ladies Ecco Biom Terrain boots. However, I must confess to be being a tad disappointed upon first opening the box. The styling of these particular boots doesn’t really rock my world – they are a bit chunky and clunky looking. I feel they’ve tried to trendy them up or maybe soften and girly-fy them them by adding a purple sole and supplying matching laces, but it doesn’t really do it for me. But heck, maybe I’m just really hard to please! I did a quick straw poll of ‘im indoors and some of his buddies who reckoned they look alright versus a couple of my female friends who both concurred that they weren’t all that dainty looking.
However looks aside, because I’m not that shallow… honest?! I popped them on my feet and I’m pretty sure that my feet breathed an audible sigh of relief. After a summer of knocking about in flip flops and Converse, my feet actually ached -in a good, ‘oh lordy I’m super supported, this is amazing’ small way when I first popped these boots on. It was a bit weird, but a lovely weird. I don’t really know how to describe it other than the insoles seems to go up and down where you need it most so every bit of your foot, the arch, the toes – every single bit is cradled and cushioned. Oh heck i’ve almost gone into a blissed out trance thinking about it!
So here I’ll give you some interesting geeky factoids – ‘Biom’ is a contraction of biomechanical optimisation. The idea is that the boot reflects the movement of the bare foot. Ecco scanned 2,500 feet before making the last for this boot that is ‘never straight or flat on the bottom’. The main principal is that they use natural motion for stability, rather than the usual stability features.
So, impressive sole, and impressively comfortable straight out of the box. In the weeks and months that I have been wearing these boots (almost daily) I have not had any hot spots or rubbing, equally impressive.
The boots are make of super soft Yak leather which is certainly a talking point, and is apparently harder wearing the cow leather. The boots are lined with Gore-Tex making them waterproof, which after various drenchings and traipsing through puddles I can testify works. And much to my surprise I didn’t get sweaty or stinky feet. However, being leather, these boots will need looking after.
Now onto the testing: My general everyday test route/dog walk takes me up a continuous bit of uphill for approx 2 miles in forestry land. The paths are clay and after a good downpour can get rather sloppy. The flashy purple soles had no problem with dealing with the terrain and shed the muck impressively quickly, and at no point did I feel like I was going to end up on my bum. They are also suitably chunky that they absorb pretty much all the lumps and bumps which certainly racks up the comfort factor. Being a mid-height boot my ankles have always felt supported, even when making my way down some steep bits of terrain.
However, about half way up on the first outing I noticed the last 3 toes on each foot had gone to sleep. I put this down to having tied the laces too tight. A quick adjustment and I headed on. The feeling eased but didn’t go away. Hmmm, a bit odd, but I assumed it was user error.
I have now had these boots for three months and I’ve worn them on a variety of outings, both long and short and for general rambles and even had days where I’ve worn them continuously for 8 hours and they’ve been fine, but every time I tackle a continuous up-hill for any length of time the numbness kicks in and no amount of fettling and fiddling with the laces seems to ease it. A couple of weekends ago I tackled part of the Shropshire way, which takes you to the summit of Clee Hill and by the time I’d got to the top my poor toes had gone beyond numb to really rather painful.
I really can’t fathom the cause, if it were a constant numbing then perhaps the big rubber rand across the toes is too tight/restrictive for my wide fitting feet, but it is only on the up-hills so perhaps it’s that biomechanically optimised sole. However it’s definitely a fit thing and as we always say with shoe/boot reviews this is subjective so we always recommend trying them yourself, and have a good stomp around the shop before making your buying decision.
I feel like this is an unrequited love affair… they love my feet, but sadly my feet just don’t love them, which is a shame because otherwise they’re a good boot.