Ecco BIOM Hike 1.1 Boots

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Manufacturer Description

A sturdy men’s leather with rubber outsole designed for tough mountain terrain. Anatomical fit for maximum comfort outdoors. Cambrelle insole absorbs moisture whatever the climate. Durable, ECCO Hydromax treated yak leather offers classic outdoor fit.

Features

  • A natural motion inspired, traditional outdoor hiking boot
  • Uppers made of yak leather
  • Hydromax treated leather for a water repellent upper
  • 3-layer sandwich inlay sole made of Cambrelle, foam and felt
  • Anatomically fitted last and direct-injection PU technology
  • Rugged rubber outsole designed for superior outdoor performance
  • Excellent grip, traction and durability in tough mountain terrain
  • Tested size 42
    • Weight – 687 g (24.2 oz) each
    • Forefoot width – coming soon
  • Retail – $255

YMMV Review

Ecco makes some great shoes. I have some of their footwear that I use routinely for work and have also tested the BIOM Trail Shoes for the size. They make some very high-quality footwear, which is full of years of experience. Ecco has been making shoes since 1963, in a small town in Denmark. In 2009, they launched the BIOM line to create shoes that were biomechanically in line with how the foot moved. The BIOM Trail shoes were the first of this collection that I had tested and while I liked the feel, I felt like they were more of a hiking shoe rather than a runner. Since then Ecco has in fact gone into the hiking market with these and several other hiking boots. I want to thank Ecco for supplying these boots as a press sample for the review.

Top View - Click to See Larger
Top View – Click to See Larger

Testing

I have been testing the Ecco BIOM Hike 1.1 Boots this fall. To do so I have been getting them out on the trails around central Oregon. Some of these hikes have been more day hiking in design with lightweight to no packs. I have also tried to get them out for some more substantial trips where I had a heavier pack (whether I needed it or not). This was I could get a feel both ways. Central Oregon is rather dry, so I waited to do this review until the weather came. This way, I could get it up in the snow and see how well they did in wetter conditions.

Side View - Click to See Larger
Side View – Click to See Larger

Design ★★★★☆

Appearance (15%) ★★★★☆

Construction (35%) ★★★★½

Lacing (20%) ★★★½☆

Sustainability (10%) ★★★★☆

Weight (20%) ★★½☆☆

The Ecco BIOM Hike 1.1 Boots are a sturdy hiking boot fused with Ecco’s BIOM technology. What you get is a sturdy leather boot made to handle tough mountainous terrain. The boots feature uppers made of Yak leather. This leather has been treated with Ecco’s Hydromax to give it water repellency. While much of the upper is leather, the toe and heel area of the boot has rubber overlays for protection, durability, and support. The lacing system is a standard design with a gusseted tongue to keep debris out. The bottom eyelet is a typical loop while the next three have bearings to help reduce the friction and allow you to tighten it easier. The upper three eyelets are hooks, which allows for different lacing techniques so you can get the boots to fit the way you like. The interior of the boots is lined with perforated leather. This gives a soft feel and will breathe to keep your foot comfortable. The Cambrelle insole has been designed to be comfortable and absorb moisture. It is 3-layers sandwiched together of Cambrelle, foam, and felt.

Toe Protection - Click to See Larger
Toe Protection – Click to See Larger

The BIOM technology is what sets these boots apart. BIOM is short for bio-optimizing. The BIOM technology allows your foot to travel through the gait cycle rather than inhibiting it. It works with your natural systems for absorbing impact and works with your feet and legs to help them get stronger. There are four core technologies for BIOM hike. One is anatomical 3d foam padding, which gives a more natural long-lasting comfort fit. The last has an anatomical shape for a perfect fit. It allows natural movement as the boot is shaped like a foot. Another aspect of the BIOM technology is a lower profile to deliver the natural feel your feet were designed for. Finally, the fourth core technology is a rounded heel and forefoot. This allows for smoother more natural push-off and heel strike.

When compared to running shoes it is more common to see polyurethane used for cushioning in hiking boots, but it is still not in the majority. At the heart of the BIOM design is an injection-molded process that creates the last and cushioning using polyurethane. The reason they use PU is that it is a denser and longer-lasting cushioning than your typical EVA foam. While PU is a firmer than EVA, it will be a bit more supportive, which is good for larger loads. Ecco uses the direct-injection process which creates a precise mold that is able to be shaped to their exacting standards. You can even see some of this as the PU creates a cradle around the back of the heel. The outsole is made of rubber with large lugs for traction. The rubber is a bit softer so it can flex with the rest of the boot. With leather uppers, polyurethane cushioning, and a full rubber outsole, you do end up with a heavier boot. Not overly so but definitely not in the lightweight category.

Leather Liner - Click to See Larger
Leather Liner – Click to See Larger

Ecco constantly strives to reduce their environmental impact while increasing the positive impact in their global communities. One thing that is different than other manufacturers is that Ecco owns every step of the manufacturing process. They are therefore, able to manage these steps to ensure a high-quality product and a socially responsible manufacturing method. They are working to increase energy efficiency, decrease water use and waste, prevent pollution, reduce and reuse materials, and recycle wastes from their tanneries and shoe factories. In regard to the BIOM Hike Boots, they have been made of Yak leather both inside and out. The Yak leather they use is a byproduct of the food industry and has been tanned in their own factories. While the rest of the boot in not made of sustainable materials to my knowledge I am still impressed by the initiative that Ecco has taken to do their part.

Fit ★★★☆☆

Comfort (25%) ★★★½☆

Foot Length (15%) ★★½☆☆

Foot Volume (15%) ★★★☆☆

Heel Width (15%) ★★★½☆

Midfoot Width (15%) ★★★☆☆

Forefoot Width (15%) ★★★½☆

This is not the first pair of BIOM footwear or Ecco footwear I have worn. The strange thing I have noticed with Ecco is I cannot use the sizing chart to determine my size. I am normally a size 9 or 9 ½ in US sizing, which would equate to an Ecco size 43. Ecco uses European whole sizes, which have always been a bit of a disappointment for me. For a brand that preaches fit you think they would offer more sizes to get the fit just right. By having just whole sizes you end up with fewer size options and larger gaps than you get in US half sizes. Now for me, I have tested the BIOM Trail Shoes before and have two pairs of Ecco casual shoes. The casual shoes are both size 41 where the BIOM Trail Shoes I tested in a 43. The 41s fit snug but comfortable and the 43 was huge. This time I ended up testing a size 42 as I figured a little extra room is good on boots.

Comfy Insole - Click to See Larger
Comfy Insole – Click to See Larger

The 42 in the boots gave me a little extra room in length just like I want in my hiking boots. One thing I try to avoid s the possibility of jamming my toes when descending, I have had plenty of purple toe nails from this. While I felt like the length was good I must say that there is still a bit of extra volume in the boots. The extra volume is especially noticeable through the midfoot which was looser than the heel and not able to be sufficiently tightened with the laces. I hope over time it will loosen up a bit so the laces can be more useful. The heel, on the other hand, was nice and snug and on the cuff, the laces worked really well. I could use several different lacing techniques until I found the one that felt best for these boots. In the forefoot, there is ample room which I appreciate. Being able to splay your toes is one of the principles of natural foot motion, so I am happy that the boots have enough room for that.

Even with a little extra room in the midfoot area the boots are very comfortable once you get them laced correctly. I went snowshoeing on one of my testing days and did not lock my heel down and paid for it. I think this was more from my loose lacing and the different walking technique when snowshoeing rather than the boots themselves. On all my hikes, they were very comfortable and caused me no issues. The inner leather lining feels awesome; I am really a big fan of the inside of the BIOM Hike Boots. There may be some issues when trying to find your size, but once you do I think you will be very happy with the comfort of the boots.

Performance ★★★½☆

Breathability (15%) ★★★☆☆

Cushioning/Ground Feel (20%) ★★★½☆

Durability (20%) ★★★½☆

Flexibility (10%) ★★★½☆

Protection (15%) ★★★☆☆

Traction (10%) ★★★☆☆

Water Resistance (10%) ★★★★☆

Performance wise the boots have been a good test. In particular, I really like the BIOM concept in the hiking boots. When I originally reviewed the BIOM trail shoes, I felt like they were a better hiker than a runner. I was really stoked to see the Hike Boots as I felt like this technology translated very well to a pair of boots, and I was not disappointed. The low to the ground polyurethane last gives a stable, smooth, and cushioned experience on the trail. With the Ecco insole in there the boots were just the right amount of cushioning, firm but not too firm. I was able to still get a little feel from the trail which I think is important for overall stability. One thing that is definitely noticeable is how smooth the boots feel when hiking. They do not have that clunky feel that some boots have. When walking heel-toe the boot’s transition through the gait cycle smoothly, the flex is even throughout the boot.

Heel Cradle - Click to See Larger
Heel Cradle – Click to See Larger

I have also been a big fan of the leather uppers and liner. The internal micro climate was surprisingly more comfortable than I originally expected. When I first thought of a leather inner liner I thought they may be too hot, but they have breathed well. The outer leather has been made with Ecco’s Hydromax technology to keep your feet dry. I was only able to truly test these in the snow and did not have any issues. In the past, I have lots of experience with the Hydromax technology in their golf shoes and have felt that it is similar to other waterproofing technologies in footwear. Another way of saying it is I would not worry about your feet getting wet.

Ecco is known for making high-quality footwear, and this is no exception. The BIOM Hike 1.1 Boots are solid and have held up to my two months of testing. Of course, this is not a lot for a pair of boots, but sometimes you may be able to get an idea of places where the boots may be weak. Not the case here. One thing that I do like is the polyurethane last and midsole will not pack out as quickly, and you should have lots of life in these boots. Many Ecco runners get about twice the life out of their running shoes as compared to “normal” shoes.

I mainly tested these in the drier conditions of Central Oregon. In these conditions, the traction was really good as the large flat lugs gripped rock and hard surfaces well. I can see that these lugs may not be as good for muddy, loose, or snowy conditions as they do not have as much bite as others have. Unfortunately, I was not able to thoroughly test them in these conditions and figure they will work okay but not great. If I am able to get them out in some mud this winter, I will update this review.

Overall ★★★½☆

Overall, I have been very happy with these boots. There are several things worth mentioning that are definite winners. The construction is top notch and I really like the choice of materials they used. Both the polyurethane in the last and the leather upper and liner are really nice. Of course, the one challenge is finding your appropriate size. I would recommend trying them on first if you can, as they are not too close to the chart, in my opinion. If anyone else has any experience with sizing these or other Ecco’s, I would be curious to hear about it in the comment’s section. If you do happen to own another pair of Ecco’s, then just use them as a gauge as I have found all my Ecco’s to be sized similarly. Sizing aside, the boots have been a pleasure to test. I really like the feel of the BIOM fit and feel as the boots just feel smooth. The Ecco BIOM Hike 1.1 Boots retail for $255, which, in my opinion, is a good deal. Others Ecco’s seem expensive, but these seem like a bargain for what you get. As always, your mileage may vary.

Pros [field name=iFrame]

  • Solid construction
  • Polyurethane last and cushioning
  • Smooth transition through the gait cycle
  • Upper lacing works well
  • Inner leather lining is very comfortable
  • Good value

Cons

  • Sizing is a challenge as they run large on me
  • Extra width in the midfoot
  • Traction may not be ideal for softer conditions

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altrec

About the Author

I am an avid runner, cyclist, swimmer, hiker, climber, skier and many other activities that would make this list too long. I started Your Mileage May Vary Reviews in Early 2011 to combine two of my passions: sports and gear.

5 Responses to “Ecco BIOM Hike 1.1 Boots”

  1. Just picked up a pair. I’ll agree with you on the sizing. But I always find Eccos to run large. I have owned probably eight different pairs of Ecco dress shoes over the years. I am an 8.5 EEE. So for most Euro shoes, I am a 43 so I can get the width to work. But all of my Ecco shoes have been 42, except one: my first pair were 43, and after break-in were just too large. From then on, I bought 42, each one a bit snug, and after a painful break-in period, they are amazing.

    Based on my EEE width, the extra room in the toe box is a “pro”, not a “con”. I actually wish these were wider, and as I type this wearing the size 42 in my living room, I’m wondering if I should exchange them for a size 43.

    Only walked in the store, and my house so far, but I absolutely love the rubber compound they use in the sole. The softer shank as well makes for an incredibly comfortable stride as you transition through the heel-toe motion. That “biom natural motion” claim ain’t just marketing fluff. It’s the real deal.

    Build quality is outstanding. They appear very well-engineered. Also impressed with the weight. Not that these are in any way lightweights – but for the beef-factor of these boots (or should I say, “yak-factor”?), it seems like they should weigh more.

    Looking forward to seeing how these fare when the rubber meets the trail!

  2. Ed Welker

    Your review is right on. I am in Prague on vacation and my Hitech boots that seemed to work fine on light trails were killing my feet on the cobblestone and uneven surfaces. Happened by an Ecco store and since I use them for dress shoes for work, thought I would check them out. Found the med BIOM to feel awesome. I also had issues finding a good fit between a 43 and 44. Since I thought slightly snug would be better than a little sloppy I went with the smaller size. I was not planning on spending 230 USD on shoes but they saved my trip. The rigid sole spanned the cobblestones that were causing so many problems. The rigid fit and med cut top saved my ankles from a nasty angle when stepping in a hole. I am sold and hope this last like my dress shoes do

  3. I will say that I’ve had these for 2 years now. The fit is fantastic, some of the most comfortable hiking boots I’ve ever owned. However, the soles have not lasted well at all. I’m terribly disappointed in the durability of these shoes. I anticipated I’d have these shoes for 5-7 years, but now there’s holes in the sole in multiple places and water just seeps right up through the bottom.

    No thank you.

  4. 2 stars for me:

    Gave it a low rating because the durability is not there. I bought two pairs of this boot and both had a crack on each side of the toe cover after only a year and a half of use (6 weeks of hunting). I can provide pics…

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