Ecco Biom Hike mid boots

Footwear is an area of gear where it’s not easy to get right. Over the past few years, I’ve tried several different boots and shoes. Mainly I’ve use Salomon Fastpacker Mid boots. For me, they’ve been the most comfortable footwear and a good compromise between trail shoes and more traditional boots. I’ve tried trail shoes a few times, but they just don’t work for me in the hills. I find they are awkward on slopes, particularly for contouring. I’m also not a huge fan of wet feet. On the other hand I find traditional walking boots clumsy and tiring. Hence, mid boots are a good compromise.

Although the Fastpackers are waterproof, they do wet out quite quickly, which then impairs the breathability of the Gore-Tex membrane. The result is that over the course of a wet day my feet get quite damp. They are not sopping, like they would be in an unlined trail shoe, but they still get quite wet.

My interest in the Ecco Bioms was piqued by Chris Townsend’s experience of them at the Scandinavian Outdoors Awards. I was immediately struck by the substantial rubber toe bumper, which should stop the saturation of the leather at the toe, which is the downfall of many leather boots. He also reckoned they felt a bit like trail shoes and seemed to be very water resistant. After a bit of consideration I decided to take the plunge and buy a pair. Unlike Chris’s test pair, I chose the lower mid style of boot.

At £160, they are certainly not cheap, but they do appear to be very well made. The uppers are made from yak leather, which is supposed to be more robust than cow hide. The roomy toe box is well protected by a rubber rand, which extends around the junction of the sole and the upper and then curves up to protect the ankle. Unlike most rubber rands, it is very flexible. The heel cup is supported by a rubber frame as well.

The yak leather outer is quite soft and feels like a very fine suede or nubuck. There is some exposed stitching which I might have to proof. The upper side of the tongue has a suede feel to it and is quite soft and well padded. The lacing system ensures a snug fit with substantial metal eyelets and hooks. In particular there is a proper heel lock hook (HiTec please take note!). The laces are a little bit stretchy and may have to be replaced. There is a loop to thread the laces through on the tongue but I found this made it awkward to secure the laces on the heel lock hooks so I unthreaded it.

The lining is a soft wicking synthetic material with a Gore-Tex lining. The footbeds are made from a soft fibrous material and give little support, so I’ve replaced them with Superfeet green footbeds. The sole is a substantial but flexible rubber unit. The tread pattern is chunky and deep and I imagine should give a good grip as well as lasting for a long time.

Out of the box, they made a very good impression, but what are they like to wear? On the evidence of a few dog walks and a couple of longer walks in the forest, I really like them. While they are definitely boots, they are very flexible and the low cut gives good ankle mobility. The think sole means that they do feel more like boots than trail shoes, but they are not clumsy like more rigid boots. While there is cushioning, it is not excessive. I couldn’t describe them as dainty but they are not clod hoppers.

They are definitely warmer than the Fastpackers (and trail shoes) but not excessively so. I think the mid construction allows more airflow. The toe box is quite roomy. I’m hoping that this might solve the problem of bruised toes that I’ve suffered from over the past two years. Being leather, the boot grips the top of my foot more firmly and so should be more solid on descents.

One thing I don’t know is how waterproof the outers will be. Being leather they shouldn’t wet out as quickly and water shouldn’t wick across the surface. The downside may be that they will dry out more slowly once wet and might be somewhat stiffer. I’m tempted to take them to Dartmoor at the end of the month to test them thoroughly. Overall, so far, they’ve proved to be very comfortable.

The Brasher Fellmaster GTX looks a good comparator and a bit cheaper, although the sole unit might be stiffer. It feels like a bit of a retrograde step going back to more traditional boots, but if it cures the toe bruising problem and keeps my feet dry, it will be worth it.

Disclaimer: these boots were bought with my own money


24 thoughts on “Ecco Biom Hike mid boots”

  1. So you took the plunge then Robin. Hope they will be worth the outlay. They do look nice and the lack of exterior stitching should be a benefit. Looking forward to your review in a couple of months.

    1. You can only tell whether they are any good if you wear them all day and I’ve not had an opportunity yet. I remember the Adidas Terrex Mids seemed good on short walks but their short comings were only revealed when I wore them on a multi day walk. However, I’m reasonably confident that these will prove better. I’ve more or less decided that I will take them to Dartmoor at the end of the month.

  2. Hmmm. The boot / shoe debate rumbles on, with nobody really being right – it’s all down to individual preference.

    But – like you – I don’t like weight, but I like rubbish footwear, bruised toes and wet feet even less! So I’d certainly be interested in your findings after a longer trek in a variety of conditions!

    1. You are absolutely right, it is down to personal preference. I’m not going to make a proper judgement until I’ve worn them on a longer walk. However, today I used my Fastpackers for. Walk in the forest and missed the Bioms. We’ll see at the end of the month when I go to Dartmoor.

  3. They look very nice. I am a trail runner convert but I still have an interest in boots and for longer trips, I have to say I prefer boots. My old Scarpa boots are nearly finished and I can either resole or try something else. I’ll keep an eye on you here as the promo video made some very good points and with you and Townsend endorsing them at first blush, I’ll be interested to see what the long term brings. Ecco make shoes that are very in tune with the human body and have done for years so perhaps this is not a major departure for them. The difficulty is that when brands not used to making hiking equipment begin to delve into areas they hitherto knew nothing about, they often get it wrong first time. Let me know.

    1. The real test will be on Dartmoor at the end of the month. So far they have proved to be incredibly comfortable. So much so, that I want to wear them whenever I take the dog out for a walk. They are very flexible, so are quite different from traditional boots like Scarpas.

  4. What type of last do these boots use? I generally prefer shoes with a relatively narrow heel and a normal to wide toebox. Very few shoes I’ve tried so far fit that description and I was wondering if it would be worth my time to find a place that sells Ecco.

    1. I have quite narrow heels and they are fine for me with no heel lift. The toe box is quite roomy compared to say Salomon. Ecco have quite a few retail outlets. Whether they stock the Biom, I don’t know. I bought mine mail order. You can return them for a refund if they don’t fit as long as they’ve not been worn outside.

      1. Interesting! I tried Salomons a couple of times (I wanted to like them because of the good reviews), but they were too narrow in the toe box for me. So far the only shoes that fit me really well are Meindls. Nothing wrong with those (except the price maybe), but it would be nice to have som alternatives.

        Unfortunately, here in the Netherlands there are very few stores that sell Ecco hiking shoes. There are plenty of stores that sell casual shoes by Ecco (some of them fit me quite well, others are more designed for elephants than for humans), but I don’t know of a store yet that sells their hiking shoes.

      2. The toe box is significantly more roomy than Salomons. Like I said, you always return mail order. I think it might even be free from Ecco.

  5. Pingback: New Biom Hike
  6. I got my pair of shoes last week and went into town on bicycle, Got a heavy shower by suprise. Within 40 minutes both my feet were wet. It lasted 2 days and a hear dryer to get the inside of the Biom Hike dry again. Very dissapointing.
    The shoe fits and walks superbe.

    1. Is that because water got in through the top of the boot? Can’t say I’d use them for cycling!

      Mine kept my feet dry for four days of wet under foot conditions on Dartmoor. I guess if water gets in through the top they’d take time to dry.

    1. Don’t know about ice, but on other surfaces the grip is good. Rubber seems grippier than say, Salomon. Lugs are also deep, so grip is good on muddy surfaces.

  7. Looking forward to your expanded review. Wondering wether to buy em or some more traditionals fra Mindl.
    Btw heard something about the outer leather absorbing water / or is that to fix with wax ?

    1. My Biom Hike Mids soaked up water on surface but seem to be water tight. I think it’s only on the surface as they dry very quickly. I was a bit disconcerted at first, but they do seem to be waterproof. Not tested Terrains in wet yet.

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