I’ve been using my Ecco Biom Hike Mids for around 18 months, long enough to give them a thorough test. I’ve used them both on backpacking trips and for dog walking. Indeed, I’ve probably used them too much for dog walking! So here’s a long-term use assessment.
Comfort: footwear is next to useless if it isn’t comfortable. The Biom Hike Mids are very comfortable. They DO take a little bit of breaking in (I briefly had a bit of soreness on my left Achilles’ tendon), but soon become very soft and flexible. Although they look a bit chunky, they feel quite nimble on your feet. Some purists might be put off by the EVA cushioning, but I’ve found it a good compromise between “feeling” the ground and cushioning the impact of your foot striking the path. This is particularly noticeable on hard surfaces. My feet don’t feel fatigued at the end of the day. The front of the boot is very flexible so there is no impediment to the natural movement of your foot. Although they are definitely boots, they do not feel at all restrictive like conventional walking boots. Of all the boots I’ve ever owned, these are the most comfortable. At just over 600g per boot, they are quite light for a leather boot.
Protection: so far the Biom Hikes have proved to be waterproof. They have a GoreTex liner, so, I guess you’d expect them to be. However the yak leather seems to be pretty water resistant, even if if does wet out quite quickly. I’ve started using Scarpa HS12 cream, which seems to help prevent rapid wetting out. I’ve not noticed them to be excessively sweaty (perhaps being a mid rather than a full boot helps). Indeed, in many ways, they seem to be better than fabric boots. In fabric boots, the outer material can become saturated, impeding breathability, making boots a bit sweaty (Adidas Terrex being the worst example, but Salomon Fastpackers also suffered). I love the rubber toe bumper and rand on the Biom Hikes which are not only protective but also help with water resistance. It’s a shame that the bumper scuffs so easily.
Grip and stability: The deep sole pattern and the rubber compound used on the soles give a good grip. They feel very secure on every surface I’ve encountered so far. I’ve also found the Biom Hikes to be very stable. For some reason, occasionally, I seem to lose balance with my right ankle rolling over on uneven surfaces. I’ve found this to be much less of a problem with the Biom Hikes. The Adidas Terrex mids were almost unusable because of this problem. It helps that the sole unit is so flexible, almost on a par with my Salomon X Ultras, which are virtually trail shoes.
Footbed: I’ve replaced the footbeds in every boot I’ve ever owned, so this is not a huge criticism. In the Biom Hikes, I’ve found a Sidas Comformable footbed is the best. The footbed supplied is flat and provides no support.
Laces: the supplied laces are a bit stretchy meaning that it is more difficult to get an accurate fit. I’ve replaced them with some Scarpa laces.
Heel wear: neither the footbed or laces are particularly serious negatives. However, after eighteen months of wear, I’m quite disappointed that that I’ve worn through the rubber to the EVA foam on the heels (outlined in red on the photo above). In the picture below, you can see the wear compared with the new Biom Hikes that I bought recently (the new boot is on the right).
The next picture shows the difference in the depth of tread. The top is my old boot and the bottom is the new boot.
This suggests that the rubber compound that Ecco is using is quite soft. While this may be good for grip, it’s not so good for longevity. Indeed it looks like the sole wear will be the determining factor for the life of the boot. I will still be using the old pair for the TGO Challenge, but will make an assessment and give an update afterwards.
Is this a deal breaker? While it’s disappointing, the fact that I bought a second pair shows how much I like the Biom Hikes. Perhaps when they bring out a second version, Ecco could either use a harder rubber compound on the heel or use thicker rubber on the heel. Overall, I really like these boots, despite the heel wear issue.
Suggestions for improvement:
- Address the heel wear issue.
- Better footbed.
- Sturdier laces.
- Tunnels rather than “D”s for lace eylets (like the Biom Terrain).
- Scuff resistant toe cap rubber.
- Option of a non-GoreTex version.
Disclosure: I purchased both pairs of Biom Hikes with my own money and have no formal or financial relationship with Ecco.