A couple of weeks back I posted a very positive review of a new pair of minimalist running shoes from ECCO that I have been training in lately. At the time I hinted that those shoes were just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what the company has planned for their active and outdoor footwear line in the year ahead.
ECCO has some ambitious products in the pipeline, many of which go well beyond just running shoes. Take for example their new BIOM Hike 1.2 hiking boots, an aggressively styled shoe that molds rugged good looks, performance fabrics and a durable sole into one very comfortable product.
One of the first things I noticed when I pulled these boots on for the first time was how comfortable they are. ECCO will tell you that that is because they’ve been designed to wrap around your foot in an anatomical fashion, cradling it in all of the right places, and I’m apt to believe them. These boots hug your feet with a snug fit but without restricting motion in any way. Arch and ankle support are excellent as well, and when you factor in the sturdy, yet flexible, outsole, you get a boot that shields your feet from all of the challenges of the trail.
The Hike 1.2 isn’t just built for comfort however as ECCO has clearly designed these boots for the demands of our favorite outdoor pursuits. Not only does the sole provide plenty of traction on just about any type of surface – wet or dray – but these shoes also excel at keeping your feet warm and dry. A built-in Gore-Tex lining helps keep these boots waterproof in the worse of conditions and provides a nice layer of insulation in colder weather too. As is typical with Gore-Tex, you give up a bit of breathability, which could make the Hike 1.2’s a bit too warm on hot weather hikes. I tested these recently in the snow and ice, and on some cool weather treks, and this wasn’t an issue. But I’ll reserve judgement on how they perform in the heat of a Texas summer.
Despite creating a boot that acts like armor for your feet, ECCO has managed to keep the Hike 1.2 surprisingly lightweight. In fact, I own other pairs of boots that don’t provide the same level of protection while still managing to weigh considerably more. The combination of lightweight and super-comfortable footwear make for very happy feet at the end of the day and after returning home from a long hike, I wasn’t in a rush to take them off. If that isn’t a testament to how comfortable these boots are, I don’t know what is.
Earlier in the week I posted a review of a new pair of hiking boots from Keen and if you read that review, you probably know that I was also very impressed with those shoes too. But those boots and the Hike 1.2 are aimed at two very different markets. If you’re a weekend warrior who enjoys day hikes and possibly some light camping, then I’d recommend the Keens wholeheartedly. But if you’re looking for something a bit more rugged for longer treks, backpacking trips or even light mountaineering, then you’ll want to check out what ECCO has to offer. The Gore-Tex liner alone puts these boots in a different category, making the Hike 1.2 an excellent option for climbing Kilimanjaro, hiking the Inca Trail or even trekking to Everest Base Camp.
Of course, there is one other major distinction between these boots. The ECCO Hike 1.2 does carry a heftier price tag coming in at $225, as compared to Keen’s $120 price. But considering what the ECCO boots bring to the table, I would consider them well worth the price. They are a lightweight, durable and very comfortable boot that will last for years. They’ll also see you through many adventures great and small, keeping your feet perfectly safe in the process.
If these boots are indeed a hint of what ECCO has planned for their outdoor footwear line, I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.
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