I remember watching the Ironman World Championships a few years ago and seeing this huge Danish triathlete named Torbjorn Sindballe cross the finish line in 3rd place and seeing ECCO on his chest. This was such a big deal for me, because here was this guy that is as big as I am, and he showed me that anything is possible as he ran a 2:57 marathon! As you know unfortunately later Torbjorn had to retire and then Rasmus Henning started to come into the picture to represent.
As I shopped at my local running store, I noticed this amazing looking shoe that is made of Yak leather with a green or orange trim that retailed for $220! Besides the “wow that’s expensive” factor I admit I had a little skepticism over whether the cost would be justified. I met with ECCO at the Outdoor Retailer show and they showed me how the design of these shoes combined with comfort and for me as a runner, durability, proved to be a pretty strong case to show me that ECCO really is trying to give you the best bang for your buck.
What makes this shoe so different?
The shoes are partially made by a direct injection of polyurethane (PU) in the midsole. What this does is bond the upper to the midsole which then make the shoe more durable. BIOM is the only running shoe in the market right now using this type of process.
The entire midsole and a big part of the outsole is made of PU and there is no EVA in the show at all. What does that mean to us as the consumers? PU is about 3 times stronger (or lasts longer) than EVA, which means it takes up to 3 times more of a pounding before breaking down. ECCO’s official claim is that the shoe can last 1.5 times longer than your traditional EVA shoe. Now you can start to see the expense of the shoe be taken down a notch, since you’d be running in the BIOM even longer.
The traction of the shoe is spread in strategic places to allow the best grip for the road, but also to decrease weight.
Also something different that ECCO has done is made various models of the BIOM for different speeds of runners. The BIOM A which is for runners that run at a 6 minute mile pace or faster, the BIOM B which is made for runners that run a 6-10 minute mile then the BIOM C for people just getting started. This has put the BIOM’s in a different setting from most shoes as they are intending to reach out to the market for those people wanting to run natural, but it is NOT to be perceived a minimalist or barefoot trade off. Basically they are trying to help us be natural by shying away from the heel strike and use more of your forefoot to midfoot.
A lesson learned the hard way; I run a sub 3:30 marathon and 41 minute 10K so naturally I tested the BIOM B (Yak leather). Included in the box is a workout plan the ECCO gives to the consumer basically saying, “This is a shoe made for you to run naturally and needs respect. We’re including a 6 week lead up plan for you to not injure yourself”. I did not heed those instructions the way I should have and I injured myself big time. I then regrouped and started from scratch testing the BIOM C’s (Yak leather & textile) and worked myself up to the BIOM B’s. If you are already a midfoot striker you won’t notice the difference as much, but you will still feel it the next day. If you are a heel striker you will notice the change even more due to the way the shoe is made. Again, these shoes demand respect.
At a size 11.5 the shoes weigh in at 1.6 pounds which is a little heavier than others, but I really couldn’t feel a noticeable difference. At first I was a little wary of the Yak leather and it took a little while to get used to it. But through a little bit of sweat and hard work, I noticed that the leather began to stretch and form around my foot. Don’t worry, there are enough ventilation holes to not worry about running in a leather shoe. I added some Yankz! shoe laces on them, and now I run my Sprint & Olympic distance triathlons in them not needing to worry about socks and they make for a very quick transition!
Even with a heavier price tag ECCO can back it up with a longer lasting sole and years of technology put into a great product. The Yak leather is a cool way to go if you don’t mind spending a little more money. Again, I love the way over time it molded around my foot. This shoe will not disappoint. Be intentional and make it happen. You won’t be disappointed. Check out www.eccousa.com for more information.