Ecco Women’s BIOM Terrain Plus

Lightweight hiking boots to minimize dawdling

By Gale Straub

Hiking boots are personal. They develop character by ascending above tree line, jumping across streams, hanging over ledges. Your boots break in and break down; they know your stories. A new pair can be intimidating and cumbersome – picking the wrong pair for a long hike risks blisters and overall discomfort. Ecco’s women’s BIOM Terrain Plus promises otherwise with “out of the box comfort.” I was given the opportunity to test the boots and find out for myself.

I didn’t try my new Ecco BIOMs before hiking 12+ miles in Maine’s Cutler Coast Public Reserve. There were so many mosquitos that I never changed into my camp shoes – save sleep, I spent 24 hours in them.  The terrain varied on the reserve – we hiked through meadows, marshlands, rooted trails and over uneven granite cliffs.  A fair trial, and luckily, they passed.

Setting out,  it was obvious that the Ecco BIOM line was designed to be flexible. My feet conformed to the changing terrain in a subtle way. I found I was able to grip the granite rock and moss ridden stairs on a decline, all while balancing a pack and two cameras. I could rely on the boots without constantly thinking of my feet.

photo-14It was four miles into the hike that I did take notice: pressure accumulated in the front of my right foot. The ache grew incrementally with each step and I finally stopped to pull the boot off. No growing blister, no sign of trauma. On my companion’s suggestion, I re-laced carefully, looser towards the front, tight at the top. From then on, no pain or pressure to speak of. A reminder to not be overzealous while lacing, and a small consideration while choosing boots: the Terrain Plus must err on the narrow side because I have “normal” width.

Halfway to the campsite, I managed to misjudge the jump over stagnant marsh water blocking the trail and dunked my left foot up to the laces. The uppers are made of yak leather, more waterproof and 3x stronger than cow hide. This means Ecco can use less material, leaving you with a lighter (and dryer) foot on the trail.  The yak leather, combined with a gore-tex liner, helped me avoid hours of discomfort – the boots dried quickly. Important as I didn’t take them off until nightfall.

Hiking the Cutler Coast, I was dazed by the landscape. Rising up rocks to free-form ocean. Fresh scent and sparkling expanse. My hands were busy with my camera and swatting mosquitoes. My feet were not of consequence, and I’m thankful for that.

 

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