I’m not saying I was there at the very start, and I can’t honestly remember my first pair, but I have been wearing and reviewing Ecco shoes since 2002.
I’ve been lucky enough to visit Ecco’s Danish headquarters on two occasions – even making what I can only describe as a ham-fisted attempt to manufacture my own pair of Eccos when I was let loose with a sewing machine.
In those days, the shoe we dreamed of was the World Class, with its leather soles and shiny uppers. I still have a new pair that I won in a media day, in their original box, and in individual shoe bags. In a rich, golden brown, they were – and still are – too smart to wear on a golf course. The leather smells as good now as it did then.
Of course, Ecco as a brand was to travel in a different direction from World Class, which was all about establishing the brand as serious players in golf.
Ecco’s heritage in street shoes is all about comfort, practicality, reliability and durability.
The golf range has a nod to that but is also edgy, futuristic, pioneering and super-premium.
I remember once being told a statistic along the lines that over 85% of all golf shoes in the UK were sold at under £100, and at that stage the cheapest pair of Eccos you could buy was around £115. I’m paraphrasing but the point still stands. This is not a brand seeking to dominate on volume.
Rather, in golf, it’s all about performance and innovation.
The breakthrough came with the Ecco Streets, and Fred Couples at the 2010 Masters. It’s a story well told, but, looking back, it’s hard to believe how revolutionary the concept was of a shoe without spikes that you could wear on and off the course. It seems so normal now but that certainly wasn’t the case as recently as 10 years ago.
There’s no doubt that Ecco’s hybrid shoes have come a long way since those days.
In 2013, there was the Tour Hybrid – a classic-looking golf shoe with a hybrid sole – that remains a favourite of mine to this day.
But for me, the Biom Hybrid series has represented Ecco at their best. I can, and frequently have, slipped a pair on in my hotel room when away on a golf trip. I’ve gone for breakfast, then driven to a golf course, played 18 holes, gone for lunch, driven to a different golf course, driven back to the hotel, had a pint then gone back to my room and only then removed my shoes.
They are also incredibly durable – even with minimum upkeep.
You can look at the price tag and shake your head, or you can invest in a pair of shoes that retain their shape and last twice or three times as long as the competition.
Maybe it is the Yak leather or the Natural Motion Technology or the ultra-thin midsoles – I’m no podiatrist; I just know how good they feel to wear.
Like with all the finer things in life, you are almost better not knowing. Because once you’ve got a taste for Ecco’s golf shoes, it’s hard to shrug it off.
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