The ECCO BIOM Hybrid is a different class of shoe in both comfort and quality from the previously reviewed ECCO Street Premiere and the ECCO Street. The BIOM Hybrid can still be worn around town, but it breaks with the very street-styled looks of the other shoes in subtle ways, such as the yak uppers, a thicker midsole (including at toe and heel), and more support through the arch. It isn’t an inexpensive shoe, flirting with the $200 barrier, but we like it enough to still recommend it.
BIOM is ECCO’s shorthand for “Biomechanical Optimization”, their techie-speak for the way the body moves. This technology is designed to let the body absorb impact, and frees the foot to move naturally. Over the course of a several month-long test period, the ECCOs continued to fit our feet very well and keep them comfortable through the longest rounds. The “Hybrid” part of the product’s name is simply ECCO’s marketing term for their family of spikeless golf shoes, and the term may or may not appear in the name of any particular ECCO spikeless shoe.
The design of the ECCO BIOM Hybrid doesn’t blend in as much as earlier shoes, but we didn’t feel self-conscious wearing these shoes into the local bar for beers and deviled eggs after a round. The BIOM Hybrid has a sportier look than the ECCO Street or the ECCO Street Premiere, due in part to the yak leather and more athletic-styled laces, but more importantly as a result of a thicker midsole that extends farther around the toes and wraps halfway up the heel. Mrs. Critical Golf continues to approve of ECCO designs, which, rest assured, is no small feat. At her recommendation, we went with the warm grey/lime punch (aka grey/neon green) color combination that works well with pants or shorts, though there are also subdued black/brick (black/red) and mahogany/fire (aka brown/red) options available.
The yak leather uppers of the BIOM Hybrid are extremely durable and abrasion resistant, unlike the ECCO Street and Street Premiere, both of which started to show some wear pretty rapidly. The yak hides can be cut thinner than other leathers, though we didn’t notice any change from theECCO Street, with both weighing in at 1.7 pounds (size 43), about average among the shoes we’ve tested. The yak leather also offers natural breathability.
If you want to play the course on wet days, the yak uppers are Hydromax-treated, which makes them highly water repellent and prevents the leather from hardening after repeating wetting and drying. We didn’t play through any downpours of rain (though living in Northern California, we wish we had the opportunity), but early morning dew and over-watered courses haven’t had any impact on these shoes. They aren’t waterproof, but for our uses, they do just fine. Plus this water-repellency (is that a word?) is also appreciated by Mrs.Critical Golf, as it promotes freshness and fights perspiration. Sounds like a win-win to us! Though the BIOM Hybrid has a breathable upper, there are still lines of perforations on either side of the shoe, above the toes, and on the tongue of the shoe.
The spikes follow the same pattern on the sole as ECCO Street and ECCO Street Premiere, with rows of circular “spikes” that have additional rubber extending at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock from each spike. It is difficult to say if there has been any improvement over the original Streets. We certainly haven’t found ourselves regretting the shift away from golf shoes with cleats. While we don’t find ourselves slipping and sliding, we do try to be diligent about keeping the soles clean to maximize traction. We assume that sporting these shoes on pavement or other hard surfaces will result in faster wear, but didn’t notice any egregious changes from regularly use between the house, the golf course and the 19th hole.
We found the ECCO BIOM Hybrid to be the most comfortable of the ECCO spikeless golf shoes we have tried to date, with much improved support. With some golf shoes we will quickly replace the insole with something like the Sof Sole, but kept thee ECCO BIOM Hybrids as they came and had no complaints. Whether that was due to an improved insole (hey, of course we expect great things from an anatomically shaped triple-component insole unit which is a combination of polyester and ECCO CFS), a better midsole, or both is difficult to say, but in any event it saved us the trouble and cost of a separate insole purchase.
ECCO does offer a one-year limited warranty (no, you can’t return it after 9 months of use based on “poor fit” or “excessive wear”), so you don’t need to worry (right away) about their craftsmanship.
The ECCO BIOM Hybrid is at the high end among the shoes we’ve tested, and the $190 MSRP may result in a little sticker shock. It is quite a step up from the original ECCO Streetand ECCO Street Premiere, which retailed at $150 and $170, respectively. Even though we winced at the additional cost, we like to walk courses. A lot. And given the number of holes we log, we put a premium on comfortable shoes. The ECCO BIOM Hybrids were noticeably more comfortable than the ECCO Street and ECCO Street Premiere and many other shoes we’ve tested. As a result, even at the higher price point, we fully recommend the ECCO BIOM Hybrid.