World's Most Expensive Running Shoe?

By STEPHEN REGENOLD

We should clear the air of one item right away: The BIOM A shoes from ECCO, a Danish company known for its high-end footwear, cost an astounding $220. The shoes, an esoteric design created in collaboration with a professional triathlete, are among the most pricey running shoes ever made.

Further intrigue: The BIOM A shoes are made with leather from Himalayan yaks. A splay of neon-green foam spreads web-like across the uppers. Indeed, these are not your average Nikes. The company’s design process for its BIOM line of shoes, which come in various builds, included an exhaustive and multi-year project involving physically scanning the feet of thousands of runners to better understand the anatomy of the human foot.

Ecco BIOM A shoe.jpg

ECCO BIOM A

The BIOM shoes, including the $220 BIOM A model, are touted as having construction that allows the foot to move “as nature intended.” The natural stride ECCO refers to is commonly called a “barefoot stride” in the running world. It is a quicker stride where runners land on their midfoot or forefoot with each step instead of pounding on their heels.

As the speediest shoe in the line, the BIOM A is low profile and lightweight. Its minimal construction includes firm cushioning and design tweaks to promote midfoot or forefoot running. I gave the shoes a test this summer to see if they lived up to their hype.

The company (www.eccousa.com) recommends its BIOM A for advanced runners only. I agree. The shoe is made for marathoners and triathletes who have mastered their stride. The BIOM A will not put up with sloppy running. It will feel harsh and under-padded to anyone who lands on their heel.

ecco sole.jpg

Sole of ECCO BIOM A

To aid in the adaption to the BIOM shoes, ECCO offers its customers a multi-week training guide. The do-it-yourself program helps runners build their muscles and change their style slowly to adapt in a healthy manner to the new type of shoe.

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Posted by Lance Andrews - 10/21/2010 05:10 PM

Nice review, although I wish more emphasis had been placed on the midsole/outsole material being used. The key to the whole shoe besides the overall design is the polyurethane and the direct injection process used to bond the “PU” to the leather/textile. Polyurethane never compresses, it’s 100% memory, so the functioning properties of the shoe are infinite. If you buy a shoe at $90 and replace every 3 months then the ECCO would only have to last 7.5 months to break even. Also, ALL running shoes are “glued” which is a basic bonding method. Direct injection, which is done in ECCO owned factories, actually attaches all components together w/o the use of glues or stitching. This creates the strongest bond possible and a water tight seal. This means that your chances of the materials seperating are very slim. I think if you take this into consideration along with the research and development you can easily justify the price. I think these are critical points that the end user should be aware of so they can understand why these are priced the way they are.

Posted by Tammy - 10/25/2010 10:06 AM

I own a pair of these shoes and absolutely love them, but the little rubber pads on the soles are glued on with low quality glue that wears off quickly. The rubber cracked and broke off within the first month of owning them due to the glue letting loose from the shoe. I returned them to the store for a replacement and glued the rubber pads down myself with super glue. They are holding up now, but to have to glue $200 shoes together is pretty lame. I have to admit that these are the best shoes I have ever worn. I had to wear an older pair of Nikes due to muddy weather recently, and they felt horrible after the comfort of the Biom. Please, Ecco, fix the glue, and you’ll have a lifelong customer.

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