I was about two miles from the car, kicking my feet and legs against a heavy patch of brambles somewhere near the Colorado-Nebraska border, and glad to be wearing boots.
Once through the nasty patch of bush and back to more moderate terrain, I was happy those boots were light and flexible as I moved quickly back to the car.
On my feet were the ECCO Biom Terrain Plus, a mid-cut hiking boot that nicely balances weight, protection and comfort.
I lean toward lightweight footwear, running in minimal shoes and wearing “trail running” shoes on long treks even with a heavy pack. When the trail ends and bushwhacking begins, I like boots that allow the foot to move as naturally as possible while still protecting my feet and grabbing the earth.
I tested the Biom Terrain Plus boots for a month that included long days on snowy hillsides and bramble patches on the prairie. With a burly tread, protective yet supple yak leather upper, and a flexible sole with low stack-height for a boot, I was pleased with the performance all around.
Gore-Tex lined, they kept my feet comfortably dry in cold to cool weather and on steep terrain that would have been tricky in lighter shoes. As an all-around hiking and bushwhacking boot and for winter sports, the Terrain Plus is a solid boot for those looking for lightweight, rugged footwear. —Sean McCoy
The Gear: ECCO Biom Terrain Plus
Where To Test It: Bushwhacking, wilderness hikes, scree fields, and rough trails in fall, winter and spring.
Who’s It For: Hikers and those who spend hours on their feet moving through untracked wilderness.
Boring But Important: The “direct-injection” sole is molded to the upper without the use of glue or stitches, which the company claims results in a more durable product. A rubber insert in the ankle area gives more flexibility to the upper. The toe box is wide and the shoe fit seems to run a little large.
Important Specs: They weigh 20.5 ounces a boot (men’s size 41). Constructed from yak leather with a waterproof Gore-Tex liner. Stack height of
29mm heel, 19mm toe for 10mm of drop.
Made In: China
Killer! The soles are injection-molded to the upper, allowing for a detailed anatomical insole that really fit my foot well.
Flaw: The laces did not hold up to the rigors of hiking through off-trail brambles and tumbleweeds. Fortunately, a second pair is included with the shoes, but I’d consider changing out to a more durable style if you expect thorny brush in your future.
First Impressions: The boots were comfortable out of the box and required very little break-in. They seem tough and capable for anything below technical mountaineering.
Who Should Buy It: Hikers looking for a mid-weight boot that allows the foot to flex and move naturally.
Contact Brand/More Beta: www.eccousa.com
—Sean McCoy is managing editor. Our “First Look” column highlights new gear arrivals at GearJunkie.com. Photos © Monopoint Media LLC.