Rugged Terrain, Long Desert Trek in ECCO Shoes

It’s noon in the desert. I’m five miles into a day-long hike through the Abajo Mountains of southeast Utah in search of ancient ruins.

On my feet, the ECCO BIOM Ultra Quest shoes dig in for grip. I adjust my pack and head downhill into a canyon.

ECCO BIOM Ultra Quest on a Utah slickrock dome

For decades, outdoors people have defaulted to hiking boots for rugged terrain. That’s no longer necessary. Full-feature trail shoes like these ECCOs provide protection, grip, and a good fit — all at a weight that can be half what you get with some hiking boots.

New this fall, ECCO markets its BIOM Ultra Quest as a versatile shoe for running or hiking. They weigh about 9 ounces a foot and have a supportive build that’s comfortable and has just enough flex.

In Utah, we hiked many hours in the shoes, on sand, gravel, and the slickrock that paved the mountains for square miles at a swath. (See my trip report, “Desert Trek Reveals ‘Window to Past’ in Abajo Mountains of Utah.”)

At home, I have worn the shoes on trail runs and as everyday kicks. Overall, I’ve been happy with their light weight and ability to grip on any kind of terrain.

ECCO BIOM Ultra Quests

Despite a bomber build, mesh panels on the top and sides of the shoe allowed my feet to breath. Over the course of two days we hiked 20+ miles, climbed up mountains, and explored Anasazi Ruins.

The shoes were solid through all of these activities. However, like any mesh shoe in the desert, some silt and dust found its way through the outer. At the end of the day the toes of my socks were a rusty color.

ECCO is one of the world’s largest footwear brands. Over the last few years we’ve tested a handful of the brand’s products and remain impressed with the company’s solid design. These shoes under normal use will last many years.

Flexible but supportive for longer treks and rough terrain

The BIOM Ultra Quest, a part of the ECCO fall 2013 collection, came to market this summer. They are sold in men’s and women’s models as well as a waterproof Gore-Tex build. Price is $160 or $180 for the Gore-Tex model.

In Utah, I hiked one day in boots and then switched to the ECCO shoes. I was far happier in the shoes and never felt compromised, no matter how rugged, sandy, and steep the slickrock and wild desert terrain got.

—Amy Oberbroeckling is assistant editor.

Amy Oberbroeckling

Amy Oberbroeckling, an Iowa native, joined GearJunkie out of college and brought a passion for endurance sports as well as a flawless record in arm wrestling matches against famous rock climbers. Find her biking, trail running, cross-country skiing, camping, or tipping back a cold IPA.