BIOM shoe represents ‘one of the weirdest footwear trends’

They look like hip leather shoes for work or a casual setting. They cost about $125. A running shoe might be the last thing you think.

But the BIOM Lite 1.1 shoes are built for outdoor sports, light hiking, and running. Made by Danish brand ECCO, a company known for its dressy leather kicks, the BIOM shoe represents one of the weirdest of footwear trends.

Basically, it is built to wear every day, including to work or in other semiformal settings. But hit by the inspiration to run, the hybrid can handle sprints or long distances on a road or trail.

Yak leather on the white ECCO BIOM Lite 1.1 shoe

I headed out for an hour-long run last week. The shoe fit close and felt light. Its low profile brought to mind minimalist footwear like Vibram FiveFingers “toe shoes.”

ECCO indeed touts a “natural foot position, almost as if barefoot” with the BIOM model. I could feel that, good and bad, as I ran on a road. There is almost no cushioning. A sloppy stride in the shoe punishes with harsh contact against the ground.

Heel striking is not comfortable. Instead, this touted “natural running shoe” is made to encourage a mid-foot landing (like you run if barefoot). After years as a runner it makes sense to me, though for many people raised on padded Nikes and the like these shoes will feel far too minimal.

Sole of the BIOM Lite

Beyond a streamlined design, ECCO includes a few subtle performance features. The shoe is flexible and has a leather lining for comfort. The sole is a thin ply of rubber with small tread that offers adequate grip on pavement or easy trails.

As an everyday shoe, the BIOM excels. It looks great and is comfortable for walking or common tasks. The uppers are made of yak or camel leather, perforated for breathability, and tougher than almost any shoe on my shelf.

For running, I see the BIOM Lite 1.1 attracting an extremely niche audience. But as a go-to shoe for use across several activities and in normal life, I find myself more and more lacing up and heading out in this unique hybrid shoe.

—Stephen Regenold

BIOM Lite 1.1 in brown and black leather

Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.