You may have heard of Ecco shoes but not necessarily in the golf market. The Danish company has been around for 21 years but only recently started making inroads into the UK golf footwear market, bolstered by the fact that Thomas Bjorn wears their products. At least, they're new to us.
This status as new kids on the golfing block is confirmed when you open the box because the Ecco shoes we tried came complete with kilties - those odd little lace flap things that are supposed to keep water out of the shoe but which many manufacturers abandoned some time ago. Truth is, they have a tendency to curl up at the edges like a stale sandwich so we quickly jettisoned them.
There are three elements of a golf shoe that need to be right in order for the whole to work - looks, function and, above all, comfort, so let's consider these three elements in sequence.
The design is of a traditional brogue; smart and stylish. There is nothing to particularly criticise or praise if you like a classic-looking shoe but the company also has some funkier, more modern styles if that is your thing.
Functionally they work well. They come fitted with soft spikes as standard but, a nice touch this, the box also includes a set of regular cleats, so you can change if you choose. No golf shoe can be entirely waterproof - there's a big hole into which you insert your foot - but in early morning dew-soaked grass they coped perfectly well. I also gave this particular pair more of a road test than I had planned when, in a misguided attempt to retrieve a golf ball from a stream, I fell in and was up to my knees in cold water.
Removing one's shoes and wringing out a pair of drenched socks before putting both back on again is not necessarily recommended if you want to travel in comfort and style and, while this is not usually the sort of length to which ScottishGolf would go to test a new product, these shoes nevertheless passed with flying colours. The rest of the round was a wee bit damp but the shoes were subsequently dried out as naturally as possible - using no direct heat - and were as easy to wear after dousing as before. Not only that, as far as is visible, they have survived the trauma of complete immersion with no ill-effects.
As for comfort, again they score well. Having worn them around the house for a couple of evenings, I then took them to the course for nine holes (twice) before wearing them for a full 18 holes. Towards the end of the first nine and the first 18 the right heel rubbed very slightly but that was the only problem.
With established players like Hi-Tec, Cotswold, Adidas and, of course, FootJoy already in a crowded market place, any new player has to hit the ground running, so to speak, and Ecco has managed to do exactly that. But don't take my word for it, in April Ecco won the highly acclaimed title of 'Footwear Brand of the Year' at the annual UK Footwear awards ceremony.
The Classic Brogue that we tested has a Gore-Tex lining and this, along with the company's own tanning process help to make it waterproof. To be honest, there's a lot more technical stuff about a direct injected PU midsole and internal shank and stabiliser, to name but two, but we don't know what these mean and suspect that very few of you are interested.
The shoe looks good, performs well and is extremely comfortable, which is just about all you probably want to know.
Ecco Golf Classic
Stockist Number: 0870 77 77 323
Launched: March 2003
|| 2 - JUNE 2003