Exploring the Exceptional ECCO BIOM 2.1 X COUNTRY
Danish footwear specialists ECCO have introduced the generational successor to their ergonomic BIOM 2.0 series, aptly titled the BIOM 2.1 X COUNTRY. This trail sneaker design installs performance tech to previously lifestyle-leaning models and prepares it for a life in the great outdoors as part of ECCO’s performance category of the same name. The result is greater than the sum of its parts, so let’s take a closer look at what makes the X COUNTRY exceptional!
It Begins with BIOM
In 2009, with help from the German Sports Institute of Cologne, ECCO were able to replicate a near-barefoot running experience in their performance footwear. Dubbed BIOM Natural Motion, the concept was introduced in the brand’s running shoes before it was applied across all categories from lifestyle to golf. Now with the further input of over 2500 athletes, ECCO put BIOM Natural Motion in their Outdoor line – and the BIOM 2.1 X COUNTRY is the latest expression of the ergonomic ethos.
As it’s said in the shoemaking industry: last comes first. The last is the foot-shaped form that gives a shoe its ergonomic qualities; BIOM Natural Motion prioritises natural motion of the foot by placing it low to the ground, which enhances flexibility and control. This is particularly vital out on the trail where maximum feedback is valued for sure-footedness across constantly changing surfaces. Of course, this doesn’t mean BIOM is short on cushioning and protection: deep inside the shoes is the latest generation of insole specialists – OrthoLite’s Ultralite footbeds. And that’s just the first comfort component.
ECCO founder Karl Toosbuy imported the first DESMA direct injection machines into Denmark back in the 1960s, singlehandedly changing the way footwear was manufactured. This method has remained the foundation for all of the brand’s sole innovations for over 50 years, and the techniques used today are at the cutting edge. FLUIDFORM technology is the brand’s contemporary iteration of direct injection which sprays liquid foam around the last, following its every contour for optimal ergonomics. By extension, this is the literal foundation of the BIOM system.
This is made possible thanks to PHORENE, ECCO’s special polyurethane compound that delivers desirable qualities like impact protection and longevity. The BIOM 2.1 X COUNTRY features the latest generation of PHORENE, which is lighter, more shock absorbent and energy-returning than before. In fact, the new compound has been tested down to -40C, ensuring it stays soft and comfortable in cold conditions – which is especially vital out in the wild.
Furthermore, an exciting new development featured on the model is EPR+ outsoles, a tread ECCO have spent over two and a half years refining in partnership with a leading rubber specialist. It’s a special blend of compounds that deliver increased skid resistance and durability. Clearly, ECCO haven’t left a single stone unturned in their quest for superior grip. Now, let’s turn the spotlight to what’s happening up top on these shoes.
The BIOM 2.1 X COUNTRY’s upper is built on a three-layer design, with each level offering a different integral function. The innermost layer is a stretchy, sock-like bootie that hugs the foot and does away with a traditional tongue to ensure easy fitting. Next, the middle layer is a minimalist structure of overlapping woven ribbons that integrates with the lacing system, which helps with lockdown while maximising forefoot flexibility. Finally, the third and outermost layer is a durable mesh shell that is woven to be abrasion resistant, and it’s also transparent to encourage breathability and ventilation.
Because of this mesh outer, there are plenty of colour combinations possible – a feature ECCO have used to their advantage with over a dozen options available. For drier conditions, or perhaps more casual use situations, there are also editions featuring diamond patterned premium leather overlays sourced directly from ECCO’s in-house tanneries.
In tandem with the advanced midsoles underneath, it’s this modern combination of materials that enables the shoe to tip in at a flighty 275g in women’s sizing, and 335g for men’s. Which is ideal for its intended use of fast hiking – of course, since it continues the sleek stylistic lineage of its BIOM 2.0 lifestyle predecessor, the BIOM 2.1 X COUNTRY is just as suitable for street use. It simply means the extra comfort and performance becomes a flex and not just a safety feature.
And it would also appear ECCO prepared for all scenarios on the colourway front, with the aforementioned mesh and leather offerings covering a wide variety of palettes. There are tonal black and grey stealth options, city-slicking bright whites and, as some other ECCO Outdoor models recently flaunted, 90s-inspired neon combinations. Regardless of the material selected, all BIOM 2.1 X COUNTRY colourways are finished with a fine leather trim that wraps the heel, allowing ECCO’s modern typeface to be displayed.
Decisions, decisions… Make a choice by visiting ECCO and exploring the entire BIOM 2.1 X COUNTRY range for men and women now.