ECCO BIOM Golf Hybrid 2
The ECCO BIOM Hybrid 2, as you have already guessed, is the latest in the line of BIOM Hybrid golf shoes from ECCO and their current top-of-the-line spikeless shoe. We will set aside the ECCO Wingtips for the moment (not our thing), and we are not going to comment on Freddie Couples’ greenest-of-green ECCO Signature 1992. Speaking of which, since Couples climbed to the leaderboard at the 2010 Masters and helped kick-start the spikeless shoe trend, spikeless shoe sales have grown to almost half of all golf shoe purchases!
We give high marks to the performance of the ECCO BIOM Hybrid 2, but note that the price tag, at nearly $200, is on the high side. We walk all of the courses we play (and are never happy to be required to take carts on walkable courses…you know who you are, resort courses), so we place a premium on the happiness of our feet. And given that, we are willing to spend a bit more than we might otherwise.
As a refresher, BIOM (“Biomechanical Optimization”) is ECCO’s technology that helps the body but does not prevent natural foot motion. The intent is to mirror the path of the player’s natural walking motion in a low-profile, lightweight shoe that is slightly lower to the ground that the original ECCO BIOM Hybrid, which helps to improve stability and swing power. “Hybrid” is simply ECCO’s name for their spikeless sole technology. We found the original ECCO BIOM Hybrid to be an extremely comfortable shoe, and our feet were happy with the latest Hybrid 2 in fit and feel as well.
The ECCO BIOM Hybrid 2 looks more like a dedicated golf shoe than the original ECCO BIOM Hybrid. This starts with the more noticeable ECCO dots on the side, no doubt to brand the shoe. We could have done without these, preferring the more subtle look of the Streets and the original BIOM Hybrid. The other noticeable design change is the more prominent heel counter, which stands out in a different color from the rest of the upper. Again, we would prefer a subtler look, but admit we are also probably the only people that are still trying to find all-white tennis shoes to purchase.
Compared to the BIOM Hybrid, the Hybrid 2 features a thinner midsole throughout (including the loss of a portion of midsole that extended into the arch on the ECCO BIOM Hybrid), creating a sleeker look. With the thinner midsole, ECCO reduces the weight of the shoe by a couple of ounces down to 1.6 pounds while also bringing you closer to the ground – both of which are good things. The Hybrid 2 retains design elements such as the slightly more encompassing toe box and a pull tab/Achilles tendon protector, though it doesn’t extend as high as the one on the ECCO BIOM Hybrid.
On the breathable yak leather upper, ECCO has removed perforations on the quarter (side) of the shoe, but retains them on the tongue and vamp, just below the laces. The yak leather is durable and is treated with ECCO’s Hydromax to make the shoes water-repellent and prevent the leather from hardening after the shoes get repeatedly wet. Craftsmanship was reasonably good, with the only real issue at the base of the tongue, where poorly cut yak leather bunched up under the bottom eyelet, but didn’t impact the feel.
The Hybrid 2 insole is nearly identical to the original model, with the addition of raised silicon designs printed on the insole. This silicon printing is in four areas – one at the heel, two across the ball of the foot, and one other at the big toe. You may get thrown a bit when first putting the shoe on, thinking your socks are catching on something. And they are – the silicon is quite good at gripping to your sock. The intention of the silicon is to prevent unwanted foot movement and slipping during the swing. We didn’t notice any difference during play from the traditional insoles, and have to think that while the silicon printing may hold the sock firmly, wouldn’t our feet still slide within the sock? Maybe the simple answer is to go sockless? In any event, we haven’t logged a full season on these shoes and thus can’t comment yet on the wear of the silicon over time.
As with the original model, there is additional rubber extending at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock on each of the “spikes” on the sole of the BIOM Hybrid 2, but the spikes now run throughout the sole, instead of having a gap under the arch of the foot. The spikes are laid out in a diagonal pattern as you look at the sole, as opposed to horizontal rows with the original Hybrid. The Hybrid 2 has a slightly stiffer feel to the sole than the original Hybrids – not by a great deal, but definitely noticeable. This is due to the sole having different densities of rubber: more firm in the “stability areas” at the outside of the foot, wrapping around the toes and most of the heel, and softer in “comfort zones” at the inside of the foot. We prefer a softer sole, but this is an area where personal preference will reign above all else.
The ECCO BIOM Hybrid 2 comes in five different color combinations: concrete (grey)/royal blue, black/brick red, camel/fanta (yellow), white/black, and white/red. We consider these to be good-looking shoes, and while Mrs. Critical Golf gives a slight nod to the original Hybrids, she still considers these to be acceptable.
With the ECCO BIOM Hybrid 2 the price of the BIOM line creeps upward to $195 (up $5 from the original ECCO BIOM Hybrid. Certainly not cheap. At the time of our review, only the adipower Boost Boa carries a higher price tag, due to the expensive Boa closure system.
Yes, you can try to justify the purchase with ECCO’s one-year Limited Warranty that covers the basics, though based on the performance and construction of the shoe we expect you won’t need to take advantage of the coverage. We liked the performance of shoe nearly as much as the original ECCO BIOM Hybrid, so we give the BIOM Hybrid 2 our recommendation. If you think the price is too high, we would advise either skipping your daily Starbucks lattes for a few weeks, or losing one less sleeve of balls on your next outing – take those extra dollars and add the ECCO BIOM Hybrid 2 to the list of shoes to consider.