Fergus Bisset travelled with Ecco to play Le Golf National and to get first-foot experience of the Danish brand’s latest and most high-tech golf shoe to date – the Ecco Biom Cool Pro.
It’s hard to believe that nearly a year has passed since Europe’s emphatic and thrilling Ryder Cup victory over the USA at Le Golf National in Paris.
Visiting the site of the historic triumph, having received a pep-talk in Europe’s hotel team room from 2018 captain Thomas Bjorn, its memory seemed even less distant, and this was heightened by the fact the facility and course remain heavily adorned with Ryder Cup flags, signs and banners.
Arriving by coach at the front of the modern clubhouse bedecked with team Europe and USA branding, you get just the vaguest sensation of the excitement and pressure the players must have felt last September – it’s rather exciting.
Luckily, the pressure on us was minimal as we arrived – the objective was simply to enjoy a round of golf over the memorable stadium layout and to put the new Ecco Biom Cool Pro golf shoe through its paces… quite literally.
I’ve always been a great admirer of Ecco shoes and that stems from an early trip I went on while working for Golf Monthly.
Over 10 years ago now, I travelled to the Ecco headquarters in Denmark to experience their “Cow to Shoe” programme.
Each of their employees goes through this when they start at the company and it’s designed to demonstrate how Ecco owns the whole process of manufacture, right from the tannery to the finished product.
By the end of it, you have made your own pair of shoes, witnessing what has gone in at every stage – you even stitch the leather yourself…
In my case this was done very badly and, as we completed a slightly rushed version of the programme, my shoes looked like a cross between Frankenstein’s monster and a pair of Krusty the Clown’s rejects.
But it was a very interesting process and it showed the huge levels of care, precision and pure quality that go into the manufacture of Ecco golf shoes.
Understanding the importance of the last, the sealing to ensure total waterproofing, the relationship between upper, midsole and outsole, it provided an excellent demonstration of the levels of technological innovation and craftsmanship that go into all Ecco shoes.
For this trip, the itinerary looked equally compelling, albeit with less sewing.
We were travelling to Versailles to meet Thomas Bjorn at the hotel where the European Ryder Cup team planned and then celebrated their memorable win last year. (The Waldorf Astoria which is supremely grand!)
Then we were heading to the site of that win to test Ecco’s latest and most advanced ever golf shoe. Yes, a tough gig.
Thomas was on great form and we’ll hear more from him in a forthcoming issue of Golf Monthly.
It was pretty cool listening him talk in the room where he had inspired the European side just 12 months earlier and, what made it more amazing for me as a student of history, was that this was also the room in which Clemenceau laid out the terms of the Treaty of Versailles 100 years ago.
Glancing round during our meeting to see the plaque commemorating that fact sent a shiver down my spine.
Not to say I was distracted, heaven forefend. I was taking a moment between speaking to Thomas and the presentation on the new Ecco Biom Cool Pro.
The idea behind this extremely technologically advanced shoe has been to combine a number of significant technologies developed by Ecco and to present them in a single product. Here’s the tech bit:
This is a hybrid golf shoe that leverages the proven benefits of the Biom and Gore-Tex Surround technology to deliver 360° breathable comfort round after round.
It’s built on Ecco’s Biom Natural Motion last to provide an anatomical fit supporting the natural form of your foot with a low-to-the-ground sole structure for enhanced ground responsiveness.
The pioneering Tri-Fi-Grip outsole is designed to provide stability, durability and rotational support and is intended to be wearable on and off the course.
A combination of the Gore-Tex Surround, and Ecco Golf’s refined T.PU Exhaust Grid built into the midsole allow fresh air to directly access the sole of the foot while simultaneously allowing heat and moisture to escape. This means it’s waterproof and it performs well in warm weathers. But, by keeping the foot supremely dry, it also helps feet stay warm in colder conditions.
The upper is durable thin Yak leather – very soft to the touch, plus the Gore-Tex Surround and a Neoprene wrap-around tongue. It’s a pretty sporty looking shoe but, to me, it still looks like a golf shoe.
I’m normally a bit of a puritan when it comes to golf equipment and shoes are no exception – generally something stiff and with a brogue is my go-to.
But I was feeling open to new possibilities in the grand Clemenceau room in Versailles and was excited to try the shoe on to see if it would be as comfortable, lightweight and supportive as the technology that had been explained would suggest.
The answer to that question is an emphatic yes. I actually couldn’t quite believe it when I first put it on. I’ve never felt a golf shoe quite like it. Straight out of the box it feels like it moulds to your foot, hugging where it should, supporting without undue pressure. Supremely light and springy to walk in and overall, just incredibly comfortable.
Given their on and off course versatility, there was no need to take the Ecco Biom Cool Pro shoes off (apart from going to bed) and I wore them pretty much for the rest of the trip.
The real test was to come at the iconic and somewhat daunting Le Golf National. With temperatures in the mid 30s and a long walk ahead of us – the Cool Pro needed to live up to name and reputation.
Having completed 18 challenging holes, only lost two balls in the abundant water hazards, drank approximately six litres of water, sweated roughly seven, I can confirm that these shoes are very impressive indeed.
The only part of me that wasn’t hot after 4.5 hours on French fairways was my feet.
Out of the box, there wasn’t a hint of discomfort, grip and traction were excellent, stability top-drawer and I was even getting used to the athletic styling by the end of the round.
Overall, there’s nothing negative to say about this shoe and I am a full convert. Having arrived back in the UK, I played a medal at my home club yesterday.
The stiff brogues remained in the boot and the Ecco Biom Cool Pros took their first stroll round Banchory GC. It won’t be their last.
Ecco Biom Cool Pro will retail at £210.