Martin Hopley
By Martin Hopley

Ecco were the pioneers of the spikeless shoe market, so I met with their PR and Sponsorship Manager Jesper Thuen to find out what lies behind the success of the brand and the Ecco Biom range.

Ecco Jesper Thuen

Ecco shoes are very popular these days Jesper, so what makes Ecco better than other shoes that are in the market?

I think the big difference is that we own the whole production chain. We own our own tanneries and factories so we can control the quality from A to Z. On every pair of Ecco shoes made there has been approximately 240 pairs of hands working on the shoe to make sure that every shoe that comes out of our production facilities is absolutely perfect and I think that makes a big difference.

The Ecco BIOM shoe is a natural motion shoe. What percentage of sales are the BIOM’s?

I would say it is 35-45% of our sales at the moment and is by far our most popular shoe. I would be so honest as to say that it is the best shoe we have made to date.

Ecco Biom Hybrid SS14

Ecco were leaders in the natural motion shoes, but other brands don’t seem to be focussing on that as much. Do you think there are any reasons for that?

I don’t know. But for us it is the shoe that turned out perfectly. We scanned 2,500 pairs of feet to get the exact last so the shoe fits perfectly. We use yak leather in the shoe, which none of our competitors are doing and, combined with our hybrid outsole, we think it is a winning combination and the consumers seem really happy with it.

You mention the hybrid outsole and again you were leaders in the spikeless trend. How much effort goes into creating the spikeless sole and is there a lot of science in its design?

Yes there is. We have designed the nubs on our outsoles a little bit differently to ensure they provide enough grip in all conditions. Our hybrid shoe is not just a summer shoe it is also a shoe you can play in winter and in wet conditions.

We have researched the outsoles to get the correct angles to ensure you get the correct level of grip during play. There is also the comfort level of these outsoles and we hear from our consumers that they are so comfortable that once they have tried the hybrid shoes it is very difficult to go back to cleated products.

Ecco Hybrid Sole

What proportion of shoes you sell are spikeless?

That is almost 90% - it is a high percentage. We still have 2 mens models and 1 ladies models that are cleated for the traditional players out there, but we believe in hybrids and we have done for years. With the way the industry is going at the moment we think it is going to stay and get bigger. I said a couple of years ago that I think that one day 65% of the market will be hybrid shoes and we see it is going in that direction worldwide.

One of the other trends we have seen this year is for lightweight shoes. Is that a trend you can see developing further?

There is a limit on how light you can go and I think it is about getting the right combination of having a light shoe but with the right stability in the outsole and having the right support. So it is about finding that balance.

Is there a trade off between stability and weight?

Yes there is, because if you want to build stability into the shoe you need materials to do that and of course that comes with weight, so the more stability you build into the shoe the heavier it gets.

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