Having attended the launch of Ecco's Biom Cool Pro shoe in Paris last September, I can attest to the fact that they really do care about making great quality, comfortable golf shoes. They're a footwear brand, not just a sports brand who make footwear, and I think that shows in their products.
Not only that, but they are constantly coming up with new technologies to make 4 hours walking around the course seem that little bit easier. The brand claim to have redefined the golf shoe market when they introduced the first spikeless hybrid shoe a decade ago, so it's fair to say that they probably do know a thing or two about it...
What's It All About?
The S-Three is Ecco's newest spikeless hybrid model, meaning that it is suitable for use in varying course conditions, whilst also being perfect for use at the driving range or nipping into the clubhouse for a beer after your round.
The main technology this time around is in the form of a Zonal Fluidform injection, which is applied into the shoe's midsole to create three different zones of softness. This is said to provide the right levels of cushioning and stability in the areas of the foot where you'll need it most.
Zone 1 is for comfort, where the heel of the midsole is a medium softness to ensure better cushioning.
Zone 2, in the central part of the midsole, is more rigid to deliver high levels of stability during the movement of the golf swing.
Zone 3 centres around flexibility by providing the highest level of softness at the forefront of the midsole, to provide a better range of movement with more comfort whilst walking.
This injection process also creates a unique design on the midsole of each shoe as the colours transition, meaning that no two pairs of S-Three will look quite the same.
The shoe's upper is made from a thick Ecco Soft Calf Nappa leather, from the brand's own tanneries, along with 100% waterproof technology to keep your feet dry and comfortable in all conditions.
There's a double layer of neoprone padding in the collar and heel for extra comfort throughout the swing, whilst the Fluidform Direct Comfort Technology creates a more durable bond than that of a shoe which is stitched or glued together.
The Ecco Dynamic Traction System (E-DTS) provides more than 100 bars of traction (otherwise known as studs or lugs), with over 800 traction angles, to give you superior grip on a variety of different lies, no matter the conditions.
The shoes are available in both men's and women's models at an RRP of £180. There are three colourways for men (White/Navy, White/Lime and Grey) and five for women (White/Black, Red, Sand, Grey and White/Blue).
Blending on-course performance with off-course style, the waterproof Ecco S-Three delivers premium comfort from the tee box to the clubhouse and beyond.
I took the Ecco S-Three shoes down to Bramall Park Golf Club - despite being a spikeless model Ecco were making some big claims about the traction benefits provided so I wanted to see how they got on.
If they could keep me stable and supported in cold, wet and soft conditions, I'd be fine anywhere!
Ecco S-Three Golf Shoe Review
I think Ecco shoes in general have been getting steadily better looking over the past few years, and the S-Three is a continuation of that theme. I think that 'older person's shoe' reputation is evaporating, and having the likes of Henrik Stenson, Lydia Ko and Erik Van Rooyen - who are pretty well-known for being fashion forward - as ambassadors is only going to help that.
I like golf shoes to be pretty simple with their design and colour schemes, so these suited my eye right away. There are still little giveaways that this is a Ecco shoe, such as the fabric around the collar and rounded toe shape, but I think the S-Three is a design which a large majority of golfers would be happy to wear.
The S-Three is, without doubt, the most comfortable out-of-the-box golf shoe I have ever worn. It feels like you've been wearing them for months as your feet just seem to sink perfectly into the sole, with the upper wrapping around the foot perfectly.
The inner tongue, which is a feature becoming more and more common amongst modern golf shoes, helps to add to the overall support and create a nice snug fit. It also helps to ensure that your foot doesn't move around during the swing.
I sometimes find that new leather golf shoes can be uncomfortable to begin with because the tongue is too stiff - meaning that it digs in to the top of your foot. No such worries here thanks to the neoprone which wraps around to the collar too.
Considering the weather we have experienced in the North West of England this winter, I was a little concerned about testing out a spikeless shoe on such a soft, wet golf course. I needn't have worried.
The level of traction thanks to the E-DTS lugs was extremely impressive, on a variety of different lies and terrain types. I didn't feel my feet slip once during my 18 hole test, and trust me, that's not because I was playing from the middle of every fairway!
In terms of weight, it felt a little more like wearing a spiked shoe than a spikeless one, but on a cold and wet day of testing I was actually glad of a little more sturdiness. If you are lucky enough to play your golf in hot conditions, the weight and possible warmth of the shoe is something which you may want to bear in mind.
Ecco S-Three Golf Shoe Verdict
If I had to market Ecco golf shoes, my key aim would be based around getting as many golfers as possible to try these shoes on, because once you do you will see just how comfortable they are and it would be hard not to buy a pair.
I suppose that's the challenge for Ecco now, because there are so many other brands making great quality shoes, and golfers are creatures of habit who like to stick to what they know.
Yes, they are on the pricier side for a spikeless golf shoe, but I think you could use them for 95% of your rounds during the year so in the end, the value for money is not too bad. Plus, the Biom Cool Pro shoes which I tested and loved last year had an RRP of £30 more, and I actually think that the S-Three are more versatile in the winter or when its wet.
On performance alone, I can't think of one proper negative. Next time you're in the Pro Shop or looking for a pair of shoes, make sure you give these a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed.