Field Report - ECCO Tahoe Trail Shoes - Mark Thompson
Please find my FR below or by clicking http://tinyurl.com/3asqoj7
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ECCO TAHOE TRAIL SHOES
TEST SERIES BY MARK THOMPSON
July 25, 2011
NAME: Mark Thompson
EMAIL: markthompson 242 at gmail dot com
LOCATION: Parker, CO
HEIGHT: 6' 0" (2.10 m)
WEIGHT: 190 lb (86.20 kg)
SHOE SIZE (US/EUR): Men's 11/45-46
Outdoor adventures started for me at an early age, my passions have grown to
include backpacking, rock climbing, hiking, hunting, fishing, canoeing, cycling,
skiing and snowshoeing. Most of my adventures presently take place in
Colorado's amazing Rocky Mountains. For trail hikes, my pack typically weighs
15 lbs/6.8 kg (summer/fall), 25 lbs/11.3 kg (winter/spring) and trail speed
usually ranges from 2.5 - 3.8 mph (4.0 - 6.1 kph) depending on elevation gain.
For multi-night backpack trips, my pack weighs 40 - 45 lbs (18 - 20 kg) and my
trail speed drops to 1.5 - 3.0 mph (2.4 - 4.8 kph).
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Year of Manufacture: 2011
Manufacturer's Website: <http://www.eccousa.com">>
Listed Weight: not available
Measured Weight: L: 1 lb, 3.8 oz (558 g) R: 1 lb, 3.3 oz (544 g)
Size: US 11/11.5 (EUR 45)
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "ECCO Tahoe" IMAGE CAPTION = "Photo courtesy of
The ECCO Tahoe arrived in what I would consider better than average packaging,
with a unique cardboard insert to keep the toe box in proper shape. The
packaging supported their arrival in fine condition.
Starting from the sole and moving up, the shoes are made with ECCO's performance
rubber using their receptor technology. The soul has an aggressive grip design
for superior traction and wraps around the foot bed, providing solid support and
strength. Wrapping the soul around the foot shows that the designers aimed to
prevent premature wear-out due to scrapes and rubs that happen on the trail.
The foot bed is anatomically-shaped and provides a comfortable feel. My foot is
narrow at the heel, yet wide at the toes requiring a wide toe box. This shoe
hits both right on the mark. I admit, prior to submitting the size requirement
for this test, I went to a local ECCO vendor and tried on some similar shoes to
ensure I requested the proper size (I hate ordering anything that has to fit
just right without having tried it on first). The shoe, like many others in
this category, is fitted with a removable insert which facilitates customizing.
The interior of the shoe is made of a "textile" lining and the exterior is a
combination of Yak leather and textiles with a rubber toe and heel cap. Yak
leather is reported to be 3 times stronger than other common leather materials,
but I have not been able to find any research to confirm the claim.
The laces wind through loops made with webbing material and a loop in the Yak
leather with the final anchor point being through the upper with a reinforcing
TRYING IT OUT
I came home late the night the shoes arrived and placed the package in the back
of my car. I arrived to work early the next morning and opened the box. I just
had to try them on! The shoes fit very well and felt solid. I did notice that
the ankle cutouts were a little high for my foot and the shoe did not seem to
provide much shock absorption (although, I was walking on concrete floors).
The shoes appear to be of solid construction and have all the markings of a
great trail shoe that should provide years of great service.
I am quite excited to test these shoes and thank ECCO and backpackgeartest.org
for the opportunity.
<a name="FRPT">FIELD REPORT</a>
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I was able to use the ECCO Tahoe Trail Shoes in a variety of locations and
conditions, including Minnesota's Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness (a
beautifully rugged area that is only accessible by foot or canoe), the badlands
of South Dakota and the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
The Minnesota wilderness is an outdoorsman's paradise, offering some unique
challenges for outdoor gear, with the elevation rather low at 1,000' (305 m) the
trails can be dry and soft to wet and muddy. The badlands are typically very
hot and dry but in June this year, we found the conditions much more favorable
with mild temperatures and uncommonly green grasslands. The Rockies have kept
their winter coats on quite late this year with significant snow fields still
present until late July, especially at high elevations. The frequency of these
snow fields has required the use of gaiters and thus, has kept me in hiking and
mountaineering boots longer than anticipated.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
Despite the limited amount of time and field use I have been able to garnish
from these shoes, I have grown quite fond of them. They have proven to have
superior traction, regardless of the weather or the trail conditions.
From the soles up, ECCO's receptor technology and performance rubber
consistently provided superior wet and dry traction regardless of surface
material. Wet or dry, smooth or coarse, the soles consistently provided
wonderful traction and provided sure footing! Having recently been exposed to a
variety of elastomers through work, I was really quite impressed with their
selection of material properties, especially durometer, which seems nearly
perfect for hiking.
With the recent purchase of mountaineering boots and other footwear, I had
anticipated needing to purchase new insoles in order to obtain the proper fit
with these trail shoes. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was not
the case. I must admit though, the interior of the shoe isn't as plush as other
footwear I have owned, but ECCO certainly seemed to have found the right fit.
The arch was well located, of sufficient size and the fitting for the balls of
my feet kept everything in the right place, even going down hill. The toe box
is wonderful with plenty of room while the heel cup remained snug and
The unique lacing style and complementary tongue ensure a snug fit in all the
right places. I was pleased to find that the lacing remained secure throughout
each day of hiking, thus requiring no adjustments, with one exception. When the
shoes became soaked in the rain, they did seem to loosen. I am not sure if this
was due to changes in my socks, merely a change in sensation or if the leather
uppers actually grew a little bit as leather frequently does.
I was also quite pleased to see how well the molded rubber performed on the
sides of the shoes. I know that I rubbed and scraped the sides throughout the
climb on Mt Democrat. Yet, at the end of the day, there was no indication that
these shoes had been beaten up and down the mountainside.
The colorful state of Colorado experienced a rather odd winter this year, with
much of the snow fall occurring in late winter. My skiing friends certainly
enjoyed this oddity as some of the slopes remained open well into June.
Although the weather in my home state of Colorado hasn't exactly cooperated with
the testing of these shoes, I have managed to get some miles on them and have
done so in a rather diverse set of environmental conditions. The attribute that
has pleased me most has been the phenomenal traction regardless of the trail
surface. Slick wet rocks seem to be no problem for these shoes, and yet, no
significant tread wear. To sum it all up, here are the pros and cons from my
- Superb all-weather traction
- Snug yet comfortable fit
- Solid foot protection
- Excessive drying time
I am disappointed that I have not been able to put more miles on these shoes due
to weather but I look forward to future hikes and treks in the weeks to come.
Addendum: Test Event Notes and Details
The following provides specific details regarding each test event.
Date: 30 May 2011
Elevation: 6,200 to 7,100' (1,890 to 2,164 m)
Terrain: Rolling terrain to steep class 5.4 climbing
Distance Traveled: 4 miles (6.4 km)
Time inclusive: 10 hours (appx 3 hours wearing the trail shoes)
Other gear: 18 lb pack
Weather: warm and humid with temps ranging from 60 to 75 deg F (15 to 24 deg C)
Shoe Performance: I was quite pleased with the performance of these shoes! The
terrain varied from wide, smooth rolling trail to steep mountaineer's trail.
The Tahoes proved to be quite comfortable and sure-footed, regardless of the
terrain or trail condition. Especially noteworthy was how well the foot bed
kept my foot from sliding forward during steep descents.
Date: 18 - 22 June 2011
Elevation: appx 1,000' (305 m)
Terrain: Flat and muddy to short but steep trails
Distance Traveled: 3 miles (4.83 km)
Time inclusive: 8 hours
Other gear: I would take two trips on each portage, one with a 67 lb pack and
the next carrying the canoe
Weather: cool and rainy (40 - 60 deg F/4 - 15 deg C) with humidity remaining
close to 100% for the entire trip.
Shoe Performance: The shoes performed very well in the rather arduous
conditions (rain, mud, short trail hikes with heavy loads) I faced in the
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). The shoes did an excellent job
of smoothing out the trail and protecting my feet from rocks and uneven
surfaces. I also noticed that I had much better traction on wet surfaces than
anyone else in my party. On several occasions, I was climbing up and down steep
and rocky trails that were very wet while carrying a very heavy pack or a
canoe. The ECCO Tahoe Trail Shoes provided superb traction making the portages
from lake to lake significantly easier. ECCO does not claim that these shoes
are light or waterproof and this point was well proven. The shoes become vastly
heavier when wet and take an excessively long time to dry. My wife's full grain
leather hiking boots were dry long before the Tahoe.
The Bad Lands of South Dakota
Date: 22 - 23 June 2011
Elevation: appx 5,000 to 6,000' (1,524 to 1,829 m)
Terrain: Dry rolling trails
Distance Traveled: 6 miles (4.83 km)
Time inclusive: 6 hours
Other gear: n/a
Weather: Warm and dry (75 - 90 deg F/24 - 32 deg C) with low humidity
Shoe Performance: The rolling hills and gentler trails found in the badlands
and around Mt Rushmore were a perfect fit for these shoes. The shoes were
comfortable throughout all of our hiking treks and offered superior comfort and
Date: 15 - 16 July 2011
Elevation: appx 10,000' (3,048 m)
Distance Traveled: less than a mile
Time inclusive: 14 hours
Other gear: n/a
Weather: sunny and mild (45 - 75 deg F/7 - 24 deg C) with low humidity
Shoe Performance: I wore the shoes around camp (before and after climbing
LaPlatta Peak). I had really wanted to test these out on LaPlatta but in the
end I opted for high top hiking boots as there was still too much snow on the
peak to risk going without gaiters.
Colorado Rocky Mountains
Date: 23 July 2011
Elevation: appx 12,000 to 14,286' (3,658 to 4,354 m)
Terrain: Various, including steep (portions with scree) and rocky, some snow
and a couple stream crossings
Distance Traveled: 7.5 miles (12 km)
Time inclusive: 4.5 hours
Other gear: 30 lb day pack
Weather: cool and sunny (45 - 65 deg F/7 - 18 deg C) with low humidity
Shoe Performance: Today's test, in my opinion presented conditions above and
beyond what I expect the manufacturer intended. Rather than use an above the
ankle boot, I opted to test the Tahoe's while climbing 4 of Colorado's 14er's:
Mt Bross, Mt Lincoln, Mt Cameron and Mt Democrat. The first mountain (Mt Bross)
presented a steep scree field for most of the ascent. Other hikers had shared
their difficulty with the scree while descending this mountain (hence my
decision to travel in the opposite direction). Hiking on scree isn't my
favorite, but the Tahoe's did quite well. I was pleased with the traction
afforded by the tread design and materials. The hike over to Mt Lincoln was
quite easy and presented a trail like condition that would be more in keeping
with the intended use of the shoes. After gaining Mt Lincoln's summit, I
traversed over to Mt Cameron and then descended the steep ridgeline to the
Cameron/Democrat saddle at 13,000' (3,962 m). It was at this point that I had
wished for much more ankle support as the trail diminished into a faint line
that merely went over rocks of all different sizes and shapes. The Tahoe Trail
Shoes did an excellent job of absorbing the sharp edges and protecting my feet,
but, being a low cut shoe, afforded no ankle support. It was also at this point
that I noted the limited shock absorption capability. I continued on my trek
and gained the summit of Mt Democrat, and since I was testing these shoes, I
found it interesting to see what others were wearing - anything from sneakers to
combat boots. I can't imagine that anything on the extremes would have been
comfortable and suspect that the correct foot wear for this trek would have been
a high top hiking boot or even up to a backpacking boot. My descent was
uneventful. At the end, my feet were tired but not painful and I experienced no
hot spots or blisters. The shoes performed quite well, despite the harsh
treatment and rough conditions.
This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.
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