Ecco is one of Denmark’s most iconic shoe brands, and the choice of Crown Prince Frederik. The royal wore a pair when he joined the “Expedition Sirius 2000,” a dog-sledge expedition in the northern part of Greenland to enforce Danish sovereignty to the Arctic country.
As the story goes, the heir apparent was not satisfied with footwear from other brands that he personally commissioned Ecco to produce a winter pair for him for the occasion.
Through the partnership, not only did Prince Frederik fulfill his mission, but he also paved the way for Ecco begin the production of outdoor shoes. The move was a big leap because ever since Danish entrepreneur Karl Toosbuy founded Ecco in 1963, the company’s major products had always been focused on formal leather shoes.
Fast-forward to 2015, Ecco is seen launching its most innovative pair of active and casual shoes yet. Aptly called the O2 (as in oxygen), the line of shoes for both men and women boast of a state-of-the-art breathable and waterproof technology. It is part of the brand’s Spring/Summer 2015 collection.
To put Ecco O2 to the extreme test, the company took a media group from Manila to Capas, Tarlac who used them to hike the famed Mt. Pinatubo.
Rain or shine
A night before the climb, Martin Hein, business development manager of Ecco Asia Pacific, hosted a press briefing at the Green Canyon Resort in Clark, Pampanga.
Besides sharing the story of Ecco and Prince Frederik, Hein also presented what makes Ecco O2 a “relevant” product in the Philippines.
“The weather in the Philippines is so unpredictable. There is sunshine and then all of a sudden it rains,” the fully informed Hein stated. After all, he just experienced the exact weather change in Pampanga that day.
But with Ecco O2, Hein said that Filipinos can brave both the scorching heat and torrential rains with just one pair of shoes.
“This is why I believe this is a very relevant product in the Philippines, made possible via the footwear’s 360-degree ventilation and 100-percent weather protection feature,” he added.
Hein enumerated the components behind O2’s technology, namely the liquid rubber material PU-midsoles; the use of yak leather, which is known to be tough yet breathable; a Gore-tex membrane for waterproofing; and an air channeling system on the soles that keeps feet cool and dry.
To sum up the innovative product, Hein simply put, “Everything goes out—from moisture to sweat to odor—but nothing from the outside—like water and heat—goes in.”
Up in the mountains
With the innovation and technology that it provides, Ecco O2 conquered a 5-kilometer hike to the crater of the Mt. Pinatubo Volcano. As promised, the hikers were able to cross the small streams without having to worry about getting their feet wet. More importantly, the shoes also provided enough grip to prevent slipping when climbing up mossy rocks.
And despite the long walk, the feet never felt hot and sweaty thanks to breathable features of O2.
Also notable was the fact that the shoes did not add to the burden of a tiring trek because of its lightweight nature, thus allowing hikers to move with ease.
To make everything even cooler, the new shoe collection came in natural earth shades combined with pop hues like the earth upper with orange soles for men, and the navy blue upper with turquoise soles for women.
This is clearly the best way to hike.