I am not a footwear fetishist, I am not Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines, who when she had to flee, left 3000 pairs of shoes in the palace. I own precisely 15 pairs including sandals and winter boots, the basic stock so-to-speak are my three pairs of sensible ECCO shoes I want to tell you about today.
I‘ve had ECCO shoes for ten years, I know that because I remember the place and the time when I was introduced to them. I was on an excursion with our local art club and when we were trotting from one museum to the next a woman looked at my shoes and asked me if they were comfy. I found that odd because they were, either she‘d deducted that they were hurting me from my strange way of walking (I‘m a candidate for the Ministry Of Silly Walks!) or she was looking for an opener for a conversation, “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh“ (Matthew 12, 34). The woman was so in love with her ECCO shoes and praised them so highly that she could have worked for the firm‘s ad department, she told me that she had got several pairs in different colours matching her different outfits.
I became curious and back home looked for ECCO shoes in the shoe shop where I usually buy my shoes. There weren‘t many, just some pairs on the shelves among other brands, but enough for me, when I had tried them on, I knew that I wanted to have a pair, they were comfortable indeed but didn‘t look ugly, something which unfortunately comfy shoes often do. My first pair was made of dark blue nubuck leather to be closed with two Velcro strips across the top of the foot.
I‘ve informed myself about nubuck leather, read what Wikipedia has to say, “Nubuck is top-grain cattle hide leatherthat has been sanded or buffed on the grain side, or outside, to give a slight nap of short protein fibres, producing a velvet-like surface. It is resistant to wear. Nubuck is similar to suede, but differs in that suede is created from the inner side of a hide, whereas nubuck is created from the outer side, giving it more strength and thickness.“ Although I‘ve understood that nubuck isn‘t suede, I like to think of my shoes as ‘My Blue Suede Shoes‘, I didn‘t grow up with Elvis for nothing!
I don‘t have them any more because after some time – read after some years – the colour didn‘t look fresh any more. I brushed it up occasionally with a liquid made for the purpose but a grey shimmer remained which didn‘t look good with my dark blue trousers. So away with them, but I was lucky to find an identical pair, the last one on offer, the firm doesn‘t produce this item any more. This means that I‘ve had blue nubuck shoes for ten years now, if that doesn‘t speak for the product! Fortunately, the second pair hasn‘t got a grey shimmer yet.
But just like the woman who had introduced me to ECCO shoes I‘ve got shoes in other colours as well, a pair in dark brown nubuck and a pair in black normal (shiny) leather, both with laces. Pity that you can‘t see a specimen at the top of the site although I sent the link to the ECCO homepage. The shoes are flat, the sole is made in one piece, there is no discernable heel , but the end part is a bit higher than the rest which is good for the foot. A tongue (I don‘t know if that is the correct English term) lies between the two sides with the five holes for the shoe-laces. Not a very thrilling design, but as I‘ve already mentioned, not ugly, either.
I can‘t say for how many years I‘ve got them, maybe seven or so, but I can‘t see a reason to throw them away. The soles are still intact, I‘ve never had them repaired, when I polish the upper part, the shoes look fresh and new, what more do I want?
What is it that makes ECCO shoes so good? The Danish company, founded in 1963, has a holistic approach to shoemaking, on the one hand they‘re dedicated to craftsmanship, comfort and innovation for the customers, on the other hand they involve their workers and give high priority to environmental considerations, safety and corporate responsibility, obviously this works well and results in comfy shoes which the customers appreciate, worldwide ECCO is No 3 in the shoemaking business, their motto is, “We do not aim to be the biggest – we just want to be the best.“ Ah, modesty!
The homepage (http://www.ecco.com) offers more adulation but also the piccies of the whole range of shoes, for men, women and kids as well as women‘s bags as accessories. I found it very informative, I didn‘t know how many different kinds of shoes they made, I learnt, for example, that there were also women‘s shoes with heels, I‘ve never seen them in a shop. The majority, though, is of the trainer kind, a style I don‘t like, I‘m too old for that.
If you want to buy ECCO shoes in a shop specialised in this brand, you can find out where the nearest one is, if you trust online shopping, you can order your ECCO shoes this way. I couldn‘t do this, I have to try my shoes on, I have to touch and fumble them. Women are known to buy shoes that don‘t fit perfectly convinced they‘ll get used to them over time or that the shoes will eventually be worn out enough not to hurt. You won‘t have this problem with ECCO shoes, when you‘ve found your size, you can leave them on and walk out of the shop and you‘ll never have a blister. The average price for the type of shoes I‘ve described is 60 GBP which is cheap considering their longevity. I‘m sure ECCO would earn much more if they made less durable shoes!