ECCO: Standing apart from the crowd

04/16/2008 at 07:00 AM ET

Ultraterrain While I’ve always been happy to be a mom of boys, I have to admit, there is a small part of me (okay … a big part) that is consistently disappointed when it comes time to choose clothes for our sons.  I get so tired of the dearth of choices — something blue with stripes, or something blue with footballs? — that I do find myself gazing longingly across the aisle at the little girl section, where the options appear to be aplenty. 

But shoes have always been the great equalizer — a quick and easy way for us to help the boys express their individuality each and every day.  We recently tested two new sneaker styles from ECCO, and any fears I may have been secretly harboring about Owen and Sam blending in with the crowd quickly went out the window.  When your kids are walking around in ECCO, there’s no chance of that happening.  Just ask Violet Affleck, 2 1/2.  Sure, she’s followed everywhere she goes by a swarm of paparazzi … but is it her famous parents they’re after, or is it her shoes

Click ‘continue reading’ for the full Ecco Shoes review.

Closeupultraterrain The Ultra Terrain ($65) in titanium/lava/white is not for the faint of heart!  The shoes looks fast, go on fast (courtesy of speed lace Velcro construction; see photo at right) and I swear, they actually make Owen fast.  But I probably only think that because he hasn’t stopped running since receiving his Ultra Terrains!  Their grippy, hardwearing sole can take a beating, so I’m not worried about the nonstop action they’ve been receiving.  In fact, nonstop action is exactly what Ultra Terrain is designed for — it’s constructed with quick-drying materials that are also saltwater resistant and color fast.  So that snazzy, red and orange design that initially attracted us to Ultra Terrain?  It’s here to stay.

The upper is made of a synthetic nubuck and textile, and the lining is also textile.  The inlay sole is made of molded EVA foam, while the outsole is a cemented rubber/EVA mix, which will keep a little spring in Owen’s step well into the summer. We found the Ultra Terrain to be true to size, and speaking of, its available in European sizes 27-35.  ECCO at this time does not offer a ‘wide’ option but I found the Ultra Terrain — even in a ‘M’ — to be wide enough for Owen’s feet, which are by no means narrow.  After repeated use for more than two weeks, he shows no signs of a blister, even after some serious puddle stomping and prolonged play in the backyard.  All in all, a great sporty shoe for an active boy. 

Kcrossspring We also were lucky enough to test the K-Cross Sprint ($65) in denim blue/royal meadow.  Like the Ultra Terrain, these sneakers are built for serious use.  Double hook-and-loop velcro closures mean Owen can get them off and on in a flash, and weighing in at just 7 ounces, they’re probably among the lightest sneakers I’ve ever held.  No worries here about my little guy being slowed down by his shoes, that’s for sure.  The flexible rubber outsole gives good traction … so good, in fact, that earlier in the week I spotted Owen climbing up the sliding board of our swing set which was slick with morning dew, and he made it to the top with ease.  Like the Ultra Terrain, the K-Cross Sprint is not a wide shoe but it still fits Owen nicely and he certainly seems happy to wear them.  Not once has he complained about tightness or discomfort. 

The K-Cross Sprint currently comes in a variety of colors, and also is available in European sizes 27-35. The denim blue/royal meadow version we tested was bright but not flashy.  Except, of course, for the reflective yellow accents which — besides looking great — actually help keep Owen safe.  And that’s exactly the kind of flashy I can live with!

Each of ECCO’s styles, including the Ultra Terrain and K-Cross Sprint, are available at Nordstroms, Dillards and a variety of other stores nationwide.  To see a list of retailers, click here

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Justin Cole on

Awesome design!! Those shoes seems very comfortable and flexible. Those looks like Nike.

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