A few years back Carolyn bought me a pair of Ecco shoes to replace my old New Balance trail shoes, which I had been wearing as long as she knew me. I had two pair of those that are still marginally serviceable but, after 15 years or so, are starting to fail visibly.
They were extremely comfortable, look very nice, and seemed to wear well. Until their first winter, in Guelph, in the snow, the soles just started to disintegrate. A hole broke through the ball of one foot and snow came in–cold, cold snow. Apparently this is a fairly common problem with (old) Ecco shoes. I went to the local late-night shoe store (there is one in Guelph) and got a pair of Rockports. They’re very nice as well, though a bit less comfortable. I selected them because they could be resoled, and I did so after about two years of daily wear when the sole got so grip-less I started to slip on rainy sidewalks. Now they have a nice Vibram sole and should be good for another 3-5 years.
In the mean time, Ecco called me to ask if I wanted to return the shoes for possible warranty service. I told the nice woman that I wasn’t asking for that, but I would if they wanted to examine the failure, and that I wasn’t happy with the disintegrating sole material and I went with Rockport, but let me know if they ever change the sole material to something more durable.
A week or two later a pre-paid return mailer showed up in my mailbox. It sat on my kitchen table for about a year or so with other urgent matters. The dead Ecco’s were left behind in my Canadian office, then got mailed with my stuff to my LA office, then finally came back with my stuff from LA to Oakland. Not too many months later, off to Ecco-land they went.
About a month after I sent them in I was informed that Ecco had warranty replaced my shoes and sent me a new pair. They have latex soles, which may well be more durable and they feel, if anything, more comfortable than my first pair.
If I ever need another pair of shoes, I’ll buy another pair of Eccos.
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