Outdoor Buzz: Ecco, Merrell, New Balance

Ecco Back

Danish brand Ecco is expanding its biomechanically focused Biom line for spring with walking, training and golf shoes for men and women. Like the running styles launched in spring ’09, the new collections focus on natural motion, muscle development and strengthening. The walking shoes, available in synthetic material ($175) and yak leather ($195, at right), feature a symmetric heel to encourage a natural walking motion and will deliver to Ecco retail stores and select Nordstrom, Dillard’s and Walking Company doors in February. The trainer, also in synthetic ($145) and yak leather ($170), is adapted for the lateral movements of the gym and will arrive at Ecco stores in March. The yak leather golf style, which puts the player close to the ground with a stable platform, will retail for $225 and deliver in March.

Dare to Bare

Rockford, Mich.-based Merrell, a division of Wolverine World Wide Inc., is partnering with Vibram this spring for a collection of barefoot shoes for trail and city use. The Merrell Barefoot Collection will comprise three styles each for men and women. For men, it will offer the Trail Glove trail-running style and the True Glove multisport shoe, both of which feature mesh and synthetic uppers and the brand’s Omni-Fit lacing system, as well as the leather Tough Glove men’s style for more casual use. On the women’s side, the collection will include the Pace Glove trail runner with Omni-Fit, the Power Glove ankle-wrap sandal (below) and the Pure Glove Mary Jane style. All looks will retail between $90 and $120 and deliver in February to select outdoor and running shops and independents.

Minimus Thinking

This spring, Boston-based New Balance is launching a three-style collection of barefoot-inspired shoes called Minimus. The line is available for men and women in three categories: trail, road running and walking. All three weigh less than 8.5 oz. in a men’s size 9.5 and have a heel-to-forefoot drop of 4 mm (as opposed to 12.5 mm in more traditional styles) and are closer to the ground. The trail shoe, said New Balance special business unit manager Katherine Petrecca, is meant for the most experienced barefoot-technique runner. The road shoe is built for transitioning runners, or those who want a little more stability. And the walking shoe is the least technical, more of a recovery-oriented shoe. Delivering this March, the Minimus styles will retail for $100 and be available at independent and New Balance stores.

Access exclusive content