Ecco has a simple philosophy: The shoes must follow the foot.
When you wear a pair of shoes that allow the foot to lead, it can change the way your body feels, acts and responds. These shoes can improve your posture, even when you’re standing still.
In 1963, Karl Toosbuy sold his car and home and moved to Bredebro, Denmark, where he opened his first factory for his new company, Ecco Sko A/S (later renamed Ecco). Early work focused on flexible durable soles for incomparable comfort. By the late 1990s, the company began offering men’s and women’s shoes. By 2000, Ecco’s single-largest market was the United States, where today it goes head to head against shoe giants Nike, Reebok and Adidas.
The company calls its products “physiological footwear.” Because of their design, these shoes can activate body support and postural muscles so you walk more upright and get an enhanced workout. Instead of making the foot mold to the shoe, Ecco builds its shoes to follow the normal form and function of feet. Response to the 56-year-old company has been positive. Today it is one of the top shoe companies in the world and is one of the leaders in the field of comfortable footwear.
One of Ecco’s most popular lines is its MBT footwear – which stands for Masai Barefoot Technology. When explaining the process, Ecco suggests you remember the feeling of walking barefoot across a natural surface. There’s nothing smooth about a grassy surface as it usually has more “give” than a concrete surface. Walking across these variations in the surface can cause you to constantly shift your stance, so your foot stretches more, your gait changes and your posture improves.
Basically, MBT technology allows us to walk the way our ancestors walked back before the day of shoes. It also:
tones and strengthens muscles in the feet, legs, buttocks, stomach and back
improves circulation and increases muscle activity
relieves tension in the back and joints
absorbs the shock in our joints and discs
helps us stand more upright
Ecco’s line of sport shoes – MBT footwear – jump-started Ecco in the footwear business. These shoes come in athletic styles, boots, casual shoes, clogs, sandals and dress shoes for men and women. They are all made using Masai Barefoot Technology.
The classic Ecco shoe is the MBT Men’s Sport black nubuck and mesh model, which comes in black with a white stripe around the back heel. This model comes in a variety of colors and stripes, including solid black.
Ecco also makes a walking shoe that closely resembles the sports shoe, but made of smooth leather that wraps the foot. This model also comes in white with navy leather trim.
Ecco didn’t forget about the outdoorsman, either. Its Kifundo chocolate leather boot has the same MBT sole. The leather rises to the ankle and has five eyelets for lacing.
Resembling the Kifundo boot is the Fanaka Gore-Tex chocolate nubuck. This model doesn’t rise quite as high on the ankle as the boot, making this waterproof model a bit dressier. It is available in rough brown leather and smooth, black waterproof leather.
For a dress shoe, men may want to try the Tariki – Walnut Oiled leather shoe. Still within the MBT family, this shoe has four laces and comes in a rich burnished brown.
For casual days, Ecco makes several men’s sandals – all MBT models. The men’s Kisumu sandal in chocolate nubuck has the special sole for walking and two thick straps that provide ample support to the foot. It is also available in two variations: black nubuck and black nubuck with grey trim.Women wanting the support of MBT shoes have nearly as many selections to choose from as the men. They can choose from athletic shoes similar to the men’s models – like the Chapa in ebony suede and mesh, as well as coffee brown, birch nubuck and mesh, and chili (red) nubuck and mesh.
For some color and fun, try the Lami Mary-Jane in purple suede. It sports grey leather trim and a Velcro strap to break up the purple. Like the shoe, but want to tone down the color? It also comes in caviar black leather.
Want something dressier? Take a look at the Tunisha Mary-Jane in grape leather. The smooth leather and buckled strap adds to the dressier look, but the sole gives you the same great walk as sportier models. The Tunisha is also available in smooth black.
Getting out doors in the warm weather? Try one of the MTB sandals for women: the Kisumu sandal in black or chocolate nubuck – or the black with white trim Panda model (also available in anthracite, which is silver with deep purple trim).