TCX X-Desert Gore-Tex Boots

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Steve Claus

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http://ridetcxboots.com/

 

TCX Touring Adventure X-Desert Gore-Tex
 
OVERVIEW
It has been a blessing to have the opportunity to test/abuse many different brands of boots over the years, but they've all been in the Motocross/Enduro category.  The TCX Touring Adventure X-Desert Gore-Tex would be the first outside that category, fitting squarely in the Touring / Adventure category. These boots top the range of TCX's Touring / Adventure line-up and come with a loaded spec sheet (though we've all seen overblown marketing of products that don't live up to the hype). So, as I do with every product I review: 1. Start with an open mind and 2. Have a plan of attack.  Open mind, check! Plan of attack, check! I would be meeting-up with my best friend Bryan Bosch for a 12-hour adventure ride in the Pacific Northwest (XL-ADV Ride Report), so this would one ride would put the boots (and my feet) to the test...new boots, straight out of the box, on a 12-hour ride!
 
FIRST IMPRESSION
They look like a thick-toe'd, wanna-be-motocross boot, but missing some buckles. A quick inspection yields full-grain leather for the full height of the boot, a fully sewn/glued/sealed sole, protection top-to-bottom, and put together with a great attention to detail. Strange, but not horrible looking. Smelled of leather as soon as I cracked the box (I love that). Ok, still have an open mind.
 
FITMENT
I followed the recommendation of the manufacturer on sizing and it was spot-on with a standard riding sock. They were a little stiff right out of the box, but not noticeable on the bike vs. on the ground. Also a little narrow across the wide-spot on my foot (I do have a little wider than standard foot), but the toe-box is roomy. There is one place where these boots really stood out for me personally.  I have really-really thick calves (19") and new boots typically require me to order longer top-buckle-straps from the manufacturer.  Not in this case, as the TCX top-buckle-strap had plenty of adjustment and length, even leaving me a bit of to spare.
 
OVERALL PERFORMANCE
Off the bike they initially felt a bit stiff and bulky, but that completely went away as soon as we started riding. Not more than an hour into the trip and our first stop, I hopped off the bike and forgot I was wearing new boots, right out of the box...amazing comfort and quick break-in time! Great grip on the pegs and much more flex in the ankle than a motocross boot made for very comfortable, all-day riding. I clipped a few hidden stumps with my toe..no damage or injury. We stopped for lunch and they were very easy to get off and back on. Are they waterproof? Yes they are!  I was standing in 10" of quick-moving, cold, mountain run-off, for a good 15 minutes (yes, the people behind me in the pic were most certainly wondering if I had lost my mind)...and no leaks!!! The Gore-Tex membrane, coupled with the internal gator and elastic cuff kept my feet completely dry.  Actually, my feet didn't get cold either...double win!
 
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10" of cold, running water were no match for the X-Desert waterproof design

 

WHO ARE THEY DESIGNED FOR?

The TCX X-Desert takes all the best features from street and motocross boots in creating their top-offering in the Touring / Adventure category. Top quality materials, lots of protection, flexible, waterproof...and not just on paper, but fully verifiable. So, does this make the TCX X-Desert the perfect do-it-all boot? Can I toss my many pairs of boots for just this one pair? No, I don't think so, and here's why. TCX is *NOT* a marketing company, but is one of the few, truly boot-only design and manufacturing companies left. Their approach is to fully / deeply understand the needs of a particular application and then design a product to meet those needs; their diverse product line supports that. For example, though they may have incorporated the look and protection of a full-on motocross boot, they've designed-in flex specifically for the Touring / Adventure rider that enables extremely high comfort for long-day / multi-day rides. So, who are they good for? I believe they are perfect for the Adventure rider that has transitioned from street or dirt and wants to explore the backcountry via dirt roads, trails, or desert. These boots are perfect for on or off-road and great in adverse weather conditions. They will keep you warm and dry on multi-day trips, will give you ample traction, and will allow you to ride and walk in comfort.

 

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SUMMARY
I like the TCX Touring Adventure X-Desert Gore-Tex boots a lot. I'm still trying to get acclimated the tall toe-box, which makes shifting challenging at times, but I plan to raise my shift-lever a notch and will report back. If I can't say enough about any one area, it's certainly comfort. After only one day of riding they have fully formed to my feet and feel really good. Hot, cold, wet, dry...these boots stood up to everything I have thrown at them. All-in-all, TCX makes a great product and I would recommend them to anyone looking for a great adventure boot! For me, as an off-road guy, will I toss my motocross/enduro boots for these? No, but they will certainly be my go-to boots anytime I ride my KTM 990 Adventure. *However* now that I've had the pleasure of experiencing my first pair TCX boots, my existing moto/enduro boots should be worried as I'm sure there will soon be a pair of TCX Comp EVO Michelin boots on my product review list, and if they perform anything like the X-desert, I could easily be an exclusive TCX house!

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