MO Tested: TCX Touring Classic / AirTech EVO Gore-Tex Boot Review
More than just basic black boots
When I’m looking for an all-purpose motorcycle boot, I have a few key requirements. First, it needs armor to protect my feet in a tumble or slide. Second, since my travels take me through temperatures from the low 40s to over 100 F, they should be three-season comfortable – breathability is important here. Waterproofness for rain/shine riding is a must, too. Finally, a general-purpose motorcycle boot should be nondescript, making it just as appropriate off the bike as on while blending in with any style street motorcycle. The TCX Touring Classic / AirTech EVO Gore-Tex boot achieves all of these requirements, making them part of my regular riding gear.
TCX Touring Classic / AirTech EVO Gore-Tex Boot
About the only feature of the Touring Classic boots that may be controversial is the styling. Cruiser riders may think they’re not traditionally enough styled, while folks who lean towards sporting machinery might think they’re not flashy enough. However, if you’re looking for something to commute in and then wear all day, these TCX boots are pretty dang good. Only the ribbed flex panels on the boot’s upper and the small, red Air Tech logo betray the Touring Classics as something other than modern canvas work boots.
However, beneath that workmanlike exterior, the Touring Classic is a versatile motorcycle boot. The upper is constructed of breathable, abrasion-resistant Cordura. Below is a layer of felt to provide a buffer between the inner Gore-Tex membrane. The Cordura and felt layers allow airflow between the layers to wick away the heat and moisture that exits the boot from the rider’s foot. In addition to breathability, the Gore-Tex liner keeps the interior dry in wet conditions – a feature I tested by standing in a several inches deep mud puddle to pick up the KTM 1290 Super Adventure after my face-plant on our Ultimate Sports-Adventure-Touring Shootout. They also stayed dry in the few rainy rides I took in them.
The Touring Classic’s sole is fairly smooth with enough grooving to allow firm grip in a variety of conditions, but like street tires versus off-road tires, the tread is pretty slippery in mud. Still, I chose these boots on our adventure-touring ride because of their versatility. The side closure zips down far enough to allow for an easy entry, and the large Gore-Tex-lined gusset keeps the water out. The gusset shape is designed such that it folds away without causing discomfort on the rider’s foot – something not all manufacturers get right.
The ankle joint protection consists of the thick leather of the entry flap on the inside and micro-injected armor on the outside. The lining of the boot also has additional padding on the ankle. Other areas likely to suffer abrasions or impacts, like the toe box, shifter pad, and heel cup, also receive this armor. My 40 mph-ish low-side on the Harley-Davidson Iron 883 proved the TCX boots’ durability by protecting me as my foot slid out from under the bike with the outer ankle armor displaying only mild scuffing – and me suffering only tremendous embarrassment.
The boot fit is a bit on the wide side for my fairly narrow feet with the U.S. size 11 giving me more side-to-side wiggle room than I would like. So, if you have narrow feet and want a snug fit, take this into consideration. Still, the TCX Touring Classic remains all-day comfortable whether riding or walking.
My time with these boots has ranged from cruising to sport riding to a six-day tour, and I have yet to find an environment that they haven’t acquainted themselves to. The TCX Touring Classic AirTech EVO Gore-Tex boot has changed slightly in styling for 2016, but I don’t think its function has been altered. The 2016 version retails for $290, while the 2015 remainders are available for $250 or less in my research. Riders with wider feet who are looking for a versatile boot that doesn’t call too much attention to itself should be quite happy with the TCX Touring Classic.
Like most of the best happenings in his life, Evans stumbled into his motojournalism career. While on his way to a planned life in academia, he applied for a job at a motorcycle magazine, thinking he’d get the opportunity to write some freelance articles. Instead, he was offered a full-time job in which he discovered he could actually get paid to ride other people’s motorcycles – and he’s never looked back. Over the 25 years he’s been in the motorcycle industry, Evans has written two books, 101 Sportbike Performance Projects and How to Modify Your Metric Cruiser, and has ridden just about every production motorcycle manufactured. Evans has a deep love of motorcycles and believes they are a force for good in the world.
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