WOULD YOU TAKE THESE MOTORCYCLE BOOTS TO
Fancy a 2-wheeled spin in the Himalayan foothills? Stomp around street markets and sample real Indian cuisine from the side of the road? Arguably, the ideal motorcycle travel boot for that kind of journey has to be the master of many trades: provide protection from rain and road stone for as many hours as you need on the bike, be light and flexible enough to saunter through a souk, and be comfortable enough to climb to the top of the nearby hill to soak in the panoramic views. For a long time, I subscribed to the idea of riding in the sort of all-terrain lace-up boots beloved of hikers and ground troops. But, I found they can be a lot of faff to get on and off – even when the Pyrenean paramedic tending to your broken ankle is equipped with some sturdy shears. Read on to find out if now I am a fan of off-road crossover boots like the TCX INFINITY EVO BOOTS:
THE TCX INFINITY EVO BOOTS
With a recommended retail price of £279.99 the TCX Infinity Evo boots sit alongside high-spec offerings and premium brand names. This is reflected in the quality of the components used: Gore-Tex lining,Michelin soles and some very nice wrought aluminium buckles on micro-adjustable closures to keep the boot in place.
BREATHABLE IN THE INDIAN HEAT
The Gore-Tex lining worked well over 2,000 dusty miles of northern India’s roads at the end of the monsoon season in late summer. There was little rain to deal with and the Himalayan water-crossings were not deep at that time of year but, with daytime temperatures well over 40 degrees Celsius, the northern plains provided a different kind of test for Gore-Tex’s ability to breathe.
Sure, there were a couple of evenings when that days heat and humidity meant my socks were almost as wet going in to the hotel shower as they were after being washed and wrung out, but the breathability of the boots meant that I didn’t suffer from the energy-sapping chill that clammy feet encased in non-breathable boots can bring-on as the sun goes down at high altitude.
It will be interesting to see how the Infinity Evo’s cope with a British winter. Not just in terms of their ability to keep rain out, but also because this is where the Michelin Adventure rubber soles are supposed to show their worth. Apparently inspired by Michelin’s Anakee3 adventure bike tyres, their boot soles are said to offer excellent grip, stability and water clearance on soft, wet and muddy ground. In all honesty, that sounds like marketing hype to me but I can’t recall ever feeling anything other than sure footed while wearing them on-bike or off.
Two micro-adjustable straps allow the boot to be cinched down above and below the ankle bone, while a Velcro panel at top of the boot allows easy adjustment for a comfortable fit – which is further helped by front and back cut-outs in the leather and a neoprene collar. That clever piece of design helps to keep a good seal around the leg that doesn’t dig in to the back of the calf once the boots have been broken in.
GOOD RANGE OF MOVEMENT
Large suede panels along the inside-edge of each boot, from calf to ankle and from heel to ball of foot, provide heat protection and grip while probably helping to preserve the cosmetic appearance of the bike frame and anything in the footrest area. Three flexible panels (one on the front of the boot, one behind the ankle, another below the calf) allow a good range of movement for gear changing, braking, paddling and hiking. But, for my wide(ish) feet, the fit around the ankle area feels sloppy enough to make me question the degree of protection. The fact the boots also seem a little tight around my calfs suggests this sloppiness might be down to the proportions of the boot, rather than my choice of size. As the foot bed in these boots is easily replaceable it might just be a question of finding an alternative that better suits my feet.
Typical off-road boots tend to be very bulky, with a larger array of buckles and some prominent shin armour which specialist off-road clothing is designed to work with. The design of the TCX Infinity Evo includes more streamline protection and so fits well with road riding trousers and waterproofs so can suit riders who don’t need or want to invest in another set of specialised clothing or who want to avoid looking like a competition rider.