breakinmyboots.com why has nobody thought of that yet? I know I’d pay, handsomely. Buying new boots is supposed to be exciting, a reward for working hard, not a penance balancing out the pleasure of riding a motorcycle.
It’s finally happened. I’m getting old. Or am I just getting wiser? I used to believe that footwear fastened with a zip was de rigueur in nursing homes but I think I’ve just been converted. In a bid to share the marketing love on the Triumph Bobber launch I asked Shopkeep if he had any new boots in stock. Most of the the time I do this just to see if I can make his face turn puce but on this occasion he surprised me. “Certainly Sir, why don't you try a pair of the new Hero by TCX”
He didn't say that of course, but if I was a bonafide customer he might have.
Seeing as I race in TCX boots and have had many a bones saved by their excellent build quality I snapped-up a pair of these brown beauties and hustled off for a fitting. I’m a 10, English. 45 Alpinestars, 44 Icon, a 43.5 in Redwings and a Brit 9 1/2 G in Clarks, go figure. Hope that’s a helpful comparison. The TCX Hero in a 45 was way too generous, 44 spot-on.
They tie-up at the front with laces like normal boots but have old-man-moan reducing zips up the inside for easier entry and exit. But that’s not the only reason, TCX also tout these as a waterproof boot. I haven't got that far yet.
Back at Eicma in November we checked out nearly every single manufacturer of on/off-the-motorcycle boots. Some had fake welted soles with ugly, injection moulded stitching, others tried too hard with features nobody really wants and others aimed for that authentic vintage leather look only for it to resemble cheap, scuffed plastic. The TCX are made from a full grain hide (presume cow) and tanned properly, the colour is really rather nice, not too dark and not at the tan end of the spectrum.
As with all my other clothing, and life in general, nothing is ever right, so the Heros didn't really have much to live up to. With 2 weeks to go until the Bobber launch I thought I ought to start the blister building break-in period and slipped them on for a two mile walk home.
Hold the phone, shit the bed, call your mum, stop the press. 20 minutes and not a single complaint. The Heros were super comfy straight out of the box. Impossible right. So I tried again the next morning, back to work. Nope, not a single blister, not even a rub. Damn, these thing are literally like walking on air. Which means they must be crap and as safe as a damp espadrille. Nowhere close.
They’re fully CE approved and have passed all the tests that such things have to pass. But that doesn't mean they’ve just ticked boxes. For me boots are a real bone of contention. What’s the point of protective footwear looking like a Redwing (or similar) if they offer no more to ward-off the inevitable impacts and abrasions. The Hero of course has ankle cups and beefed-up leather on the toe and heel, plus a shift panel (both sides). I wanted to test the latest Shed Built Shifty pads so routed through the shop stock and found this perfect match. Nice.
Shopkeep has his solution in the form of a pair of Rokker Urban Racer, now that’s a sturdy boot. Problem is he sounds like Tom Hanks in Green Mile when he strides around the building. My delicate, heel-spurred plates of meat would never stand for such burly surroundings.
I want something that can be an all-in-one. I’ve been through a few pairs of Rev’it Mohawks and can vouch for their crash-proofness but I’ve retired from such activities and fancied putting the TCX Heros to the ultimate test. I needed a boot to get me to the airport, to then look respectable at dinner, the following day they had to keep me safe during the road test and I then expected a full week of normal everyday use as I’d packed nothing else. Everyday for me usually consists of at least two miles of walking, wherever I might be.
The test is complete and I only managed to wear a sliver of the sole away through cornering enthusiasm. The waterproof membrane meant my toes were toasty all morning during the single digit temperature and once it warmed up I didn't feel too sweaty, and that was with acrylicy type socks (trendy ones but they don't half make your feet pong).
Since then I’ve scaled a volcano (inactive), driven a hire car (small shit one with tiny close together pedals), dealt with airport security three times - like a boss (thank goodness for zips), stalked wild boar (they heard my wheezing and scarpered) and I haven't a single complaint. Shopkeep will attest that this might be a world first. Mr TCX man, a medal awaits you, please visit Bike Shed London, EC1V 9LT forthwith.