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As we get caught up on more product testing, next on deck are the adventure boots from TCX. The X-Desert is a medium duty adventure/off road style boot. It has all the features you might expect from a full motocross boot, but in a lighter and far more comfortable design.
It is a full grain leather upper with three buckles. Extra moulded plastic protection is found on the shin, toe, ankle and heel areas. The sole is an enduro style that mimics a Vibram design. There is one reflective strip on the back above the heel. The top of the boot secures tight with both elastic and a velcro closure.
Inside, the upper and tongue have a cloth lining. There is an extra layer of padding just below the ankle to prevent the boot from pinching at this flex point. The footbed is one of the points TCX touts as unique:
“Comfort Fit System, developed as a result of years of TCX® know-how, has always been one of the strong points of touring products. This special and virtually entirely manual technique allows the boot to be shaped on a “mould” that faithfully reproduces the anatomy of the foot, making the product exceptionally comfortable and ideal for prolonged use in different situations.”
Like other TCX boots, comfort is really the name of the game. It is amazing how much difference it can make over a long day wearing a lighter and more flexible boot. I have used these boots for street, ADV and full single track days. The almost shoe like fit is very endearing.
Certainly the protection is one step down from a full MX boot. It is not so much a lack of protection, the X-Desert has it in all the correct spots. But the boot itself is rather supple and naturally not quite as resistant to impacts. But it is a nice step above a typical street boot and a good balance between comfort and protection.
As for drawbacks, there are two things to take into account. They are not so much problems, just things to consider depending on your riding style. One reason the boots are so comfortable to walk in is that the sole is not super stiff. It was only an issue when standing for long periods. Differences in peg width were also more obvious, bikes with wider pegs were far more comfortable.
The second is air flow. The X-Desert seals up very well. There is almost no airflow that gets through them. Most of my riding time was during temperatures that were well into the ’80’s and the boots were hot. If I lived in a colder climate, I would likely consider this a benefit.
I run into quite a few riders who are looking for something lighter in a boot, like a trials boot. This would be a suitable option. It seems to be well made and gives you a good walking sole for hiking around or doing trail work. The sizing seems to run about on par with other popular moto boots. I am wearing a 44, same as my Sidi. In general these days, we expect to have to go up one from typical shoe size.
Comfort is the real high point of the $399 TCX X-Desert boot. It also appears well built, there is not hint of any quality issues so far. For those reasons it a solid choice for long days of riding street, adventure or dual sport. I think the protection is as good as, if not slightly better than would be expected for this style of riding.