Product review: TCX Track Evo WP boot
Price: Rs 16,000
TCX has repeatedly been called out by reviewers for the odd name that this boot has - Track Evo EP. I came upon this boot in the hunt for a nice adventure-touring or motocross style waterproof boot that I could use during the rains, for some of our adv-touring stories and was willing to spend around Rs 15-17,000 towards this. What I didn't want was the sort of waterproof boot I'd just brought to the end of its life - a discount W2 boot, that'd served me well for three years. The W2 was a regular (but waterproof) street boot. Where's the fun in that?
The Track Evo, despite the name, is an adventure-touring style boot that leans towards off-road boot styling and offers a waterproof, protective motorcycle boot
TCX is a boot specialist which actually has a pretty big range of off-road boots. The top boots are hardcore adventure-touring or full-on motocross boots. What I wanted was something less hardcore but still extremely functional. The Track Evo WP fit the bill perfectly. And since TCX had a test boot in my size, the addition of the TCX to my repertoire was easy.
To be honest, the boot I really wanted was the O'Neal Element. Performance Racing sells this in India and at Rs 14,000, that's shatteringly good value for a true (but entry-level motocross boot). I also had a glowing endorsement from a friend who's had them for ages and bashed them around carelessly without breaking them or getting water inside.
But I'm always up for a review and the TCX Track Evo looked just right. And at Rs 16,000, I thought it fit my needs. Word of warning: High Note Performance did warn us that they don't stock the Track Evo as regular inventory though they're not averse to the idea. If you want one, email them directly or call and enquire. They should be able to place an order and source one for you.
What is it?
The suede exterior is dark grey and on the exterior you can see the shift pads on both boots as well as a substantial shin plate up top
The Track Evo, despite the name is a middle-order off-road boot. The WP in the name marks it as waterproof. TCX's top WP boots use Gore-Tex, which comes with a lifetime waterproofiness warranty, but also cost nearly twice as much. The exterior of the Track Evo is suede leather and microfibre in a lovely grey colour. On top are shift pads, malleolus inserts and a moulded shin plate for added protection.
The rear of the boot is pretty simple to look at. The accordion-ed bit allows flex and the two bulges on either side of it hide the malleolus protection (plastic armour for the ankle bone). Note the textured bit on the top left. That's a common TCX method to give you a grippy, non-scratchy inside surface
Closure uses the three plastic buckles you see in the image. The black bit under the buckles folds out to reveal a high uncut tongue that makes the boot waterproof in design up to the top buckle almost. On top is an elasticated top and a velcro closure tab. Under the skin is a toe-box, heelcup and hard bits over the ankle bones to ensure your foot is protected.
An elasticated top closes off the top of the boot to keep water out. Inside the fold-over section (with the shin plate is an uncut tongue for waterproofing). The foldover is secured by three buckles that can be adjusted for circumference and snap closed with loud, positive clicks
What we liked
When we reached Pang on the Rise, I was horrified to note that the boot had turned white from the dust. And I'm scared of trying to keep suede clean. But as many have noted, just scrub the boot with a brush under running water and then set it to dry and you get a nearly new looking boot. Well done!
The lugged sole offers great grip in iffy conditions and makes the boot look tough as well
I also liked the thickly lugged sole that is actually extremely grippy. It made walking in mud very easy, dirty boots slip off bike pegs less often and on ice, I seemed to have the only boots with any useable grip too.
The real surprise for me was the comfort. I was expecting to have to break in the boots but from the moment I wore them, I was home. They have that same sort of plush, almost luxurious feel of all the TCX boots I've owned and they felt just right from the first ride. Days later, 14 hours in the saddle on harsh roads seemed completely natural and I'm very, very happy with how the Track Evos feel.
TCX, as usual, have a luxurious, indulgent feel to them once you wear the boots. The Track Evo is not an exception. We didn't have to break the boot in at all
The black bit under the buckles folds out to reveal a high uncut tongue that makes the boot waterproof in design up to the top buckle
What we didn't like
I guess a little more choice in the colours would be nice. The grey is very subtle and the boot gets dismissed as a Woodlands' boot when worn under a motorcycle pant. I'd love an an-black pattern or something really bright for variation. But right now, it comes in the one colour.
The plastic buckles require a fair amount of force to close off
Second, the buckles are a little fiddly. They work well enough when your foot is inside but you'll never get them snapped closed when the boot is empty. They also need a fair amount of force before they lock with a satisfying, loud CLACK. Of course, they stay closed which is important, but on one occasion, one of the buckles opened mid-ride though I'm still not sure if it was something I hit, something I snagged it on, I just didn't close the buckle right or there's an actual design/production flaw.
The final problem is actually quite funny. I've a lovely Givi rain suit that the boot has rendered nearly useless. When you're trying to put on the waterproofs by the side of the road, the sticky sole and the rain suit material stick together like fast friends. It means it is nearly impossible to put on the waterproofs unless you can sit. And then there's a considerable fiddle involved. It isn't a matter of the ankle of the boot being large, it's just that the sole is particularly sticky.
I do have a soft spot for TCX's boots and the Track Evo exemplifies what I like about them. The Track Evos are super comfortable and I've now ridden them in everything from 38 degrees to -15 degrees Celsius without issues. They also look good and do what it says on the tin. No water has made it inside despite enthusiastic rain riding and extra-hard splashing through standing water. It also shrugged off snow and our extra-hard climb up the Khardungla allowed no melted snow or ice into the boot. This kind of a boot, backed by this big a brand at Rs 16,000 is terrific value - just see our and you'll see why. I believe High Note Performance should stock this boot as regular inventory. As for you, if you're heading to Ladakh next year and need a great boot for the terrain, trust me, you cannot do better than this.
At roughly Rs 16,000, the TCX Track Evo will make a very cost-effective and comfortable pair of waterproof boots
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