Hey, if they're good enough for factory superstars they've got to be doable for a few magazine testers.
Before changing their name to TCX
, Oxtar loaned us a set of their TCX-Pro boots for an evaluation. We figured that since guys like Kevin Windham and Cyril Despres buckle up a set of these babies, it couldn't hurt if we did as well. Even though we're not superstar motocross or rally riders, the Oxtar TCX-Pros have plenty of features that can serve regular mortals as well as the factory elite.
As with any pair of new kicks, the Oxtars were super stiff right off the back. We were sure that things would soften up after a bit of break-in, but after several rides it wasn't getting any easier to move around in the TCX-Pros. These boots were stiff from the box to our gearbag and then back into the box again after months of testing. It's not necessarily a bad thing, though, with the amount of protection that goes along with that. The Torsion Control System has a trio of rigid sections that are connected via a series of slots and lugs. With four flex points, the TCX design is supposed to allow for "normal bending movement of the foot without the annoying deformation of materials used typically for traditional boots." It certainly prohibits any excessive movement, but the bending movement is a little unnatural in that we have a hard time moving at all.
"Wearing the TCX design makes me feel almost invincible as far as injuries are concerned," says MotoUSA tester,
Oxtar's top-shelf model, the TCX-Pro, utilizes three main hard parts to prevent unnatural bending and limit the amount of material binding.
Brian Chamberlain. "Unfortunately, there are times when that's all I feel. But, even though they are a little hard to move in, I was able to experience first hand how much protection they provide from potential injuries."
The incident he is referring to was an unexpected meeting of his foot and a trailside log that smashed his left dog between the unmoving obstacle and his Honda's footpeg. After drying his tears, BC was able to walk away and finish out the ride. A bruised foot bone is never fun to deal with, but it's a sight better than a crushed one. A steel toe, shank protection, heel guard, ankle pads, leather heat shields, PU toe protector and shin plate, aluminum four-buckle closure system, top gaiter and a dual-compound sole are all barriers that protect a rider's delicate digits from harm.
The buckles, sole and steel toe are all replaceable, but our boots never showed any wear throughout the testing. The sole was especially impressive in that the dual-compound rubber has held up better than any boot we've tested to date.
Oxtar uses an inner bootie that must be removed every time in order to put it on. We never figured out how to slip our foot in with the bootie in place, but part of the reason was the bootie design. There is a stretch panel on top of the bootie that's supposed to allow a small amount of variance in size and form tight to the rider's foot. However, the seam that is stitched across the top doesn't stretch at all, which puts the squeeze on. We eventually cut the seam and it allowed the bootie to fit better and helped alleviate the tingling we first experienced due to the tight fit.
"I generally like a good bootie," admits Chamberlain, "but I'm just lukewarm on the Oxtar TCX-Pro. Yeah, it makes it easy to get into the boot, but the bootie is so tight that it cuts off some of the blood to my feet. A minimal amount of cushion on the sole also contributes to the tingling."
The booties are a little tight, so trying on a set is definitely a must. They do come out easy though and are simple to clean which everyone around you will appreciate.
If there's one thing we're not worried about while wearing the TCX-Pro models it's getting a hyperextension or twisted ankle. The amount of stiffness in the boot makes us feel extremely secure once we manage to get into the vein-squeezing booties and uber-stiff outer boot. Durability and craftsmanship are both features that earned high marks from our testers, but comfort and value are the intertwined weakest links. Long break-in, hard soles and a lack of feeling at the pegs and levers make us wonder if these are really worth the $380 pricetag. For only 20 bucks less than a pair of Alpinestars Tech 10s
and 45 bones south of the euphoric Sidi Crossfire
, we think there could be a little more to these as a top-shelf boot. Then again, if you're the type of rider who needs the stiffest thing on the market, these might be for you.
"Basically it comes down to this," orates BC, "if I wanted something comfy to walk around in all day, I'd hook up some fuzzy slippers. But, if I'm going to strap it on and do some hard riding I'll take it extra stiff any day."
Make sure to watch the video for additional comments on the Oxtar TCX-Pro Boots.
Oxtar TCX-Pro Boot
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