Not bad, not bad at all.
Retailing at $419.99, the TCX X-Desert boot is a full-featured off-road adventure touring boot. Built to withstand everything nature can throw at it, can it also stand up to the local coffee shop parking lot or a full day at work? Read on!
The X-Desert features a full grain upper with Gore-Tex waterproof membrane. If you're a boot manufacturer planning to compete in this category, this is where you start - and you had better be bringing something pretty special. Where TCX stands out is price and protection. Polyurethane ankle protection, gear shift pad, reinforced heel, and shin guard keep every part of your foot protected from impact. The leather is less stiff than some other boots we have tested, making break in faster and more immediately comfortable. It holds up very well and doesn't show marks or wear patterns even after hundreds of miles in varied weather. It also features an anatomically designed footbed and replaceable sole. Three aluminum buckles combined with a velcro closer at the top keep everything cinched as tight as you like. There is a full-length suede area on the inside of the calf designed to protect the bike from wear and to shield against heat to your leg.
I rate the features as “Outstanding”.
Comfort Off Of The Bike
Boots like these are not designed with off-the-bike comfort in mind. When you build this amount of protection into a pair of shoes or boots like these, some movement and normal comfort are sacrificed. Because of the foot bed design and what TCX calls the Endure sole, the X-Desert boots do a passable job. I wouldn't want to walk mile after mile in them, but slogging around a campsite or even wearing them for a day at the office they held up really well. They do get hot and heavy if you have to stand for long periods.
Off the bike, comfort gets an "Average" rating. For a boot of this construction and style that's a pretty good rating.
Comfort On The Bike
Comfort on the bike is another story. You forget you are wearing them; they have a smallish toe box for a boot this size and shifting is easy and smooth. This is also helped by that more flexible leather I mentioned above. The shifter pad is perfectly positioned and the liner is great for long distance riding. They could be a bit warmer in 30-degree weather. I rode in the upper 20-degree temps today and my toes were cold. Thicker socks are needed, but it's a small complaint about what otherwise is an ideal off-road and touring boot.
Overall comfort is “Excellent.”
Temperature Range and Waterproofing
Although they're a little light on insulation for the coldest temperatures, the X-Desert boots otherwise have held up really well with temperature changes. Warmer temps are not uncomfortable especially when riding. Off the bike, they can get hot, but the tradeoff is that they do cover your entire lower leg.
Short of stepping in a running river and getting water over the top of the boot, I can't see any water getting in. Riding in rain or even a little "snow" my feet have never been wet wearing these.
Temperature range is “Excellent” while waterproofing is also “Excellent”
For all of the protection, buckles, and leather the boots are not heavy. The price for the features make these a steal against other brands like Sidi, or Alpinestars.
Great boots, plenty of protection with comfort and durability.
Overall rating is “Excellent.” For the money, these are a good value with high marks for offering so much for less than the competitors.