Incredible comfort on asphalt or dirt

We’ve been expanding our adventure-touring rides, and the appeal of this two-wheeled genre is becoming clearer with each passing mile. What isn’t becoming clearer is exactly what type of gear is appropriate for adventure riding. It all depends on the conditions, but those vary so much with on/off-road travel that there doesn’t seem to be one right answer. The never-ending search for the right stuff led me to a pair of TCX Infinity GORE-TEX boots to learn more about AT footwear.

TCX is an Italian brand that produces boots for all types of motorcycle riding, including touring, street, roadracing, off-road, ATV, trials and speedway. We headed overseas to learn more about the company in 2011 during a TCX Boots Italian factory tour. The Infinity GORE-TEX are the largest product in the touring line and blend off-road and street features. First off, the boot comes nearly to the top of my calf, not much below a full-on dirt bike boot. The height helps keep water out and also prevents the riding pants from working over the top when the leg is bent.

The Infinity is extremely flexible, but provide more stiffness than many pure street boots. Tailoring flexibility and rigidity offer a high level of comfort for walking but also support the ankles and sole of the foot for spirited off-road use. TCX uses the Comfort Fit System (CFS), which reproduces the anatomy of the foot. This provides flexion zones on the front and rear of the ankle with hard inserts sewn into the inside and outside of the ankles to prevent it from bending the wrong direction. One thing I particularly like is that they never make any squeaking noises.

The defining feature on this model is the GORE-TEX membrane. This waterproof lining keeps moisture from entering the boot, but allows for moisture inside (sweat) to escape. I have worn these in winter months and now into the summer without any problems. They perform as advertised in rain and also through shallow puddles and mud. The Infinity uses a large hook-and-loop closure on the upper section, which allows for a wide range of calf sizes. Opening the boot reveals a wide entry that is simple to get in and out of and has room to tuck pant legs inside if that’s your style. It also cinches tight enough that pants can be slipped over the exterior. The upper is constructed of full-grain leather with a thermal suede section on the inside of the leg to protect against heat contact.

There are two cam-lock buckles, one across the top of the ankle/foot and the other above the ankle on the lower leg. This placement allows for a lot of movement in the ankle. I was a little concerned about the plastic buckles to begin with. They look and feel cheap, but have proven durable and secure. They have not popped open a single time. The only issue I have is that the adjustable straps do not lock into place very well, which means they require adjustment virtually every time you put them on. It’s a quick process to slip them in or out, but it does create an extra step. The rest of the build quality is very high. The gators have not torn, the leather is virtually unmarked and none of the double-stitching has come undone.

Sizing is pretty dang close. There’s just a bit of extra room in the toe of my size 11, but the width is spot on. The toe box easily fits underneath the shift levers on every bike I’ve sampled. The TCX incorporates a rubber shift pad that is wide and textured for secure upshifts. My first outing with the TCX Infinity boots was during the 2012 Triumph Tiger Explorer First Ride in Spain. It was a fairly short day but the boots broke in almost immediately. After that they’ve been on multiple 650 machines and I even wore them for an impromptu session of trials riding – way out of their intended use, but they worked OK for the day.

The sole tread looks like a performance wet-weather automobile tire. As you’d expect, it’s great on all pavement surfaces. It works fine on gravel and compact dirt roads as well, but it does not offer the footpeg grip of a more aggressive enduro sole. It’s very comfortable, but I would prefer slightly larger lugs with a bit more gap between them in order to grip the footpeg teeth better. They can slip on the pegs, especially when wet, muddy or covered by rubber inserts. Around town they’re great, even when setting a foot in a parking-lot oil patch. After nearly 2,000 miles there is absolutely no wear on the bottom of the sole, but I did grind the edge on careless cornering. From inside the boot, the sole is rigid enough for periods of standing on rough terrain.

Overall, these are a good blend of street and dirt. They have enough of an off-road styling cue to really fit the ADV concept but also have all-day comfort and can be worn off the bike for extended periods. That makes them great for attending rallies or finding a remote spot that requires a bit of hiking off the trail. They’re great for touring of any kind that will see a variety of weather conditions. At $360 these boots aren’t cheap, but they should provide plenty of comfortable miles to justify the price.