The proof is in the riding so we put a new pair of TCX X-Blend waterproof boots to the ultimate test recently simply by riding in the rain for a couple of days.
Not only did the $299 Romanian-made boots prove to be waterproof, but with some hot and dry weather thrown in, we also found they are breathable.
Waterproof and breathable?
Now we know what you’re thinking: “How can a boot be both waterproof and breathable?”
It’s a tough synthetic resin made by polymerising tetrafluoroethylene, whatever that is!
You would probably know it best as the coating on non-stick pots and pans. It is also used to make seals and bearings.
Most waterproof/breathable riding gear features Gore-Tex which is actually the proprietary name for a version of teflon that has been stretched by a factor of seven times its normal size, Mark says.
“The stretching process induces the teflon to have thousands of miniscule holes per square inch.
“These holes are big enough to allow air and water vapour through but too small to allow water droplets through – hence it’s a breathable while being waterproof fabric.”
The T-Dry lining in a lot of TCX boots is also teflon, but it is not stretched, simply rolled thinly and then perforated by a machine.
Mark admits that it is not possible to even get close to the amount of holes per square inch using the machine method.
“So, although the perforations work in the same way, they do not allow the T-Dry Teflon to breath as well as Gore-Tex.”
However, we rode through drenching rain and did not get wet socks. That is, until we rode for a while in the rain without wet-weather pants and the rain dribbled down our pants and into the boots.
Maybe because they breathable, the water that got into the boots quickly dried out when the rain stopped and we kept riding.
Better still, they did not develop a horrible odour even after my mistake in letting water dribble inside.
Comfortable TCX boots
Some of the waterproof boots I’ve tried before have been clunky and thick, not very comfortable and impossible to walk in.
These boots have all the certified protection in the heel, toe and ankle with a non-twist, thick rubber non-slip sole.
Yet they are very comfortable to walk in because they bend between the toes and the bridge of your foot.
That also means they are compliant enough to work the levers and provide plenty of feel while riding.
They come in full-grain black or aged brown leather.
The latter really looks trendy. After some wear, they get a nice patina of age, although the black rubber from my gear shifter has rubbed off on the toe wider than the double-leather protector.
These boots come up well above the ankle for extra protection and they lace all the way up to get the perfect fit.
That’s handy for me as I once broke my right foot in an off-road bike crash and it has heeled as little bigger than the left foot. Consequently, when I buy boots and shoes to fit the right foot, the left is then loose. Not so with these.
It takes a while to tie them up, but once tied they are a firm fit. A zip down the side would be have been handy for quick removal.
The TCX X-Blen waterproof boots come in sizes EU 39-47 and US 6-12.5.