There are plenty of sporty or track boots around and if you are on track or enjoying a sporty ride, they are the perfect tool for the job. Optimum protection, great fit and comfort and superb feel for the bike’s controls, they are the choice for anyone heading out for a quick ride.
Inevitably, the range of boots is vast, as is the price range but these from TCX are available in a range of options, including perforated for additional cooling air and waterproof for changeable conditions.
But this, the RT-Race is the standard, full-material microfibre-upper sports boot and it’s great for both the road and the track - but how does it stack up against cheaper rivals like the Frank Thomas Qualifier GP?
It has a CE rating of 2-2-2-2, meaning it’s a tall boot (as denoted by the first digit – and your eyes) and offers the higher of the two protective ratings for abrasion resistance, impact cut and transverse rigidity respectively from the left. So it satisfies the test criteria but it also offers massive reassurance.
It has a hefty – vented – section of TP armour on the shin as well as a very stiff heel cup that forms part of the articulated ankle bracing that allows forward to backward movement for the brake or gear pedals but prevent the ankle turning over.
There is also solid bracing inside the boot from the heel up to the ankle with a very strong toe cup featuring replaceable TPU toe sliders, metallic heel sliders and a TPU heel section.
Getting them on is easy, once you get your head around the fact the zip is on the outside of the foot – presumably so that the inside section of the foot, ankle and leg can be fitted with grippier suede for feel and contact with the bike.
The zip is fixed to an expanding section so it can be done up and at the top of the leg, there is a ratchet strap to hold the top of the boot against the lower leg – perfect to deal with any size of calf muscle.
I have quite large calf muscles and I struggle to get a lot of boots done up properly around the lower leg, but these are perfect. There is also a leather lip all the way around the top opening to help prevent water from running down into the boot if you are wearing leather trousers inside the boot.
Another feature of the RT-Race is the inner ‘boot’ – it’s a lace-up tongue that helps secure the foot in the boot once it is on. This means the zip can open enough to make putting it on easy but then, the inner boot is used to fit to the foot to make sure that it doesn’t gape, or the foot doesn’t move around particularly at the heel.
The result is a boot which feels incredibly secure and comfortable when on and in use – I’ve worn these for a full day of riding to a circuit, five sessions on a trackday and then, riding home and they were as comfy as the proverbial slippers all day.
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The articulated ankle bracing, the concertina sections below at the back and the soft, flexible section on the front of the foot means that movement is excellent – there is no stiffness and the boot doesn’t move at the top of the leg as some can do when changing gear, for example and there is no flex in the boot.
Feel for both the gears and the rear brake are excellent – there is no chance of leaving a foot partially on say the gear pedal without realising it and not being able to select the next gear, which can happen in heavier-duty boots for example. It also means that subtle applications of the rear brake in corners, to tighten the line or stabilise the bike, are simple and straightforward with an excellent feel that is not diminished by the levels of protection.
There is much to love with the RT-Race from TCX. It is incredibly comfortable and offers exceptional levels of reassurance and feel for the bike.
The actual protection is the highest rating possible and the detail that has gone into it, from the wide opening to the lace-up inner tongue to the stretch panels and the bracing are excellent.
I cannot find fault with it at all and for less than £250, it’s a bargain as well. For a sporty or track boot, you won’t go wrong.
Exceptional comfort and feel
Highest CE rating for protection
Started to squeak when I walk after a few hours