IMAGE BY JON NEWELL.
When I first got my scooter, I didn’t think much about footwear. Most people don’t on a scooter, I guess. But when I learned that motorcyclists in non-fatal crashes were most likely to have injuries to their legs or feet (source)… I realized I needed a pair of moto-safe shoes.
Before Babes Ride Out, I picked up a pair of Georgia women’s work boots, with sturdy, non-slip soles and steel toes. They worked great for the L.A. highways and the campout, and I figured that when I got my Rat back, those boots would be my dailies. Not so much.
After getting my bike, I went on about 3 rides with those work boots before reverting to my familiar, comfy Vans. The Georgias were just too cumbersome, the soles too wide, the style too far from my usual. I quickly realized I needed another solution for day-to-day riding.
The very next weekend, I rode up to MotoLiberty, my favorite Dallas gear shop, to check out their street shoes.
As I suspected, all the women’s pairs they carried or could order had strange coloring (coral, teal or pink?), which just wouldn’t work for me ⎯ I knew from my experience with the Georgia boots that my moto shoes needed to match just about everything in my closet, or I wouldn’t wear them. And of course, they didn’t have my size in stock for any of the men’s shoes (understandable, my feet are on the smallish size even for women).
I was halfway to giving up, wondering if it would be totally unwise to attempt to strip the logo from the Dainese women’s Airs, when one of the clerks pulled a beat-up box from the bottom of the clearance pile.
They were TCX street shoes from their 24/7 Lifestyle line. Waterproof, with grey-blue full leather uppers. After scouring Revzilla and the store, I knew wasn’t going to find anything closer to my favorite high-top suede Vans.
The best part about the TCX boots, though? They’re CE certified.
CE certified moto shoes have to meet certain requirements for design (the right shape to protect your feet), durability (they won’t fall apart), material quality, abrasion resistance, impact cut resistance (won’t let sharp objects cut your feet), and transverse rigidity (stiff enough to keep your feet from being crushed). Not to mention, to get CE certified, each product has to be independently tested and approved ⎯ which is very different from DOT approval, where manufacturers test and approve their own products.
CE standards are generally viewed as the best in the world, and according to their site, TCX was the first company to sell boots that met the CE standards, so they’ve been in this game a long time.
Immediately after getting the boots, I went out and put 50 miles on the bike. The rigidity of the uppers made them feel a bit strange at first ⎯ especially because my feet are at about a 65 degree angle to my shins when resting on the pegs ⎯ but they’re leather, and I can already feel them breaking in.
These shoes feel amazingly well made, so I have few doubts that these shoes will last me a few years. Yes, my shifter is going to scuff the leather on the left shoe, but I think that gives them character. It’s the mark of a rider.
The only thing I’m really concerned about is the summertime ⎯ they’re waterproof shoes, which is great if you ride through puddles a lot, but I ride more in the heat, and that waterproofing may backfire. However, I’ve survived two Texas summers riding in leather shoes already without even noticing any discomfort, so I think I’ll be fine.
It shouldn’t be so difficult to find SAFE moto gear that fits seamlessly fits into daily life, but… well… That’s the world we’re in right now. The industry is still growing and changing, and I have every hope that in the future, more manufacturers (*cough VANS*) will step up and give us even more options for good-looking, safe gear.
In the meantime, I’ll keep you guys updated on how I like my TCX boots. I’m 100 miles in so far and I couldn’t ask for better. And no, I won’t forget to tuck in the laces 😉