I was going to be living in my motorcycle gear for three months through the heat of the American South and the rain and cold of northern Canada and Alaska so I wanted boots that would be waterproof, light and comfortable. And fearing the reputed aggression of American drivers, I wanted a boot that would be robust enough to protect my lower legs for the 27,000 km ahead.
Not being much of a poser, style doesn’t particularly interest me – but I must admit the retro, vintage-leather appearance of the TCX Drifters made me want to preen a little, tie a floral bandanna around my head and strut.
But I didn’t. Sense prevailed, thank goodness.
I’ve ridden bikes long distance for decades now and always, at the end of a long day’s riding, it’s a relief to drag off the boots and rest my aching feet, so in retrospect, what impressed me most about the Drifters is their comfort. I felt as if I were wearing a pair of comfy shoes and was quite happy to keep them on at day’s end and go walkabout without the discomfort one usually experiences walking in heavy motorcycle boots. The Drifters just feel so light, and yet the strength and protection are there.
By the end of previous long, trans-continental trips, my boots have always shown signs of wear: a cracked or broken fastener; “leather” that shows itself to be a fake substitute; a sole beginning to come away from the uppers; leaks and water damage. Not so the Drifters. Genuinely, apart from the brown suede finish taking on the patina of a well-used saddle (an image I rather like) – smoothing out and darkening where they rub against the gear lever and frame – the boots show no actual wear at all. I now look forward to using them as I head further south through Central and South America for another 27,000 kms.
The Drifter boot is advertised as having a waterproof lining. Now, fortunately, on this trip I was not subjected to days of hammering rain that have plagued me on some previous journeys so I can’t state categorically that the Drifters will defy ingress to every trace of water, but the rain I did pass through, water spraying up from the road and the occasional stream I blundered into did not wet my socks and that’s waterproof in my opinion. Tick that box.
Comfort and fit:
The uppers are constructed from quality, vintage-style leather, padded front and back with microfibre; suede heat guards and leather shift pad are welcome additions, as well as Polyurethane shin guards and padded inserts to protect the ankle. The incredible comfort of these boots can be attributed, I can only assume, to their having been manually constructed around a foot-shaped mould. TCX use the acronym C.F.S. (Comfort Fit System) to describe this construction process and, however they do it, it works.
The boots open from the side, wide enough so there’s no struggle to fit to, or remove from, a sweaty foot. A Velcro upper tab secures the boot snugly around the calf and three very robust, adjustable 6060 buckles strap them closed. These I found a little stiff at first but quickly got the knack and, as the journey progressed, I came to appreciate the tough, businesslike snap as they bedded into the mount.
And after 90 days of use and abuse, there was no wear or deterioration of the fasteners whatsoever. The sole, too, showed no signs of wear by the end of the journey; the deep treads and stepped heel gave me confidence when negotiating the mud and gravel of the Dempster Highway north to the Arctic Ocean and the Dalton Highway to Prudhoe Bay in Alaska. In fact, these boots gave the impression that they would outlive me – but then, considering my age, maybe that’s not such a great point to make!
I realise this review sounds like gushing praise due to commercial interest, but far from it. If they were junk, I would have said so. These TCX Drifter boots are simply the lightest, most comfortable and un-killable motorcycle boots I have ever worn. Top of the class. Definitely my choice for all my future long-distance, adventure journeys.
Available size: 36 – 48
Colours: Brown and Black
Further details and dealer locator see www.nevis.uk.com