WHO saw the inside of Ian Hutchinson’s ankle back in June...? The road racing star tweeted a mid-surgery photo after dislocating his ankle in a crash at the Isle of Man TT.
It was nothing short of horrific, but it does make you realise how important your ankles are.
And important ankles need decent protection. So, with that in mind, I went boot shopping.
For me, all boots – especially those destined for the track – need to meet certain criteria. They need to be comfortable, warm, waterproof, and above all, protective.
I opted for TCX’s RT-Race boots, a sporty lightweight pair with armour throughout and a zip, Velcro and aluminium buckle fastening system – making it extra secure.
Then came hours of deliberation on colouring – the microfibre boots come in black, black/fluoro yellow and white/red/fluoro yellow/black. My heart said to go for the garish option, while my all-black riding gear dictated otherwise.
Eventually, my mind was made up for me. The colourful boots unfortunately aren’t waterproof – TCX offer a separate black pair of RT-Race boots with a waterproof lining, which I settled on – there’s nothing worse than wet feet.
I’ve worn these boots both on road and on track a handful of times now and while en route to Mallory Park last week was unlucky enough to be caught in a torrential downpour. The material stood up to its waterproof claim, and later that day kept the chill out on the cold, blustery racetrack.
They’re functional – with a three-tier closure system and stylish – although critics have suggested the styling mimics that of other manufacturers.
Now for protection – where these boots really shine. They’re CE rated, with a polyurethane shin plate (with iron mesh air intakes) and shift pad. Meanwhile, polyurethane toe sliders and polyurethane and magnesium heel sliders prevent the boot from catching in the case of a fall and can be easily be removed and replaced, increasing the boot’s longevity.
On the instep of each boot there’s an abrasion-resistant microfibre heat guard, which improves grip on the bike.
TCX’s Double Flex Control System features on the RT-Race boots, limiting lateral and longitudinal movements, in order to minimalise injury to the rider in the event of a crash.
For all of these protective elements, the boots are surprisingly light and manoeuvrable while riding, and once worn in are quite comfortable.
We don’t like:
At £260, the RT Race boots aren’t the most affordable option but the price is offset against the protection.
They are quite stiff, and uncomfortable until you’ve have worn them in and aren’t great to walk in.
From the off it was apparent that, despite being the correct size, they are better catered to male riders. Even on its tightest setting, the boot gapes around my calf, which completely counteracted the boot’s own waterproofing by allowing rain in.
Meanwhile, the base of the shoe feels too wide for my sole, and there is space around the top of my foot and my ankle too.
Finally, the buckle is quite fiddly – there’s no undoing that with gloves on.
This is a great pair of boots, that offer a reassuringly high level of protection and good value for money.
They appear to have been designed with men in mind, so the fit is unfortunately slightly off for me. However, that’s not a deal breaker and I’ll continue to wear them on track - but only in the dry.