Oxtar TCS Sport Boots Review
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
July 2007: Oxtar Boots are now known as TCX Boots. Oxtar was purchased by Novation S.p.A.
Comfortable boots featuring Oxtar's patented Torsion Control System, which limits movement and protects the ankle from bending too far in case of a crash.
External vents to cool the rider's feet. Lorica uppers, replaceable sliders and several protective external wear areas.
Sole is oil and fuel resistant. Excellent build quality.
Have you heard the theory that people who use safety devices such as seatbelts, anti-lock braking systems and front and side airbags take more chances on the road than drivers who don't use them?
I don't think this has ever been proven to be anything more than just another urban legend, but that doesn't stop it from being taken as gospel by conspiracy theorists.
Taken to its extremes, this branch of logic would mean that a naked rider would be the safest motorcyclist on the road, correct? They would be so scared of falling off that they'd take no chances whatsoever.
My theory is somewhat reversed: quality motorcycle gear can make a better rider.
How is this possible? A couple of different ways, actually. First, it's important to feel confident on a motorcycle. Wearing high-quality protective clothing provides a greater sense of security and confidence.
No, this doesn't mean that anyone who wears full racing leathers is going to ride like a Ruben Xaus on public roads.
Motorcycling depends on good concentration, and wearing proper riding gear can take one more worry from the rider's mind, helping to focus the concentration on more important things.
But good motorcycle gear should also do its job of protecting the rider while not getting in the way of the ride.
In fact, proper gear can actually go one step further, with a sort of "active protection" by providing an enhanced feel for the bike. Enhanced feel means better communication between the bike and rider, giving the rider more control, especially at the limits.
We've noted this before with certain types of motorcycle gloves. A pair of well-fitted gloves with goat or kangaroo skin palms can be a revelation to the rider who hasn't tried them. They can give a much better feel through the handgrips and help to transmit those minute and otherwise muted signals that let the rider know what the front end is doing.
It's the same thing with a good pair of motorcycle boots. First of all, a good pair of boots that have been designed for motorcycling offer a much greater safety factor than that old pair of Doc Martens.
Unfortunately, dedicated motorcycling boots seem to be one of the last items of safety gear purchased by beginning riders, yet there is probably a greater chance of damage to the feet and ankles during a fall than many other parts of the body.
As anyone who has sprained or broken an ankle will tell you, it doesn't take much of a twist to cause lots of damage and pain. The ankle is designed to move in one plane only, and those two protruding bones that stick out on either side are usually the first things to take a beating.
And like the quality gloves that give a better feel for the front end, a properly designed pair of boots can help to transmit more information up through the foot pegs to let the rider know what the rest of the bike is doing.
But not all motorcycle boots are created equal. If you're going to spend the money, you may as well get a pair that are designed to protect against more than just road rash. These Oxtar TCS Sport boots do just that.
The TCS stands for "Torsion Control System", an Oxtar-patented design that helps to limit the amount of flex that the ankle can sustain in both the longitudinal (front-to-back) and lateral (side-to-side) planes.
TCS has been cleverly designed to also act as a sort of exoskeleton, like a crab's shell, around the back of the ankle.
This effectively provides additional mechanical support and extra protection against abrasion, due to the added reinforcement built in to the TCS structure itself.
Oxtar's all-out race boot, the TCS Evo Ti, includes all of the features of the TCS Sport and also adds the Oxtar "Metatarsal Control System", or MCS, to the sole. The metatarsal area is the forefoot, or basically the area from the ankle forward.
The MCS system prevents the sole of the boot from flexing too much in either the longitudinal or lateral planes. Grab the toe of the TCS Evo Ti boot and you'll find that it's very hard to flex the sole in any direction.
Although it doesn't include MCS, Oxtar has designed the sole of the TCS Sport to be a sturdy and relatively inflexible footbed, which serves the same purpose. A stiff sole provides a sturdy platform for weighting and un-weighting the foot pegs.
Although maybe not as important in street riding, this is an advantage on the track, where racers are constantly shifting their weight from one side of the other as they position their body to hang off the bike in a turn.
The stiffness of the soles on the TCS Sport boots help to support the rider's weight, preventing pain and fatigue.
The minor inconvenience of this stiffness becomes evident when the TCS Sport boots are used for walking.
The stiffness of the sole and the limited movement of the boot caused by the Torsion Control System means that these boots aren't made for walking, but who wants to walk around in motorcycle boots anyway?
The soles are thinner and have less padding than a typical motorcycle touring boot, but the lack of padding is what allows the boots to transmit more feel up through the foot pegs to the rider.
I was surprised at the new feeling I had for the bike when wearing these boots; it feels like I'm tuned in with about 15% greater sensitivity.
But all this technology wouldn't be helpful if the boots weren't comfortable. I take a U.S. men's size 10.5 street shoe, which translates to a European size 44.
The Oxtar TCS Sport boots seem to run exactly true to size, based on our sample pair. They are a perfect fit for me, not too tight or not too loose.
I think the TCS Sport boots are very comfortable to wear. The inner sole of the boot is lined with leather, and the rest of the lining is covered in Oxtar's "Air-Tech" lining, which is a soft, squishy kind of foam padding, covered by an open mesh fabric, somewhat similar to a mesh summer motorcycle jacket. The Air-Tech lining is designed with an open cell structure to allow the air to get through.
Each boot also has three small air scoops on the outside, just below the ankle. These vents are covered with what appears to be a stainless steel mesh, and they work to force air into the boot. I was surprised to find that the boots feel relatively cool, considering that there are no other perforations or places for air to enter. On an unfaired bike, I could definitely feel air circulating inside the boot, which is a definite plus.
The zipper system can also make or break a motorcycle boot. I've owned boots with a zipper that painfully interferes with the closure on my riding pants, but the TCS Sport's zipper is offset towards the inside front of the boot and out of the way.
The boots are 35cm (13-3/4") tall, measuring from the bottom of the heel, and the zipper runs up about 3/4 of this length, with a Velcro closure to fasten the tops. The zipper pull has a nice extension on it, making it easy to grasp when bent over in a full suit of leather.
The shorter zipper length allows the top of the boot to fit over a variety of calf sizes, and I had no problem snugging up the tops via their Velcro closures to fit over both thin and thick motorcycle riding pants.
The range of adjustment in the top of a motorcycle boot is important, because they need to fit securely to stay in place and do their job in case of a crash. This snugness also helps the boot provide support to the ankle and leg.
The outside of the TCS Sport boots is made from Lorica, which is a synthetic leather substitute designed to have greater abrasion resistance than leather. Oxtar has done a great job in the style, design and manufacture of the boots; most of the stitching uses double rows for extra strength, and all of it is high quality with no faults or hanging threads.
I also can't find any quality faults in the way the panels are sewn together. The black/silver color shown here stops short of being too ostentatious in its appearance while offering enough of the "sport" look to let others know you've got a serious pair of footwear.
The boots have a variety of added protective layers on the outside, including shift pads on both the left and right boot; replaceable toe sliders (plastic on the TCS Sport, but titanium sliders are available); and replaceable shin padding on the upper portion of the boot. The flex areas have accordion-like segments, which provide a comfortable fit.
Oxtar boots are (were) made by Jolly Scarpe S.p.a., whose headquarters are in Montebelluna, Italy. Jolly Scarpe was founded in 1982, and they manufacture boots and shoes for mountain climbing, military, fire fighting and police use.
They also custom manufacture motorcycle boots for Dainese, Hein Gericke, BMW and Triumph.
Oxtar boots are constructed on lasts, which is the process used for high-quality street shoes, and usually provides a better fit. Oxtar also has a line of motorcycle boots designed specifically for women, using special lasts.
By the way, Oxtar boots are used by many of the best motorcycle racers in the world. Riders like AMA star Jake Zemke, World Superbike riders Frankie Chili and Gregorio Lavilla, and MotoGP riders Shinya Nakano, Norick Abe, Neil Hodgson and Ruben Xaus.
This is motorcycle racing technology brought down to street level at what we think is a very reasonable price. The Oxtar TCS Sport boots look great, they have lots of extraordinary safety features, and best of all, their comfort isn't compromised.
They've become my everyday all-around riding boot, replacing an old pair of Dainese touring boots which now feel very flimsy in comparison. I don't think you'll find this much protection for this price in any other boot.
|wBW Review: Oxtar TCS Sport Boots|
|Manufacturer: No longer in production (2013)||List Price (2004): $229.95|
|Colors: Black with Silver, Blue or Red.||Made In: Italy|
|Review Date: June 2004||Sizes: 40 to 49 Euro (7.5 to about size 15 U.S.)|
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From "M.H.": "Let me first say that I am a lady rider who wears this boot. I also have a wide foot which made me look at Oxtar as it seemed to be a bit wider then others. I went down in these on one of my first rides. I high sided and slid about 10 feet from my bike after I landed. I slid on my left side, my right boot was unaffected. I first landed on my knee and then my foot slammed down on the toe (from examining my gear and my boyfriends account of the situation). My left foot hit on the inside of the toe. It obviously dragged there as the leather is worn away some.
However it is not worn all the way through. It is scratched up the closer on the inside of the shoe. This did not give in any way and my pants where still securely tucked into the boots. The structure of the boot is fine and I still wear them every ride."
From "L.T.": "Hey Rick…first of all…fantastic site. I use it every time I feel the urge to buy some new farkles for me or my bike. Just thought I would drop you a quick line to let you know about one of the items I have bought after reading your reviews.
I recently bought a pair of the Oxtar TCS boots you reviewed on your site and thought I would give you some feedback on my experience with these boots. The good news was that they fit great and are definitely a lot more comfy than they look. It took me a while to get used to the hard inner sole, but that's probably coz I have been pampering my feet in lesser boots which would probably do nothing to protect my feet if I should have a get off.
My recent change of transportation from cruiser to sport tourer meant I was in the market for a different kind of boot. These bad boys definitely feel like they would do wonders if I had the misfortune to part with my bike while in motion. They have protection in all the right places.
The venting is great…on a hot day these things keep my feet from getting hot 'n' stinky. Of course all this venting comes at a cost. In a decent rain these things will leak faster than you can say wrinkled toes. I was in a downpour for about twenty minutes and I could feel the water creeping in and slowly soaking into my socks. Luckily this was on my way home, but I think this would be a pretty big issue if I was on a 2 or 3 day trip which is quite often the case with me.
I guess my solution will be to buy a pair of those handy 'over-shoe-boots' or maybe I will just get another pair of Oxtars and go for the water proof kind.
The bad news is that they are noisy… I have used the little tube of silicon grease that comes with them and lubed up all the joints, but these things are so squeaky it becomes annoying very quickly. No chance of sneaking up on anything while wearing these. In fact walking around in a gas station is even embarrassing… but I have thick skin so not too much of an issue.
All in all…very happy with the boots and hope that I never put them to the real test."
From "G.S.": "I just stumbled across your site recently and wanted to add a comment about the Oxtar motorcycle boots. I have been riding with a pair of the T.C.S Evo Ti motorcycle boots for about four months now. I wear a size 7 1/5 narrow street shoe size. The EURO 40 were a bit snug and the EURO 41 were a tad loose. I ended up getting the EURO 41, stuck insoles from my hockey skates in and wear a pair of FOX Racing socks.
Actually, these are the most comfortable pair of riding boots in my closet of riding gear that includes Dainese Axial boots and Alpinestars S-MX Plus boots. The other items in the "riding" closet are a couple of Shoei X-11 helmets, Alpinestars Race Replica leathers, Alpinestars GPU leathers, Dainese Bora leathers, Dainese MC-202 leathers, AGV Sport Podium leathers, RS-Taichi GP-Evo gloves, Alpinestars GP Plus gloves, Dainese Speed Knuckle gloves and AGV Sport Exocet gloves. How's that for a closet of safe fun!
I subscribe to the motto that it is not a matter of IF you will crash, but only a matter of WHEN; so wear what you would want to crash in.
Well, after many years of street riding and many years of road racing many years ago, I finally had my first get-off on the street. A beautiful downhill, left hand sweeper on perfect pavement on a perfect fall day, a cat jumped out of the woods right into my path. A slight tap of the front brakes as I tagged the cat followed by a classic low side fall at maybe 60 mph. Fate would have it I was wearing the Dainese Bora leathers, Oxtar T.C.S. Evo Ti boots, RS-Taichi gloves and Shoei X-11 helmet. At the end of the 100+ ft. surf on the asphalt, I stood up, surveyed the situation, kicked the cat and walked away without a scrap, rash or bruise.
The inside of the left boot was ground all the way through the lorica/leather through the toe box and into the inner lining. The scuff pad on the upper outside of the boot was ground down as was the inside and outside of the leathers left knee, thigh area and left forearm. The titanium and composite plate on the left shoulder of the Bora leathers was total ground through to the inner CE pad. All of the composite scuff pads on both the top and palm of the gloves were ground on and a few scuffs on the helmet. Again, I stood up surveyed the broken Honda 919, kicked the cat and walked away.
I fully agree with your comments that good riding gear can make a better rider. Confidence on a motorcycle is important to a rider's ability to respond to situations instinctively. I get a lot of rubbing about all the gear I wear whenever I ride, but these naysayers are giving my riding habits a much different consideration when they see the condition of the gear I was wearing and the damage to the bike, and again, I was still able to walk away and kick that cat!
Thank you for the interesting reviews you have done."
From "M.R.": "I bought a pair of Oxtar TCS Leather/Goretex boots (they look similar to the Sport TCS boots in your recent review with the exception that they are leather and Gore-tex) and have worn them for about 4.5K miles so far. I wear size 14 U.S. so to find a pair of Gore-tex sport boots I had to order these from England as the Gore-tex version are not imported into the U.S.
The fit is accurate, though the heel box is rather large compared to
other boots I've bought in this size. They are generally water proof--the
Gore-tex helps, but after a thorough soaking for more than one day in the
wet there is some leakage around the left boot toe area. The leather soaks
up a lot of water as well making the boots very heavy after a day in the
rain. I can't attest to their crash-worthiness (hope I don't have to). I'm
generally pretty easy on boots, but these are showing some significant wear
on the leather (inside toe area where the leather touches the L rearset
and shift arm.
I paid roughly $325 U.S. for the boots (includes a hefty shipping fee of $50 for Fed-ex International--the only way they would ship). Overall I like the boots, but I'm slightly disappointed with the overall combination of quality, waterproofness, fit and price."