TCX’s new top-end boot, the Pro 2.1 ($439.99) isn’t as popular as it deserves to be. I spent a lot of happy-feet time (is that measured by the hour or by the foot?) in the previous 2.0, and the 2.1 makes my piggies even happier.The Pro 2.1 is a traditional sewn-sole, inner bootie, articulated ankle, top-end protector, and the boot upper and bootied lower are completely comfortable from the first ride. The boots do a great job of not snagging bikes (even snag-grabby machines) and offer excellent feel of the bike, pegs, brake and shifter. The boots feel a little wider than some at the ankle, but otherwise the hardest part of testing the 2.1s was remembering I was testing the 2.1s-they don’t do anything wrong to draw attention to themselves while riding.If you’re a fan of Alpinestars’ Tech 8, you will also love these boots-the sensation is very similar with the major difference being that the 2.1′s sole seems to be made up of a harder material. This gives the 2.1 a “leg up” in bottom-sole durability, but some riders may feel the Tech 8 offers better peg traction, though I found the TCX’s sole to be perfectly grippy in both dry and wet conditions.The overall durability, based on a few months in the 2.1s and over a year in the 2.0s, is great, right on par with the top performers in the field. I got to see firsthand how much thought and design went into these boots (December 2010, “TCX/Novation Factory Tour”), so their comfort and mobility were not a surprise. The toe box is stiff for great front protection, and Pro 2.0 wearers will be happy to hear the new buckles are vastly improved and right up there as a tie for second best buckle (behind Sidi’s design). Some knee brace-wearers did have gator-sealing issues, allowing sand in.
The Pro 2.1 is a strong and protective piece of equipment, and good enough to go toe to toe with all the other brands’ best boots. They are that good, just not nearly as well-known. TCX’s new U.S. distribution is ramping up, so that may soon change. So when these new puppies show up at your local shop be sure to try them on your tired old dogs. You will like what you see and feel, and they should lengthen your sole replacement intervals (Pro 2.1 replacement soles are available) for you peg grinders over other brands’ traditional sewn soles. -Pete Peterson