In terms of style we’ve got more motorcycle riding gear options than ever, particularly when it comes to riding boots and shoes. And thankfully, you don’t have to sacrifice functionality or protection when choosing a more fashion-conscious piece. Take the TCX X-Groove Waterproof shoes as an example. These are part of the TCX 24/7 Lifestyle line and hardly look any different than a standard pair of casual sneakers.
But the X-Grooves are designed from sole to topline with the rider in mind. The upper is made from suede leather, which provides abrasion resistance while retaining a more laid-back look. There are reinforcements in the heels, toes and ankles and waterproof lining built into the construction of the upper. The sole also has a nylon shank built-in to provide additional rigidity when the shoes are under transverse pressure, such as when trapped under a fallen motorcycle. These measures contribute to the X-Groove’s CE-certification for safety.
The rubber sole has an interesting, serrated tread pattern with the “teeth” of the toe portion facing backward and the “teeth” of the heels facing forward. This has ensured ample grip when stopped on a slick portion of road or when the balls of your feet are planted on the pegs.
The closure system on the X-Grooves is also notable, since you get a standard lace-up along with water protected side zippers with waterproof gussets. This allows for easy shoe removal and a tight fight when everything is cinched up. The laces are another small, but often overlooked feature, that we appreciated on the X-Grooves. We’ve worn similarly styled riding shoes before with laces that were far too long for our liking on the bike. The last thing we want is a lot of material that needs to be tucked away to avoid flapping around down near the drive chain and other moving parts. The X-Grooves come with laces that are sized just right for a double knot without leaving massive amounts of extra material to deal with.
Fit on the X-Grooves is excellent. We’re typically a 10.5, but opted for the size 10 since size 11s in other circumstances have been a bit too large. It was the right choice, without a doubt. There’s still room for the toes to move slightly but the shoes are snug and secure. Those with particularly wide feet may feel a bit claustrophobic in the X-Grooves, since they are a bit narrow. For riders able to wear standard width shoes, the X-Grooves will fit wonderfully.
The inner sole is comfortable and firm, and we’ve taken to wearing the X-Grooves on non-riding days just as often as when we’re on the bike. There’s really no break-in period with the shoes either. From the moment we pulled them out of the box the X-Grooves felt good.
Waterproofing measures live up to expectations in light downpours. We’ve seen a few minor showers now that the seasons are changing and our feet have stayed nice and dry. There is a Gore-Tex option available in the X-Groove style too if you’re planning on riding in more severe weather.
One potential issue is that there is no additional shift pad reinforcement on the Urban Grey option we chose. In the few months we’ve been wearing the shoes there hasn’t been any serious degradation in the shift area but there is some wear. The Black colorway comes with a removable shift pad, which would be a nice feature to have to extend the life of the shoes.
These riding shoes are likely to make it through a few riding seasons though, if not more, so the $179.99 MSRP is going to be money well spent. The timeless sneaker looks and subtle design elements mean the X-Grooves aren’t going out style anytime soon and, best of all, they’re going to help keep your feet protected in the event of a crash. We’d say that’s a solid deal.
TCX X-Groove Waterproof Shoes
Colors: Black & Urban Grey