TCX Tour Evo GTX vs Aerostich Combat Lite motorcycle boots

Old school vs new tech. Aerostich Combat Lite (2009) vs TCX Tour EVO GTX (2020)

I’ve recently returned from a 2900 km tour, wearing for the first time a brand new pair of TCX boots. The Tour EVO GTX is the Italian bootmaker’s top-of-the-range motorcycle boot, and they performed flawlessly.

The Tour EVO GTX boots are TCX’s most expensive motorcycle touring boots officered in North America. The MSRP for these high tech boots was w wallet-flattening $599.00 Cdn when I purchased them. However, I found this pair online massively discounted to a dopamine-rush induced grinning $229.00 Cdn.

Make no mistake. The TCX EVO GTX is an unabashed copy of the German-made Daytona Road Star GTX, arguably one of the finest and most expensive motorcycle touring boots available. The Daytona has won numerous awards as ‘best touring boot’ from numerous media outlets.

How does the TCX EVO GTX compare to the Aerostich Combat Lite?

The best thing I can say about the TCX boots is they required no break-in time. By contrast, the Combat Lites took me 3 seasons to break in where I could comfortably wear them to walk any distance. (To be truthful, I did not follow Aerostich’s break in procedure, instead I applied numerous layers of waterproofing grease hoping the oils would soften the leather.)

Frankly, our recent tour had us in temperatures from a cold 3 degrees Celsius to the mid-twenties, and I didn’t think about my feet or the new boots once. Isn’t that what you want in footwear? To not notice them at all?

My feet never felt cold, and their armoured toe box, heel, ankle and stiff shin pad makes you feel well protected.

TCX EVO GTX has a double-front zipper opening, just like the German Daytona Road Star GTX

Ease of ingress/egress

The TXC boots are easy to get in and out of, thanks to the double-zippered design (just like the German Daytona Road Star GTX.) The twin zippers allow the front shin pad section to be opened revealing a gatored-inner boot with a wide opening.

The Aerostich Combat Lite has a different, but similarly easy in-out system. Two motocross-style buckles allows the boot to be opened with a set of speed laces cinched by a friction lock.

To me, the TCX’s twin-zipper system is a little more convenient than Aerostich’s 2-buckle and speed lace system, but the difference is marginal.

Weight

New tech trumps old tech in weight. The TCX boots (size 43) are made with Goretex and advertized as waterproof. I have not tested them for waterproofing.

The TCX Tour EVO GTX weigh in at 4 lbs 10 oz

The Combat Lites are much heavier, and Aerostich makes no claims that the all-leather boots are waterproof. In practice, the Combat Lites have only leaked once after riding in the rain for 4 days. I used plenty of waterproofing grease in the early years trying to soften the leather to break them in.

The all leather Aerostich Combat Lites weigh in at 5 lbs 3 oz, heavier than the modern Goretex and leather TCX boots

Adjustability for calf size

Both boots allow a wide range of adjustment to accommodate different calf sizes.

The Combat Lite’s speedlace system allows perfect adjustment every time you put the boots on and tighten the laces.

The TCX boots have a rear panel with velcro so you can adjust the shaft and it remains set every time you wear the boots.

TCX Tour EVO GTX rear panel with velcro allows shaft to adjust for different calf sizes

Style and conspicuity

Both boots have reflective patches sewn into the rear-facing panels. Anything that increases rider conspicuity is positive in my books. I like that.

Style is certainly a subjective matter.

The Combat Lites have a traditional motocross/enduro/off-road look to them, not surprising given the boots are made by Italian bootmaker Sidi, long known for their motocross footwear. While the Combat Lites may not be ‘stylish’ in the conventional sense of the word, their conservative, ‘traditional’ style means they’ll be fashionably unfashionable for years to come. Plus, Combat Lite boots seem to be popular among the self-professed ‘hard core’ and Round-the-world motorcyclists. If you like that stereotype, these boots are for you.

The TCX Tour EVO GTX boots have a more contemporary style in this comparison, With accordion stretch panels at the shin and above the ankle at the rear, and gearshift protectors on the top of the boots (features the Combat Lites do not have), the TCX boots really aren’t distinguishable from the multitudes of other motorcycle boots on the market. Despite looking slightly anonymous, they are modern and stylish.

Both boots have reflective patches for conspicuity. (Aerostich Combat Lite (L), TCX Tour EVO GTX (R)

TCX Tour EVO GTX or Aerostich Combat Lite – which boots would I choose now?

Both boots are really excellent. How many riding boots do you know that can survive 10 or 11 years’ wear and still look pretty much new. That’s the Combat Lites. They’re impressive.

And I would buy them again in a heartbeat today if I were riding an adventure-touring bike like a BMW R1200GS or retro scrambler like a Triumph 900 Street Scrambler. The Combat Lite’s style would match those bikes perfectly.

But today, I’m a touring bike rider, and the TCX Tour EVO GTX fits that style of motorcycling perfectly.

Old school vs New Tech: 11 year old Aerostich Combat Lite (L), 2020 TCX Tour EVO GTX (R)

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