PRODUCT EVALUATION: GAERNE SG-12 BOOTS
When feel is key and protection is crucial By the staff of Dirt Wheels
If you’ve been around motorsports at all in the past 30 years, chances are you’ve seen a pair of Gaerne boots. A true titan of off-road footwear and protection, Gaerne has developed their boots with help from some of the best racers in the world. Longevity, ride feel and protection have been the standout features, and the reason so many professionals choose Gaerne.
SG-12s are Gaerne’s top-of-the-line boots, and they have some neat technical features that aid their function. Even the way the soles wear seems to have been considered! After 80 hours of testing, ours are almost as supportive as when we started.
DUAL-STAGE PIVOT SYSTEM
Essentially, the pivot system allows the foot and ankle to maintain natural movement. This system really helps for shifting and braking while riding. It also aids in maintaining stiffness and reducing the breakdown of the boot over time. They are also designed to save your ankle from overextending and absorb impacts like hard landings.
Walking for hours in the boots is totally manageable, and they didn’t pinch the skin. That can be a problem with the way certain boots fit. Of course, advanced features like this are not found on many boots. This level of quality is what you are paying for. Whether you ride a lot or not, performance is imperative.
We mainly rode ATVs and did some enduro riding on dirt bikes during our testing stint. We found an abundance of grip from the inner side of the boots compared to other boots we’ve tested, partially because of the inner rubber-grip sidewalls of the boot.
The buckle design prevents them from coming unstrapped while riding, which adds to the riding experience. Just one less thing to worry about on the trail. The adjustable straps are also easy to make quick adjustments out on your ride. Gaerne told us that the buckle mounts can sometimes come loose after initial use and need tightening with a Phillips screwdriver. It was not the case for us, as we’ve yet to have them come loose.
The soles feel comfortable on the feet, even after hours of doing photo shoots with a lot of riding and walking between shots. We never had any big crashes or bad landings on jumps, but we did jump off some big ledges on the dirt bike, and the boots were noticeably supportive.
A pair of SG-12s are not cheap, but their design fits so many styles of riding, and they hold up extremely well. In our 80 hours of testing, we noticed a small amount of wear on the sole, which can be expected after a thrashing like we gave them. One of the more impressive aspects was the minimal loss of support. We’ve read other reviews saying it took little to no break-in, but to be honest, they felt a little stiff for about two long rides. They have felt almost the same since the initial break-in. Along with the functionality, they look amazing and come in many different color options.
We would recommend these to anyone with safety as a priority. When you combine the support they provide with the undeniable functional performance, the price tag becomes irrelevant. For all the technical details, make sure to go to Gaerne’s website to get the full spec rundown and color combinations. Price is $569.99, and visit their website at www.gaerne.com for complete info.