Gaerne is one of the world’s top-tier dirt bike boot and bicycling shoe manufacturers. Based in Coste, Italy, 25 miles northwest of Venice, Gaerne has produced boots for motorcycling for over 60 years, extending to over a dozen categories, from touring and off-road to urban and road racing.
This year, Gaerne has replaced its flagship SG-12 off-road boot, capable of supercross performance, with the all-new SG22. It’s not just an upgraded SG-12, my boots of choice for the last five years. Compared side by side, it is easy to see all the improvements between the two models. We covered the differences in our Gaerne SG22 First Look story, and now it’s time to test the claims in real-world conditions.
I typically ride in inhospitable conditions—hard-as-concrete clay and rocks, all dusted with silt. Dabbing the ground, getting stuck in ruts, and getting trapped under the bike are constant occurrences, so good boots are mandatory!
An important part of the Gaerne SG22’s design is the ability to personalize the fit. In addition to the classic sawtooth adjustment of the four straps, the top aluminum buckle has three-position adjustment. Combined with the two positions guaranteed by the new Frontal Shin Guard, the wear can choose from multiple configurations to optimize the fit and allow a more flexible fit for shin guards, knee protectors, and knee braces.
Once your feet are inside, you will immediately notice that the SG22 boots have a plush interior—a hallmark of the Gaerne brand. Additionally, the 3D Main Body Toe Box is also a few millimeters wider than some other premium boots. So, if you have old, mangled feet like mine, the SG22 is a good, roomy choice for all-day comfort. Thanks to the Memory Foam 1.0 interior, the feel is more like you would expect from a glove or a street bike boot. While fit does vary by foot shape, the SG22 agrees with my feet and is true to size.
The new toe box is lower-profile and slightly narrower, so shifting is noticeably improved. However, the SG22 is not more rigid than the SG-12, so it retains the much-loved and reassuring shifting feel, and this new boot is lighter than the SG-12. The feel through the sole is more precise, as well, so braking is more accurate.
The Gaerne Dual Stage Pivot System 1.0 helps out with shifting and braking by allowing natural ankle movement. The hinge system works, and never gets in the way. By using a mechanical pivot system, they require zero break-in—buy them, ride them, that’s it. The SG22’s ankle area also hugs you firmly, though never uncomfortably. There is no torsional twist at the ankle with the pivot system, either.
The Gaerne GS22 boots feature a venting system designed to remove humidity and heat, and it’s summertime in Southern California. However, I haven’t noticed any change compared to the SG-12s; both pairs of Gaerne boots neither feel hot nor humid, and I have no uncomfortable sensations at the end of the ride prompting me to take the boots off.
My outgoing SG-12s have never had a problem or failure in over 1250 hours of use. Inspecting these new Gaerne boots, SG22 promises to be even better. Fit and finish are incredible, and what you would expect from a $730 pair of off-road motorcycle boots. The Goodyear Welted construction is both durable and rebuildable. Though I won’t be rebuilding these anytime soon, I can say that the new Gaerne SG22 boots are a significant improvement over the excellent SG-12 boots, and highly recommended.
Gaerne SG22 Boots Fast Facts
- Sizes: 41-49 Euro; 7-14 US
- Colors: Anthracite-Red; red; white; black
Gaerne SG22 Boots Price: $730/pair MSRP