WHAT IS IT? The React is Gaerne’s all-new, mid-line boot designed to replace the Fastback in the Italian company’s model line.
WHAT’S IT COST? $329.99 (welted), $299.99 (bonded).
CONTACT? www.gaerneusa.com or (800) 426-0213.
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with Gaerne React boot.
(1) Polymorph model. Although they aren’t classified as different species, there are actually two different versions of the React: the bonded-sole model and the welted (stitched)-sole version. The bonded sole is less expensive for Gaerne to manufacture, and thus it is offered to the public at a lower price. Some Gaerne dealers have pushed for it so they can offer the boot at a better price.
(2) Bonded sole. Gaerne has traditionally been a welted-sole company, so it is no surprise that they haven’t perfected the bonded-sole procedure yet. Our first pair of bonded-sole Reacts didn’t fare well. After a few rides, the soles started to delaminate from the bottom of the boot and began to wear rapidly. Our pair of bonded-sole Reacts were some of the first produced, and Gaerne promises that all of the problems will be fixed.
(3) Welted sole. The traditional welted-sole React offers significantly more support for hard landings and is more durable than the bonded-sole version.
(4) Closure. Gaerne’s alloy buckles are reliable and the straps are easy to adjust, but one tester with thick knee braces was on the edge of the range of adjustment on the top two buckles.
(5) Grip guard. In contrast to the normal leather inner surface areas (closest to the bike), Gaerne’s rubber leg protection doesn’t absorb water, grips better when wet and stands up to gripper tape on the side panels.
(6) Ankle support. The React’s single-pivot system is a step down from the dual-pivot of the SG12, but it still performs the function of allowing movement in the proper direction and limiting side movement.
(7) Insole. The insole is very flimsy and can wrinkle when your foot slides inside the boot. We upgraded to aftermarket insoles.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? There are three things we didn’t like about the React boot. (1) Bonded version. Although Gaerne may have already fixed the delamination issues of the bonded-sole React, every test rider felt that the welted-sole version offered more support and durability. (2) Insole. The feeble insole can wrinkle in the boot while you’re wearing it. (3) Sizing. The React boots run a full size too big (if you wear a size 10, order a size 9).
Tested separately, the bonded-sole React would get two stars, while the welted-sole version would get four stars. The stitched-sole version is well worth the extra $30.