MXA TEAM TESTED: GAERNE SG-12 BOOTS

WHAT IS IT? The Gaerne SG-12 is an Italian-built boot that has been a staple in the motocross industry since 2010 when it was introduced at the Vegas Supercross. We last tested the SG-12 in 2016 when the toe box was made slimmer. Since then, there have been a few internal changes that we want to talk about.  

WHAT’S IT COST? $579.99 (white and black), $599.99 (color models).

CONTACT? www.gaerneusa.com or (661) 257-3386.

WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the Gaerne SG-12 boots.

(1) Refinements. The Gaerne SG-12 has been refined close to perfection over the years. Gaerne boots have never fit the Italian-made, slim-foot narrative. They have always offered a bigger toe box with more room than their Italian competition. In 2016–2017 Gaerne narrowed the overly broad toe box to increase feel for the rider when shifting and braking. Since then, five noteworthy changes have been made. (A) Gaerne slimmed down the inner foot area and added a durable insert in the arch for improved rider feel. If you are worried about the slimmer fit, don’t be. We haven’t found anyone with wide enough feet to complain. We have only had great feedback about the change. To compare, these boots still offer more room than what an Alpinestars Tech 10 has. (B) The rubber composite of the sole has been upgraded to an even more durable material to offset the increasing use of incredibly sharp footpegs. (C) The inner composition of the memory cell foam has been refreshed for improved comfort. (D) The plastic in the pivot has been beefed up for greater support. (E) Many new solid colors, such as red and blue, have been added to the SG-12 line. 

(2) Break-in. We will say the SG-12 boot takes longer to break in than the average boot due to the extreme support that it offers. 

(3) Support. The SG-12’s thermoplastic exterior provides solid impact protection. A dual-stage pivot system offers solid lateral support while maintaining freedom of movement. The heel cups absorb shock in the event of slamming your foot. The steel toe cap seems dated at times, although there is no better way to add safety during an impact. 

(4) Buckles. We love the SG-12 buckles because they are easy to actuate, simple and reliable. The buckle straps offer enough room for most size legs, but those with large calves may not have enough adjustment. Luckily, the shin plate is adjustable and can be extended for more room. 

(5) Performance. This is the most durable boot in the MXA arsenal. It is built for a hardcore racer. The sole lasts longer. The white doesn’t fade as fast, and the entire boot itself lasts longer than any boot we have ever tested. The interior of the SG-12 is plush and inviting. The flat panels that contact the frame are covered in tacky rubber for exceptional grip. As a bonus, the rubber prevents a hot four-stroke head pipe from cooking your legs. 

WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? This boot isn’t for everyone. The boot is overkill for low-level riders. We suggest Gaerne’s Fastback or GX-1 boot if this is you.

MXA RATING: Yes, this boot is on the high end of the price range, but you get what you pay for. It will outlast any boot you compare it with. The Gaerne SG-12 is worth its weight in gold for racers.

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