[Cassons]

PRODUCT REVIEW: GAERNE SG22 BOOT

6 days ago | Words: Andy Wigan

WHAT IS IT?

First released midway through 2023, the SG22 is Gaerne’s latest top-of-line motocross boot, which now comes in a range of colour options. And while it may not appear much different to its predecessor, the SG12, the SG22 is actually a significantly evolved model. Still proudly handcrafted in Italy, Gaerne’s SG22 comes with a bunch of new or refined features designed to improve break-in time, breathability, buckle functionality, grip and comfort – especially for those with wider feet. Interestingly, rather than replacing the much-revered SG12, the SG22 augments it; ensuring Gaerne’s range now caters to a broader cross-section of feet shapes.

WHY WE RATE IT

PROS…

  • Comfort: If you’ve got narrow feet and your ankles on the thinner side, chances are you’ll love the fit of the SG12. But for those with wider feet and/or bovine ankles, the SG22’s wider footbed creates a noticeably more relaxed fit. Gone is the little-toe pressure-point that those with wide feet complained about with the SG12s. Meanwhile, thanks to the less generous use of memory foam around the ankle, the SG22 will also feel more comfortable for big-boned blokes over longer rides. Added to that, the adjustable frontal shin guard helps fine-tune the fit to suit the size of the rider’s calves or knee guards/braces.
  • Protection/Flexibility Trade-off: For years, Gaerne’s top-of-the-line moto boots have been renowned for their world-class protection and durability. And the SG22 continues that tradition with its three-dimensional construction and use of cutting-edge materials. The SG22 also retains the trademark steel-capped toe and gets some added range-of-movement limits in the ankle. But at the same time, the SG22’s more pliable sole, new ‘Razorback’ design at the rear of the boot, and tweaked dual-axis ankle pivot system (designed to ‘copy’ the natural movement of the ankle joint) all combine to give them a little more longitudinal flexibility than their predecessors. That translates into better feel for rear brake and gearshift pedals and means they break-in noticeably quicker than the SG12s.
  • Buckle Functionality: From the outside, the new hybrid alloy/plastic buckles introduced to the SG22s appear almost identical to the SG12’s buckles, but they’re not. Not by a long shot. The mechanism used to control the buckle’s locking system is much more controlled on the 22s, and they snap into place more securely – even when clogged with mud. When you unfasten the SG22’s buckles, a small set of ‘shoulders’ catches the head of the strap, which means it sometimes takes a second hand to complete the job. And while this was fiddly and a bit annoying at first, we soon came to realise it’s actually designed this way so you can undo the buckles when not riding and walk around in the boots without the buckle straps coming entirely loose and flapping around. Ingenious!
  • Sole: The SG22 retains the tried and tested, Goodyear-welted, super-durable sole. But compared with what’s come before it, the SG22 sole’s new dual-density material and new ‘Microshock’ the heel combines to give you better grip on the pegs (and tree trunks – see pictorial proof!), more cushioning and more vibration damping (which pays dividends on longer rides when you’re standing a lot) – all without appearing to come at the expense of durability. And they’re easier to walk around in when off the bike without doing the awkward old heel-toe ski-boot shuffle! The other cool thing about this sole is that it can easily be replaced by a bootmaker, meaning you can breathe new life back into the boots. The SG22 is available with three sole options: Standard (which comes in two colours) and Enduro (which, like the SG12 Jarvis boots, has a more textured sole design for added grip when walking in muddy conditions).
  • Gearshifts: Even though the SG22’s pre-formed toe-box has a noticeably boxier shape, the SG22s actually have a lower-profile than the SG12 where the boot comes into contact with the gear-shifter. And that makes it a little easier to get your boot under the shifter (without having to make exaggerated leg movements) to upshift.

CONS…

  • Waterproofing: Gaerne claims the SG22 has more ventilation than the SG12. And visually, that appears to be true, thanks to the larger vents built into the outer shin area. Call us skeptical, but we challenge anyone to genuinely feel more airflow on their legs because you’re generally wearing a few layers and kneebraces under the boots. The downside of the extra vents is that the SG22s aren’t quite as good as their predecessors in keeping water out. So, if you like your creek-crossings, you may be better off paying an extra $100 for the just-released SG22 Gore-Tex Enduro model, which boast superior waterproofing qualities.
  • Weight: Gaerne’s marketing blurb claims the new SG22s are lighter than the SG12 – thanks largely to revised Razorback design on the rear of the boot – but our kitchen scales indicate the SG22 and SG12 weigh the same 2150g a pop. They’re not the lightest boots on the market, but they’re by no means the heaviest.

A visual snapshot of the differences between Gaerne’s SG22 (all white) and SG12 (black/white) boots.

PRICE: $999 (standard colours), $1099 (Gore-Tex Enduro model)

In comparison, RRP for Gaerne’s standard SG12 boot is $849.

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