When Gaerne introduced the SG12 it was big news as it represented a step up from the previous top-shelf SG10 model. The 12 features a double stage pivot system where the exterior of the boot is comprised of three main sections. The top portion moves up-and-down along a glide plate and uses a bottom-out stop. The middle and lower portion are connected to allow natural ankle movement while protecting against lateral forces. One of our testers happens to be a foot dragger which means his boots take a serious beating. He noted several instances the foot stuck in a rut and he even ran over it with the rear wheel. His feet and ankles escaped without injury every time. The redesigned toe box with steel cap is hard and protective. Even though the toe box isn’t the slimmest on the market, a simple stab of the left foot almost always found the next gear, regardless of if the toe made it underneath the lever. The boot has incredible traction on the shifter.
The adjustment system is excellent with easy movement of the buckle straps and three available shin plate settings. We tend to be super picky about buckle systems, but the Gaerne rates at the top of our list along with the Sidi Crossfire with four secure, smooth-action replaceable clasps. These have held up very well and we’ve yet to see significant wear, and they still clean up and present nicely which is tough to say for many black boots. The dual-composite, anti-shock sole provides good feel on the pegs and is holding up great. Getting accustomed to the SG12 took very little time and comfort in the non-bootie design is worthy of an all-day ride. The memory cell foam is genius. If there’s one complaint we can muster for this excellent boot, it’s that the SG12 feels a bit heavy. The effects are noticeable during mud rides where the combined weight adds up to muscle cramps sooner than expected.
Gaerne has packed the SG12 with high-tech features. Our favorites are the buckles, soles, grip patches and eye-catching styling.
Gaerne has created a terrific product with the SG12. Our favorite features by far are the buckles and the rubber grip guard, which is the best version we’ve seen on a hinged boot. The flat, grippy inner profile makes holding onto the bike very simple yet has never caught on the airbox or any other part of our test bikes. We’re also extremely fond of the dual-composite, anti-shock sole and new masculine styling. It’s crazy to see boots top the $500 mark, but if we’re going to spend that type of money, this is one of very few we would consider.