A quality pair of boots is a must-have piece of kit in a trackday or motorcycle road racer’s locker. Italian boot brand Gaerne offers motorcyclists something unique with its top shelf Gaerne GP-1 Road Racing Boots ($349.95).
The GP-1 is built around a rubberized sole designed to provide optimum grip against the motorcycle’s footpegs. It also provides impact protection in the case of a crash. The rubber features a multi-density construction and is resistant to both water and oil. Above, an athletic shoe-style inner sole provides arch support and distributes energy from when the rider is shifting bodyweight across the bike. A smaller pad of cushioning material is sandwiched between the heel and insole to further dissipate energy.
The soles offer loads of traction against footpegs of both production and aftermarket foot controls, however the material feels softer compared to other models we’ve tested. This elevates chassis feel from the motorcycle but can cause discomfort if the rider repeatedly moves side-to-side in the saddle, applies excessive foot pressure when standing or lifting their bodies above the seat.
- Affordable price tag
- Components easy to service and replace
- Great grip and feel against the motorcycle
- Fit could be more snug for some riders
- Soft sole causes discomfort during prolonged standing maneuvers on the footpegs
The chassis of the boots is fabricated from leather and uses a synthetic material (Lorica) that blends the flexibility and durability of rubber with the abrasion resistance of leather. This allows for more accurate foot articulation without adding extra weight. Each boot weighs 2.85 pounds, comparable to other popular brand names. The chassis lacks perforation holes but still provides an acceptable level of airflow though to be fair, we’ve never worn the boot in really hot temperatures (over 100-degrees Fahrenheit)
The Gaerne Floating System further enhances foot movement by allowing the ankle to move naturally. It also mitigates lateral twisting motion by using fixed strips of carbon fiber reinforced plastic on either side. The set-up prevents hyperextension as well as adding a degree of abrasion resistance against asphalt in a crash. There is plenty freedom of movement yet it still has some degree of rigidity, especially in the ankle and heel area.
A thick plastic shin plate is located atop the boots and helps shield the shin area in an impact-type of accident. The piece is removable and can be replaced. It also houses a removable plastic slider to better protect the boot’s body when sliding against pavement in a crash. More protection and better resistance to wear comes from the magnesium heel and toe sliders that are also replaceable. So far the toe sliders have lasted through multiple days of testing at the track and even a race weekend, and I do have a tendency to drag my feet in corners—so the durability is a big plus.
The fit of the GP-1 is a little more relaxed than other boots we’ve tested recently. The sole offers excellent feel and grip against the motorcycle but can cause discomfort during extended rides if you’re weight the footpegs with your body.
The GP-1 uses a conventional forward entry with a Velcro pull tab zipper for closure. The zipper mechanism is thick and has held up against haphazard zipper tugs while getting dressed, even while wearing gloves. A rubberized Velcro flap hides the zipper and provides better grip against the frame of the motorcycle. Fit is further tailored through the calf area using a ratchet-style plastic buckle. Based on my foot size (43 Euro, US 9) and slenderness of my legs, I had the strap at its minimum length and it was still too large for my calves. It isn’t a tremendous concern but it would be nice if it had a more finite range of adjustment. It’s also very easy to get on and off since it doesn’t employ an inner booty.
Those with average-sized feet will like the Gaerne’s. The boots fit well, however it is just a hair looser compared to the competition. Aside from the soft-ish sole the GP-1s provide above average comfort with zero pressure points. The toe box is rugged enough to prevent discomfort from the constant lifting motion against the shift lever but not so thick as to reduce shifting feel. Not only do the boots look modern, they are priced right at $349.95, making them a good option for riders more concerned with value.