Published on November 18th, 2014 | by Joe
Gaerne GX-1 Boot Test:
A high-quality, affordable match for all your gear.
In helmets, there are a few elite brands that come to mind when you think of “top of the line.” The same holds true when it comes to boots. One of the elite brands in motocross and off-road riding boots is Gaerne. Gaerne is most famous for their top-of-the-line SG-12 boots, in addition to their former number one, and extremely popular, SG-10. We did a two-part test on the SG-10s and were thrilled with the level of protection and comfort they offered, right out of the box with no break in time. If you are looking for a high-end race boot, you need not look any further.
For weekend warriors, entry-level racers, and those of us on a budget, the price of those high-end models can seem a bit out of reach. The entry-level $100 to $200 market is saturated with brands, mostly from riding gear manufacturers. Owning some of them, the biggest drawback is being limited to what gear you wear them with. After all, you wouldn’t want to wear a pair of Adidas shoes with a Nike sweatshirt, would you? It’s definitely worth noting that some entry-level boots are a little nicer than others.
When looking for a new pair of kicks for test rider, Rob Ray, to use on some video shoots, we wanted to find a pair of boots that offered good quality at a reasonable price, from a brand that would go well with any brand or style of riding apparel. We were happy and surprised to discover the Gaerne GX-1 boots, an entry-level priced boot with a high-performance boot lineage, and a brand that lends itself to any attire.
Like Gaerne’s premium models, the GX-1 boots are manufactured in Italy out of Italian grain leather. Hardened plastic surrounds your foot on the top front, rear, and sides of the boot up to the sides of your ankles. A round-shaped cup molded into the plastic is designed to help prevent uncomfortable pressure points on your ankle joint. Hard plastic armoring can also be found on the shin and calf areas of the boot. Suede leather is used on the inside of the boots to protect the plastic from pipe burns, and it offers a little softer contact surface between you and your machine.
At less than half the price, the GX-1s sacrifice the hinged design of the SG-10s; however, they do feature horizontal stitched leather front and rear to promote freedom of movement front to rear. Despite their reasonable asking price, the GX-1 boots enjoy premium features like a four-buckle closure system with adjustable alloy buckle closures, not plastic like we’ve seen on some boots in the $125 range. To help keep flying dirt, mud, and water away from your feet, the top of the GX-1s feature a Velcro closure, and elastic gator, which helps the boots mold to your legs.
The bottom of the boots is steel-tipped and the soles feature steel shanks, spreading impacts felt through the pegs across your entire foot. Should you finally wear through the soles, the GX-1, like Gaerne’s other motocross boots, can be resoled and put back into action.
Over the past 12 months, test rider, Rob Ray, has put the Gaerne GX-1 boots to the test riding in our ATC250R and ATC350X Vintage three-wheeler motocross projects, our 2014 Raptor 700R In-Depth Review, and several races, just for fun. Rob felt the GX-1 boots offered a higher level of comfort compared to the other entry-level boots he owned in the past, both when new, and after they had the chance to break in.
The GX-1 break in a little faster than some of the other entry-level boots we have used, but aren’t quite as fluid as the hinged SG-10s right out of the box. One good break in ride and they are ready to rock. The interior of the boots is plush. The lining isn’t removable, but it is comfortable and prevents any noticeable, uncomfortable pressure points, even on long rides.
The GX-1’s buckles close easily and offer a positive feeling when you latch them shut. Better yet, they never open up on you while you are riding, like we have seen with other entry-level, and some not-so entry-level boots we have used. While we have been keeping our pearly-white boots white and out of water and mud, the boot’s gator does a good job of keeping dirt out.
Measuring in at 16 inches tall, our size 9 boots offered lots of foot, ankle, and lower leg protection, while allowing plenty of movement for hanging off the side of a four or three-wheeler for aggressive cornering. Rob also noted the ankle pockets’ shock reducing qualities, as imperfect landings were never painfully transferred through the frame to the bone on the inside of his ankle joints.
After 12 months, and probably more than twice as many rides, our GX-1 boots are holding up beautifully and are expected to last for quite a while based on their initial quality.
The GX-1’s price puts them near the high-end of the entry-level market. However, despite missing a few of the frills of Gaerne’s higher-end and more expensive models, their quality of construction, function of the buckles, and high comfort level leave you feeling like you paid for more than a name and came out ahead in the deal. And of course, for the brand-conscious among us, Gaerne goes with everything!
Product, GX-1 Motocross Boots
Gaerne, GX-1 Riding Boots
Summary: The SX-1’s price puts them near the high-end of the entry-level market. However, despite missing a few of the frills of Gaerne’s higher-end and more expensive models, their quality of construction, function of the buckles, and high comfort level leave you feeling like you paid for more than a name and came out ahead in the deal.