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Gaerne SG-12 Motocross Boots Review


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Published in: Gear

Gaerne SG-12 MX Boots Review intro

When preparing for an expedition into the wilderness, leave nothing to chance in terms of equipment, as your safety and survival often depend on it. Trying to save a few bucks on gear can be foolish if it risks compromising your safety.

Riding off road since the seventies, I’ve owned every conceivable brand of motocross boot. I’ve also experienced the importance of protective footwear. In my twenties, I got badly injured in a dirt bike crash, and in those days motocross boots were less sturdy than even today’s entry-level adventure boots, let alone offering the level of protection that modern-day MX boots provide. Suffering open fractures, I came very close to amputation, and it took 18 months and five surgeries with plenty of titanium, grafts and transplants to save and reconstruct my leg and ankle.

I share this story because I always cringe when encountering adventure riders wearing touring boots or, even worse, hiking boots or tennies. Given my experiences, I won’t compromise on the quality of my footwear or the protection it offers. And neither should you, especially considering the statistics showing that ankle/lower leg fractures are by far the most frequent injuries suffered in motorcycle accidents.

GaerneSG12 review FB

Many adventure riders prefer hiking or touring boots over MX boots because they consider the latter too bulky and heavy for walking around when off the bike. However, if the motto “Dress for the slide (crash), not for the ride” rings true for you, and off-road/ADV riding is your game, then you should consider MX boots for maximum protection.

As I’d been happily wearing the hinged Gaerne SG-10 MX/Off-Road Boot for many years, I bought a new pair for a 10,000 mile-off-road marathon last summer. Although I could not imagine a better boot than the Gaerne SG-10, I decided to try something new. After comparing top-end boots of all the major brands, I ended up with Gaerne again, getting their top-of-the-line SG-12, which turned out to be an excellent choice.

Like my previous pairs of SG-10s, the Gaerne SG-12 fit like a glove. Gaerne boots are renowned for not needing a break-in period, and the SG-12 is no different. The interior is lined with memory foam with a shock-absorbing insole.

GaerneSG12 review 1

The Dual Stage Pivot System is Gaerne’s patented hinge system that extends lateral support while mimicking the natural flexing of the ankle, enabling me to wear the SG-12 10 hours every day for almost three months without needing to take them off, even during lunch breaks. The hinges greatly facilitate walking and allow natural movement while shifting or braking in the stand-up position. They also protect the ankle from overextending and prevent compression during shock absorption.

The SG-12 excels in protecting the lower leg, ankle and foot in a crash, as the leather boot is encased in quasi-indestructible, rigid, thermoplastic armor which appears bomb-proof. In combination with knee braces, the SG-12 instilled confidence in my riding, knowing that my lower limbs had the best possible protection.

GaerneSG12 review 2

So, is the SG-12 the ultimate boot for off-road and adventure riding? In my opinion, yes! Is it perfect? Almost. The only shortcoming I found was with the buckle system. The four buckles lock onto the adjustable straps, but securing them into the locked position was often hit and miss. If I failed to pay attention to the telltale “click” of the buckles snapping into the locked position, they would open later on—a closure problem that’s rather common across brands. After a while, I developed a foolproof routine to ensure the buckles stayed firmly locked, which consisted of hammering them with the side of my fist into the locked position. It’s only a minor flaw for a boot which would otherwise be perfect. With the SG-12 boot, Gaerne has raised the bar and set a new benchmark in the market for premium MX boots.


GaerneSG12 review 3GaerneUSA.com

MSRP: $529.99—$549.99


  • No break-in required
  • Perfect fit and comfort
  • Dual-pivot hinge system allows natural ankle flex
  • Durability
  • Protection
  • Many color combinations


  • Buckles hard to lock
  • Not cheap

Where to Buy:

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