Gaerne GP-1: the other Italian racing boots

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You might be familiar with Italian boot maker Gaerne’s range of motocross boots, but this new GP-1 in intended to put them on the road racing map too. A high-end racing boot targeted at the likes of the Alpinestars Supertech R, the Gaerne GP-1 attempts to differentiate itself with a very slim profile, good looks and easily replaceable components.

Like other fancy road race boots, the GP-1 sets out to protect against two types of injuries — impact and hyperflexion or hyperextension of the ankle. It achieves the former with the usual array of polyurethane heel cups, shin and toe protectors, plus shock absorbing materials in the heel and sole. Impact protection over the ankle and side of the leg is achieved through a large carbon composite plate on each side of the boot which also form the Gaerne Floating System, which prevents extreme front-to-rear or side-to-side movement of the ankle while allowing for the normal range of movement. To do that, those carbon plates slide within slots on the boot’s chassis. When the slots run out of space to allow motion, the boot stops flexing.

One of the visual features which first attracted us to the boots was the novel toe slider solution. Rather than a bulky gob of plastic held on with a slide release or similar, the Gaerne’s come with a thin magnesium bar which runs around the corner of the foot, slotting into the toe of the boot and attaching securely by a screw mounted to the rear and out of the usual abrasion zone. It’s an attractive solution that looks less like the boot’s grown a case of plastic elephantiasis and more like the strong mechanical element it is. There’s also magnesium sliders on the heels which attach with screws while the entire plastic shin guard and silver-colored nylon slider there also detach and are replaceable.

Those sliders combine with the carbon composite ankle plates and restrained use of red cushioning material peaking out from slots in the toe and heel to lend the GP-1 a strong air of mechanical function. They look like futuristic ski boots or robot feet more than they do regular footwear, something that’s accentuated by other components like the carbon ratchet used to adjust the boot’s fit and the ventilated rubber gaitor at the top.

We also like the looks of the textured rubber pads over the shifter area and on the inside of the heels and calf. These should help make shifting more positive while providing some extra grip between the boot and bike while hanging off. If you remember Sean’s How to Get Your Knee Down article, gripping the bike with your outside knee and leg while hanging off helps move weight off your inside toe, allowing greater freedom of movement.

The zipper is also enclosed in a rubber guard, highlighting a level of detail attention which is pretty exciting.

Gaerne USA is listing the GP-1 at a fairly shocking $500 for the regular version and $530 for the perforated Gaerne GP-1 Air. That’s quite a bit more than the ubiquitous $450 Alpinestars Supertech R or the $430 Dainese Torque Pros or the $500 Sidi Vortice Vernices, but it appears that this is a case of MSRP not representing retail reality. RevZilla, for instance, is advertising a $405 price.

Gaerne USA

  • Alex

    Pretty sure Dainese is a pretty well known Italian brand as well with some snazzy boots :)

    Those GP-1′s look sweet.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Sure, but Gaerne is relatively unknown next to either.

      • Alex

        Yea. I saw ads for these puppies in one of the latest print mags (one of which I still enjoy) and was like ‘hrrmmm’ looks like they are stepping it up. Gaerne used to sponsor the local racing school from my old neighborhood so was used to seeing them around.

        Dig the styling. Looks like something Commander Shepard would wear in the Mass Effect universe. Good thing in my book. Look forward to handling a pair in person. Looks like a nice full-featured boot.

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          I remember Gaerne as a budget brand that Hein Gericke used to stock in England back in the ’90s, so I was pleasantly surprised to see these.

          Added Dainese’s boots into the article since you’re going to be picky. Honestly, I just have a hard time remember which of their products are which. Well that and I wear my boots on the outside of my leathers…

          • Alex

            LOL. Yea I had to look up the exact name of my ‘under the leathers’ booties that I’m currently in love with. How’s the “ST Axial Pro In” for a mouthfull? Will say I’m in love with them though, great piece of kit. Only set you back $499 MSRP.

            http://www.dainese.com/us_en/motorbike/st-axial-pro-in.html?cat=125&subcat=129

            Okay back to work!

            • BMW11GS

              agreed the Dainese “torque in’s” are superior. People who wear boots on the outside of their pants on the street are wankers anyway. Unfortunately most of these boots including the ones above encourage that.

  • Michael

    Great review guys. I wear Sidi Vortice Air or whatever they’re called and I’ve found myself coming very close to crashing on the track a few times with them. The jointed ankle approach they take gets hooked up on the boot guards when I’m moving around the bike from time to time. It’s a bit of a freak out when you’re lifting out of a corner and you can’t get your foot free!

    • http://greatjoballweek.blogspot.com/ Case

      I also prefer the Sidis but I have the same issue with the ST Airs. The jointed ankle section wants to hang on anything and everything. Annoying at best, dangerous at worst. I’m going to try another track day and see how it goes. If the boots and I can’t reach an accord then they will be sold as used and I’ll get a boot with a smoother profile.

  • Rachael

    The boots look good, but do they make them for women yet? (I wear a men’s shoe size 4.5/5, so wearing men’s boots isn’t an option)

  • JonB

    TCX/Oxtar also make great boots and in the old days you get could mag sliders until racing said they were a no no. The perf TCX boots are my all-time favorites but these new G boots have killer styling like Alex said.

  • http://www.damiengaudet.blogspot.com damien

    Shit, these look awesome. I need to step up from my Alpinestars Shibuya Airs.

  • Stuart

    Just like Alpine Stars and Sidi these boots are too flashy.

    I like Dainese way better. Slim, great quality, high-tech and fits as marvelous as an Italian boot should fit.

    Nothing compares to Dainese.

  • J C

    I’ve seen the GP1 not long ago and it’s beautiful!