I wore these boots on a tour in Nepal, where the roads are a challenging combination of broken tarmac, long stretches of roadworks and poorly maintained dirt roads. In these conditions a serious pair of motorcycle boots was needed to protect my ankles and lower legs.
With a name inspired by the most famous adventure biking event I’d expected the Gaerne G-Dakar Gore-Tex boots to deliver the protection I wanted, and thankfully I was proven right.
From the first time I put them on my feet it was clear these boots were not manufactured down to a price - they feel, as they say, as tough as old boots.
The uppers are made from leather with a suede-like finish. There is a rubber gearshift pad and this additional layer of material protects the leather and makes gearchanges more comfortable.
The boots are fastened with velcro at the top and two adjustable buckles, one above and one below the ankle. These all give plenty of adjustment to allow an individual fit.
As has been the case with most Italian-made footwear I've tried, I needed one size larger than I normally take. Some Italian boots have a narrow fit, though this is not the case here and these have plenty of width.
Photography: Joel Blevins
The boots were extremely comfortable from the moment I first put them on, and adjusting the buckles gave me enough room to put on a second pair of socks for winter conditions.
Contoured panels at the front and rear stretch and allow movement of the ankle and articulated hard plastic sections wrap around the ankles when you fasten the upper buckles.
Hard plastic sections cover the shin, the achilles tendon and the heel, although these aren’t CE-rated as impact protection.
Interestingly the tread pattern varies across the soles. The outer edge and heel are more rugged, giving good grip off the bike, and the inner section of the sole has a less pronounced pattern, which helps feel on the footpegs.
The insole is removable and like the rest of the boot lining is made of a comfortable soft and spongy material.
The label in the boots shows they pass CE tests to the higher Level 2 in all four aspects - height, cut resistance, abrasion resistance and transverse rigidity. They have also passed the water-resistance test, which is an optional extra within CE.
The Gore-Tex membrane is a name that gives me confidence they will keep me dry in the rain. It didn’t rain at all during my adventure in Nepal, which was lucky for me although not much use for testing if the boots were waterproof.
This was easily solved with a few shifts for the Lincolnshire Emergency Blood Bike Service (LEBBS), which saw some horrendous rain and strong winds. My feet remained completely dry despite some extreme rain that saw flooded roads throwing lots of water at the boots.
My shifts for LEBBS also revealed that, for very stiff boots, these are surprisingly comfortable while walking around - and I would also be happy using these boots for light green laning around home.
These are my kind boots: robust and strong with rigid protection for the ankle and lower leg. The boots were also 100% waterproof and have the security of the Gore-Tex guarantee if they do spring a leak.
These are a pair of boots I would take on any adventure and feel confident they would keep me dry and offer a good level of protection in challenging conditions.