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Old 03-19-2011, 01:21 PM   #1
Brtp4 OP
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Gaerne Balance Oiled and Balance Pro Tech Boots Review

Fellow ADV Riders,







We have been selling the Gaerne Balance boots for quite some time, and several of The BOMBERS use them. In simple words, they are awesome, one of those products we sell that continually exceed customer expectations. They are super well made, fit great (Gaerne is known for their excellent fit), and durable. This is a fairly long post, but these are one of my personal favorite products, and I want to take the time to explain the construction.

The Balance line was originally intended as a trials boot, thus the name "Balance". Trials boots are a niche, with low production volume. Because it was a niche product, more attention was paid to making it work perfectly than to cutting costs to achieve a particular price point.

The clearest example of this is how the Gaerne Balance leather is cut and the number of pieces. The leather cutting of motorcycle boots is done with dies; and the dies have to be carefully placed on the hide to cut around any flaws in the leather. The more leather pieces, the smaller they are, the easier they are to place on the hide and get a good yield (less waste). Every hide is different, with scars, holes, etc. this is why the cutter job is one of the more skilled.

Most boots use a lot of pieces for this reason, usually 10, 15, 20 or more. The Balance uses as few pieces as possible. The upper of the boot is only 3 pieces of leather, and 7 total. This is really low, not cheap, but makes a more comfortable boot. Look closely, the bulk of the upper is made from only two huge pieces. The result: less seams, better break in, better bend creases, less pinching, more comfort.

This is one of those intangible details of quality that too often gets missed. It is not obvious, does not show up in search, is not commonly known. It goes against current boot design trends, which can be summed up by saying "make it cheaper, somehow". Gaerne obviously does not think that way. They have been sold for several years now, Gaerne gets constant pressure to make the Balance less expensive, but they have kept it the same.

Another detail that makes them a great dual sport boot, but is intangible, is the mid-sole construction. The mid-sole is the area under the footbed, above the outsole. This area defines the stiffness of the sole flex - and the protection. It is also where many boot designers cut corners to save cost. The Balance uses a modified MX boot midsole, it is both supportive, yet moderately flexible to allow feel and the ability to walk.

Many customers ask why this is important, there are multiple reasons. The first is metatarsal (the bones in your foot) protection. A common scenario where this applies: while riding, moving forward, you strike an immobile object like a stump or rock with your toe. In some cases, this happens when your foot is on the pegs and weighted, in other cases you leg is off the peg and down. Your foot stops moving, but either your weight on the peg or the peg itself try to push your foot forward. If your boot has a soft, flexible midsole, it will fold under the ball of your foot, and break the metatarsal bones.

This tends to be less tangible to boot buyers than the ability to walk easily. It is why MX boots are rigid here, and roadracing boots also. A good DS boot needs rigidity here, perhaps more than at the ankle area even. The Balance has a fairly rigid midsole, less than an MX boot, but much, much more than a street or hiking boot.

Another reason these are great boots: DS and ADV riders stand a lot. A rigid midsole also is crucial for people standing on the pegs for a long time. Footpegs are small, and standing on them for long periods with soft footwear...hurts. BTW, no riders stand as much as trials riders, as trials bikes often do not have seats.

More...

BP
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Old 03-19-2011, 01:36 PM   #2
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Balance Oiled

Balance Oiled $337.97

More info at www.atomic-moto.com/balance_oiled

The Balance is the product family name, and is sold in two variations. The Balance Oiled is the flagship model in the family:



The Balance Oiled has two significant features: it is waterproof, with a Gaerne Drytech waterproof liner built in, and it uses a special oil-treated leather. The oil treatment makes the leather softer without sacrificing durability, and makes it water repellent. Most softening treatments are done in the tanning process, and work by breaking up the cellular structure of the leather. Gaerne's process does not. Perhaps a good way to think of it is like a baseball glove, that gets oiled.

The Oiled also has the limited piece construction described above, aluminum buckles, a hard plastic shin plate, anti-microbial liner, and a gum rubber sole.

Putting them on, the Balance Oiled are instantly comfortable. Gaerne boots are known for comfort and generally run wide, these do too. As nearly every boot sold, they have a cheap crummy footbed, which should be upgraded to a Montrail or Superfeet or similar.

They are light in weight, 2.65 lbs per side, compared to about 4.5 - 5.5 lbs per side for an MX boot. This makes them easy to walk in. The gum sole is not lugged, but gets good traction in most anything except mud. They can be worn easily under boot cut jeans or Carhartts, and also be worn with or without MX shin guards. Buckles work great, and stay closed. The Oiled version is a little warm compared to the non-WP version, but this is to be expected. They are still very comfortable.

SIZING: Sizing is true to industry norm, and up or downsizing is not usually not needed. The best way to size these is to note your US size AND check your athletic shoes to get your EU size. Knowing both of these usually gets a good result.

More....

BP
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Old 03-19-2011, 01:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brtp4 View Post
Balance Oiled $329.97

The Balance is the product family name, and is sold in two variations. The Balance Oiled is the flagship model in the family:



The Balance Oiled has two significant features: it is waterproof, with a Gaerne Drytech waterproof liner built in, and it uses a special oil-treated leather. The oil treatment makes the leather softer without sacrificing durability, and makes it water repellent. Most softening treatments are done in the tanning process, and work by breaking up the cellular structure of the leather. Gaerne's process does not. Perhaps a good way to think of it is like a baseball glove, that gets oiled.

The Oiled also has the limited piece construction described above, aluminum buckles, a hard plastic shin plate, anti-microbial liner, and a gum rubber sole.

Putting them on, the Balance Oiled are instantly comfortable. Gaerne boots are known for comfort and generally run wide, these do too. As nearly every boot sold, they have a cheap crummy footbed, which should be upgraded to a Montrail or Superfeet or similar. Sizing is true to industry norm, and up or downsizing is not usually not needed. The best way to size these is to note your US size AND check your athletic shoes to get your EU size. Knowing both of these usually gets a good result.

They are light in weight, 2.65 lbs per side, compared to about 4.5 - 5.5 lbs per side for an MX boot. This makes them easy to walk in. The gum sole is not lugged, but gets good traction in most anything except mud. They can be worn easily under boot cut jeans or Carhartts, and also be worn with or without MX shin guards. Buckles work great, and stay closed. The Oiled version is a little warm compared to the non-WP version, but this is to be expected. They are still very comfortable.

More....

BP
I have had a pair of these for a couple of years now and i can say they are the best boots i have ever owned. I have been riding for 40+ years now and have tried every type of boot, but these do everything perfectly.

Well worth the cost!!!

my two cents!
jb
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Old 03-19-2011, 02:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdbski View Post
I have had a pair of these for a couple of years now and i can say they are the best boots i have ever owned. I have been riding for 40+ years now and have tried every type of boot, but these do everything perfectly.

Well worth the cost!!!

my two cents!
jb
Agreed. They are almost old school in their construction. This is a good thing, my old Hi Points were the longest lasting pair of boots I ever owned.

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Old 03-19-2011, 02:49 PM   #5
dlew
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They look great.

I see they come in full sizes only. Do they run big? Or small?

If told you I thought I was a 9 1/2 would you go 9 or 10?
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Old 03-19-2011, 02:58 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by dlew View Post
They look great.

I see they come in full sizes only. Do they run big? Or small?

If told you I thought I was a 9 1/2 would you go 9 or 10?
Probably a 9. Can you check your athletic shoes to get your EU size?

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Old 04-09-2011, 05:04 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Brtp4 View Post
Agreed. They are almost old school in their construction. This is a good thing, my old Hi Points were the longest lasting pair of boots I ever owned.

BP
I am still using my Alpinestar Roger De Coster boots. As you had the Hi Points which are very similar, how does the quality of materials and construction compared to these old Alpinestars? I bought mine new in 1984 and they are still going strong. When I bought them I used them as road boots for a long time, so they havent really had a hard time offroad, as I have only been dual sporting for about the last 2 years or so. I really like my Alpinestars and whilst expensive to buy in 1984 have proved to be an excellent value boot, given the life of them. I am contemplating retiring them, but want to buy something of similar quality and life. Quality of materials and construction with a long service life are important to me.

Would the Gaerne Balances be that boot? Or would you recommend something else? I have tried Sidis and my foot is too wide to comfortably fit them.
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Old 04-09-2011, 08:52 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by grogger123 View Post
I am still using my Alpinestar Roger De Coster boots. As you had the Hi Points which are very similar, how does the quality of materials and construction compared to these old Alpinestars? I bought mine new in 1984 and they are still going strong. When I bought them I used them as road boots for a long time, so they havent really had a hard time offroad, as I have only been dual sporting for about the last 2 years or so. I really like my Alpinestars and whilst expensive to buy in 1984 have proved to be an excellent value boot, given the life of them. I am contemplating retiring them, but want to buy something of similar quality and life. Quality of materials and construction with a long service life are important to me.

Would the Gaerne Balances be that boot? Or would you recommend something else? I have tried Sidis and my foot is too wide to comfortably fit them.
The Pro Techs are almost that same boot, except that they are lower, and do not have some of the reinforcements in between the layers of leather. But it is the closest thing going IMO. Most of the newer boots use thinner leather, split grain, and use plastic to compensate.

BTW, got a bad vintage jones too.....I have a search saved permanently on EBay trying to find a pair of the old Tech 4s.

BP
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Old 03-19-2011, 01:59 PM   #9
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Balance Pro Tech

Gaerne Balance Pro-Tech
Price: $259.97

More info at www.atomic-moto.com/balance_protech



The Balance Pro Tech is the non-waterproof model in the Balance family. It features the same limited-piece construction, aluminum buckles, microfiber liner, gum sole, etc., as the Balance Oiled. There are 2 differences: the Pro Tech does not have the waterproof membrane, and it uses "only" top quality full grain leather. This leather would be one of the best materials used on any boot, and is excellent, just overshadowed by the Oiled. Fit is exactly the same.

On the bike, the Pro Tech feels a little firmer than the Oiled. Not stiff or uncomfortable, just less soft. The boots do break in nicely, and the lack of seams is great. They are a little less hot; this is because of the non-WP construction.

Either of these make great DS and ADV boots. They are light, walkable, and comfortable all day. Riders on go on long routes usually can't wait to get their MX boots off, but with these on it is a non-issue. They are super comfortable, with the addition of a good insole (we cannot stress how much an improvement they are...) the Balance is about as comfortable as a hiking boot.

Both models are usually available in sizes 8 -12. Other sizes are sometimes available, as the importer does a poor job of stocking them. They can be special ordered, with a wait of about 4-6 weeks.

For more questions, go to www.atomic-moto.com/gaerne or feel free to contact us.

Thanks,

BP
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Old 04-04-2011, 09:47 PM   #10
Blaise W
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I've been looking at these for a while, and ordered a pair of Pro Techs this evening. My Gaerne GX-1s are pretty comfortable, but plans for the entire TAT and Great Divide this summer mean lots of hours in the saddle, and on my feet. Hope that my Red Wing boot oil will help with water, and maybe some wax on the welts. My riding buddy ordered a pair as well and we'll be giving them a good testing.
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Old 06-06-2012, 04:52 PM   #11
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The boots showed up today. The fit is perfect and photos don't do them justice.

Thanks!
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Old 12-29-2012, 10:14 PM   #12
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Order up!

Brian,
I put in an order tonight for the Balance Oiled - it's expensive, but after reading all these reviews I thought I'd take a chance.
This thread is really well done, nice job! I really like the product videos you have for the boots, I almost went with the Adventure until you mentioned in the video they cannot be resoled.


If you have any problems, let me know, and thank you for putting such effort into representing the products you carry.
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Old 06-28-2013, 10:33 PM   #13
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Update

I reviewed these boots before and said that they were the cats meow.

I have the balanced oiled boots (brown ones)

Now that ive had them for 3 years and put roughly 15,000 miles on them, from short street commutes to 1000 mile off road rallies. I still love these things. I have noticed that after extended HEAVY rain sometimes water will come in where the sole meets the leather.

Also, I was reciently rear ended on my ktm 950 adventure by a 16 year old girl who had better things to do while driving than paying attention to the road. I was thrown 15 feet in the air, tumbled a bit, then slid a bit more. The boots did their job! barely torn up, still very useable IMHO. After the totalled bike is gone through I will continue to strap these bad boys on.

Well worth the $400 price tag, sticker shock got me too at first. But these are hands down the most comfortable boots ive ever worn. There very breathable, waterproof (mine have been abused regularly), supportive, and comfortable when I go for a hike after a ride to the middle of nowhere, and the soft tread helps when I got my 500lb bike stuck in the worst possible place.

Just do yourself a favor and buy the damn boots already.
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Old 08-05-2013, 10:19 PM   #14
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Gaerne Balance Oiled and shift wear

Looking at the Oiled boots for a bit now, and on-paper (mostly based on what I've read here), they seem to be a great choice, but there is one thing that bothers me.

Most other motocross boots I've seen have some extra protection on the boot where it meets shifter. I don't mean physical protection for the rider, but protection of the boot (and keeping it clean and newer looking).

Is this a problem with the Oiled boots?

Thanks
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Old 08-06-2013, 10:08 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by none really View Post
Looking at the Oiled boots for a bit now, and on-paper (mostly based on what I've read here), they seem to be a great choice, but there is one thing that bothers me.

Most other motocross boots I've seen have some extra protection on the boot where it meets shifter. I don't mean physical protection for the rider, but protection of the boot (and keeping it clean and newer looking).

Is this a problem with the Oiled boots?

Thanks
FWIW, I've probably only put 15-20k miles on my Balance Oiled, so no real long term answer, but all I can see is a little darkening of the leather where the shifter hits. None of the shifters I use are overly aggressive, most have a rubber cover or have the knurling worn off long before I ever got to them.
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