In the first of a new behind the scenes series for MXVice.com I had the pleasure of visiting the Gaerne factory in Italy to take you inside the industry and show just what goes into making some of the products used by Pros and weekend warriors alike.
Gaerne have been hand-crafting quality boots for over fifty years since the company started in 1962. Situated near Treviso, Italy, in an area synonymous with quality shoe making, the Italian company continues to use the highest quality leathers and the strongest and most durable materials while other brands have outsourced to China and the Far East. Whilst they have grown over the past 55 years something that has not changed at Gaerne is their address. This is because they believe in old fashioned quality, a quality that comes from Italy. Having taken the trip around their factory it is clear to see also. Every step that goes into making their innovative SG-12 boot is undertaken with painstaking attention to detail, by people that have worked for the company for 30+ years.
The SG-12 boot is compiled from 218 crafted parts. It includes a Dual Stage Pivot System which is exclusive to Gaerne
Gaerne produces some 400 shoes each day, here you see their latest cycling shoe, the Carbon G.Stilo+
All Gaerne athletes benefit from their own modelled foot form, so their boots are tailored to their exact requirements. Here we seen the forms for Factory Suzuki MXGP riders Kevin Strijbos and Arminas Jasikonis alongside those of Martin Davalos.
The process begins with the cutting of each panel. The leather is first printed and then stamped, using a traditional die cutting technique used in the shoe industry since the mid-19th century. Here you see the branded inside leg panel of the SG-12 boot.
Once cut the panels are stitched together by hand. Here we see the upper part and front panel which uses a Swiss breathable fabric called ACRONOS.
The boots are then heated to soften the leather, before being placed in a machine which stretches the uppers around the foot form giving the shoe its basic shape
The inner soles are then glued into the boot before the leather is stitched. The SG-12 design features a slimmer shape in the toe area for an improved feel of the shift lever and the bikes controls. The entire area is wrapped by a new plastic material which is lighter and provides more comfort and feel for the bike as well.
This might look like something from a horror movie but its actually the machine that presses the upper shoes and prepares them to receive the final sole.
This computer is programmed to receive the shoe, ready for the final sole. The computer is programmed based on the model of shoe and the shoe size.
Here we see the carbon soles of the G.Stilo+ cycling shoe
Once the final sole is adhered to the boot its time to trim the final parts of the boot back.
At this point the upper boot and sole are largely complete, except for a few key finishing touches…. Firstly, the steel toe cap is fitted.
and the final wishbone anti-torsion protection system is fixed.
leaving only the Gaerne-branded pivot screw kit to be installed.
At this point the boots are thoroughly cleaned and inspected before the final boot straps are fitted.
The boots are then boxed and loaded into the vans ready for distribution to another happy customer.
Gaerne athlete Malcolm Stewart with the Fluo Yellow SG-12 boot.