As I have chronicled earlier on my website (post 1, 2, 3). I have been wearing the Gaerne G Adventure Motorcycle Boots during my adventure. I have worn them from Austin to Antarctica. The boots have been through quite a bit... riding, trekking, casual wear... exactly like adventure boots should be worn. I like the design, fit, comfort and utility of the boots. But three months into my travels, during some heavy rain in Panama, the boots showed the first signs that they were not waterproof. I had been treating the boots with creams, polishes and Sno-Seal. However now, the situation had worsened. The boots are definitely not waterproof and some of the leather had started to crack. I met another motorcyclist with the same boots... and the same problem. It looks like this is not an isolated situation with the Gaerne G Adventure boots.
Many months ago, I wrote to Revzilla, the online retailer from which I bought the boots, and to Gaerne, the manufacturer, to inquire if they could repair or replace the boots. Neither offered a viable alternative. So now nine months into my travels, I had to make a decision. Continue traveling with the non waterproof boots, buy some new boots, or try to repair the boots through my own means.
I opted for the last choice.
I took the boots to a zapateria (shoe repair store) near the mercado negro (black market). The cobbler said that the boots would be ready in three days. After three days, I returned to the store and the cobbler had not started working on the boots. I explained to him that the boots were my only shoes other than my sandals and that I needed the boots as soon as possible. So, I reclaimed my boots and searched for another zapateria.
After two days, I returned. The cobbler had started working on the boots, but had not finished. He asked me to return later in the day.
Later in the day, I returned. The cobbler was still working on the boots and explained how difficult it was to work with the boots because of the hard leather and height of the boots. He asked me to return in the evening.
I decided not to return in the evening, to allow the cobbler more time. I returned the next day.
The boots were repaired! As we had discussed, he had sewn a patch of leather over the cracking crease and polished up the boots. He was going to charge me 70 Bolivianos (US$10) ... I tipped him an extra 20 Bolivianos. I thought that it was money well spent.
I was happy with the repair. I thought the repair looked amazingly good and fit the style of the boot. To add some water protection, I applied some seam sealer to all the stitches and seams.
Some times you just have to make it up along the way.
Thumbs down for Gaerne and Revilla.
Thumbs up for small businesses and craftsman that are masters at their trade!