Posts Tagged ‘winter riding’

To be honest, I have never been a fan of overshoes. Difficult to get on, tough to dry, fiddly, horrible things. My preference turned to winter boots for off and on road riding. They are cumbersome, heavy and make a mess of your cranks but they are warm, not really waterproof but at the end of a ride you can kick them off, stuff them in a plastic bag and be done with it.

At the beginning of this winter I had other plans. Riding on the road started to feature more and my winter boots were just too heavy. A visit to Revel Outdoors in Bury saw me peering at a rack groaning with overshoes with that growing angst that I would end up buying something I’d regret. These shoes seem to come in several flavours… cheap, medium priced and more expensive. There were differences in features but all I was concerned about was keeping warm and where possible, dry-ish. On the horns of indecision, I bought the middle of the range pair and wandered out of the shop clutching my purchase with more than a little apprehension.

I have not been out in any gloop-fests recently but I have given the overshoes a lot of use. My usual “set up” has been Sealskinx socks, my oldest pair of mtb race shoes and the overshoes. The testing period has been from October to January and I have used them in all but the coldest weather.

Getting these things on is a PITA, particularly around the heel box. The tread on my shoes is so deep you really have to work hard to get the back of the shoe over. Every time I put them on I worry about the zip but, I am getting better at it now and the worries although still present, are receding. The zip, as I have mentioned it, is chunky without being obtrusive and has stood up to my clumsy manhandling so far. The “bottom” of the overshoe is kept together by a velcro strap – a bit flimsy but it does the job. The upgraded (more expensive) version has a more robust arrangement. The other featurette, is the tab at the top of the overshoe. It is a velcro fitting and is pretty chunky – more to the point it shows no sign of degrading just yet. Heels and toes are reinforced and seem as good as new. The main body is neoprene and I think I read somewhere, it is 2.5mm. All in all then, a sturdy product albeit one that is tough to get on.

In use, the overshoe fits snugly over your shoes, moulding itself around the buckles and straps without issue. Once on it is a case of fit and forget. Unlike boots, there is no additional rotating bulk to add to the woes of the winter rider. You can use your normal shoes which I like. Wet road rides have seen me peel the overshoes off when I get home only to find my shoes underneath totally dry. Rides on my CX bike have had a similar result as have mtb rides though some of the wetter ones have resulted in the shoe uppers showing signs of dampness. My feet have remained warm so far although on the last ride, I was felling the onset of cold toes at the end of a two and a half hour ride. I think this could be mitigated by the addition of a thin pair of (extra) socks. Getting them off is easy, and unless they are dripping with mud, grit and general goo shouldn’t be an issue. Being neoprene, I tend to turn the hose on them before I take them off – part of the post ride ritual.

These have a RRP of  about £30.00 but I understand they can be found cheaper if you shop around. I have seen them as low as £22.00.

If you are tired of winter boots give these a try. They are cheap enough that, if they don’t work, you can go back to your old footwear and keep these for marginal days or races, when lighter weight is desirable, or boots would be overkill. I’d give these 4.5 stars out of 5.

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