Choosing Cycling Overshoes
If the sound of your front tire slicing through slushy winter snow or a deep puddle of water both thrills your heart and leaves you dripping wet, it’s time to invest in a good set of overshoes. Whether you ride in the winter because you love to race too much to stop, or bike for your commute, the right overshoes to keep your cycling shoes dry are important to keep you comfortable no matter what the weather holds.
The best cycling overshoes are made out of waterproof fabric and are designed to stretch over your shoes to keep them safe from the elements and warm your feet. Some are waterproof, and others are windproof. Many are made out of neoprene fabric because it can keep your feet warm even after they get damp through the overshoes, and sometimes a waterproof layer is added on top for more protection. A few overshoes will have nylon and polyurethane materials combined with the neoprene.
For many cyclists who commute, especially on short winter days, the worry about riding on roadways after dark becomes a constant worry on their trips. The Halo overshoes address that concern with a simple, yet effective LED light on the heel that adds extra visibility and a warning for the car drivers who may be coming up behind them. According to SealSkinz, the light can shine for up to 500 meters depending on visibility and other factors, but studies have shown that the flashing and up and down motion does catch a driver’s eye, especially when combined with regular bike lights and reflectors.
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The shoes are made out of a neoprene material with taped seams to hold them securely on the feet and zip on the sides to avoid the LED light. They are easy to secure with extra Velcro tabs on the ankle and below the shoe. The underside is reinforced at the heel and toe with Kevlar, which gives it a secure grip, and they are durable enough for most weather conditions.
The LED lights make the Halo overshoes a great choice for night riders.
SealSkinz Neoprene Halo Overshoes Review
Pros: Four lumen LED lights add extra safety for night rides, battery works for up to 120 hours on continuous or 240 on flashing mode. Durable soles at heel and toe. Tight grip at ankle and under the shoe.
Cons: Extreme rain or snow will soak through.
Nothing is worse in the wintertime than a long, cold ride with frozen, wet, and numb feet so if your cycling commute happens even in the coldest wettest weather, your preferred overshoes will be along the lines of the Shimano s3000R.
The company may be best known for producing bicycle components, but they also have a wide selection of overshoes to choose from. The s3000R have been constructed with a 3mm neoprene layer and an extra waterproof coating on top of that to keep out the elements and insulate your feet. It’s extra thick, which means there is more between the elements and your toes, making even the roughest rides a bit more comfortable.
Their overall design has several positive features. For one, they are available in multiple colors, including bright yellow, which can give you a little extra visibility on cloudy or misty days, and there is a large reflective tab on the back. Even though the insulation makes them bulkier than average, they have been specifically designed to fit over racing shoes so they can be worn comfortably. The zipper has a windproof flap and a Velcro tab to keep it closed up tight.
They are a good choice for commuting riders who are willing to invest more to protect against the elements.
Shimano S3000R Review
Pros: Can insulate through almost any cold or wet conditions. Bright colors available for added visibility. Reinforced tabs prevent water from seeping in.
Cons: Cannot be machine-washed. More expensive than average. They do not have great visibility in non-reflective conditions
Perfect for riders who want a ‘just in case’ option, the SealSkinz Cycle over socks are small and light enough to tuck into a pocket. Then, if there’s light rain or cold winds, you can take them out and slide them over your shoes for an extra layer of insulation.
While they provide only moderate protection against wet conditions, they are warm yet breathable – perfect for a late fall or early spring ride. In heavier rains or longer rides, however, the water can slide in under the cuff and soak your feet.
They are made out of three layers of material. The inner layer is made out of a combination of polyester, cotton and elastane, which sandwiches a polyurethane membrane between an outer nylon and elastane layer.
The middle polyurethane layer is waterproof, which is how it offers the ability to stay dry for a little longer. The lack of neoprene also means that the material is more breathable, so your feet won’t sweat as badly underneath.
The Waterproof Cycle Over Socks are a good insurance policy if you are out for a joy ride and see a few clouds, but lack the durability of neoprene overshoes in rough conditions.
SealSkinz Waterproof Cycle Over Socks Review
Pros: Lightweight and fold small enough to fit into a cycling pocket. More breathable than neoprene. Excellent wind resistance
Cons: Take a long time to dry after getting wet. Lack enough waterproofing to hold up under heavy rain or snow
The Sugoi Zap shoe covers rank towards the middle of the road for warmth and protection against rain and sleet, but like the Halo overshoes they are a very good choice if you do a lot of night or early morning riding. During the day, they look like a typical white and silver shoe cover but in dark or low light conditions the Pixel fabric’s thousands of glass beads reflect headlights and street lights in all directions, so the rider’s feet are clearly illuminated in a greenish-white glow.
The Zap is made out of Pixel reflective fabric on the front and sides, with Lycra backing to give the reverse side a snug fit. It zips on the side and the zipper has a flap on top so it stays secure and doesn’t affect the Achilles tendon during a ride. While the fabrics have great wind and water resistance, the shoe cover’s open bottom design is a weakness during wet or rainy conditions.
For riders who often go out in low light conditions, they are worth the buy, but not if you want a shoe cover which will protect against the elements.
Sugoi Zap Shoe Cover Review
Pros: Pixel Fabric offers top-of-the-line night visibility. Excellent wind resistant fabric.
Cons: Open bottom design allows water to flow under the shoe. Low insulation doesn’t protect against cold temperatures.
When it comes to weatherproofing and aerodynamics, the VeloToze shoe covers will definitely top the list. They are made out of rubber and have a snug fit around the shoe and your ankles, so VeloToze recommends adding talcum powder to help you remove them after your ride. They have two holes at the cleat and heel, to help with the fit, and will rest tightly against your shoes during the ride.
The rubber material keeps off wind and rain better than most other products, even under the roughest weather. However, it lacks breathability so it may not be the best option for long rides or hot days. There are two lengths available, short and tall, and they come in a standard orange color.
VeloToze Shoe Cover Review
Pros: Rubber material will prevent wind, rain and sleet from affecting your feet. Very aerodynamic for time trials and racing.
Cons: Lack breathability for longer rides. Rubberized, orange appearance may put off some riders.
Choosing The Best Cycling Overshoes For You
Some shoe covers are very good under low light scenarios, while others will take you through the worst weather without a drip of water on your shoes. For commuters who frequently go through dark, windy conditions the Halo overshoes offer a strong LED to help visibility and will hold up against the elements better than the Zap. If you are a daytime rider looking to stay dry through bad weather, the Shimano s3000R doesn’t have as much visibility, but will keep your feet clean and dry through almost anything.