Welcome to our roundup of all the best waterproof cycling clothing tested on road.cc. You'll find all types of wet weather gear, including jackets, tights, gloves and overshoes.
Sometimes it’s hard to avoid the rain. Whether it’s the daily commute to the office or a training ride that you just don’t want to cancel, riding in the rain is sometimes unavoidable. Luckily there’s some very good waterproof cycling clothing with many fabric and performance advances having been made in recent years.
Here's a roundup of the best waterproof — or at least highly water-resistant — clothing we've tested on road.cc, from jackets to bib tights, gloves, hats and overshoes.
Windproof and highly water-resistant jersey for performance riders looking for an advantage in changeable conditions. Also the choice of many of the pro peloton.
The Showers Pass Elite 2.1 is in the round the lightest, most waterproof and windproof triple-layer jacket the company makes. It has legions of adoring fans, and it's easy to see why. It's as close to perfect a jacket as we've ever worn, for going far, fast and hard in the most awful of weather.
The first thing that's noticeable about the Elite 2.1 Jacket – aside from the not inconsiderable price – is how well featured and how meticulously designed it is. This is not a walking or outdoor waterproof repurposed for cycling, it's a cycling jacket from the ground up.
As tester Mike Stead puts it: "I've owned and reviewed many jackets over the last 30 years. From £20 commuter cheapies up to £400 tech'd-out mountain bike range-toppers that wouldn't be out of place on an alpine expedition. At the rarified end of the price spectrum they are all great. They all do the job, keeping you dry, warm and comfortable. Your particular optics may skew your opinion to favouring or bemoaning one particular area – weight, fit, breathability, features, ruggedness, and so on – but it's rare that a jacket, even one costing a very solid three figures, ticks every box, in full. Well, I'd never worn one.
The Lusso Aqua Extreme Repel V2 Jacket is one of the best waterproof jackets on the market. Made right here in the UK, in Manchester, the Lusso Aqua Extreme Repel Jacket V2 keeps serious rain out without creating that boil in the bag sensation found with many others on the market. A huge amount of reflective detailing makes this jacket perfect for night rides too.
The Endura Pro SL Shell Jacket II has impressive waterproofing and will really keep out the worst of the rain and wind. It can get a little hot and sweaty, though, and for me it got a bit boil-in-the-bag when the temperatures hit the teens on training rides. It just about fits in a large jersey pocket, and is a good investment for cooler days when you need a robust level of weather protection.
Pearl Izumi's Rove Barrier jacket may well be the ultimate commuting jacket. It's comfortable, ultra-water resistant, lightweight, stretchy and looks fantastic. The fact that it even undercuts a lot of its main rivals in price is simply a bonus.
The Rove Barrier might be 88% recycled polyester, but it is far from rubbish. In fact, as an all-round, general use cycling jacket for a broad range of conditions, tester Matt Lamy says "it's probably the best garment I've ever tested."
The Galibier Tempest Pro Jacket has an impressive ability to shrug off the heaviest of rain for ages without soaking you from the inside out, and when you don't need it, just stuff it in your rear pocket. There's a bit of a plasticky feel to the fabric, but it works really well.
Using a HydraStop membrane, the Tempest Pro delivers factory results of 9,000mm when it comes to waterproofing; that means it can resist 9,000mm of water from a hydrostatic head (tube of water) before it can't hold any more and it leaks through. In the real world that means heavy rain and downpours.
The biggest plus point is the staggeringly low price. The Galibier Tempest Pro compares favourably with jackets like the Endura Pro SL Shell II or even the Rapha Pro Team Lightweight Shadow but is over £100 cheaper.
The dhb Waterproof Jacket does what it says on the tin, at a price that would get you an arm and half a collar from some other brands. It's not loaded with tech – in fact there's almost no tech on show – but if fifty quid is your budget it's hard to go past.
At just £25 for the black version, the Triban 500 Women's Rainproof Jacket is a real bargain from sports superstore Decathlon. The jacket has a good cut, feels comfortable and has some good features such as the mesh-lined ventilation gussets at the front of the shoulders and on the back. It's a great lightweight, high-vis waterproof to stuff in a jersey pocket or wear on your commute from spring through to autumn.
There's also a hi-vis men's version, which is similarly excellent value.
With these tights, cold legs are a thing of the past. We've tackled sub-zero morning rides with a hefty dose of windchill with no problems, in fact they're the warmest cycling tights we've ever tested.
The Pearl Izumi Elite AmFib Bib Tights manage this with a combination of the company's own Elite Softshell and Elite Thermal Fleece fabrics. The softshell fabric is used in key areas (seat and front of legs) to provide wind and water resistance, and the Thermal Fleece is used everywhere else for insulation, and more breathability.
The fabric is bulky, but used strategically with shaped panels and pre-curved legs to enhance the fit. Getting them on is a bit of an effort, but once on the tights conform to the legs nicely, and the size and fit is good.
And they're stupendously good in bad weather. The two fabrics provide unparalleled warmth. They stop the wind from causing a chill, and rain just beads off the surface. You can be out for hours in sub-zero temperatures, or in winter rain and be quite happy. When you want the absolute best protection from the wind and rain, few tights are as good.
7Mesh TK1 bib tights are very warm, technically loaded and can carry as much kit as a three-pocket jersey. As always, the pad fit may not be to everyone's liking, but if it does suit you these are excellent winter tights for on- or off-road riding.
The fabric is treated with a DWR coating, and water beaded straight off from new. After a few months there were some spots around the knees where the water didn't bead, but maybe that's to be expected in any non-waterproof fabric subject to tens of thousands of stretch-contract cycles. At the shins things remained splash-impervious, critical in winter leg covering.
Overall, the TK1s are great winter tights, in my case ousting the rather excellent Pearl Izumi Pro Pursuit bibs that have been my winter mainstay the last two years. The combination of amazing fit, luggage capacity, warmth and waterproofness makes the TK1s serious contenders for The Last Winter Bibs You'll Ever Need To Own.
If you want a pair of tights that'll protect you from pretty much everything the winter can throw at you, then the Lusso Termico Bib Tights are a very good option. Thermal, water repellent, with a comfortable pad and blocks of subtle reflectives, they're ideal for dark, dank rides throughout the off season.
Endura's Urban Luminite Pants may be a little lacking in practical extras – for example, there are no pockets, no fly or popper/button closure, and no adjustable sizing – but they more than make up for that with simply superb waterproofing, breathability and reflectivity. As an effective pair of overtrousers for when the going gets wet, they're hard to beat.
These are fantastic overtrousers. If we deal with probably the most important aspect – weatherproofing – performance is faultless. Even in heavy rain, water stays away and I was particularly impressed by that poppered closure round the ankle, which stopped the bottom of my jeans getting damp.
The Grip Grab Arctic Overshoes are a great example of you need when the UK sees temperatures below freezing. You need decent overshoes, and these provide excellent insulation and very effective waterproofing.
As well as being both warm and waterproof, these overshoes are very durable. The stitching is strong across the body of the shoe and the toe and rear of the shoes are fitted with rubberised and hardened grippers. These add to the already impressive durability.
The SealSkinz All Weather LED Overshoes incorporate a powerful LED light in the heel, a clever idea that I'm surprised has never been done before. Don't discount them as being a gimmick, they really do work well and are ideal for regular after dark cyclists.
The overshoes are constructed from a neoprene material with taped seams, a silicone leg gripper and storm flap lined rear zip. The zip has to be mounted on the side of the overshoe because of the LED, but getting them on and off isn't hampered at all. A Velcro tab secures the top of the overshoe around the ankle, and there's another underneath the shoe. Getting a good snug fit isn't difficult.
dhb's Aeron LAB Neoshell overshoes offer excellent waterproofing, breathability and a lightweight feel with a solid underside that makes the £50 price tag a bit more bearable.
The Lusso Windtex overboots offer a large working temperature range across a myriad of different weather conditions. And don't let that Windtex name fool you – these booties will also keep the rain at bay for way longer than you'd expect of a fabric this light and thin.
I'm nitpicking a bit with that 'con' of not being thick enough for sub-zero temperatures, because Lusso does only say that the Stealth overshoes will work from 0°C through to 14°C, and it was only on rides where the mercury was nudging freezing that I was right on the level of my comfort zone. Any lower and I'd have to think about thicker socks or sneaking a sandwich bag in there. Many people don't ride when it's freezing outside, so for most it won't be an issue.
Madison's Sportive PU Thermal overshoes are a great option for wet weather riding, with the added thermal benefits providing some much-appreciated insulation at times.
Although described as a mid-weight overshoe by Madison, they don't struggle when the temperature gets down to low single figures.
If you suffer with cold feet in the winter months read on as Caratti's Deep Winter Overshoes are among the most insulated we've tried. Their waterproofing and build quality are impressive too and a recent price reduction makes them an absolute bargain.
The Dissent 133 Ultimate Glove Pack really is just that, and will easily see you through an autumn, winter and spring of road and commuter riding. We never found conditions where these couldn't be used, making them excellent value compared with the three sets of gloves you'd otherwise buy.
When the temperature reaches freezing the Gore Universal Gore-Tex Thermo Gloves keep on going, keeping out the best that Mother Nature can throw at them. Truly awesome!
They're waterproof too, as you'd expect from the company that invented Gore-Tex, though the extra insulation means they're not as breathable as some – especially at temperatures above 5°C – but until you take them off you don't really notice it.
Velotoze Waterproof Gloves are an excellent option for early-season racing where rain, cold temperatures and bitter winds are common. The slim design and stretchy material result in exceptional dexterity and feel of the bar. Hands do become very sweaty in milder weather, though.
Velotoze has added a waterproof outer layer to its version of neoprene cycling gloves. This creates a glove that is both waterproof and windproof, while still being incredibly close-fitting and lightweight. They're exceptional, sealing out water and wind and making me marginally happier in the early season races.
Probably the most comfortable deep winter gloves that I've ever worn, Specialized's Element 1.0s are fully up to the task of keeping your hands warm and dry in winter, so long as it's not absolutely chucking it down. If you're after a pair of deep winter gloves to see you through the worst weather, seemingly without compromise, then Specialized has you covered with the Element 1.0s.
Warmth comes via Primaloft insulation, sandwiched between a Gore Windstopper outer fabric shell and a super-soft thermal liner. It's brilliantly warm in everything touching freezing and a little beyond, while there's a fair amount of breathability maintained through the technical textiles.
GripGrab's Windsters are good quality, wind and water proof gloves that allow for lever grip combined with smartphone usability. They're impressively flexible too; they manage to not only keep your hands warm and dry, but it is still relatively easy to grip and feel handlebars and levers.
With a few clever details that really help them do their job well, Galibier's Barrier Deep Winter Gloves ensure toasty hands when temperatures drop to low single figures and below.
No single detail makes the Barrier Deep Winter Gloves stand out. What's impressive here is that Galibier has managed to combine a host of features such as lots of insulation, total windproofing (the barrier of the name), reasonable water-resistance, reflective details, a comfortable neoprene-and-Velcro cuff, and a grippy palm in a pair of gloves that cost less than 25 quid. And you also get things you'd expect in gloves at this price like soft fabric on the back of the thumb to wipe a runny nose, and gel padding at the bottom of the palm to cushion your hands.
SealSkinz socks are a good thing to have in the drawer once the cold and wet weather draws in. There are some UK conditions that will breach any foot fortifications, but these socks are a great last line of defence.
SealSkinz use a waterproof membrane in between inner and outer layers. In these socks the inner is a Merino mix, and the outer synthetic. They're totally waterproof, as SealSkinz are wont to demonstrate at trade shows by having an unlucky employee stand in a giant petri dish for the amusement of onlookers. They work though. Water doesn't get through. You can go out in the rain in these socks and trudge about on the lawn and your feet will stay toasty and dry.
Dexshell Ultra Dri Sports socks work really well to keep your feet warm and dry. With a waterproof breathable Porelle membrane construction, high calf cuffs that grip your shins and repel water as well as can be expected, and a merino inner for warmth, they're a great option for sodden cold days.
The successor to Gore Wear's Equipe cap is made from the same excellent Gore-Tex Active material used in their jackets and, in this cap, provides a completely waterproof and windproof shelter for your head. For anyone intent in not letting the rain stop play, this is a very good investment.
With decent levels of waterproofing and insulation, Shimano's MW7 shoes are a good choice for winter riding, and you can walk easily in them too.
They're very warm and as waterproof as winter shoes can be, subject to the usual caveat of water getting in at the ankles. You can beat that by using tights with extended ankles that cover the cuffs of winter shoes.
I finished long rides on cold days in the MW7s with comfortable feet, including a 100km ride on a day the temperature never got above 1°C. I had chilly toes at the lunch stop, but once they'd thawed they were fine for all of the second half.
Northwave's Flash Arctic GTX boots are very good winter all-rounders. They keep your feet warm and – for the most part – dry, and they're well designed and super-visible after dark. You're paying for the privilege if you shell out the full £210 RRP, but if you're serious about winter riding you'll get your money's worth out of them.
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David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.