Riding in cold weather is challenging, and wet and frozen feet don't make it any easier. Your feet, right in the line of spray generated by the front wheel (especially without mudguards), can suffer more than any other body part. The best cycling overshoes, designed to protect your feet from the weather, are a top investment if you're aiming to ride in all weathers, whether you’re a racer or commuter.
The best cycling overshoes
If you're after your first pair after finding out the hard way that you need some by going out in the cold without any, or you're just after some replacements, you're in luck! Check out our top-rated overshoes below, and if you need some more advice before choosing then keep scrolling for everything you need to know about overshoes...
The best cycling overshoes
They might look like "Optimus Prime Cosplay" as our reviewer suggested, but Spatz overshoes have such great function that we've forgiven them for their looks whenever we've reviewed a pair! To put it simply, if you ride in wet and cold conditions typical of UK winters, Spatz take warmth and comfort to new levels.
The protection and effectiveness that the Roadman 3 Kevlar-reinforced overshoes offer mean most cyclists won't be concerned about the unusual looks. Improvements on the third iteration include easier fitting, increased toughness and more warmth, according to Spatz.
They are not cheap at all, but our reviewer said that the Roadman 3 overshoes are hard to fault. The high-visibility elements and extra reinforcement of the toebox area over the previous versions are welcome upgrades too.
Read our review of the Spatz Roadman 3 overshoes
Made from 4mm-thick waterproof neoprene with a close fit to keep the water and wind out, these overshoes from Gripgrab will keep your feet toasty without looking quite so out-there as our first option from Spatz.
Our reviewer did say toes started to get cold in temperatures just below freezing, but anything above and you won't need to dig out extra layers of socks underneath them. The fully open sole is fastened with a Velcro strap, and you need to put them on before you put your shoes on, then roll them down over the shoes and fasten the Velcro.
While thye lack extra, extra warmth for the coldest of days, the RaceThermo provide great protection against the wind and rain, fit well and have lots of great reflectives.
Read our review of the GripGrab RaceThermo Waterproof Winter Shoe Covers
Another entry from Spatz, and yep, once again like something pulled from a sci-fi convention wardrobe! We'll say it again though: multiple road.cc reviewers have foud that Spatz overshoes offer quite possible the best winter protection going, and the GravlR is just as good as the road-specific version.
The hydrophobic neoprene repels water, while inside there's a thermal layer for extra warmth. Whereas most overshoes are ankle height, Spatz takes things higher, finishing at the top of the calf. They certainly look, erm, different, but then we cyclists are hardly the height of fashion at the best of times, whatever we like to believe.
Our reviewer said: “The GravlRs give the best protection of any overshoe I've used – or any winter boot, for that matter. On extremely wet days water can still seep in (you can never stop it completely), but what sets them apart from anything else is their warmth, even damp. With temperatures close to freezing and my socks wet, the GravlRs still kept my feet warm."
Read our review of the Spatz GravlR overshoes
The Castelli Diluvio UL Shoecovers are made from waterproof neoprene to keep your feet dry, they extend high to make sure your ankles stay warm in most conditions, and they're very stretchy for a close and comfortable fit.
Whereas the Diluvio Pros, below, are made from 4mm-thick neoprene, the Diluvio ULs are 3mm thick, as are the Diluvio C (£45) and the Diluvio 2 All-Roads (£45).
First things first: do the Diluvio ULs keep the water out? This might make or break the deal, particularly for UK readers. The good news is that water doesn't get through the neoprene at all and the seams are sealed. Fabulous; we're up and running!
Read our review of the Castelli Diluvio UL Shoecovers
'Pioggia' is the Italian word for 'rain' and that tells you what these overshoes are all about. They're made from a polyurethane-coated fabric that won't let water through. And when we say that it won't let water through, it really won't. Believe us, water doesn't soak through here.
The waterproofing extends to the front seam which is internally taped to prevent leaks and the zip is waterproof too. Well, it's about as waterproof as zips get; virtually nothing gets past it.
The polyurethane-coated fabric used for the main body is very stretchy so you can get a close fit all round and it moves easily with your ankle as you pedal. It's lined with a thin fleece layer to provide extra warmth.
Read our review of the Castelli Pioggia 3 Shoecovers
These Lusso Thermal Toe Covers offer impressive warmth, are really well made, and are small enough to easy fit in a jersey pocket when the day heats up. The price is great, too.
Toe covers themselves aren't that complex a product, most are just a piece of neoprene with a hole for your cleat, but that hasn't stopped Lusso spending a lot of time on the details.
The upper part of the cover is a Windtex thermal material, which for its lack of bulk is surprisingly warm. Riding in near freezing temperatures with the Lussos covering the vents at the front of your shoes, your toes are noticeably warmer than parts of you that are exposed to the wind.
Read our review of the Lusso Thermal Toe Covers
Another entry for Spatz, and these ones are not only UCI-legal but also just ankle-high, so don't look quite so out-there as Spatz' other offerings.
Our reviewer found them to be excellent as did our reviewers of other Spatz overshoes, praising the durability and warmth great down to about freezing temperatures.
They're not cheap, but these overshoes really are an investment and should last you years so long as you're careful not to catch the neoprene on anything. They're also dead easy to clean, too.
Read our review of the Spatz Legalz GLO UCI Legal Race Overshoes
Sportful's Speedskin Silicone Booties — overshoes to you and me — keep the wind and water out brilliantly but only really work on milder days because of their lack of insulation.
The Speedskins started life as a time trial overshoe, developed more for controlling airflow over the bumps and buckles of your shoes, but with the addition of taped seams and a silicone coating over the Lycra they are some of the most weatherproof overshoes around.
The material is near-impenetrable by both wind and water – riding on wet roads caused them no issue at all. They finish quite high up your calf so that cuts down on a lot of the spray hitting your tights and soaking down in through to your socks that way. That's something that inevitably happens when you are riding in persistent heavy rain, but no overshoe is immune to this.
Read our review of the Sportful Speed Skin Silicone Booties
Castelli's Diluvio Pro Shoe Covers are full-on winter-ready booties – warm, waterproof and with a svelte-yet-thick fit around the shoe that very likely come from input from Team Ineos; Castelli credits the team with asking for a warmer overshoe for training in cold and wet conditions. They're expensive, though, and for such a high-wear product that might be an issue.
Shoe covers are an essential piece of winter cycling kit, no question. You need them to do their job, and you need them to do it well. Happily, the Diluvio Pros are brilliant performers for the cold and wet winter months, featuring a 4mm-thick neoprene fabric that is as adept at insulating your feet as it is protecting them (and your shoes) from water ingress, from road spray and rain.
Read our review of the Castelli Diluvio Pro Shoe Covers
Caratti's Neoprene Windproof Toe Covers are the perfect riding companions as the transition between seasons takes place. They cover the vents of your summer shoes first thing in the chilly morning and slip easily into your jersey pocket if things warm up a little.
Toe warmers have quite a few uses. This time of year, they are a nifty solution for those early morning rides when you know that the temperature is going to warm up while you are out, or when things are really brutal – think snow and freezing temperatures – they can be an extra layer above or beneath a pair of traditional overshoes.
The 3mm neoprene construction offers some impressive windproofing and even if you do get wet feet they hold in a lot of heat to stop you getting cold toes.
Read our review of the Caratti Neoprene Windproof Toe Warmers
The Lusso Windtex Stealth 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.
Read our review of the Lusso Windtex Stealth Over Boots
The Galibier Mistral Toe Covers bring together strong protection, warmth and water resistance. They also come with an impressively low price.
I used to be a huge advocate of overshoes when the temperature drops, but I haven't regularly worn any for a year, instead using toe covers in all but the coldest conditions. They have one big advantage: you can just leave them on your shoes, so you don't need to constantly struggle into a set of thick overshoes because it's a bit cold outside.
Read our review of the Galibier Mistral Toe Covers
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.
Featuring a fleece lining that fits snugly to your shoes in tandem with an unvented, taped waterproof top layer, these overshoes are surprisingly warm in all conditions bar freezing or below.
Read our review of the Madison Sportive PU Thermal Overshoes
SealSkinz 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.
Read our review of the SealSkinz LED Overshoes
These Sportful WS Bootie Reflex overshoes employ Gore's Windstopper fabric and serve to keep your feet warm and keep out most of the rain and cold out.
They're not 100% waterproof, but on typically showery days they'll keep most of the rain out and it needs a decent spell of prolonged rain before saturation occurs. They cope just fine when it's not raining but the roads are slick with water.
Read our review of the Sportful Reflex Windstopper Booties
The Grip Grab Arctic Overshoes are great for those properly cold days we sometimes get in January and February. They provide excellent insulation and very effective waterproofing. With 80% neoprene, these were always going to be warm, but we're also impressed by their ease of fit and adjustability.
Read our review of the GripGrab Arctic Overshoes
Like a swimming cap for your feet, these divide opinion and can make your feet very sweaty indeed. These are, however, very, very waterproof.
When placed directly onto the shin, they prevent water from seeping down into your socks and also offer complete windproofing. When worn on top of oversocks, they form possibly the ultimate deep winter combination.
They're also surprisingly robust for what is essentially a thick balloon. They are the most fragile covers in this list though.
Read our review of the Velotoze shoe covers
Put simply, overshoes are made from a weatherproof fabric designed to sit snugly over your shoes and keep the rain and wind out, preventing your feet from getting wet and cold. They broadly fall into two camps: those that are waterproof, and those that are just windproof.
Neoprene is a popular material for waterproof overshoes, and has the advantage that when water does finally get inside, your feet don’t freeze; the dampness stays relatively warm in there. Nylon and polyurethane are other popular materials, used sometimes in combination with neoprene, with a waterproof layer to add extra protection.
Cycling overshoes aren’t perfect by any means. Ride in heavy rain and your feet will get wet sooner or later, but you can delay that from happening with good quality overshoes. The biggest chink in their armour is water getting in around the leg openings, soaking down your tights, and through the cleat holes in the sole. Overshoes with good weather protection, including taped seams, a Velcro strip around the ankle, waterproof zips and a taller ankle will delay the onset of wet feet.
Overshoes typically have a rear opening with a zip to seal them up, making pulling them on and off easy. For insulation in really cold weather, you want to keep the soles of your shoes as well covered as possible because a lot of heat can escape there. Some cycling overshoes have much more sole coverage than others – it's something that's worth checking before you splash the cash.
Sizing is very important. It’s always worth trying on overshoes with your own shoes in the shop. Differently designed shoes with various buckles and ratchets can work better with some overshoes.
Typically black (to hide all the dirt) though other colours are available, some overshoes have generous reflective details to boost your night-time visibility — some are better suited to commuting for this reason.
As well as keeping the wet out, the best cycling overshoes provide another layer of insulation, and some have a thicker material to provide more warmth on really cold rides. Generally speaking, the thicker the overshoe, the more it's going to keep the cold out. A trick some cyclists resort to on really awful days is two wear two pairs of overshoes for even more protection, although that will have an effect on flexibility around your ankle.
I don't know about Nigel, but I have certainly read the hitchens article (not the Twitter storm), and broadly agree with it.
I'd tend to agree, fully pedestrianised areas work precisely because of the homogeneity. People are accustomed to, and surprisingly good at,...
You do so much of it yourself, it would be sad if you didn't recognise it.
You don't want padding, you want comfort. To me the shorts with a bit less padding work well, my favourites are any castelli with the progetto air...
I doubt the "any" with the "easily". Which is the point, many riders, especially riding upright Dutch bikes, wearing regular everyday clothes, will...
You're right, there is so much young talent coming through, both male and female. ...
I'm confused, beyond my normal, everyday level that is; how can someone with a crutch chase a cyclist?
Perhaps if the driver sees someone on the right-hand side of the road about to throw a brick at a cyclist ahead of their vehicle, but it's quite a...
Thanks Jamie, good advice, will give it a try!
I'm on Vulpine's mailing list and have just had an email saying they are 50% off - so £130.