Altura has been producing brilliant overshoes for years, and the new Etape II Overshoes are no different. They combine very good crud protection with breathability, easy access and a lightweight construction. While not fully waterproof, they do a great job when a pair of Velotoze would be overkill.
With the Altura Thermostretch II overshoes covering the deep winter cold, the Etape II is designed with a lighter construction in mind. As such, their warmth comes primarily from blocking the elements and trapping warmth from your feet.
According to Altura, its Shield technology is 'engineered to provide protection from wind and water'. Having taken the overshoes out on some of the worst roads, with fords at the bottom of nearly every hill, I'm happy to say that the Etape IIs kept out the worst.
Being water resistant is no good if you get sodden feet from sweat. Thankfully, the Etape IIs give good waterproofing while still offering high levels of breathability, as Altura claims. After being out on wet, muddy roads for over two hours, I came home with warm and dry feet.
As with nearly all overshoes, the main water ingress occurs at the top of the overshoe. Water will slowly make its way down from your shin. It's only an issue with very heavy rain and lots of standing water, when I'd reach for a pair of Velotoze, or just seal the cuff with electrical tape.
Altura has also added its ultra-thin 'Thermo technology soft fabric, made with 'thermosuede fabrics', which it claims will deliver body-warming insulation and warmth. Out on the road, I found that I could use the overshoes right down to freezing temperatures without my feet feeling cold. Below that, I wanted a little more insulation, but they performed admirably in some tough conditions. I put this down to the windproof qualities of the outer membrane; keeping the majority of the cold out allowed the Thermo technology to insulate without being bulky. It's a great combination that, with a pair of merino wool socks, can work down to some pretty chilly temperatures.
Altura has also included 'strategically located retroreflective trims' to increase your visibility. It's a good place to have reflective strips. When I'm commuting, I'll have reflective strips anywhere. It's never my primary visibility source, but the more reflectiveness, the better.
The rear zipper worked perfectly and I've had no issues with it, or the stitching around it. The locking at the top keeps the overshoes zipped up and the Velcro strap has a large attachment area for different leg shapes.
Mediums fitted my size 42 Lake shoes well, with good space for the cleat and heel. There was a little excess material around my ankle, but my ankles are very skinny. Putting them on was also very easy; I've been slipping them on every morning for the ride to the office. I've also put them through the washing machine a few times without compromising weatherproofing.
The competition in the overshoe department is extensive, but I think Altura has produced a high end product, with no gimmicks, for a reasonable price. Madison's Sportive PU overshoes are £8 cheaper, but for me the fit of the Etape IIs is better, being sleeker.
For a lightweight overshoe, these perform very well. The windproof outer and thin thermal inner combine to give you warm but not sweaty feet.
Lightweight, weatherproof and breathable – great for everyday riding
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Etape II Overshoe
Size tested: Medium, Black
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
From Altura: "Sleek and lightweight in a high stretch waterproof PU coated fabric, that offer great performance for serious riding or daily commuting."
Altura has kept it simple but done it so well. Everything it says above is true.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* Altura Shield™ technology is engineered to provide protection from wind and water whilst still offering high levels of breathability
* Altura Thermo™ technology using thermosuede fabrics delivers body warming insulation and warmth, to maintain core thermoregulation, keeping you warm, dry and comfortable
* Strategically located retroreflective trims for increased visibility
* Rear zipper with hook and loop cuff adjuster
The stitching is very robust; no rips anywhere.
They are lightweight but still give great warmth while keeping out wind and rain.
These have seen daily use and weekly washing. They still work perfectly.
There's a good amount of fit adjustment around the Velcro strap.
Perfect around the foot, with good space for the cleat and heel. The ankle was a little baggy on my very skinny legs.
Lighter than neoprene options and just as effective for me.
Perfectly comfortable with no rubbing.
There are cheaper overshoes, but judging by the Alturas' performance I'd say value is very good.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
I just chucked them in the washing machine and they've held up perfectly.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. Easy to put on in a hurry and kept out spray and the majority of rain.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I found myself using them every day. They just became my go-to overshoes, not just for testing. I like that they are warm but not sweaty. They're easy to put on and stand up well to being cleaned.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Water does get in at the top, maybe because of my skinny legs. Not the best for the heavy rain.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
They gain points for being lightweight and weatherproof. They are easy to put on, but the problem with these designs is water will run down your shin into your sock. That's not the nicest feeling ever.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. Liam spends his time plodding his way through cyclocross races, very busy not winning. As an advocate for perfectly clean chains, he can be found cleaning his bike instead of training. A shop mechanic, Liam has many helpful skills, such as being able to identify 'cross tubs by the tread pattern alone. If you bump into him, he'll probably be eating.