Castelli Perfetto Shoe Covers are built to minimise air resistance and keep the worst of the weather out. Their performance owes much to their stretchy Gore-Tex Infinium Windstopper material and they are very impressive across a range of weather conditions, but issues around durability are a cause for concern.
But they are expensive, and there are more wallet-friendly options – as well as some dearer ones – in our best cycling overshoes buyer's guide.
There's a Cinderella feel to slipping your foot into a pair of these overshoes. The material's stretch delivers a perfect fit that hugs the contours of your shoe. Their cut is designed to minimise wind-resistance so you can turn more of your power output into forward motion and speed.
And as you would expect from Italian brand Castelli, they have real aesthetic appeal. They look beautiful and just putting them on made me want to get out and ride.
The Perfettos have a stated temperature range of 2°C-14°C and I was surprised at how well they performed when things got even chillier. Heading out for a full day of winter riding, they kept my feet surprisingly warm even when the temperature dropped into minus figures.
The tips of my toes may have felt the sub-zero chill of morning (Strava rated the eight-hour day as a 0°C ride) but for most of the ride they were super comfortable. And when I finally got home my feet were pleasingly warm and dry, unlike other parts of my body that were struggling with both cold and condensation.
Here's the science
Castelli says that these overshoes are designed for longer rides in changeable, cold-weather conditions. And it's the Gore-Tex Infinium Windstopper material that does a lot of the heavy lifting here. It comes with a membrane that is designed to stop the wind coming in, while allowing sweat in the form of water particles to escape.
You can test it for yourself. Hold the overshoes to your mouth and you have to blow exceptionally hard to feel any kind of airflow on the other side of the material. (You might be surprised how many bits of outdoor and cycling kit that shout about their windproof credentials don't pass this simple test.)
Gore-Tex says that its product has 'billions of pores that are 900 times larger than water vapour molecules. So even though wind can't get in, moisture from sweat vapour can easily get out'.
And they really do live up to that promise. As the temperature rises, you get the benefit of extra protection safe in the knowledge that your feet won't overheat.
What's more they have enough water resistance to deal with rain showers and spray from the road. There's a nice feeling when you plough through a section of standing water, then look down to see water beading off the overshoes.
They are light, easy to roll up and stash in a rear pocket mid-ride but it's only in really warm conditions that you are going to need to do that. They are so comfortable that, for the most part, you can just forget you are wearing them.
While the material is all important, Castelli has poured its design nous into this product. The ankle cuff is higher to increase warmth and there are fewer seams in the construction, which means fewer places where water might get in or the stitching might fail.
And then there is the tight, silicone elastic cuff that ensures a snug fit around your leg to prevent water ingress. This is a major selling point for me.
No matter how waterproof the outer material may be, rain can easily find its way into a shoe through a loose-fitting cuff or soak down through tights on really wet days. That wasn't an issue with these overshoes when I used them through a series of showers.
They are not designed to deal with very long days of torrential rain. So if that's what the weather report is predicting, you will want to have a more waterproof pair to hand or simply be prepared to come home with wet feet.
Its wet-weather credentials do get a boost from the oversized, waterproof YKK zipper. It is chunky, easy to operate with gloves on and promises to last a long time. In my experience, zip and Velcro fasteners always seem to be the first thing to fail on other overshoes I've used.
And all of this is topped off with reflective detailing at the rear. That's a pretty standard feature but worth a mention here because, according to researchers from Queensland University, reflective elements on ankles and knees deliver a great pay-off in terms of visibility.
The sole features a panel of hard-wearing fabric that delivers real durability. But after just a month of use, I found that the stitching that attaches it to the elasticated cleat opening had started to fray on one of my covers.
I tested these with a pair of recessed SPD cleats that may have left this part of the shoe cover more exposed. They did have to tramp across gravel paths on cafe stops, and deal with a 400m trudge along a country road, to avoid a treacherous section of ice.
They may have experienced a little extra wear than if they had been reserved for races, club rides and training sessions, but nothing that they shouldn't be able to cope with. And if Castelli has designed them with longer rides in mind, then I would expect them to be able to withstand this kind of use.
I have also noticed a small tear on the upper of one the shoe covers. It looks like it may have caught on a bramble or thorn – and I have a feeling this may have happened when fixing a puncture by the roadside on a late-night ride. This will have an impact on its ability to deal with water ingress and again adds to concerns about just how robust these covers actually are.
If you are in the market to invest in marginal gains and you value the aerodynamic advantage these overshoes can deliver, then they are certainly worth consideration. This is especially true if you are prepared to save them for 'Sunday best': those times when speed and performance really matters.
If you want something a little more robust, that will deal with knocks and scrapes of more general cycling, gravel, distance, bike-packing, etc, then you might want to look elsewhere.
Offering performance across a similar range of temperatures, Stu rated the Lusso Windtex Stealth Over Boot (£35), and while it doesn't quite match Castelli's design ethic, it does come in at a much keener price point.
Or if you want greater weather protection but rather like the pleasingly Italian design ethic, then you might consider Castelli's Diluvio Pro Shoe Cover that Ash really rated. Both of these are featured in our buyers guide to the best cycling overshoes.
Durability issues aside, the Perfettos offer great performance, look very fetching and are potentially the only overshoe most of us will ever need for year-round cycling.
Superb weather protection and great performance but durability issues mean you might want them for 'Sunday best' rides only
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Make and model: Castelli Perfetto Shoe Covers
Tell us what the product is for
Castelli says: 'Castelli's Perfetto Shoe Covers work well across a range of conditions and rides. They're highly protective against rain, road spray and wind thanks to GORE-TEX INFINIUMTM WINDSTOPPER® Stretch Light fabric, reduced seams and a waterproof zip, all the while remaining exceptionally breathable. The tight fit makes them perfect come race day, when aerodynamics are a priority, and silicone gripper elastic at the top edge smooths the transition between cover and leg in addition to adding a further barrier against the elements. The zip and a reflective puller make the shoe covers easy to put on and remove, and abrasion-resistant fabric underfoot enhances durability.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Reduced seam construction
YKK Vislon waterproof zip
Reflective webbing puller at back
Abrasion-resistant fabric underfoot for durability
Silicone gripper elastic at top
Recommended temperature range: 2°C-14°C
Manufacturer claimed weight: 114 grams (per pair, small)
Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for fit:
Rate the product for sizing:
Rate the product for weight:
Rate the product for comfort:
Rate the product for value:
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very impressive performance across a range of weather conditions.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Look good, felt very comfortable to wear and kept my feet dry and warm.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Concerns about durability.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The RRP makes these relative expensive relative to similar products but shop around and you will find them for less.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, they are excellent.
Would you consider buying the product? No – I'd be looking for more robustness.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if they were looking for performance.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Great pair of overshoes for riders looking for aero benefits over other considerations, but you will have to look after them to make them last.
Age: 0 Height: 180cm Weight: 83k
I usually ride: Specialised Langster (fixed commuter) My best bike is: Condor Fratello (new – Audax rides)
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, Audax
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