Pro’s entry level Blaze strike a near perfect balance between performance and value for money but they’re best saved for the depths of winter as milder conditions can leave feet feeling boiled in the bag. Being Shimano offshoots, standards are very high. Relatively thick 2mm neoprene and slender profile pretty much rules out compatibility with anything bar competition road/performance mtb shoes, although some sport touring models might be ok.
Stretch neoprene is unlikely to set pulses racing but Kevlar reinforced toe sections and uniformly good double stitching means they're built to last while the reflective silvery livery and logos are very effective at night, drawing welcome attention to your presence when emerging from junctions or negotiating roundabouts. In my experience, at this end of the market, zips are the most vulnerable area so it was a relief to find good quality YKK ones with rubberised tags for easy purchase in gloved hands. Open heels make for easy walking off the bike too.
The devils’ in the detail and what Pro term "Optimum Panel Construction" relies on fewer seams and the fabric’s technical characteristics to optimise comfort and snug fit. The top seam has been removed for precisely these reasons and is a definite plus over cheaper overshoes, providing additional defence against water penetration on wetter rides.
There’s no doubting the wind blocking prowess of the thicker fabrics-especially come frosty February mornings and their ability to protect feet from persistant, heavy rainfall but after twenty miles sustained effort, the material's compromised breathability can leave feet feeling clammy.
That said, giving change from £20, the Blaze make a sensible choice for cost conscious roadies seeking to protect themselves and expensive shoes from the ravages of winter. In short, so long as you’ve no off road/cross pretensions these will give competitor brands a good run for your money.
Well-made entry-level overshoes
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Make and model: Pro Blaze Overshoe
Size tested: XL
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?
The Blaze are well made entry level road overshoes designed for temperatures between plus five and minus fifteen degrees and deliver great performance at a keen price so long as you've no cross or mtb ambitions for them
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
2mm thick neoprene construction relying upon minimal seams for improved comfort and weather proofing, kevlar reinforced toe sections bode well for longevity and the tabbed zippers make them easier than most to roll on and off.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall the Blaze perform very well, keeping the elements firmly at bay, although they can feel overly warm on milder rides but this is a minor point given the otherwise high standards. They're easy to walk in and should last thanks to nice detailing around the zippers, stitching and of course, the kevlar sections.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good fit, high standards of detailing and water/wind protection.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Feet could feel boiled in the bag after twenty miles concerted effort.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 36 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
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: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)