These Galibier Shoe Shields are handy for keeping your toes warm on days when it's not quite cold enough for full overshoes, and also for adding a little extra insulation underneath overshoes on really cold days.
I'd never thought about using toe covers at the same time as overshoes before. It was actually a suggestion on Galibier's website. Maybe everyone else is already doing it and I just didn't know. My feet get really cold in the winter and, as with everyone else, it's always my toes that get the worst of it – not that I go on about it at the slightest opportunity, mind. Anyway, I gave the Shoe Shield/overshoes combo a whirl and it worked. It's not a massive difference, but it certainly keeps those poor little tootsies comfortable down to a couple of degrees colder than normal. Result!
The Shoe Shields' uppers are made from a soft-shell fabric that's very stretchy lengthwise and just a little bit stretchy across the width. That meant I could get a close fit with some shoes although the fairly square end was a little baggy on others.
The fabric is windproof and highly water resistant. Keeping the wind out and the warm air in is the key to staying warm, and these do that very well. Worn in milder temperatures when it's not quite cold enough for full overshoes, they do just enough to keep the chill off your toes. The lower section is made from 2mm neoprene so you need to avoid walking or you'll damage it, while the cut-out is large enough for any cleat design.
What's the point of using a soft-shell fabric? On one test ride I wore a Shoe Shield on my left foot and a fully neoprene toe cover on the right one and I really couldn't tell the difference.
One of the benefits of a soft shell fabric is that it's comfortable but these don't come into contact with your skin. Soft shells are breathable too, but that's not really an advantage here because even if your toes do get too hot (and that never, ever happens with me), you can whip them off in a second and sling them in a pocket. So, I wouldn't say there's any particular benefit over a neoprene alternative; each does equally well at keeping the cold air and road spray off your toes.
Windproof and water-resistant toe covers for days when it's not quite cold enough for full overshoes; they work well and the price is good
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Make and model: Galibier Shoe Sheilds
Size tested: Black, Large
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?
Galibier say, "The Soft-shell Shoe Shield (try saying that at the top of a climb) offers superior water and wind protection for your toes. The Interior delivers excellent moisture transfer, warmth and durability. Windproof stretch (Windster) fabric slips on easily over your shoes and shields your toes from the chilly winds. The base is 2mm Neoprene. They don't budge."
I wouldn't argue with any of that.
They do a straightforward job well.
You'll need to walk as little as possible to avoid damaging the 2mm neoprene on the bottom, but that's pretty normal for toe covers.
You can get neoprene toe covers from about £10 but Gore Bike Wear's soft-shell Oxygen ones are £29.99 - although we've not used them so can't comment on the performance. These are certainly among the cheaper toe covers out there.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Keeping cold air of your toes isn't a complicated job and they do it just fine.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly
Age: 41 Height: 190cm Weight: 75kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.