At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.What the road.cc scores mean
Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.
The Universal Colours Mono Overshoes are minimally styled shoe covers made predominantly of recycled nylon. Quite comfortable on the bike, they offer an okay level of protection from the elements, and are a bit warmer than they look. Otherwise, they're quite nondescript – you might expect more for the money.
One or two issues showed themselves in testing, too, which was a little disappointing given they have a premium price tag that puts them alongside others we've raved about, which feature in our guide to the best cycling overshoes.
I'm already notorious for my lengthy pre-ride faffing, and these shoe covers have only added to that reputation. My shoes are at the smaller end of the large size's quoted range, but I still found them a bit of a challenge to get on due to a lack of height between the base and the top.
Once on, the stiff material separating the zip from the back of my leg (which I think is a good idea, on the whole) folded inwards above the top of my shoe's heel, digging into the achilles when walking, though on the bike this was no problem at all. In fact these overshoes feel a lot less restricting than the 3mm neoprene ones I'm used to, and at points I forgot I was wearing them.
With such a thin layer between your shoe and the outside world, you might expect very little defence against the invasion of cold winter air, but these shoe covers keep my feet surprisingly warm – the heat-retaining foil membrane makes quite a noticeable difference, especially at the start of a ride.
The temperature range is quoted as 'warm and comfortable down to freezing', which for some people will be true. After about an hour and a half in temperatures below 5°C I did have numb toes, but unfortunately for me that's normal with anything other than a dedicated deep winter boot. I can safely say that without these shoe covers I would have had numb toes in about five minutes.
The other purpose of these shoe covers is to keep your feet dry for as long as possible. I had no opportunity to test these in heavy rain so, taking one for the team, I stood out in my garden after a ride one February morning and subjected the overshoes (and myself) to the hose test.
Blasting them with a hose is quite different to riding on wet roads in the rain, where you get a lot of water coming upwards as well as downwards, but it did lead to a few insights and discoveries. Water beads off the fabric extremely well, and the gripper around the calf at the top of the shoe covers works really well at keeping the water out – at the front of the leg anyway. At the back, the zip garage is so bulky that it interrupts the seal around the calf, allowing water down the leg and into the back of the shoe rather too quickly.
Another entry point for water was apparent after a few minutes of hosing: the stitching of the toe box outer reinforcement layer. Turning the shoe cover inside out and moving the Polartec fleece toe box lining to the side, you can see that the stitching here isn't taped like the main seam on the top of the foot. This means the holes made through the fabric when stitching (and the thread itself) become conduits for water ingress.
Upon completion of the hose test, my shoe was noticeably wettest at the front. It's quite an oversight as this is the area taking the brunt of road spray, and would likely cause problems on a long, rainy ride.
Also, returning to the outside of the shoe cover, the stitching quality wasn't great in a couple of places on our test pair, causing some bunching and making them look a bit odd as well as creating another potential water entry point.
Although the Monos sit at top end in terms of price, they're not alone. MAAP's Deep Winter Neos, which Stu reviewed last year, cost the same as the Monos, while the excellent Spatz Roadman 3s that George tested last year were £89.99, and have since gone up to £94.99 (and its Pro 2s are £104.99).
Both of those rivals were highly rated in our reviews, though, and sound like they perform better than the Universal Colours overshoes.
Universal Colours' products are often found in the top tier price bracket, and can feature great new technology, but I'm not convinced these overshoes do a much better job than other options at around half their price.
They have a few nice touches, but there are a few areas in which they could do better. Considering their £80 price tag, I'm left a bit underwhelmed. Although they aren't touted to be deep winter shoe covers, it's hard to imagine choosing to wear them in very cold or wet conditions, which you'd think was the point of paying a lot for shoe covers.
Although fairly warm for their lack of bulk and weight, these minimally styled overshoes are let down by a few key details
If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website
road.cc test report
Make and model: Universal Colours Mono Overshoes
Size tested: 43-45
Tell us what the product is for
These overshoes are for keeping the wind and rain out, and the heat in, when the weather isn't at its gnarliest.
Sigma Sports says: "In less than ideal conditions, Universal Colours' Mono Overshoes keep your feet warm and dry. The star of the show is Polartec Alpha Direct insulation, which with its unique, knitted aerated structure repels water while retaining air and heat. Wrapping around the toe box area, extra thermal protection is added exactly where it's required most. A foil membrane maximises heat retention, while Cordura fabric brings an abrasion-resistant finish.
"The overshoes create a good barrier to the wind and rain, with a silicone calf gripper keeping them in place and ensuring a close fit against the leg. The bottom of the overshoes, which is subject to high wear, includes extra fabric for reinforcement.
"Finished with reflective details, these overshoes will improve your visibility to other road users in low light."
The foil lining does reflect heat back toward your foot somewhat, and provides more warmth than the overshoes' thin fabric would suggest.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Sigma Sports lists these features:
Protect your feet from the elements
Polartec Alpha Direct insulation
Heat retaining foil membrane
High stretch for a smooth and comfortable fit
Silicone calf gripper for full coverage
Reflective detailing for added visibility
Waterproof rating: Tested to 5,000mm
Designed and created by Universal Colours
Made in Lithuania by BlueSign® accredited factory, LTP
The fabric used is waterproof enough, but the way it has been stitched together in some areas lets it down a bit. Also, the zip is very heavy duty, which might prolong the life of the overshoes but also makes the fit a little less exact, leading to more shortfalls in waterproofness.
Comfortable on the bike and definitely windproof.
So far still looking almost new – though I can imagine the retroreflective details won't stay as they are forever.
Tight to get on, and somewhat uncomfortable while walking because of the zip protector folding into the heel.
These are very light compared to anything neoprene.
Comfortable on the bike – I forgot I was wearing them at times.
Very expensive compared to most on the market, and for the premium price tag the function is a bit lacking.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
They are easily wiped down.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They're comfortable on the bike, and definitely windproof, but a few design oversights let them down.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
They provide a lot of the same performance as neoprene in the dry, but without the extra bulk and weight.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
They're quite hard to get on, and I'm not sure I'd trust them to keep my feet dry for long in a sustained downpour.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
These are in the top tier price range of overshoes we've tested. The same price as MAAP's Deep Winter Neo overshoes, cheaper than various Spatz options, but a lot more than the similar looking/performing Dexshell Lightweight Overshoes at £35.
Did you enjoy using the product? Somewhat
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your overall score
With these overshoes having such a high price, you'd expect the finer details to be taken care of – yet it's these that let them down. They're quite good, in quite a narrow window.
About the tester
I usually ride: Ridley Fenix SL Disc 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: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb, Bikepacking