As a big fan of cycling kit and on-the-bike-style it’s easy to prick my interest when it comes to most items in the discerning cyclist’s wardrobe. Some bits of kit, however, always leave me cold.
The helmet, for example: a very necessary item and something that most of us slip on pre-ride without so much as a second thought, but I’m yet to see a cycling helmet which sets the pulse racing, style wise.
Cycling overshoes (or shoe-covers) have also always fallen into this dull-but-necessary category too. They offer vital protection for the feet once the weather turns nasty, but I have owned many a pair over the years which have always fallen into one of two categories:
They are either made of neoprene and are heavy, cumbersome, and feel a bit like wearing wellies on the bike – not the sleek image I’m looking for, frankly.
Or they are sleek, tight, and lightweight, and last for about five rides in a northern winter before they start to fray and tear and come apart at the seams.
I’ve been trying out this offering from VeloToze over the past few weeks – overshoes which fall very much into the sleek, tight and lightweight bracket – but straight from the packet they give all the signs of being a bit different than those I’ve tried before.
They are made from latex, look and feel a bit like a swimming cap, and they are one piece; so no seams or zips. They have one reinforced hole where your cleats pop through, one where the heel of your shoe protrudes, and of course the top bit where your ankle goes.
The short version are designed for cool conditions and reach only to the base of your ankle, which I like; I don’t see the sense in have a full length overshoe half way up your calf when all you need is a bit of protection on a chilly morning.
The long version do come half way up your calf and, when in direct contact with your skin, form a tight – genuinely tight – weatherproof seal. They also, to my mind, look pretty cool.
To get them on to begin with is slightly fiddly, as you take care to squeeze in all the lumps and bumps of your shoes, but once on they feel great because they’re snug, light, and about as aerodynamic as it’s possible to be.
To make sure you don’t damage them they come with instructions as to how to put them on but actually, once you get the knack, they take no more time or effort to put on than most other shoe covers.
The real selling point of these VeloToze shoe covers is that fact that because they are essentially one piece of thin rubber they do a perfect job of keeping the elements out, and form a complete barrier to wind, rain, mud and the rest.
The down side to this is that don’t breathe at all, and so when your feet sweat it’s all trapped in there.
Personally, for an overshoe that performs well in other ways I can put up with that.
Below about 5 degrees Celsius I’m sure my feet will still get cold, but I don’t believe there is a pair of overshoes out there which could do anything about that – I am prone to cold feet on the bike.
Overall I’m very impressed.They look sleek and smart (and come in a range of colours), and they do a great job of protecting the feet and shoes; wearing the long version on wet rides I’ve found no evidence of any rain getting in whatsoever.
The true test will come when they’ve been subjected to the worst of the elements for a sustained period – will they last, or wear and fray like so many others I’ve tried?
They certainly seem to be made of tough stuff and I’m willing to suggest that if you put them on carefully and follow the instructions they should wear well. Too much walking around in them off the bike will undoubtedly risk damage, but that’s just the nature of the beast with overshoes.
Apart from anything at just $18 per pair for the tall version, and $15 for the short ones (from www.velotoze.com), they already have an advantage over many of their competitors in that they won’t hurt your wallet too much when they do eventually need replacing.