02 Feb How To Choose: The Best Bike Shoe Covers For Winter
For true cycling enthusiasts, winter is no obstacle; we find ways to get out on the road or trail even when the snow is falling and a layer of ice coats the ground. It might be a bit difficult and a bit riskier, but it’s just as fun – provided your feet stay warm and dry. Bike shoe covers – also called bike overshoes – can help with that.
Due to their location – directly behind your wheel spray – your feet and bike shoes often bear the brunt of the cold and wet weather. Your regular cycling shoes can become quickly soaked through, leading to an uncomfortable, cold and even dangerous ride. Bike overshoes made from a waterproof fabric will help with that, keeping water and wind from getting through and chilling your feet.
What are Winter Cycling Overshoes Made From?
You can find overshoes made of all different materials, but the best bike shoe covers for winter are made from neoprene. Neoprene is generally 2 or 3mm thick and does an excellent job at resisting moisture from coming through, while still letting your feet breathe if they start to get a bit sweaty. It also has the unique advantage of keeping your warm when water does get through; as with wetsuits, the neoprene traps a very thin layer of water between the suit material and your body. This layer of water is heated by your body heat and serves as a bit of insulation, trapping some heat in even in cold water.
Nylon and polyurethane are also popular. Both these materials are better at totally blocking water but aren’t quite as breathable and don’t add any insulation for once your feet do get wet. They’re often combined with a layer of neoprene for a complete waterproof and insulating package. If you’re looking for extra warmth, a fleece lining inside the overshoes might help.
Overshoes also provide the benefit of wind resistance; winter winds can be pretty bitter cold and blocking them from biting through your shoes to your feet can make all the difference in how comfortable you are on the road for hours.
For complete and total protection from wind, rain and snow, you’ll also want to make sure your cycling overshoes are sealed around any openings; taped seams, Velcro straps and waterproof zippers accomplish this.
What About Breathability?
As it is when choosing virtually any other piece of apparel, breathability is an important consideration in a pair of bike shoe covers for winter, and for exactly the same reason it is when choosing a base layer or good winter jacket: your feet will likely sweat during heavy exertion, and need to be able to dry out to stay warm and comfortable. Neoprene, polyurethane and nylon are all good lightweight and breathable materials that help with this.
How to Size Bike Shoe Covers
Finding the right overshoe size can be a bit tricky; they have to fit snugly, but not so snugly as to be difficult to get on and off. And each brand and cover model will fit a little bit differently. A good place to begin would likely be choosing one size up from your normal shoe size, as many seem to run a little bit small.
Are Mountain Biking Shoe Covers and Cycling Shoe Covers Any Different?
It depends – some can and many can’t. We’ve included some models that work with both on our list.
The Best Bike Shoe Covers For Winter of 2019: Reviews
If you want windproofness, insulation and water resistance for road cycling and mountain biking, the Gore C5 deliver. They use Gore Windstopper material to keep wind and water out in all weather, while allowing your feet to breathe comfortably during high exertion. A Thermo lining adds warmth and softness, and fully taped seams ensure that water can’t sneak its way in.
We really like the versatility the C5 Windstopper’s provide, as they’ll work with both road and mountain biking shoes. Just remember that they aren’t completely waterproof; they’re better for wind and light moisture, but very wet r snowy days will usually require something more.
These are Endura’s best-selling road bike shoes, and for good reason: they’re heavy-duty and totally waterproof, built for cycling in extreme conditions. By their own count, Endura was actually the first brand to make neoprene overshoes – so maybe it goes without saying that their shoes are worth a look.
The Road II use a neoprene construction with welded seams to create a watertight and totally-sealed shoe; there is a rear zipper, but neoprene flaps meet behind it for an extra layer of water protection. All the stitching is tough and durable aramid.
One cool feature the Road II include – that isn’t found in many other overshoes – is the protective print; it’s designed to provide a protective layer over the neoprene in case the shoes rub against the crank arm. Complementing that are reflective rear panels for visibility on short and dark winter days.
For serious and reliable protection from cold and wet in real winter conditions, the Endura Road II really can’t be beat.
Endura’s MT500 are designed for true waterproof performance when mountain biking. They rock a construction very similar to that of the the Endura Road II; neoprene upper with a nylon facing, which provide ample waterproofing, insulation and wind-resistance in all -weather conditions. And again, the design is tailored for comprehensive watertight protection – there’s a neoprene tab beneath the zipper for extra protection against moisture, and the center seams are welded.
Other features include a moulded rubber toe cap with grooves underneath, which improves traction on muddy slopes, and a rear zip with snap-down pull and Velcro heel tab; these help get a perfect fit on every foot. Again ,the stitching is aramid thread and there are reflective elements for visibility.
Another option for complete and dependable protection in bad weather, these Fizik shoe covers are rock a 100% waterproof and windproof 3-layer bonded membrane upper. The seams are thermowelded, ensuring durability and preventing any and all moisture from getting in. The YKK zippers are also totally waterproof, and the outsole is rubberized for dependable traction.
Fizik’s winter shoe covers are designed for cycling shoes (they’re a racing brand, after all), and we’re not sure you’d be able to fit the sleek, slim profile over larger and bulkier mountain bike cleats. But whether you’re training all winter long or just need to take the bike to work every morning, these shoes will prevent those biting cold winds and wet from ruining the experience.
When it comes to waterproof gear, few brands do it as well as Sealskinz. Their lightweight overshoes are made from a water-resistant blend of polyester, polyurethane, Kevlar, neoprene and nylon, which all combine to create a lighter, slimmer shoe than neoprene alone; they’re also all breathable materials, and the Kevlar and nylon offer abrasion-resistance and strength. A storm flap inside the zip adds extra moisture protection.
A silicone leg gripper provides a tight fit and keeps it from sliding around and there’s an easy pull loop for easy on/off. Unlike most of the other shoe covers we’ve looked at, it’s open underfoot. Another solid choice for road biking and commuting, at a good price.
Yet another pair of shoe covers from Endura makes our list; is their any question they know what they’re doing? These 90% neoprene, 10% nylon overshoes offer a dynamic combination of comfortable stretch, breathability and total waterproof protection. The stretchiness lets you to put the shoes on without using a zipper, in turn creating a completely watertight package without weak points or seams. Neoprene’s thermal properties helps trap heat in to keep your feet warm.
The nylon on the front of the upper adds abrasion-resistance, while the stretch sole is designed to resist tears and abrasion from hitting the ground. As on Endura’s other shoe covers, the stitching is made from Aramid.
The Deluge Zipless work on both mountain bike and road cleats, making them a versatile choice for riding in all weather and all terrain, all times of year.
Pearl Izumi is one of everybody’s favorite cycling brands, and their Pro Barrier WxB overshoes offer some of the best water protection on our list. Instead of neoprene, WxB shoes opt for a blend of polyurethane, polyester, stretchy elastane, lightweight polyamide and 2% synthetic rubber, – a blend that makes for a lightweight and stretchy shoe that fits tightly over your cycling cleats to for a totally waterproof package; sealed seams help with that. WxB fabric is also highly breathable, allowing for comfort and warmth during high-exertion. Rubber toes provide traction on wet surfaces as well as abrasion-resistance against pavement.
Designed to fit solely over road cleats, the Pro Barrier WxB bike shoe covers also utilize a “second generation,” two stage hook and loop Velcro closure that we find make it super easy to slide on and off; it also allows you to adjust both the heel and the ankle for a better, more comfortable fit on all shoes and feet. BioViz reflective patterns and details seal the deal. You can get them in traditional black or opt for Pearl Izumi’s Screaming Yellow, a true fluorescent that reflects 200-300% of light for supreme visibility in all conditions.