Our Guide to Buying: Overshoes

What are Overshoes?

In a nutshell

Overshoes (over shoes) are simply covers that you put on over your cycling shoes to protect the shoes, and, more importantly, your feet from the elements. The type of overshoe available is almost as varied as the weather, from thermal to waterproof, lightweight summer overshoes for aerodynamics.

Overshoes come in a variety of different materials and it is worth having a couple of different options in your weather protection arsenal. Our buying guide is designed to help you figure out the best type of overshoe for your riding style. The first choice you’ll want to make relates to whether you are buying them for road or mountain biking.

What are the differences between road bike overshoes and mountain bike overshoes?

The key differences between overshoes for road biking and overshoes for mountain biking, are the shapes of the cut outs for your cleat to fit through and also the ruggedness of the sole as you would expect to be walking a bit more in a mountain bike shoe.

Overshoes for Road Bike Riders

Which overshoe is best for road bikes?

When it comes to choosing road overshoes the first question is what you want protection from. In winter something thermal and waterproof is necessary. Neoprene is a popular choice such as those from Sealskinz, but there are also thinner over shoes that can work well. In a deluge barely anything will keep your feet completely dry but a good overshoe should keep you warm, even if you are wet.

For road racing, you might want to look into getting overshoes that are designed for both warmth and speed. Particular models of overshoe by DeFeet are also aerodynamic, so you can keep your feet warm while also minimising wind resistance. Every little helps.

Overshoes for Mountain Bike Riders

Which overshoe is best for mountain bikes?

For mountain biking look for an over shoe that is very well reinforced around the toe and heel. Alternatively, some over shoes leave the whole sole completely exposed which helps reduce wear and allows better grip when you are off and walking. Mountain bike over shoes should be heavy duty, a thick neoprene is a good choice as that will prevent them getting ripped by brambles or rocks.

If you choose this style, make sure it will hold snuggly to your shoe around the toe area and not flick up. The type of closure is also important, narrow zips can clog with mud making it almost impossible to get your shoe off! Look for big chunky zips or Velcro closure.

Ride to Work

Should I use overshoes when cycling to work?

If you expect to walk a fair bit in your overshoes, for instance, if you use your bike when riding to work, look for over shoes that are reinforced around the heel and toe area. For night time riding choose overshoes with a large amount of reflective detailing as it can really make you stand out in traffic.

Most road overshoes will accommodate all cleats but if you use the larger styles such as SPD-SL just check that there is enough give in the opening to get over the cleat.

Do I need to use overshoes in the summer?

In the summer you might not want weather protection but for wet summer rides, a thin waterproof layer should suffice. To keep your new road slippers shiny, thin Lycra or the traditional cotton sock will do the job just fine. For racing, whether road or time-trial the aero sock is a must have for saving valuable seconds.

Is there an alternative to overshoes?

An alternative to full overshoes is toe-covers. They still offer protection to your toes, the place you are most likely to feel the cold, but without covering the entire shoe. The advantage of these is that they are lightweight and less cumbersome and easy to take on and off. You can even slip them in your pocket during the ride if you no longer need them.

Castelli offer a range of high-quality toe covers as an alternative to overshoes. If you don’t want the whole shoe covered, but would still like that thermal layer over your extremities, toe covers are the way to go.