Six overshoes that’ll keep your toes dry and toasty on the bike this winter

Best Cycling Overshoes 2013

Altura Etape 

You certainly wouldn’t know the evolved Etape overshoes were the cheapest on test. The knitted elastic underside gives a snug fit once you’ve wrestled them on and there’s a reinforced panel under the toe to extend life. The rear zip has a glove-friendly tab and is topped with a Velcro strap to stop it peeling. There’s plenty of reflective detailing, too. Windproofing is good and the taped PU material is actually impressively waterproof, though the snug fit and lack of insulation mean the Etapes aren’t particularly warm. Still an autumn/spring bargain though.

Score: 4/5

Endura Equipe Superstretch

Endura dodges zip durability worries with a pull-on design for its Equipe overshoes but they’re a bit of a fight to get on and the snug fit means you might want to size up to guarantee blood flow. Thick neoprene weather protection is brilliant though, and they stay warm even if you end up sweaty a few hours into your ride. Kevlar-reinforced sole stitching backs up reinforced crank-scuff and heel panels, and they’re well priced compared to other similar but less sturdily built boots.

Score: 4/5

Mavic Thermo

The Mavic overshoes’ lightweight Warm Shell ST fabric is fine if you’re splashing through post-rain puddles or dodging showers and drizzle. Sustained rain will come through eventually, though, so don’t expect them to face down a full-on storm. They provide good windchill protection on dry, cold days, and there’s a £55 Thermo Plus version with an extra toe pocket if you need more warmth. The Ergo Access flap lets you work your shoe ratchet without taking the boot off, but fitting is easy anyway.

Score: 3/5

Pearl Izumi PRO Barrier WxB

The full Velcro back flap makes these the fastest fitting pair on test and avoids the perennial bust zip problem that eventually puts most overshoes in the bin. The fit is still usefully snug, but without cutting off circulation. They’re a lot warmer and more weather resistant than the lightweight, fleece backed, breathable WxB fabric would suggest too, bringing our feet home warm and dry even in real deluge conditions. Double-layer toe protection extends lifespan, but they’re reasonably priced anyway. Our only slight gripe is the low level of reflective detailing.

Score: 4/5

Santini H20

Santini has relied entirely on the performance of its ‘Acqua Zero’-proofed Tour stretch fabric for its super-light, pull-on H20 socks. The simple triangular cut gives a baggy, flappy fit, despite being tight around the ankle and toe. For all the hang-tag claims, rain seeps through fairly quickly and the first puddle splash will leave feet sodden. Given the underwhelming performance, we were surprised by the high price.

Score: 2/5

Shimano Trail NPU+

Pro’s overshoes have long been whatever-the-weather winter stalwarts and now they’ve been renamed after their parent brand, Shimano. This is the MTB version, with a more open sole for treaded shoes; there’s a £5 cheaper Tarmac option too. Whichever you choose, the thick neoprene keeps feet warm whatever the weather is doing, and while you may get sweaty, you won’t get cold however long you stay out. Fit is relatively crude, but doesn’t cramp bloodflow, and reinforced toes prolong life.

Score: 4/5