The best cycling overshoes will keep your feet warm and dry in the worst weather. You’re not going to enjoy riding through the colder months in just your summer cycling shoes. They’re designed for hot, dry conditions, with lots of ventilation and lightweight uppers.
A pair of overshoes is the most convenient way to add some weatherproofing and insulation to cope with cold, wet conditions.
We’ve been putting the miles in on damp winter roads, testing a range of overshoes from the leading brands. Read on for buying advice, our top rated picks, and links to full reviews of all the overshoes we’ve tested.
Best cycling overshoes in 2020 according to our expert testers
Castelli Pioggia 3 overshoes: £55 / $59.99 / AU$102
Endura Freezing Point overshoes: £49.99 / $69.99
Gore C5 Windstopper Thermo overshoes: £59.99 / $79.99 / AU$105
Rapha Overshoes: £55 / $75 / AU$95
Shimano S3100R NPU overshoes: £49.99
How to choose the best overshoes for cycling
What’s in an overshoe?
All-weather overshoes tend to follow the same basic pattern. There’s a high ankle cuff to try and prevent rain from running down your leg and a bootie-style lower section that covers your shoe. That typically has a central seam on top that’s taped to keep out wheel spray. Other seams will usually be taped too.
The classic material for overshoes is closed-cell neoprene rubber. It’s the same stuff that’s used for wetsuits and provides wet weather protection while adding insulation. Unfortunately, it’s not that durable, so it’s often covered with a tougher outer fabric. At 3mm or so thick, it has quite a bulky look too, and it’s not at all breathable.
Sometimes kit makers will use a less bulky fabric for the uppers, one that’s typically DWR (durable water repellent) coated to repel water, and includes a breathable membrane. It’s an alternative to neoprene that’s lighter and less stiff, but it can lose its water resistance over time and, unless additional insulation is added, may not be as warm in cold weather.
Whether that matters, of course, depends on when you’re planning to use your overshoes. It doesn’t only rain in winter, of course…
And what’s below?
The Achilles’ heel of overshoes tends to be their sole. First, it needs to have a couple of holes in it to fit over your cleats and heel. This inevitably lets water in, which can creep into your shoes’ uppers and through vent holes in their soles.
Also, you’re going to end up walking in your overshoes at some point, and you’ll have to put a foot down at junctions or stops, all of which subjects them to wear.
Most overshoes use a much tougher fabric on the base, sometimes including kevlar fibres, to cope with the abuse. Even so, you’re likely to find that your overshoes wear quite quickly and need replacing after a couple of winters of riding.
With that in mind, cheap but functional might be better than technical and flashy if you’re budget conscious.
Do you actually need overshoes?
An alternative to overshoes is to buy a pair of dedicated winter cycling shoes. They’ll have sealed soles, so damp ingress from below is avoided and the upper is usually insulated, waterproof and breathable, so your feet shouldn’t get cold, wet or sweaty. We’ve reviewed some of the best winter cycling shoes here at BikeRadar.
With some winter-specific shoes, heel lift can be an issue, as the ankle cuff needs to be wide enough to allow you to insert your foot into the boot.
In the last couple of years, brands like Mavic and Northwave have brought out winter cycling shoes. These too have a waterproof upper and sole, and include insulation, but without a cuff the fit around the ankle is closer, leading to better pedalling dynamics and a more comfortable fit.
If you’re planning to ride extensively in cold, wet conditions, a dedicated set of winter shoes or boots may work out cheaper than hammering your summer shoes and replacing your overshoes regularly. Waterproof socks are a boon for the winter rider too.
For more options and advice on protecting your feet in the cold and wet, head over to our detailed guide to the best waterproof cycling kit for riding in the rain.
Best overshoes: our top rated picks
Castelli Pioggia 3 overshoes
Castelli Pioggia 3 overshoes. Simon Bromley / Immediate Media
£55 / $59.99 / AU$102
- Smooth, stretchy and aero (maybe)
- Comfortably warm despite their lack of bulk
Finally, an overshoe that looks quite nice on, with low bulk and a stretchy, close fit. Functionality is good too, with excellent waterproofing and wind resistance, and enough insulation for comfort on winter rides in UK temperatures.
Castelli claims that they’re aero (they certainly look it) and they’re thin enough that you can adjust Boa dials on your shoes through them too.
Endura Freezing Point overshoes
Endura Freezing Point overshoes. Simon Bromley / Immediate Media
£49.99 / $69.99
- Thick neoprene with a fleeced inside face
- Sturdy base and strong stitching
Endura’s range-topping road overshoes are neoprene, with a fleecy lining for extra warmth which extends to the base too, so the soles of your feet shouldn’t feel the chill.
Sturdy construction should ensure longevity and there are plenty of reflectives to add road presence.
Gore C5 Windstopper Thermo overshoes
Gore C5 Windstopper Insulated overshoes. Simon Bromley / Immediate Media
£59.99 / $79.99 / AU$105
- Low bulk, comfortable fabric construction
- Good water resistance without neoprene
Gore uses thicker, more insulated fabric on the front of the C5 Windstopper Thermo overshoes, where most water will hit your foot, and thinner fabric at the rear, for a comfortable, lightweight feel and a less bulky profile.
These overshoes are DWR treated, with a breathable construction that keeps out water, without getting sweaty inside.
Rapha Overshoes. Simon Bromley / Immediate Media
£55 / $75 / AU$95
- Neoprene, but without too much bulk
- Available in bright pink as well as all-black
Although these overshoes are neoprene, Rapha’s cut is good and there’s not too much bulk.
The optional hot pink colour adds a bit of flash to get you noticed, although you’ll need to wash these overshoes frequently to keep them looking fresh.
Shimano S3100R NPU+ overshoes
Shimano S3100R NPU overshoes. Simon Bromley / Immediate Media
- Heavyweight neoprene will handle the coldest, wettest conditions
- Bright colours and reflectives will help keep you noticed
Designed to work down to -5°C, Shimano’s neoprene overshoes have a water-resistant outer, a high ankle cuff and robust base.
Their bright colour and reflectives are good for your road presence, and the cut is close enough not to feel too bulky.
These overshoes scored fewer than four out of five stars in testing, but they’re still worth considering, particularly if you find a good deal.
dhb Extreme Weather overshoes
dhb Extreme weather overshoes. Simon Bromley / Immediate Media
£30 / $39.95 / AU$50
- A straightforward neoprene design that won’t break the bank
- Does the basics well
Made from 3.5mm neoprene, dhb’s overshoes provide plenty of insulation and are water resistant.
They have taped seams and a kevlar-reinforced base, along with enough reflectives to get you noticed. All this comes at a budget price.
Sportful Fiandre Bootie overshoes
Sportful Fiandre bootie overshoes. Simon Bromley / Immediate Media
£75 / $90
- Quality Gore-Tex fabric construction for low-bulk rain resistance
- No insulation, so best for warmer conditions
High end materials give excellent rain protection in a lightweight, if pricey, overshoe. The absence of insulation may leave your feet a bit cold on winter rides, however; these are better suited to wet but mild conditions.
Altura Firestorm overshoes
Altura Firestorm overshoes. Simon Bromley / Immediate Media
£39.99 / $56 / AU$72
- Lightweight fabric construction
- Cool colour with extensive reflectives down the sides
A nice change from black, Altura’s softshell overshoes come in this grey option, with reflective speckles down their sides.
With fleecy insides they’re warm, while the taped seams help keep out wet weather.
Have you found what you’re looking for?
If you’re looking to buy more winter kit, make sure you check out our guide to the best winter gloves and the best kit for riding in the rain.
And if you’re keeping it indoors, here’s everything you need to know about the latest generation of smart trainers.