Should overshoes be worn under or over tights?

Fashion vs. dry feet. Who wins? Vote in our poll

How to wear cycling overshoes, and how not to.

Sometimes you have to confront the truly important issues, and this is one of those times. We need to answer a question that goes to the heart of on-bike fashion: what is the correct way to wear overshoes, the waterproof booties that are an absolute essential for winter road riding?

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I think the answer is obvious – they should be worn underneath your tights or leg warmers so water running down your legs is directed onto the outside of your overshoes, rather than the inside.

It’s the same principle as tiling a roof. You start with the lowest row of tiles above the gutter, and the next row up goes on top, overlapping so water doesn’t end up inside your house.

It turns out not everyone subscribes to this completely flawless logic, in fact our recent Twitter poll suggests almost 90 per cent of you disagree with me.

Even some of my close colleagues – who I believed to be thoughtful, rational individuals, and dare I say it, friends – disagree. I need to settle the issue.

Now, I can see why you might naturally default to wearing your overshoes over your tights.

A significant proportion of bib tights seem to be designed on the assumption that this is the norm, with tight ankle cuffs and even foot stirrups making it impossible to place them on the outside.

Also, many overshoes have sections of high-vis or reflectives that will be partially or completely obscured if you rock them tile-style (can we make this phrase a thing?).

For this reason, I prefer tights with ankle zips, and overshoes that aren’t too bulky around the back of the ankle.

Ankle zip allowing overshoes to be worn underneath tights
Ankle zips make this much easier.
Laura Dow / Immediate Media

When I’m wearing kit that fails on one or other criteria, I’ll grudgingly wear my overshoes on the outside, but I’ll do so knowing that things could be better.

I did this on a ride yesterday in heavy rain and ended up with socks full of water, which just didn’t need to happen.

Am I wrong? Should misguided fashion considerations trump cosy, dry feet?

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Vote in our new poll, the only one that counts. I do not acknowledge the results of previous referenda on this topic.