Castelli Pioggia 3 overshoes
If you don’t like the bulky look of most overshoes, the Castelli Pioggia 3 bootie could be the option for you. It’s very stretchy and has a low profile, while still providing effective insulation and waterproofing.
Let’s face it, most overshoes aren’t pretty. They are often a bulky, ill-fitting necessity for wet rides. Not so with the Pioggia 3s.
They’re made from a thin, very stretchy, polyurethane-coated fabric. Pop them on and they hug closely to your summer cycling shoes.
In fact, with their high cuff, they’re just about the only overshoes I’ve tested that almost look cool and purposeful to wear. Castelli claims that they’ll up your aero credentials too.
Of course, low bulk means less insulation, but the Castelli Pioggia 3s are warmer than you might expect. There’s a fleecy inside surface to the material, while the outside is completely windproof and waterproof. The close fit helps trap warm air against the foot.
They’re plenty warm enough for the typical UK winter temperatures of around 5°C and I’d be happy to use them down towards freezing.
The Castellis are thin and stretchy and offer a close fit. Simon Bromley / Immediate Media
Being fully waterproof and windproof, they’re not affected by rain or its associated windchill either. I rode on some very wet roads during testing and came back with the uppers of my shoes still completely dry inside and my feet comfortably warm.
The central seam up the front of the upper is taped on the inside for waterproofing and the sturdy waterproof zip is out of the way of road spray at the rear.
To stop rain running down your leg and into your shoes, there’s a stretchy top cuff with lots of overlap, a silicone band and a wide Velcro closure.
With two large holes for the cleats and the heel, any overshoe will let water in eventually if it’s wet out. But Castelli’s holes are quite small and hemmed with elastic, so they tend to sit close against the shoe, limiting water ingress.
Unlike the Rapha Overshoes also tested, I didn’t find that the fabric got in the way of cleat engagement, due to the low bulk of the material used.
The cut-outs aren’t too big and the elastic hems help keep water out. Simon Bromley / Immediate Media
In older versions of the Pioggia, the upper fabric wrapped under the instep, leading to rapid wear. On the Pioggia 3, there’s a properly reinforced base, albeit one still made from thin material.
As long as the heel of your shoe protrudes enough that you’re not regularly walking directly on the overshoes, the latest Pioggias should be reasonably durable and cope well with walks to the cafe stop mid-ride.
In summary, I reckon that the Castelli Pioggia 3 overshoes are one of the few options that I’d actually want to wear on a damp winter ride, rather than donning them out of necessity.
Yes, they’re a bit less warm than some overshoes, but their low bulk, close fit and high cuff almost make them look stylish – and maybe a bit aero too.