Neoprene rubber gives the Rapha Overshoes warmth and waterproofing without too much bulk. They look smart, although if you opt for the pink version it takes frequent washing to keep them that way.
Neoprene usually makes for rather a bulky and stiff overshoe, but Rapha has avoided this, and these overshoes are not so thick that you notice any resistance to movement as you pedal. They’re also fabric faced rather than having a smooth, shiny outside, so you have much less of a frogman look about you.
The tops have a single taped seam up the front and a long reversed rear zipper, along with a Velcro strap to help stop the zip from coming undone as you ride.
The fit around the top isn’t that close, so you may find that you get water ingress when riding in the wet, unless you wear your overshoes under your tights.
Another result of their relatively flexible construction is that the Rapha Overshoes are easier to get on and off than some alternatives.
The pink option is certainly eye-catching, but it gets dirty very quickly. Simon Bromley / Immediate Media
Rapha’s cleat hole is quite small and I found that even using Look cleats I had to be careful to position them correctly. This is likely to be even more of an issue with the larger Shimano road cleats.
The fabric also tended to cushion engagement with the pedal and I often had to check that the cleat was properly locked in when starting out.
There’s a sewn seam around the cleat hole, which has quickly shown signs of wear and tear. On the plus side, the smaller hole helps prevent water ingress for a bit longer than overshoes with a wider aperture.
The heel hole fared better though, and is well positioned.
The rest of the base is made of tough Kevlar fabric. It’s a lot less prone to wear, although the section under the toe does mean that the overshoes don’t sit flush with the front of the shoe, giving a bit of a pointy-toed look.
The cleat hole is quite small. Simon Bromley / Immediate Media
You only have to ride through a few puddles for the pink overshoes to look very mud-spattered, so if you want to look your best, you’ll probably need to wash the Rapha overshoes after every ride.
Unfortunately they’re likely to look sad quite quickly, no matter how much care you take with them. There’s also a black version, which might fare better over time, although it’s considerably less eye-catching.
Warmth-wise, as you’d expect, the thinner neoprene means that the Rapha Overshoes aren’t quite the match for some of the alternatives. They’re fine for the usual southern UK winter (single figure temperatures), but they might be a bit too light to be comfortable in colder, wetter climes.