When the weather gets nasty, Specialized’s Neoprene Shoe Covers are a helpful piece of kit to have. They pull over road shoes relatively easy, with a big, zippered opening in the rear and holes for both cleats and heel pads.
The toes and hole edges are reinforced for the additional wear and tear those areas usually receive. And Velcro flaps keep the zippers in place once the booties are on.
Reinforcements around the cleat and heel holes should extend the life: Ben Delaney/Future Publishing
Reinforced areas at the cleat and heel cover shoulder extend life
What’s unique about these is the Velcro flap on the side of the shoe, which allows access to the buckles for fit adjustment without removing the whole cover. The flap doesn’t peel back, it just opens a relatively thin gap in the neoprene.
It works best with Specialized shoes with Boa closures, since the quarter-sized (or pound-sized, for you Brits) circular dials turn one way to tighten and the other to loosen. For ratcheting straps, the access flap works okay; for Velcro straps, not so much.
Our size large pair fit well over size 45 shoes through the body of the shoe and above the ankle, but the area in between was a bit loose and floppy. This didn’t restrict pedaling movement, it just felt – well – floppy. Silicone grippers at the top keep the booties in place.
A side flap allows for shoe adjustment without removing the booty. this works best with boa dials, though, not velcro or ratcheting straps: Ben Delaney/Future Publishing
A side flap allows for shoe adjustment without taking the cover off
Like most neoprene overshoes, the Specialized pair adds a welcome layer of insulation on very cold days but can cause your feet to sweat on cooler rides. Use them accordingly.
And while they are highly water resistant, perhaps even waterproof, they aren’t magic. If you’re caught in a downpour with water rolling down your legs, it will end up in your shoes. But you’ll still have much warmer feet than you would without the overshoes on.
Specialized’s neoprene shoe covers keep the elements out: Ben Delaney/Future Publishing
There is a bit of loose fabric around the ankle
We wore them on a number of test days, including during a snowstorm when our fingers kept going numb in enormous ski gloves. Or toes ended up a little cold by the end of a two-hour ride, but our feet generally stayed warm in thin wool socks and standard road shoes.
Reflective elements round out the overshoes, plus the requisite branding from the Big S.
Suggested improvements would be more and less flap: wider openings for the access flaps, and a tighter feel with less material through the ankles.
Specialized’s neoprene shoe cover: Ben Delaney/Future Publishing