A polyurethane, or ‘PU’ coated overshoe has some ability to shrug off the rain, but this a product more likely to be billed as ‘water resistant’ than ‘waterpoof’.
While this isn’t always the case – the Pearl Izumi Pro Barrier WXB pictured below has taped seams, for example – the greater designation can’t be accurately applied to any overshoe, given the cleat holes in the sole. Neoprene, perhaps, has a greater claim to keeping out the rain than this lighter fabric, regardless of construction.
Lightness, however, is something that will appeal to any rider hoping to avoid the appearance, and sometimes feel, of wearing wellington boots when out on the bike.
While it’s unlikely to be as insulating as neoprene, the PU overshoe offers far superior breathability. “They’re great for people who run warm,” says Ritchie, “or for use in cool, but dry conditions”.
As well as forming an obvious barrier between your shoe and the wind, this type of overshoe is also likely to be lined (the PRO Tarmac H20 pictured on the following page has micro-fleece inside, for example), offering a second source of insulation.