Extreme overshoes for all-weather riders who want to get out regardless of the conditions
If you’re an all-weather cyclist who wants to ride regardless of the conditions, the Spatz Pro Overshoes could be the solution you’ve been looking for. The shin-high design takes overshoes to the extreme, but the result is better than almost anything else out there – with a couple of niggles.
The key to warm and dry feet on wet winter rides is protecting your socks. As soon as moisture reaches any part of your sock, the wicking properties will pull it through and in no time your socks will go from dry to drenched. Many overshoes are impermeable yet also vulnerable to rain water running down your leg and into your socks, soaking your feet without the overshoes themselves ever leaking.
The Spatz Pro Overshoes are intended to solve that problem with their extra-long length and stretch fit. The team behind them apparently includes Olympians, professional cyclists, a Special Forces veteran and an Everest climber, who between them arguably know a thing or two about gear that works.
There are many smart features. There is no zip to leak or fail; the toe and heel are reinforced for durability when walking; there are silicone grippers both top and bottom. Spatz claims the neoprene used is ‘the finest on the planet’ and has a water-dispersing lining and a water-repellent outer layer. As a hater of turbo training, I was excited when I first heard about these.
“They’re completely windproof as well as being pretty warm, and the neoprene fabric proved to be completely waterproof”
Spatz are very easy to get on. You pull them up before putting on your shoes, then pull them down over the heel, then the toe, and then fasten them underneath with the stretchy velcro tabs, which give a good fit while leaving plenty of space around your cleats. They sit lightly, not pinching your calves (though I admit, mine are pencil-like), and they don’t ever slip.
The soft neoprene makes a surprising difference when riding. Spatz are very supple and you barely know you’re wearing them. They’re completely windproof, of course, as well as being pretty warm, and proved to be completely waterproof in themselves.
However, worn over your tights, Spatz are not foolproof. In heavy or sustained rain, your leg wear becomes the limiting factor. My Castelli Nanoflex leg warmers are two winters old and, despite being re-treated, are far from as water resistant as they were from new. Light rain and spray is fine, but anything more and they soak through in around half an hour. In the Spatz, this meant that water penetrating at the knees made its way down through the thermal lining of my leg warmers and reached my socks, which became soaked within a few miles.
The solution is to wear Spatz under your tights. This is slightly more faff but no less comfortable. Worn this way they completely seal your socks. Velotoze can also achieve this and for a much lower price, but they are a living hell to get on and off, create more condensation inside and provide no insulation, so you will need a good set of warm overshoes on top. That’s an effective combination but little cheaper than Spatz and real hassle for commuting – 20 fights per week with Velotoze is probably against the Geneva Convention.
The Spatz aren’t perfect, though. They aren’t fleece-lined and I only found them warm enough down to 2-3 degrees, so you may need extra overshoes for sub-zero days. Also, there are no reflective details on the back, which seems like a strange oversight, and I’d like to see the heel protection extended further around to guard against brushes with cranks and chainstays. This pair is already damaged in that area and look like they’ll wear through in a few months, so check how much heel clearance you have if you’re a bit duck-footed.
In spite of a couple of niggles, these are still the outright best overshoes I’ve used, out of dozens over the years. They’re pretty warm, comfortable, and extremely effective against foul weather. A revised version could be close to perfect if you want all-weather overshoe protection.
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