Santini Neo Optic Shoe Covers - review - Road Cycling UK

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Shoe Covers

Santini Neo Optic Shoe Covers – review

Cosy neoprene-based overshoes ideal for the freezing cold but less suited to mild winter rides

Shoe covers, or overshoes, are a vital staple of a winter rider’s wardrobe, protecting your feet and shoes from the grizzly cold and wet winter weather. Buy the right ones, and you needn’t fear numb and painful toes even when the temperature drops near zero.

Santini’s Neo Optic shoe covers are go-anywhere shoe covers ideal for deep winter, with a thick neoprene construction to aid warmth retention, alongside a snug fit and reflective features to aid visibility – though that reflectivity isn’t quite as effective as it could be.

The use of neoprene certainly has its benefits – naturally thermal, it’s also flexible, and so lends itself to a tight yet comfortable and moulded fit around the shoe. Despite wearing UK size 11.5 Fizik shoes, a large was a perfect fit once on, albeit slightly tight to fit around the Look Keo cleats we used during our testing.

The Santini Neo Optic overshoes are made from a robust windproof and water resistant neoprene

However, neoprene isn’t especially breathable when the weather’s mild, and this is a classic case in point. Even in temperatures ranging between five and ten degrees, we found our socks became at least damp, with the outer of the shoe bearing the signs of condensation when we removed the covers.

  • Specification

  • Price: £49.99
  • Sizes: S-XL
  • Size tested: L
  • Website: Santini
  • UK distributor: Zyro-Fisher

That aside, during very cold weather the Neo Optic shoe covers are excellent. That lack of breathability is actually welcome in frigid weather, sealing you off from the outside. The underside is covered in a tough textured rubber, which helps cover holes in your shoe sole and protect the shoe and shoe cover as a whole. The inclusion of welded seams in the neoprene body aids this barrier, stopping any kind of draught from sneaking in.

Those seams also aid the water repellency of the covers, which is impressive. Splashback and showers are easy dealt with, although a prolonged deluge does push the limit of their capability.

However, even though your feet could become damp, it’s worth noting neoprene’s ability to retain warmth regardless, stopping cold air ingress by creating an effective windproof seal around your feet.

The Neo Optic covers, as the name suggests, also focus on keeping visibility to the fore. While undeniably black, the rear is covered in a reflecting honeycomb-like pattern, as well as a rear reflective heel tab.

Both work well to boost visibility, both to the rear and sides, although it must be said the honeycomb pattern isn’t nearly as bright as the heel tab, which is a shame when the idea is to be seen as clearly as possible.

The shoe covers also feature a high-quality zip and Velcro tab fastening system, alongside heel and underside hoops to help you pull them into the perfect position around your cleats.

All are comfortable and suit their purpose perfectly, with clean and straight fitting, although during the first couple of uses the zips were very stiff to pull up. This eased over time, and no doubt is in part due to the snug fit and neoprene underside tabs which help keep out draughts at the rear under the zip – but it remains one of the more fiddly aspects of using the Neo Optic covers.

Santini have used a waterproof zip at the rear and added plenty of reflective detailing

However, it’s the price you pay for an effective seal from the outside elements, and once on they’re very effective. Actually, the price you do pay is £49.99 – a touch expensive but, in reality, worth the money for a set of overshoes which have proven bulletproof thus far.

Conclusion

If you don’t mind the slightly sweaty nature of neoprene, or you’re after a set of cold weather shoe covers that can deal with everything but the very worst the rain gods can throw at a cyclist, the Santini Neo Optic shoe covers are a great option.

Pros

  • Excellent warmth
  • Snug, secure fit
  • Hard-wearing

Cons

  • Sweaty in mild conditions, so not a three-season option
  • Visibility pattern could be more reflective

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