I often find with overshoes that, despite their clear benefits in winter, they are often both difficult to put on and when they are on, they can sometimes shift or slip, especially if being worn with full-length winter tights.
That’s not the case with the Squadras. They are as easy to put on as regular socks, with plenty of elasticity within the lightweight windproof fabric, made up of 80 per cent polyester and 20 per cent elastane, allowing them to stretch around your shoe in a natural position, rather than having to force your feet into a thick, static material.
The overshoes have roughly the same elasticity as arm and knee warmers, and that makes them considerably more supple than the neoprene overshoes are common. The material is fairly thin but the underside of each overshoe is made up of a thicker and far more durable polyester and polyurethane mix that offers additional protection when walking or just unclipping at a set of traffic lights.
There are two separate fastening mechanisms on the rear of the overshoe. One is a regular zip, which finishes just above the heel of your shoe, and the other is a large velcro fastening above the zip, which offers a more adjustability as to the fit around the back of the overshoe. I really like this fastening system. As somebody with big calves but small ankles, I often find that overshoes can slip down my ankle, but that hasn’t happened with these, despite being used for three-plus hour rides in wind, rain and variable temperatures.
On the edges of the zip are reflective high-visibility strips – a well-thought out addition as overshoes can cover any reflective detail at the bottom of winter tights. The strips themselves are fairly wide, so provide good visibility for when riding in low light conditions.
The fit around the shoe is very good, being tight but not restrictive. The Squadras wrap naturally around the shoe, allowing for some definition to come through and not giving your feet the unnatural proportions that sometimes come from wearing thicker alternatives.
In terms of performance, I have worn the Squadra overshoes down to around minus four degrees and at around zero degrees in freezing rain, and they have performed admirably to keep the wind and rain out effectively. I’ve used them in both snow and rain and always came away with dry feet and have been really impressed with how they kept everything out.
That being said, the overshoes themselves are not especially warm in truly cold conditions, despite the excellent fabric. That’s because the material itself is relatively thin with only a slim layer of fleece lining. That’s the main drawback of the Squadra overshoes when compared to thicker/neoprene alternatives, which may lack the ease of application but do allow for more insulation throughout a long ride.
As a result, I found after around two hours of riding in very cold conditions that my toes were certainly feeling the cold. That hasn’t been a problem on shorter, faster rides, and won’t necessarily be an issue in mild winter conditions or during spring and autumn, and by adding a second pair of socks (without restricting blood flow, mind) the overshoes worked well enough to keep my feet warm in freezing weather.
Moving on and the elasticity of the fabric, and the low bulk that makes the overshoes so easy to put on, could raise a question mark over long-term durability. I had one or two scuffs develop on the overshoes after a few rides which could develop into a rip or tear. That said, after several long rides in challenging conditions they are still in good condition but it’s something to keep an eye on.
The Vermarc Squadra Windtex Overshoes are very impressive. They’re easy to put on thanks to a good fit and stretchy fabric, and offer effective windproofing and water resistance against the elements. They’re not the warmest overshoes on long, freezing rides but, thanks to the low bulk, excellent fit and weatherproofing, I’ve preferred to use them over overshoes with more natural insulation. At £47.99 the Squadra Windtex Overshoes are a significant investment but are a very worthwhile addition to the kit drawer if you’re determined to ride through bad weather.