Time for the Rapha Overshoes – Warm and Stylish

The Rapha Overshoes have very clean lines with a nicely positioned logo on the outside of each foot

UPDATE: This morning Jorgen rightly called me on declaring the Overshoes watertight before wearing them in the rain. Tonight I put them to the test under the tap. I think Kurt got it right earlier today in the comments. Though some neoprene can be waterproof, open cell neoprene typically allows a little water to permeate the fabric, and that water stays warm when heated by the body. That was the case tonight. The inside of the overshoe got damp, but not wet after 10 minutes under the tap. I didn't detect any leakage through the zipper or top seam.

The mornings got chillier last week. The bedroom floor let me know the score the minute my feet touched ground... it was time to break out Rapha's Merino Hat and Overshoes. For the next four months both will see regular commute action in the season that passes for winter here in California. The Merino Hat is a proven performer, the Overshoes are new.

Getting in and out of overshoes is often their Achilles heel. You want a close fit, but don't want a profanity-laced, death struggle every time you wear them. Tug too hard and some designs come apart. Rapha have done a terrific job getting the fit just right with formidable stitching. I will say I opted to go with Medium even though the Rapha fit chart indicates the upper bound is a size 42 shoe, and I wear a 43.

Save time by leaving the overshoes on a pair of shoes right through the winter

The black neoprene comfortably accommodates a pair of Specialized BG S-Works with Look cleats. The full-length rear zipper runs collar to heel, and its the primary reason the overshoes are so easy to put on. That said I'm following Don Powell's advice and leaving the overshoes on these shoes for the duration. It's actually quite easy to get in and out the shoes without removing them.

I've yet to get them wet but the snug fit around the cleats and collar (the collar is secured with a velcro closure) leaves little doubt they'll perform admirably. Layered over ventilated summer shoes and winter socks they should be good down into the mid 40s. Below that you might pair them with a heavier shoe like Specialized's Defroster.

Having assured their function, Rapha delivers in the style department as expected. It's a refined look, almost formal with a very nicely placed logo on the outside of each foot and a reflective tab on the heel. Wipe the neoprene with a damp cloth and they should continue to look smart for several seasons depending on how much abuse you give them.

Stylish and warm

The Rapha Overshoes are available in black, (S,M,L) $70 | £50.00

29 Responses to Time for the Rapha Overshoes – Warm and Stylish

  1. jorgen says:

    Your title says “Warm, Dry and Stylish” – but you admit you haven’t really tested them: “I’ve yet to get them wet”

    Whats the point in writing about overshoes you haven’t really tested…?

    I am sorry but both you and mr. Palmer over at washingmachinepost seems to be heavily biased when presenting Rapha stuff nowadays…

    • That’s valid Jorgen. I will say they’re made of neoprene, so the material itself is waterproof and I did make it clear that the fit around the cleats and collar (above the ankle is snug). Overshoes typically fail to keep your feet dry when you do something silly (as I’ve done in the past) like have tall socks peek above the collar, which makes for a natural wick to suck water into your shoes. No overshoe, even if it was fabricated out of aluminum would survive that user error.

      As to giving Rapha an easy pass… I think I’m pretty selective in the first place. Even if Rapha send me clothing, which they do occasionally, it’s always the pieces I’m interested in AND of course, though the TAB is lagging behind a stack of receipts, I’m still a paying customer.

      How about I send you my pair (if they fit you) and you can provide a follow up come Spring about how dry or soggy your feet were wearing them? I’ll buy another. The Pearl Izumi pair I’ve worn most rainy days for the past two years commuting are shot. They were neoprene too.

      • jorgen says:

        I love that you take my comments seriously and reply in a sincere manner.

        I also appreciate your offer, although I would like to buy them myself, if I’m still in the market when the winter loosens its grip somewhere around april, back here in Norway.

        I’ve yet to buy / use stuff from Rapha that is useless or poorly made – I have a very high regard of their products (though I believe some items are truly overpriced).
        In other words – I have no reason to believe the overshoes doesn’t do the job. And they look stylish (your photos are amazing, as always), the price isn’t that bad either.

        The big problem is that you haven’t really tested them, so you can’t say for sure that they work. There might be some flaws in neoprene or whatever – you just don’t know if you haven’t tested them in the conditions they’re meant to perform in…that’s my big critique… and what’s the use of posting a “review”, then?

        If the big problem is lack of test conditions, I guess you could’ve improvised by using them while you shower or something ;)

        Your photos and writing is too good to be disregarded as being biased..

        PS: Please don’t post the Rain Jacket review before you’ve actually tested it in rainy conditions… :)

        • Again, just say the word and they’re on their way to you.

          I’m going to stand outside tonight and run the hose on them for ten minutes and see how they do, for an interim report.

          Agreed, no rain jacket impressions until its raining… I wore it last week on a cool dry day and thought it offered a tiny bit more warmth than my Stowaway, and since it’s cream colored, highly visible.

  2. Stefan R. says:

    looks like a 1to1 copy from “etxeondo”, funny.

    jorgen, I have the same feeling! ;))

  3. Malk says:

    O.K, I guess it doesn’t rain very often in California.

    We still need you to review the other stuff Michael.

    It’s not that you need to have tested it…it’s Rapha it works…the important thing is the photography, the Rapha website tends to be a bit sterile (very professional though it might be) the overshoes are a great case in point.

    You have a knack for bringing inanimate objects to life.

    Lets see you strike some poses in the Rapaha rain jacket.

    • Malk

      The Rain Jacket is upstairs waiting for the rains to start, and they will, just not on cue. We’ve had a day or two of drizzle but it just happened those were days I had to take the car.

      Soon I hope. Thanks for the photo credit ;-)


  4. BR says:

    M – What temp ranges would justify a move to an over shoe? In wet conditions would this product act as a barrier to rain as well as provide cooling for the foot? My experience with overshoes (aka “Booties” ;-)) is that in dry cold weather rides they over heat my feet and I sweat the shoes damp. In wet rides I end up with soaked shoes regardless and I never knew the mix between sweat & water. My bootie..sorry…overshoe experience was not with this fabric so it might be a case of old technology evolving to a product that does what is claims. Would it be fair to compare these to a bra for a car? In some conditions the bra holds road debris and actually interacts negatively with the paint finish. I guess that I would expect an overshoe to not keep me dry on a rainy ride but possibly act as a barrier to a lot of road debris that might harm the finish of my shoes. Is that fair?

    • It’s the extra warmth that has me reaching for overshoes more than the waterproofing. As I’ve written before my Specialized Defrosters (winter shoes) do a good job keeping my feet dry but they’re just not insulated enough. I’ve resisted buying any of the Frankenstein looking winter shoes as too clumsy. Last year the Defrosters plus Pearl Izumi overshoes did the trick on both counts provided I took extra precautions at the collar of the overshoe if it was really pouring. Rain likes to sheet down your shins and into the top of the overshoes unless they have a good, tight seal against your skin. On more than one occasion I actually ran a couple of turns of tape around the collar to ensure nothing got in. Alternatively when commuting I put on rain pants that ride over the shoe/overshoe… this is foolproof.

      I don’t have sweaty feet, and I never have problems with overheating.

      After responding to Jorgen this morning, I deliberately wore the Defrosters with two pairs of socks (rapha merion wool over Assos winter wool) and my right toes were damn cold by the time I got to the office. I’ll contrast that tomorrow morning with one pair of wool socks + S-Works shoes + Rapha Overshoes. I’m betting the overshoes keep my toes warmer.

  5. BR says:

    sorry….and leaving the shoe and overshoe together? You roll the overshoe to the mid-foot so you can get into the shoe, ratchet it closed, and then roll up and zip closed? Or can you ratchet the shoe closure with the over shoe on?

    • Actually with the Rapha Overshoe all I do is unzip the rear zipper all the way and I can slide my foot in. A shoe horn makes it easy to get my heel in. Before zipping up, I can pull the overshoe aside to use the Boa ratchet closure to tighten the shoe. Close the zip, and the velcro tab… and I’m ready to roll.

  6. BR says:

    what was the temperature when you rode this morning?

  7. kurt says:

    I bought the overshoes on spec when they were announced as “in stock”. I won’t need them until about January when the temp in Miami hits 40-45 in the morning. I wanted to avoid the “out of stock” situation when you want to make a purchase at the point of necessity. Last year I used toes caps that worked ok but required the use of packing tape to cover vents. The feet were cold at times and especially when wet. A full boot was needed.

    I used neoprene when it 1st appeared back in the early eighties on the down hill skiing scene as ski masks . This stuff is great, I am not sure you would call it waterproof nor do you need to define it as such. instead, it keeps you warm while wet.

    I have commuted in New England single digit temps during snowfall. Neoprene is fantastic.

    If you commute, you always get wet.If not from the outside, then from the inside.

    Neoprene keeps you warm while wet. What more could you want?

    I will give you my feedback when the temp drops…. in a couple of months or so.

    • Thanks Kurt. you were spot on with your comments and after a little testing the open cell neoprene in the overshoes behaved just as you said.

      You made another good point. Sometimes we have to make a decision to purchase based on spec, otherwise by the time we read reviews based on several months in the product, that product would no longer be in stock. The only place I used the term waterproof was in the comments, and I’ve struck that out for accuracy.

      As always the end result in this dialogue is better information. Thanks again for clarifying things this morning.

      • kurt says:

        The dialogue is what makes your blog interesting. Thank you for the platform.

        Hey, am I the ony one that noticed BR is back from some belated absence?

        • When Brendan disappears its a sure sign that he’s busy with his boys and probably working his way through a long list of chores. Hey BR we’re due for a ride soon !

          • BR says:

            Hey kurt – How’ya? It was a great Summer/Fall as I am getting the form back after a hiatus. It’s been hinted at a bit here and there on VeloDramatic but I had open heart surgery last December to repair an Aortic Aneurysm. It was not a shock to me and I knew about the possibility for 8 years before it had to be dealt with. The docs ordered me to stay out of the papers for a year and I certainly listened to them. It was a genetic problem isolated to one area and they solved the problem. I have been a spectator here mostly because the boss was busy chasing the Specialized goons to Vegas while hanging out of a van on twisty roads dodging the law, rubbing elbows with the industry leaders in Vegas, and then he was pretty much buried in his editing cave. Now that he is again living above ground we will certainly get some miles in and the stories will get salted in. We did ride up Hamilton http://mthamilton.ucolick.org/ a few weeks back and I do have some dirt on the boss. He posted the day after that he was tired and “lost the wheel”. What he didn’t mention was that he and his lovely wife were up til 3AM the night before eating brownies and plowing through 9 episodes of http://abc.go.com/shows/greys-anatomy Grey’s Anatomy? WTF? ? When I called 5 hours after he went to sleep to see if he was up for the ride he confessed the sins of the night before and still insisted on riding! It was my perfect chance to exact revenge…it was my chance to really have a level playing field on Hamilton for once. From this point on I will be bringing a plate of brownies over the night before we ride.

  8. Simon K says:

    I’ll test them!

    And living in Yorkshire in the UK they’ll get a fair test too!


  9. Dan says:

    I can’t see the Rapha overshoes not being watertight to be honest. I would find it hard to believe they would release to market a product that is not up to scratch.

    I’m thinking a pair of these may have to come way sooner rather than later, along with a Rapha Rain Jacket. Christmas coming and helping hands make the desirable more easily attainable ;o)

    My Lightweight Softshell Jacket as good as it is didn’t hold up to north west England’s finest downpour on Thursday on my ride home from work, what added insult to injury was leaving my overshoes at home that morning. Wet Sidi’s, are not recommended!

    How are you finding the switch to Look pedals?

    • Dan,

      I’ve got the Look pedals on the Cervelo, but haven’t ridden it much yet. There haven’t been too many weekend rides since I made the switch and weekdays my commute has a ton of traffic lights. It actually would make a good test with all the clipping and unclipping. I’ll get on it.

      I found the same with my LWSH, 20 minutes of steady rain and it soaked through, but it’s not designed to keep the heavy stuff out. It seems to do fine on damp, misty mornings.

      Just rode in to work on the Cervelo. Need a lot more practice clipping in with the Look pedals. I was 8/18 finding the pedal first time. With my A-520s I’m 19/20. There’s definitely a difference in the feel of the Looks with the composite cleat to composite pedal contact being a little less easy to “feel” Too early to draw any other conclusions.

  10. JP says:

    I have been riding with these overshoes for a month or so now in the New England autumn. Not fully waterproof, but what is? Biggest complaint is that the bottom of the overshoes have started wearing away already and i have holes in front of the cleat opening (I walk about 20 metres from my bike rack to office every day). It would be an easy area to put some extra reinforcement.

    • JP,

      That’s what did my pair of Pearl Izumi’s in eventually. The upper was fine but the soles were shot. The Rapha Overshoes are definitely intended to fit a road cleat. I have pulled them over my mountain shoes and there’s no question I’d be walking on the fabric a lot more (wearing them out much sooner).

  11. kurt says:

    I am glad to hear BR is back in the saddle and interesting insight on the lost wheel :)

  12. nigel says:

    Guys a few things. Firstly I’ll declare I am a big Rapha fan. Secondly I really can’t see the point in overshoes, for me they NEVER work and they wear out quickly. they always let water in, whether thats my shoes or not I don’t know (water spray from the road getting in underneath?). I recently bought a pair of Sidi goretex boots and they are great, completely watertight so long as you get a seal from water resistant bib tights over the top. Do yourselves a favour and instead of constantly buying overshoes (as they wear out) get some goretex boots. Thirdly the rainjacket is excellent. Properly waterproof and fairly breathable.

  13. Stefan says:

    for sure, Rapha makes cool cycling cloth. but “Made in China” a no go for me. for that there is TOO much hype around Rapha, for me.

    There are more companies around who make good and cool stuff, made in Europe.

  14. Mark Rushton says:

    Unfortunately it’s Eastern Europe. I say unfortunately for the reason that the kit is made there for reasons of economy not to create jobs for the locals. You never see the cost of the kit come down and indeed everyone seems to be heading towards the Assos/Rapha pricepoint, £600 for a Campag.jkt did I see recently?
    Best vfm seems to be Prendas in the UK and PRO or BBB are turning out some items at a fair price

  15. crronik says:

    I have the Rapha overshoes and have used them recently in Mid 40′s while on a central PA 65-miler and a New Paltz, NY 75-miler. They worked so well in both situations, although it was not raining either day….
    They do look fantastic.

  16. willy in pacifica says:

    Hey Michael,

    A couple buddies and I rode a 200k yesterday for my 48th month in a row of at least a 200k.

    I got my new Rapha rain jacket so thought I would give it a try since it really did not seem much thicker than the Stowaway. Plus, it is supposed to have a bit more breathabilty along the sides. It was a bit chilly in SF at the start but started to warm up by Petaluma but not quite warm enough to take the jacket off. By the time we hit Valley Ford I was still wearing it. Just one of those days where it was a bit warm with it on but it would be too chilly without it. But I do not think it would be any different with the Stowaway.

    By the time we hit Marshall it started to rain but it looked like it might not last to long. I jokingly told my buddies I was glad I brought the rain jacket as we all got hit with a couple raindrops. Well, by the time we hit Pt Reyes it was coming down pretty good and now I was really glad I had it. Not only to keep me dry but I would get a chance to see how it worked out. My buddies had windbreakers on and were getting cold. I think the jacket worked well as I could see the water beading up on the outside. I was already slightly damp inside I think from 90 miles of being warm so I cannot say for sure it kept water out but it looked to do the trick and I was not cold from the waist up. It rained the 50 miles back to SF and when I got back to the van my base layer was completely dry. That rear pocket came in handy for a place to put my long fingered gloves when I was off the bike.

    So I think it got a good test and I do not think the Stowaway would have worked as well. I am sure I have been soaked with the Stowaway on and it is a bit annoying as it clings to my body whereas the rain jacket did not.

    Now Gabi and I will have to tear the Speedvagen apart as it got wasted out there.