Rapha Winter Overshoes review – and the great zip debate

A surprisingly warm and waterproof overshoe for its weight that will suit those who hate fiddling with zips

Image shows a rider wearing Rapha's Winter Overshoes.
(Image credit: Future)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

As you would expect from Rapha, the materials and finish of the Winter Overshoe are high quality and its performance is excellent for such a low bulk shoe. The zip-less design has its merits but also takes some getting used to and is likely to win it as many enemies as friends.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Low bulk and weight

  • +

    High quality materials and finish

  • +

    No awkward or uncomfortable zip

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    A challenge to get on and off

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As a brand known for both the design as well as function of its products, you might have thought that Rapha would keep away from putting its name on something as unstylish as an overshoe. But rather than shy away, it's stepped up with the zip-less Winter Overshoe.

How would Rapha’s offering compare with the rest of the best cycling overshoes we’ve had on test?  

Rapha Winter Overshoes: construction

Image shows the Rapha Winter Overshoes

Cosy-toesies

(Image credit: Rachel Sokal)

The Rapha Winter Overshoes are made from a three-layer fabric, with fleece lining on the inside and a waterproofed layer on the outer. All of the seams are taped internally to ensure waterproofing.

The sole of the overshoe is reinforced with Kevlar to protect the fabric when walking in and out of the café.   

Round the ankle is a broad elasticated gripper strip – but there’s no zip. Instead, you fasten under the sole of your shoe with a broad Velcro strip. The stretch of the fabric accounts for the rest of the fit.

Style-wise, these are very understated – especially in black. If you’re more daring than me and are after more visibility, then they’re also available in pink. The black version has a broad white, reflective panel down the rear for brightness.

As you’d expect from Rapha, the materials, construction and finishing of the overshoes is really high quality.

Rapha Winter Overshoes: Fit

Different from most other overshoes the Rapha Winter Overshoes don’t have a zip and so you put them on before your shoes rather than close over them. This feels strange although this could be as much to do with it just being a different approach to what I’m used to. It does save some straining and fiddling over the back of your shoe (I’ve had several zips on other overshoes fail at this strain point) and removes the potential discomfort of the zip against your leg.

Putting the overshoe on is tricky but getting the overshoes off is even harder; the silicon gripper did a far too good job of holding onto my ankle. Half the time I resorted to getting someone else to pull it off for me.  None of these things are ideal if you’re really wet and cold and just want to get in.

Rapha Winter Overshoe

Look Mum! No zips!

(Image credit: Rachel Sokal)

There are four sizes of Winter Overshoes covering EU shoe sizes 36-47. The medium size (for EU shoe size 39-41) covered my sized 41 Specialized road shoe nicely with room to go either way. Sizing is going to be as much about your shoes than it is of the overshoe of course and is definitely something to check especially if you have several sets of shoes.

I’ve got skinny ankles and the non-adjustable ankle gripper was on the large side for me. It’s something to keep your eye on if you have large ankles / calves as it could be too tight and uncomfortable.

Rapha Winter Overshoes: The ride

Rapha Winter Overshoe

Dry inside

(Image credit: Rachel Sokal)

The Rapha Winter Overshoe provided much more warmth than I expected, it’s certainly not a bulky overshoe (weighing 106g for a medium pair). With my standard thin socks on my feet were plenty warm enough in temps of 5-10 degrees celcius and I’d be happy to wear on colder days.

Levels of waterproofing are good and my feet have stayed nice and dry on wet rides. In terms of performance, there's not really anything negative to say. 

They’ve held up well through testing and don’t have any obvious signs of wear aside from some dirty marks on the white panels. They’re washable at 30 degrees celcius, although the most I’ve bothered with is a cold water rinse to take the worse of the muck off them. 

The underside of the overshoe does tend to creep onto the grips of my shoe so I expect that it will soon wear through. I think this is more an issue with the design of my shoe than the overshoe as the heel curves round into the sole. 

Rapha Winter Overshoe

Velcro fastening underneath rather than the standard rear zip

(Image credit: Rachel Sokal)

Rapha Winter Overshoes: Value and conclusion

As you’d expect from Rapha the Winter Overshoes come in at the top end of prices, setting you back $75 / £55. Price-wise this makes them comparable to the more robust Sportful WS Reflex Bootie ($75.00 / £59.99).

The Rapha Winter Overshoes are well performing warm and waterproof shoe covers. If you dislike the zips and itchy Velcro closures on most overshoes you’re going to love it; if not, putting your overshoes on before your shoes will likely drive you mad.

Rapha Winter Overshoes: Specs

  • Main fabric: 87% polyester, 13% elastane
  • Colours: Black with white panel, pink with black panel
  • Sizes: small (EU 36-38) to XL (EU 45-47)
  • Contact: www.rapha.cc (opens in new tab)

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