DexShell’s Heavy Duty Overshoes offer pretty much everything that you could want from an overshoe; they are robust, water resistant, warm and, best of all, easy to get on. They won't hold off the water as well as a smooth neoprene overshoe, but they are more durable.
Easy to get on
Not as resistant to water as smooth neoprene
There’s nothing worse than cold, wet feet on a winter ride. For those who really suffer, a post-ride shower isn’t always inviting either; if your feet have gone beyond a certain point, a warm shower induces extreme pain as the blood rushes back to the feet.
Years of training and racing in miserable conditions have led me to the conclusion that three ‘essentials’ can realistically avoid foot ‘trauma’. Firstly, a front mudguard to divert road spray and keep the feet dry for longer. Secondly, a pair of merino socks to provide an insulating layer and sense of cosiness for the foot. Lastly, but probably most importantly, a pair of quality overshoes. And DexShell's Heavy Duty Overshoes certainly aren't a bad shout here.
The 90% Neoprene, 10% Nylon fabric has a ‘roughed-up’ surface. According to DexShell, this makes them more abrasion-resistant. While I haven’t been throwing myself on the tarmac to test this, I have been impressed with the seemingly untouched surface appearance despite heavy use over the last six weeks.
Many neoprene overshoes, for example Huub’s (opens in new tab) or dhb’s (opens in new tab), have a smooth surface which can be easily scuffed, or even ‘rubbed away’ if the shoe brushes repeatedly against a crank, for example. DexShell’s, however, don’t even retain a mark when compressed by a sharp object.
The underside 'strap', toe and heel feature thicker, stiffer, abrasion-resistant panels. These double-up in purpose; increased durability for high contact areas, and a grippier surface for increased friction off the bike. The textured element, providing grip, is incorporated within the fabric- almost a roughed up weave, so there’s no danger of it peeling off.
The full-length, rear zip has an internal baffle, and external reflective detailing. It’s all 100% waterproof. While the zip does ‘lock’, DexShell has included a tab to cover it too. There's a loop at the base to help hold the overshoe in place while it's being zipped up. A decent reflective strip finishes off the rear.
The cuff is an elastic affair, lined with silicone to hold it snug against the leg.
Hems are elasticated and appear faultless, well-finished and suitably positioned.
DexShell has added reflective logos on the sides of the overshoes too. They seem to be printed on, so more durable than something that is stuck on (and prone to peeling off).
It's worth pointing out that DexShell back all its products with a lifetime guarantee against manufacturing defaults.
Sizing and fit
DexShell offer the shoes in sizes S to XL. I’m a size 8/42 so, following their size chart (opens in new tab), opted to test a medium. It offers a very snug fit, just what I look for in an overshoe; it keeps drafts and water out and feels cosy too.
While the fit was snug, it was refreshing not to have to burn calories pulling the things on. Getting dressed for a winter ride is quite an undertaking, not to mentioned the removal of it all post-ride, when it’s potentially caked in mud and wet. For me, the DexShells are genuinely the easiest-to-pull-on overshoe I’ve ever used.
For me, the overshoes fitted really well; there were no excessively loose areas, even at the toe (where some reinforced panels can create an elf-like point). The elasticated cuff definitely helps to hold the shoe firmly in place when riding.
I was a huge fan of the length of the cuff, which is shorter than average. Some overshoes really feel stifling around the lower leg, building up moisture around the ankle in milder conditions. This wasn't an issue with here. The elastic didn't leave a mark post-ride either.
I would say that if you are hoping to get the shoes over something bulkier than a conventional road shoe, and you fall in the upper end of a size bracket, you should consider sizing up.
Temperatures during testing have ranged from 0°C to 10°C. At the lower end of this scale, teamed with some decent winter socks, my feet have never once being extremely cold. Nearer double figures, things were starting to get a little too warm; these are definitely not for rainy days in late Spring or early Autumn, unless you don’t mind sweaty feet.
Even when raining the overshoes still perform very well. Naturally, a cut-away sole means these can’t be waterproof. However, the hems sit so snug to the sole that they come very close to being water tight. I’ve ridden in some pretty horrific conditions and it's taken a decent amount of time for water to penetrate to the shoe (yes, I do have mudguards).
Only after a couple of hours in continuous rain could I sense dampness. I can't be sure where exactly it was getting in, or if it was penetrating the actual fabric. Certainly, the fabric isn't as good as a smooth surfaced neoprene (which seems impenetrable); water will get through it.
However, a damp warm foot beats a damp cold one; the DexShells offer some serious windproofing to help here. I’d say the website is playing down (or at least not shouting out about) the quality of cold weather protection that these overshoes actually offer.
I will admit to being a bit of a photography geek when out on my bike, regularly getting on and off the bike for shots, so these have had a decent amount of walking to handle too. They aren’t showing a single sign of wear to date. Indeed, all the photos in this review were taken at the end of the test period, rather than the start.
DexShell have certainly pitched the price well, especially given the outstanding quality and reliable performance of the overshoes. I’d say they are a steal at £37. By comparison, Huub’s Neoprene Winter Overshoes have an RRP of £59.99, and may not be as durable. Sportful (opens in new tab) offer a very similar bootie to DexShell’s for £45.
Overall, DexShell deserve recognition for a great bit of kit that does exactly what it should with no compromises in quality - and without the price tag of some premium overshoes.
- Materials: 90% Neoprene, 10% Nylon
- Sizes: S-XL
- Contact: upgradebikes.co.uk (opens in new tab)
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Emma’s first encounters with a bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling.
With a couple of half decent UK road seasons under her belt, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there, spending two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, working primarily as a domestique for Emma Johansson. When Redsun folded, Emma was offered the opportunity to ride with a newly formed Belgian team and home to the first year senior and budding rider Anna Van Der Breggen.
After retiring, Emma returned to teaching, setting up her own tutoring business. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. While the road bike remains her true passion, she has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been sightings of Emma off-road, on mountain and gravel bikes… As if all of this isn't enough, she's been working as a freelancer since 2005, testing and reviewing the latest kit and sharing her insight into the sport.
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