Drawing on its experience of producing wetsuits, Huub has made a pair of overshoes perfectly equipped to take on the toughest conditions, but the fabric itself isn't the toughest and needs extra care.
Fabric not as tough as some
By Simon Smythe
A company that started out making wetsuits, British brand Huub is now making a splash with its new range of cycling clothing – and with that experience it's in a particularly strong position to make a very good pair of winter cycling overshoes.
In the Huub Neoprene Winter Overshoes I’ve found a worthy successor to my trusty pair of Endura Freezing Points which, up until the arrival of the Huubs, had kept my feet warm and dry since 2018. That’s good going for overshoes, whose lives are usually nasty, brutish and short thanks to the sustained attack of front wheel spray, road scuffing and endless dragging over jagged cleats. However, although the Huub overshoes are every bit as excellent as the Enduras in their performance, I can't see them lasting as long: the thin, stretchy skin over the Neoprene foam is easily damaged unless you're very careful putting them on and taking them off and keep them away from sharp objects such as chains and chainrings.
Huub Neoprene Winter Overshoes: construction
Huub has raised the stakes by making the cuff taller than the average overshoe (with the exception of Spatz) and certainly taller than my Enduras, though to be fair the new Endura Freezing Point II is cut higher than the original.
Neoprene is the perfect fabric for winter overshoes, being highly insulating and keeping feet warm even when water has seeped in. Huub’s is stretchier than average, and covered with a smooth skin to make the overshoes waterproof, while on the inside is a fleecy linking. The stretchiness means it's less of a wrestling match to get them on than with some overshoes, but I did find the fabric fragile, inadvertently 'puncturing' the skin, possibly from pulling it over a cleat when taking them off.
The cleat cutout is big enough to accommodate extremes of fore-aft position plus bigger types such as Speedplay, while the heel cutout is also perfectly sized so that the neoprene doesn’t get too trampled but still wraps around securely. The front seam has been moved slightly higher onto the top of the toe box so that’s it’s clear of the road surface when you put a toe down. All the seams are taped.
At the rear there’s the overshoe equivalent of a sewn-in tongue to seal the zip. This means you’re putting your shoe through a tube, which doesn’t cause a problem with low-profile road shoes, but bulkier SPD shoes could stretch the ‘tongue’ to its limit and possibly get stuck. Also, as I mentioned, it's not so easy to take them off again, and that risks damage to the fabric unless you're very careful.
There’s a Velcro strap at the top of the zip to take up any slack, but I found the fit around the calf was good enough thanks to the stretch in the neoprene.
The underside is reinforced with an abrasion-resistant grey fabric and there’s no fraying or wearing there. There are reflective strips up the back, and the silver Huub lettering is also reflective.
The size M/L supplied a nice, snug fit with size 10 road shoes, even though the size guide recommends XL/XXL for size 9-11.
Build quality is good: they’re nicely stitched and the Huub logo is not peeling despite a lot of stretching.
Huub uses the strapline ‘Now there’s no excuse’ with these overshoes and that sums it up neatly. I’ve worn them in wet and cold conditions and they’ve performed exceptionally well, making miserable weather much more bearable.
Huub says their temperature range is -5°C to 10°C and I’d agree with that. I haven’t suffered from cold feet at the lowest temperatures it’s safe to ride in – not quite -5°C but with windchill making it not far off. I also have worn them in drizzly rain at 10°C without overheating. Neoprene isn't known for being breathable, but they didn't get noticeably sweaty.
In heavier rain, the water tends to come in through holes in the soles of cycling shoes and there’s not much you can do about that, but the neoprene itself keeps water out, and the high cuff with good closure stops rain from getting in through the tops. When I rode through a flood, water did come in through the tops, but unless you had Wellington boot-high overshoes à la Spatz, that’s inevitable. I question whether super-high overshoes are really necessary anyway, since more water comes up through the sole than through the tops in really wet conditions.
Crucially, they keep your feet warm even when water gets in.
The Huub Winter Neoprene Overshoes are relatively high priced, £10 more than the Endura Freezing Point II. But they’re priced lower than deep winter overshoes from established premium brands such as Assos (Assos Assosoires Bootie Winter, £80) and Rapha (Deep Winter Overshoes, £70). The Spatz Roadman IIs are £84.99.
Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor on the magazine following an MA in online journalism (yes, it was just after the dot-com bubble burst).
In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends a bit more time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.
What's in the stable? There's a Colnago Master Olympic, a Hotta TT700, an ex-Castorama lo-pro that was ridden in the 1993 Tour de France, a Pinarello Montello, an Independent Fabrication Club Racer, a Shorter fixed winter bike and a renovated Roberts with a modern Campag groupset.
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