Ideally suited to British conditions, the Pearl Izumi Elite Softshell overshoes will keep your toes cosy down to around freezing and your shoes dry through the odd unexpected shower. The Kevlar-reinforced sole makes them durable, although we weren’t convinced by the decision to eschew a rear zip in favour of Velcro.
Vulnerable to heavy rain
Awkward rear closure
The sister product of the excellent Elite Softshell gloves we reviewed recently, we were glad to find that the Pearl Izumi Elite Softshell overshoes delivered similar levels of performance during rides in inclement weather.
Just like the gloves, these overshoes offer great protection from the British winter. The 3-layer softshell fabric which covers much of the upper of the overshoes is the same material to that used in the Pearl Izumi Pro Softshell jacket, so it was no surprise that our were feet warm and cosy down to around freezing, even while wearing cheap trainer socks instead of more expensive thermal socks.
As far as wet weather protection goes, Pearl Izumi are not making any claims that these overshoes will keep your feet bone-dry through long rides in constant rain, instead saying they are suitable for “light rainfall”. From our experience this seems pretty much spot-on, with our feet remaining dry through the odd passing shower, but succumbing to the conditions after half an hour to an hour of persistent rain.
Probably the most eye-catching feature of the Pearl Izumi Elite Softshell overshoes is the method of rear closure, which uses Velcro instead of the zip you usually see adorning the back of overshoes. The upside of this design is that you can adjust the rear to ensure a comfortable fit. However we found this system made the overshoes difficult to secure (unless you have a friend to help) occasionally leaving a gap at the cuff allowing water to trickle in.
Aside from this there is little to fault. The soles are reinforced with Kevlar making it exceptionally durable, withstanding the numerous walks in and out of cafes that we subjected them to, and the reflective elements on the front and rear are a nice touch for nighttime riding.
For more details visit the Pearl Izumi website (opens in new tab).
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Henry Robertshaw began his time at Cycling Weekly working with the tech team, writing reviews, buying guides and appearing in videos advising on how to dress for the seasons. He later moved over to the news team, where his work focused on the professional peloton as well as legislation and provision for cycling. He's since moved his career in a new direction, with a role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.