Unlike most cycling shoe covers, Gore's Universal City Gore-Tex Overshoes are designed to be compatible with regular shoes, so are ideal for commuters who ride in their work shoes and want to keep their feet dry and shoes clean ready for the office. You pay top dollar for this, though – £60 is a lot to part with when many other brands have waterproof offerings for around the £35 mark (Altura's Night Vison City overshoes, for example).
The Gore-Tex fabric used here, with fully taped seams, does mean these do a very good job of keeping wind and rain out, with water beading well on the outer. They are also quick and easy to put on and take off, which is often not the case with overshoes.
The overshoes are simply constructed, with a broad 7cm-wide Velcro closure at the back – no zips to battle with. The ankle cuff is elasticated to reduce water running down inside, and the open sole has an abrasion-resistant Kevlar surround that comes up around the heel. There is no reinforcement at the toe or heel though, and the Gore-Tex shell is quite thin, so they're not likely to be super-durable – though they are designed just for short jaunts around town.
The advantage of their lightweight construction is that they fold down to nothing and tip the scales at a measly 90g the pair, so you can pop them in your bag once you whip them off at your destination.
They're suitable for year-round use, but are best for milder days because they don't have any insulation. When it was mild and wet I did get a little moisture build-up inside if working hard riding uphill, but I didn't notice it until I took them off, and they are designed for stop-start city riding rather than tough training rides.
A broad elastic strap across the mid-sole keeps them secure, leaving the ball of your foot open so you could wear them with cleats if you chose to use cycle shoes. Their roomy cut does mean they would be quite baggy over road shoes, less so with mountain bike designs maybe. My feet are a size 39-40 and I tested the S-M size, which is 38-41, and it was just large enough to fit over chunky trainers.
One gripe I have is the minimal reflective details – just two small logos and a little L and R on the inside, rather than outside, of the ankle to indicate which is for which foot. For something designed for urban riding, I'd expect a lot more reflectivity to make them really show up at night. There is a neon yellow version which is high-vis for daytime use, but it won't help in the dark.
So, a well-performing overshoe but missing a trick as far as safety goes, and very expensive at full price. You can find them discounted, but they're still not exactly a bargain.
Waterproof overshoes for the well-heeled man or woman about town
road.cc test report
Make and model: Gore Universal City Gore-Tex Overshoes
Size tested: 6-8, S-M
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Gore says: "These waterproof, windproof and breathable GORE-TEX® overshoes fit easily over cycling or leisure shoes."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Main: 100% Polyester
Shell: 55% Polyamide (Nylon), 35% Polyurethane, 10% Kevlar
Open soles framed by abrasion resistant material
Reflective details at front, back and side
Back Velcro width adjustment
Ideal to wear with cycling and leisure shoes
Reflective transfer print to mark right and left
Lightweight material for easy storage
Do a very good job of keeping rain and road spray out.
Hard to say for the short time I've been using them, but fabric is quite thin.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Machine wash 30.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Did a good job of keeping rain and road spray out.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The generous fit allows you to wear them with normal shoes.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of reflective details, steep price.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Not at full price.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Not unless price was very reduced.
Use this box to explain your score
They do a great job of keeping out the weather and have the key selling point of fitting non-cycling shoes, but they are very expensive. They're also a bit lacking in terms of reflectives. In pure performance terms, for keeping your feet dry and your shoes clean, I'd give them 8 or maybe 9, but that high price and lack of reflectives means I can only score them an 'above average' 6.
About the tester
I usually ride: Marin Point Reyes 29er My best bike is: Giant Anthem X1
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, mountain biking, audax