Gore's Windstopper fabric is highly regarded, so it's no surprise that these Universal Windstopper Overshoes work brilliantly on those days when the temperature is low and an icy breeze is blowing. An exceptional build quality goes some way to justifying the high asking price. They're no longer to be seen on Gore's website, but are available to buy online at discount – so fill yer boots, as it were...
- Pros: Windproofing, excellent quality
- Cons: Price (though still cheaper than some out there), not fully waterproof
The entire overshoe is made from the Windstopper material, a windproof and breathable membrane, although the design uses panels of different depth around the foot. The front section, from the toe to the top of the overshoe, is much thicker than the rest, which makes sense as this is obviously the part of your foot that's going to be on the front line when it comes to the weather.
The panel that happens to be high-vis yellow (you can buy all-black if you prefer) is fleece-backed and probably twice as thick as the side and rear panels. If conditions are especially grim you can feel the difference in protection around the foot, which is why I found the Universals best when used in temperatures above 3-4°C.
Alongside the windproofing, the Windstopper fabric also has a durable water repellent (DWR) treatment. This keeps road spray and light rain out for a decent amount of time. Heavy downpours or really wet roads will see it breached eventually, but they're better than wearing a neoprene overshoe.
The main panel is 100% polyester and contains no elastane, so there isn't a lot of stretch available here, which makes them tougher to put on and take off than the Lusso Windtex Stealth overshoes I was testing alongside these. The side and rear panels do use 8% elastane so this helps the fit remain snug, and when pulling them over your heels.
Gore doesn't use a different material for the sole, with the side panels continuing around under the bottom, but there is plenty of reinforcing around the cleat cutout and the rear one to expose the heel bumper on your shoe.
The toe uses a more abrasion-resistant fabric to stop wear and tear here.
Rather than a pull-on design, the Gores have zips, but instead of them running up the back where they can clash with those on bib tights, they sit slightly to the side, avoiding any pressure points at the ankle.
Looking at value, the Gores are reassuringly expensive, priced at £54.99, although you can get some heavy discounting online with anything up to 50% – that makes them look a lot more appealing.
They aren't quite as appealing as the Lusso overshoes I was testing alongside these, though. The Lussos would get my vote, as they perform slightly better, especially in the wet, and are easier to get on and off. With an RRP of £30 they are cheaper too, but if you can get the Gore Universals for around the same money then they are a worthy competitor. If you're happy to spend a little more, Mat declared the Shimano S-Phyres he tested "exceptionally good", but they'll set you back £59.99.
Clever use of fabrics to create a lightweight pair of cool weather, windproof overshoes
road.cc test report
Make and model: Gore Bike Wear Universal Windstopper Overshoes
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
Gore says, "Ideal for the cold season: Extremely lightweight GORE® WINDSTOPPER® overshoes keep your feet wonderfully warm. They fit snugly on shoes for a close fit. A zipper on the back makes for easy off and on."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Reflective logo on side
Overshoe made entirely from GORE® WINDSTOPPER® fabric
Soft and versatile GORE® WINDSTOPPER® Product: windproof, water repellent and highly breathable
Reflective piping on back
Elastic back for maximum comfort and fit
Stick by the size guide and you won't go far wrong.
Quite expensive for overshoes – though not as much as some we've reviewed recently on road.cc.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Washing at 40 degrees is recommended, and it cleans them up pretty well. The high-vis yellow has got a few stains on it from really muddy rides, though, so black may be a better option.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Impressive windcheating performance from the Windstopper fabric.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Quite pricey at full rrp.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? At a discounted price...
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
These are very good overshoes, and on performance alone would score 8, but they're a bit expensive at rrp – just a fiver less than the excellent Shimano S-Phyres that Mat knocked a point off for their price. That leads me to give these a 7 overall. Find them at discount, though, and they're well worth considering.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Kinesis Aithien
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.