'Pioggia' is the Italian word for 'rain' and that tells you what these overshoes are all about. They're made from a polyurethane-coated fabric that won't let water through. And when I say that it won't let water through, it really won't. I scrunched one of these up and left a pool or tap water in the fabric and it was still there a day later. Of course, that's not real-world testing but, believe me, water doesn't soak through here.
The waterproofing extends to the front seam which is internally taped to prevent leaks and the YKK zip is waterproof too. Well, it's about as waterproof as zips get; virtually nothing gets past it and there's a storm flap behind it to provide further defence.
The fabric used for the main body is very stretchy so you can get a close fit all round and it moves easily with your ankle as you pedal. It's lined with a thin fleece layer to provide extra warmth.
Up top, rather than ending where most overshoes end, the Pioggia gets a Nanoflex extension. Nanoflex is a highly water-resistant, fleecy fabric that Castelli use, for example, in arm and knee warmers. It feels like a standard Roubaix fabric but water beads up and rolls off. It's not completely waterproof but it's a bonus here. You get extra warmth and weatherproofing higher up your leg than normal with no restriction to your movement.
The sole is enclosed with just a hole for your cleat to poke through, and it's pretty hard wearing. I've been using these on and off for a couple of months and there's barely a scratch on the bottom. Obviously, as with any enclosed overshoes, you'll want to keep walking to a bare minimum to avoid damage, but these will last yonks if you're just tip-tapping to and from your bike.
In showers and even steady rain, these will keep your feet dry, and they couldn't care less about road spray. If it absolutely hoses down, your feet will start to get damp sooner or later – that's just the way water is... it gets places. It soaks into tights and percolates down. But these keep it out as well as any overshoes I've used.
In terms of warmth, Castelli give these a temperature range of 8-14°C. I'd say they're doing themselves out of a couple of degrees there. I'm just back from a 6°C ride in these and I was perfectly comfortable and I'm neither built for the cold nor stoical. Any colder than that and I'd be thinking about ditching these in favour of some thick neoprene overshoes.
Very good overshoes with several high-quality features; they keep water out really well
road.cc test report
Make and model: Castelli Pioggia 3 Shoecover
Size tested: XL
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?
Here's what Castelli say, "The Pioggia shoe cover has been improved and updated with more stretch in the fabric, better waterproofing, and a light layer of fleece on the inside to make the bootie even warmer. It comes up higher on the ankle for even more protection.
- Polyurethane-coated waterproof seam-sealed fabric
- Nanoflex closure at ankle prevents water from entering shoe cover
- Welded waterproof zipper on side to keep water out
- Reflective detailing on front"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The Nanoflex section contains "silicone nanofilaments" to repel water. It looks and feels like many other fleecy fabrics, but water beads up and rolls off.
These have some really high-end features including
- a YKK waterproof zip with a puller that doesn't rattle
- a flap over the top of the zip, a bit like a chinguard that you find on mnay jerseys, to prevent damage to your tights
- excellent fabrics
- Hard-wearing sole
– Reflective trim front and rear
These keep the rain out as well as any overshoes I've used, and they provide a good level of warmth too.
The area that wears out first is usually the sole; the sole here is tough and should last for ages - I've been using these for 3 months switching between them and the Castelli Diluvios and the soles are still going strong. The zip is really good quality too so I don't see that packing up any time soon.
Some overshoes can feel restrictive as you pedal: these are supple so they don't. They also keep your feet dry longer than most others, which is where they really score.
Yeah, £55 is a lot to spend on overshoes but you're paying for genuinely useful features like the Nanoflex fabric and the YKK waterproof zip. These aren't bog-standard overshoes branded up with the Castelli logo.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They keep the rain out far longer than most overshoes. That's what they promise and that's what they deliver.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The level of waterproofing – and that's probably worth paying for if you live in the UK.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I'd be hard pressed to find any negatives in terms of the performance.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 41 Height: 190cm Weight: 75kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.