The Northwave Blade 2 overshoes, or Shoecover as Northwave like to call them, fall into the neoprene camp for overshoes. If you haven't come across this style of overshoe before it is basically like a wetsuit, water will eventually get through but the material should trap warmth and keep your tootsies toasty.
The material itself is 2.8mm thick all round and the XL provided a good close fit on my size 10s without being too snug. My usual commuting shoes just use Velcro closures but the Shoecover had plenty of room the buckle and ratchet on my fancier weekend shoes. There is a range of sizes from small to XXL.
The front cut out provides plenty of cleat clearance, big enough even for SPD-SL's which are probably the biggest cleats on the market. There is also a rear cut out for your heel block reducing damage to the overshoe when you're walking about. They are both reinforced which stops any fraying of the material.
Coming in a range of bright colours (red, blue and white outers with black inners) along with the standard all black, daylight visibility is good plus a reflective strip running either side of the zip adds some extra visibility during the hours of darkness. With your feet constantly moving this helps identify you as a cyclist from a fair distance and is eye-catching to drivers.
I had a few issues with the zip on the left one but once I found that I hadn't pulled the zip down true and rectified it, no more problems. The zips themselves work well, the large plastic tab allows you to do them up with gloves on and once up they don't drop when you start pedalling. A handy looped tab is also added to keep the overshoes taut as you pull the zip up.
Performance wise I was pleasantly surprised as they kept road spray and rain at bay for longer than my usual overshoes which cost twice as much. A lot of this is down to the snug fit around your leg, this is normally the weak link with any overshoe as water runs down your leg and into your shoe. On the occasions when water did get in my feet stayed warm and I only realised when I took my shoes off to find damp socks. Now that the winter in these southern parts has finally kicked in the Blade 2's are warm enough down to -2 or so worn with a pair of Woolie Boolies which is pretty good I reckon. When it got really chilly adding a pair of toe covers between shoe and overshoe, coped with -6 degrees no problem.
The Blade 2s are pretty spot on price wise and taking the performance into account they're good value for money. They should last pretty well to as after a decent period of daily use they still look the same as when they came out of the packet.
Good quality with impressive performance, plus enough colour options to match your bike or kit.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Northwave Blade shoecover
Size tested: XL, red/black
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?
The manufacturer's website is pretty sparse on info. The overshoe market is crowded and with some ludicrous prices on offer its good to see a quality product at a reasonable price
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
2.8mm thick neoprene with reinforced cleat holes
solid feeling zips and seams, everything looks finished to a good standard
Really good at keeping the wet out plus warmth is always there.
Plenty of riding, bit of walking and still no rips, tears or scuffs
Snug as a bug in a rug. Five sizes to choose from, S - XXL
Pretty much spot on against the competition
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very impressed with how they kept the water out plus the warmth when the water does get in is top notch.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fit and performance
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The zip issue was annoying until I sorted it.
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: 32 Height: 180cm Weight: 78kg
I usually ride: Genesis Flyer My best bike is: Ribble Gran Fondo
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.