The SealSkinz Waterproof Cycle Over Socks offer lightweight protection against wind and rain and they take up little room if you want to store them in a rear pocket.
These fall somewhere between Belgian booties (over socks) and full-on neoprene overshoes.
Like SealSkinz' well known waterproof socks, they're a three-layer construction: a polyurethane membrane is sandwiched between a polyester/cotton/elastane inner layer and a nylon/elastane outer.
That polyurethane layer is waterproof. Sure, you can get wet feet while wearing these in prolonged heavy rain, as with any overshoes, but that's not because water gets through the fabric, it's because water can seep in via the cuff and wick its way down.
In short showers and lighter rain, though, your feet stay completely dry, and plenty of breathability means that sweat can get out more easily than with neoprene options.
These are completely windproof and that goes a long way to keeping your feet warm in cooler weather, although they don't offer as much insulation as thicker neoprene overshoes so I'd say these are more suitable for autumn/spring than for the depths of winter.
Getting the over socks on and off is simple enough because they're very stretchy, and they fit snugly as long as you get the right size. One big plus is that you can roll them up small so they take up little pocket space if you want to carry them on a ride as an insurance policy against the heavens opening.
Thankfully, the woven inner layer of the over shoes didn't stick to the Velcro straps on my shoes as I expected it to, although it does take longer to dry than neoprene. For that reason, these might not be the best option if you need to use them more than once a day – for commuting, say – unless you have good drying facilities to hand.
As with any over socks, you'll want to keep walking in these to a minimum to prevent damage. As well as the cleat hole, they have a hole for the heel but you'll still need to be careful if you want to increase longevity.
Lightweight protection against wind and rain, and they take up little room if you want to carry them in a pocket just in case
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Make and model: Sealskinz Waterproof Cycle Over Sock
Size tested: n/a
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?
"Produced under our patented StretchDry technology, ensures your shoes & feet remain clean, warm and most of all dry.
- Totally waterproof, breathable and windproof
- High stretch material provides ease of fit and a streamlined finish
- All season use, as it also protects against dry dusty conditions
65% Nylon, 35% Elastane
52% Polyester, 27% Cotton, 21% Elastane"
They provide much more protection than normal oversocks but they're not as warm as thicker neoprene overshoes.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
"Hydrophilic membranes are nothing new, they block water getting through but allow smaller sweat droplets to pass through, meaning it is the perfect waterproof, breathable membrane. However one thing waterproof membranes don't do is stretch.
"Our patented StretchDry technology enables us to produce a product which has a hydrophilic membrane but has stretch and as such we can produce products which are not only waterproof and breathable but also fit closely to your body, giving next to skin dry comfort.
"Our products are developed in such a way as to give 100% waterproof protection whilst being incredibly breathable and dexterous. Add in varying layers of insulation means we can offer waterproof products for all climates."
It's a pretty simple construction: a sock with holes for the cleat and shoe heel.
They're thicker and more durable than most oversocks but the fabric is still quite easy to damage if you walk in these. You really need to take them off before walking any significant distance.
You barely know you have them on because they're very stretchy, flexible and breathable.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The fabric works well to keep your feet dry and to keep off autumn/spring chills.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The waterproof fabric, easy to stow in a pocket.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
You are going to damage the sole section sooner or later - that's the case with all oversocks and, to a lesser extent, overshoes.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Perhaps. They make a lot more sense than other oversocks.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
If I worked for SealSkinz I'd be marketing these as lightweight overshoes rather than as oversocks because they're waterproof and windproof. Think of them in that way and the price makes a whole lot more sense.
Age: 43 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: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, 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 winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.