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Castelli Reflex Shoecover



High visibility overshoes that protect against the elements, but not robust enough to justify the price

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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Castelli has been introducing its shiny grey high-visibility material to a number of garments. Its Reflex Overshoes not only keep your feet as dry as can be with a big hole in the bottom for your shoe cleats, but help you be seen on murky days and at night.

Pulling the Reflexes over my shoes – they're designed for road shoes – it's clear the company's fame for small-fitting sizes also extends to its overshoe range. I have quite small feet at 42/43s, depending on the shoe I'm wearing, and the overshoes in a large (recommended for 43-44) involved a bit of elbow grease to pull on. Once on, though, the fit was snug and taut around my shoes. There's probably some kind of aero benefit there, along with them just looking good.

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The outer material, along with being fantastically visible when lit up by car lights, is plenty windproof and waterproof. It's always tricky to judge how waterproof a pair of overshoes is, given that they all share the not-very-waterproof feature of having a massive cleat hole in the bottom. Nonetheless, in downpours my feet never were unhappy. The Reflexes aren't as warm as a thick pair of neoprene overshoes, but the combination of resistant outer material with some fleecy insulated internal material did better than I expected.

The seams are all sealed pretty well to add to the Reflexes' resistance to the elements, and the zippers are slightly offset outwards of the customary "straight up the back" location for a zipper. I thought this worked well, and helped when it came to doing them up as you don't have to bunch all the material toward the zip as much.

The Cordura sole is noticeably tougher than the rest of the material on the overshoe, but it's still not that tough, and my test pair of Reflexes are already starting to show signs of wear.

> Check out our guide to essential wet weather gear and clothing here

For me, overshoes are pretty much mandatory garments during cold winter commutes and training rides. Particularly on commutes, my feet spend a fair amount of time on the ground at lights, and walking into the office. As such, I wear out overshoes material pretty quickly, and I don't think I've ever managed to make a set last more than a year. To all intents and purposes, they are a consumable item.

Castelli says the Reflexes are designed for winter training rides and chaingangs – and "are not designed for walking in" – but even so I'm struggling with the current discounted price of £50.25, let alone the £75 RRP. They're great overshoes in terms of fit, function and visibility, but £75 is decent jersey money.


High visibility overshoes that protect against the elements, but not robust enough to justify the price test report

Make and model: Castelli Reflex Shoecover

Size tested: Large, Reflective 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?

Castelli says: "Introducing the Castelli Reflex Shoecover, Lots of shoecovers feature a reflective element, shoes and pedals are ideally placed to gain maximum retro-reflectivity from beaming back car headlights, so it makes lots of sense. But the Castelli Reflex Shoecovers are different - made entirely from a waterproof breathable reflective material they offer true 360 degrees of reflectivity as well as a high level of waterproofness (the front seams only are taped ) breathability and of course wind protection. Great for cool wet training rides and the weekly winter chaingang you even get a base daylight colour choice, Black or Silver. Of course in car headlights both become bright white. A waterproof zip at the rear aids getting them on. The ankle features a neoprene cuff that is comfortable against bare skin and helps stop water running into the top of the covers. Please note the Castelli Reflex Shoecovers are design for road racing style shoes only and are not designed for walking in. If your shoes have bulky ratchet buckles and/or heel adjusters we would advise sizing up."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From Castelli:

Reflective, waterproof and windproof protection from cold temperatures

High stretch all-over reflective material for high visibility and flexibility

Ultra-light waterproof zipper to keep water out

Seamed sealed for waterproof front

Castelli wordmark heat transfer on outside

Cordura sole

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for fit:
Rate the product for sizing:
Rate the product for comfort:
Rate the product for value:

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The high visibility without having to resort to fluoro colours, and they sat snug against my shoes which looked good.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The price.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Not at this price.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? If they weren't bothered about cost or could make them last many seasons.

Use this box to explain your score

If you're happy to pay £75 (£50 currently), these are excellent, and on performance alone score 9. But taking that RRP into account, and the signs that they might not last many seasons, brings the score down. Even at their current discount they're still pricey in my book.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 23  Height: 182cm  Weight: 75kg

I usually ride: Kinesis Pro6  My best bike is: The first steel bike I made

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: road racing, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking

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1961BikiE | 8 years ago

Yes even at the discounted price Is give these a miss. Some tough neoprene overshoes for me. I use those snap/wrap reflective bands around my ankle to add visibility. A totally reflective cover would be nice but not at this cost/durability.

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