If you're in need of new overshoes that can stand up to the British winter, these Rapha Pro Team Overshoes are a good, if expensive, choice, providing great protection against the worst the weather can throw your way. They also have a massive reflective stripe to help you stand out in the dark, and durability is exceptionally good; these won't fall apart before the end of the winter.
The Pro Team Overshoes are made from what Rapha describes as an 'extremely technical upper fabric'; it doesn't provide any more detail other than that it's '68% nylon, 20% polyurethane, and 12% elastane'. What this technical fabric does when you're riding is provide a respectable level of water resistance while being breathable enough to prevent overheating feet on warmer days. It's a bit thicker and more rugged feeling than the material used in previous generation Pro Team Overshoes.
The material is reasonably stretchy but I still found getting the overshoes on and over my shoes a bit of a mission, especially around the heel. There's a large zip at the back that pulls the overshoes into place, and once on they are comfortable and non-intrusive. Some overshoes can dig in around the ankle with their tight fit, but that wasn't the case with these. For reference, I tested size mediums over my size 45 shoes.
On the bottom of the overshoes is a hole for the cleat and heel, lined with reinforcing material so they stand up to lots of use. I tested the overshoes with Speedplay and Look-style cleats with no issues. There's also a Kevlar material at the toe to prevent them wearing out the moment you touch tarmac, a common complaint for anyone who commutes in the city and stops frequently at traffic lights. After several months of testing, these are still going very strong and showing no adverse signs of wear and tear. A good thing considering the high price tag.
The rear zipper is waterproofed and lined with a large reflective material, which helps to boost your visibility not just when it's dark but when the weather is moody. The stripes along the sides are a key feature of Rapha's Pro Team clothing, but they aren't reflective.
Rapha describes the Pro Team Overshoes as being waterproof with all seams taped on the inside only, and the zip as a water-resistant type. On rides with light showers and sodden roads, the overshoes did indeed provide a satisfactory level of waterproofing, my feet remaining dry throughout.
In torrential rain, as with most overshoes I've tested over the years, they're not completely impenetrable. Heavy rain will eventually overwhelm them. But what they manage to do is delay the inevitable better than regular overshoes. There's no getting around the inherent weakness in overshoes: the holes in the sole (and water leaking down from your tights if you can't or refuse to wear them over the overshoes).
Despite their eventual weakness, for the majority of rides where it rains lightly or there's lots of road spray they do a great job, and are certainly preferable to wearing regular overshoes with no rain protection. I completed several wet rides with my feet still dry.
They work well when it's not raining too. For cold and windy riding they keep your feet toasty. It was only on rides down to below about 5°C that I started finding their insulation lacking, but I do suffer from poor circulation. When it's approaching zero, Rapha's Deep Winter overshoes are going to be a better choice. Or hitting the indoor trainer...
In terms of performance they're a very good choice, but then there's that price. They're not alone at the top end of what you'd expect to pay for overshoes, just a fiver more than the Q36.5 Termico overshoes (though the Raphas are warmer), but there are cheaper options that perform just as well. Mat reviewed the Shimano S-Phyre Insulated Shoe Covers and described them as 'exceptionally good' but expensive – and they're only £59.99. Sportful's £60 Fiandre overshoes are 'good for drizzly days', but even better value are the Altura Etape II overshoes at £29.99.
The Rapha Pro Team Overshoes are certainly well made, very robust and durability has so far proven to be very good, with some extensive and demanding testing. They provide great protection from the elements and keep the rain out longer than most overshoes, they're comfortable and I like the large reflective detail. If you can justify spending the cash, they won't disappoint.
Very high quality and robust overshoes but they command a very high price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Rapha Pro Team Overshoes
Size tested: M
Tell us what the product is for
Rapha says: "Made from an extremely technical upper fabric, the Pro Team Overshoes are waterproof, highly breathable and stretchy to ensure a snug fit over your road shoes. The breathable uppers help to regulate temperature when you're training or racing hard, and the kevlar sole resists abrasion.
"A large rear reflective stripe draws attention to the pedalling motion on the bike, helping to keep you seen by fellow road users in low light. The water resistant zip helps protect from road spray and rain, keeping you moving in the worst conditions."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Reflective panel on rear
Water resistant zip
Very well made.
They keep the rain out longer than most others I've worn, and are good in the wind and cold too.
Very impressed with their ruggedness so far.
They're a struggle to get on, but once on they fit comfortably.
They're at the top-end of what you can expect to pay for an overshoe. They are better built and more rugged than many cheap overshoes, so should last much longer, but there are cheaper alternatives that offer similar performance.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very easy: whack them in a regular wash or hose them down after a muddy ride.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A robust and protective overshoe for winter conditions.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Great protection against bad weather and wet roads. I like the big reflective stripe a lot too.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not 100% waterproof.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
A very high-quality overshoe built to last, with good bad weather protection and low light visibility, but they are super-expensive and that costs them a mark.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
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, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.