The Northwave Extreme Graphic is more of an aero advantage oversock for racing or time trialling than a foul weather overshoe, but they do keep the early morning chill off provided you can cope with the faff of stretching them over your shoes every ride.
- Pros: Highly visible reflective heel strip, decent durability for such a thin fabric
- Cons: A bit of a faff to get on and off
Temperatures are starting to take a bit of a dive now, and although it hasn't quite got down to the freezing mark yet it's close enough early morning or late afternoon, and the Northwaves have proved a useful choice.
As I said, they're more about giving an aerodynamic aid than offering protection against the weather, but they do take the edge off when the temperature dips to about 5°C. The Lycra feels a little thicker than on those I've used for time trialling in the past, although there is no resistance whatsoever against wind or rain. If that's what you want then look at the more robust options here in the review section.
If you want a cover just for keeping your shoes clean or for a bit of wind cheating then the Northwaves offer plenty. They are close fitting from top to bottom and while their lack of zip makes them a faff to get on and off, there is enough stretch to get them over the likes of Boa fastening systems without them feeling like they are going to tear at the seams.
The sole has two cutouts for your cleat and heel tab, with both having a bit of reinforcement stitched all the way round. The cleat cutout is big enough to take the largest designs, like those from Speedplay.
The full height reflective strip is a nice touch if you ride in the dark. The motion of your pedalling being lit up by car headlights is a good indication that a cyclist is ahead.
Durability is often an issue with this type of overshoe but the Northwaves are standing up surprisingly well. I don't keep taking them on and off the shoes, instead just pulling them down to the bottom of the fastening on my shoes. That way you don't have to keep pulling them over the cleat, which can create wear.
Also be careful how you walk in them, as the toes will tear if they keep touching the tarmac.
We haven't really tested this kind of overshoe before on road.cc so we haven't really got anything to compare them to, but at £19.99 they do look a little pricey.
One of the main players for this type of Lycra overshoe is Prendas with its Hi-Top, which also costs £19.99, but it does come with a zip. Lusso also offers its Windtex Stealth, with excellent weatherproofing and a full zip, for just a tenner more.
Pretty good option if you want a lightweight shoe cover, but would be better with a zip
If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website
road.cc test report
Make and model: Northwave Extreme Graphic overshoes
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
Northwave says, "Perfect for chilly morning and late evening training rides or commuting, Northwave's Extreme Graphic Shoecover also protects your road cycling shoes from road dirt and grime as well as scuffmarks from cleats or other debris. With a 19cm cuff height and reflective inserts for increased visibility, these lightweight road bike overshoes feature windproof qualities to keep your feet comfortable and dry."
Everything sized up fine but you could go a size smaller for a closer fit because of the stretch.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
They maintained their shape and size fine and came up clean.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As an aerodynamic aid or to keep your shoes clean they perform well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good fit when on.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of zip.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
There isn't much on the market like these overshoes, and those there are tend to have a few more options like a full zip to aid getting them on.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yeah, I think so, especially if you could get them a little cheaper.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
They'll do the job of keeping your shoes clean or as an aero aid for a bit of time trialling, with the only real downside being that they are a bit of a faff to get on and off.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 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.