Castelli's Diluvio Pro Shoe Covers are full-on winter-ready booties – warm, waterproof and with a svelte-yet-thick fit around the shoe that could only have come from input from Team Sky. They're expensive, though, and for such a high-wear product that might be an issue.
Shoe covers are an essential piece of winter cycling kit, no question. You need them to do their job, and you need them to do it well. Happily, the Diluvio Pros are brilliant performers for the cold and wet winter months, featuring a 4mm-thick neoprene fabric that is as adept at insulating your feet as it is protecting them (and your shoes) from water ingress, from road spray and rain.
Thankfully, there's also a small amount of breathability here too, because the outer layer isn't rubberised in the way wetsuit panels tend to be, for example. In mild conditions where toe warmers will do, your feet will end up soaked in their own sweat, but in temperatures dipping down to the mid-low single figures, you do get just a little welcome air circulation.
Naturally, submerging them in a river crossing (gravel riders, take note) is a no-no if you want dry feet, but I suspect you'd probably worked that out already.
The overshoes extend right up to the calf muscle, adding protection further up the leg, yet they're flexible around the ankle allowing easy freedom of movement. They fasten using a water-resistant zip (complete with neoprene guard so it doesn't rub against the leg), and have tidy openings for your cleats and heels. Fitting as closely as they do to your shoe, they also don't rub against the chainstays at the heel, or against the crank at the side.
Such a neat profile has a small downside in that the Diluvio Pros can be slightly challenging to get over your shoe if you're at the upper limit of the sizing. I wear EU46 size shoes in most cases, so the L/XL we had on test is right on that limit. The flexibility of the neoprene fabric means it's not impossible by any stretch, but it's worth bearing in mind when selecting your size. The holes for cleats and heels underneath are very well positioned, though.
If you have shoes you only use during the winter that you can leave half-covered to minimise pre-ride faff, as I do, then this isn't as big a problem as it first seems. However, if you like to remove, clean and dry your shoe covers after each and every ride, then you'll need to leave an extra few minutes before each ride so you can get them on perfectly.
You'll probably want to take care of the Diluvio Pros because they cost a fairly hefty £50, a touch pricey for shoe covers that I fear might not see a second winter, given the high wear they're inevitably exposed to.
As with all shoe covers, the undersides take a battering, and there are the early signs of wear and tear that I would expect. I have to do a small amount of walking on a gravel drive before getting on my bike for each ride, so my wear rate tends to be a touch higher than the norm. That said, the underside area – seams and main fabric – seem to be holding up well enough (despite not being reinforced with added material) that I have confidence in their ability to last this winter intact, at least.
Added features include a heel that sports a tough reflective tab for added visibility, while the Castelli branding on the upper side area is reflective too, offering some side-on attention-grabbing visibility. It's nice that the branding is subtle over the black neoprene, though, so you can wear them with any kit easily (if such things matter to you).
Even at £50, they aren't the most expensive overshoes we've tested on road.cc – Rapha's Pro Team Overshoes are another £30 and Shimano's S-Phyre Insulated shoe covers are £59.99, as are Sportful's Fiandre WS Booties – but Lusso's excellent Windtex Stealth Over Boots are £30.
There's no doubt that the Diluvio Pro shoe covers are high quality and offer excellent performance that will make them an invaluable piece of kit throughout the winter. It's a shame that the undersides don't have more reinforcement, though, as it could be that you'll have to fork out £50 each and every year, especially if you're a heavy user – and that will be too much for many.
Expensive and possibly not the hardiest, but the Diluvio Pros are great performers
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Castelli Diluvio Pro Shoe Covers
Size tested: L/XL
Tell us what the product is for
Castelli says: "A warmer Diluvio bootie: The 'Pro' in the Diluvio Pro name indicates that this product comes from a request from Team Sky riders for an even warmer bootie for training in cold and wet conditions.
"We made the neoprene 33% thicker and raised the height to cover the lower leg up to just under the calf muscle.
"The top edge is raw cut to help seal against the skin to keep water out, the seams are sealed like on a wet suit, and the fabric remains very stretchy for great fit and ease in pulling on. Reflectivity on the heel keeps you visible in low-light conditions."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- 4mm neoprene fabric will stand up to the wettest and coldest winter riding conditions
- Seams are glued and stitched for added protection from the rain
- Water-resistant YKK® zipper at back
- Pro fit with added height to cover your 20cm socks
- Reflective heel and side print for safety
- Weight: 202g (claimed; 199g actual)
Very good seam construction.
Warm, very water resistant and a svelte fit.
I'm slightly concerned that, with no reinforced underside, more than one winter might be asking a lot of these shoe covers. That said, they've impressed thus far with only minimal wear and tear after a month of moderate use.
The fit around the foot is excellent, especially if you are in the upper band of the sizing. That can make them a bit tight to put on, though.
199g is fine when weight simply isn't a priority.
No issues around the cuffs if you like higher cuts.
£50 is a lot to ask for shoe covers that might not last more than one season, even if they perform as excellently as the Diluvio Pros.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Fine, just make sure you fasten the Velcro first, of course.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Great performance, svelte fit.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Expensive, no underside reinforcement.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Rapha's Pro Team overshoes cost £80 and meet the same standards, while there are several others in and around the £50 mark – and less – that will do the fundamental job equally as well.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No, they're too expensive for me for such a potentially high-wear item.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? As a high performing accessory, yes.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Great performance on the bike, but it's matched to a high price.
About the tester
I usually ride: Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0 SL (2016) My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding