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'Pioggia' is the Italian word for 'rain' and that tells you what these overshoes are all about. They're made from a polyurethane-coated fabric that won't let water through. And when I say that it won't let water through, it really won't. Believe me, water doesn't soak through here.
The waterproofing extends to the front seam which is internally taped to prevent leaks and the zip is waterproof too. Well, it's about as waterproof as zips get; virtually nothing gets past it.
The polyurethane-coated fabric used for the main body is very stretchy so you can get a close fit all round and it moves easily with your ankle as you pedal. It's lined with a thin fleece layer to provide extra warmth.
Up top, the Pioggia gets a silicone bead inside the cuff to help seal water out, and a hook and loop closure that allows you to finetune the fit.
The sole is enclosed with just a hole for your cleat to poke through and another for the heel tab. The sole material is pretty hard wearing stuff. I've been using these on and off for a couple of months and there are just a couple of scratches on the bottom from walking over gravel – nothing much. The taller the heel tab on your shoes, the less likely the sole is to come into contact with the ground. As with any enclosed overshoes, you'll want to keep walking to a bare minimum to avoid damage, but these should last yonks if you're just tip-tapping to and from your bike.
In showers and even steady rain, these will keep your feet dry, and they couldn't care less about road spray. If it absolutely hoses down, your feet could start to get damp; that's just the way water is... it gets places. It soaks into tights and percolates down. But water can't get through the fabric or, in my experience, through that front seam. These keep it out as well as any overshoes I've used.
In terms of warmth, Castelli gives these a temperature range of -2-12°C. For me, that's a bit on the low side, although I've used these comfortably in temperatures of about 4-5°C and I'm neither built for the cold nor stoical. Any colder than that and I'd be thinking about swapping to some thick neoprene overshoes for a little more insulation, although we're all different in that respect.
You can buy cheaper overshoes than these, of course. The DexShell Light Weight Overshoes that Stu reviewed recently were £35, for example, and they kept water out impressively. The DexShell design is fairly similar to that of the Castelli Pioggia 3, using fleece-lined polyurethane fabric, a water resistant zip and a Velcro fastening at the top, although the Pioggia 3s have a much more extensive sole section to keep warmth in and water out.
Overall, the Castelli Pioggia 3 overshoes provide excellent protection from rain and spray. There are warmer options out there but these still provide a very good level of insulation, and pretty hard-wearing too.
Very good overshoes with several high-quality features; they keep water out really well
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Make and model: Castelli Pioggia 3 Shoecover
Size tested: XL
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 describes the Pioggia 3 as: "An all-around protective bootie designed for wet conditions. The stretch fit and fleece lining make it a warm, comfortable bootie in dry conditions, while it's made for maximum protection in wet conditions as well."
Castelli also says, "We call it the Pioggia shoe cover, and although the name is Italian for rain, that doesn’t really capture the essence of this bootie. Sure, it’s completely waterproof, with sealed seams, a waterproof zipper and a silicone-sealed top edge to keep water from entering.
"We’ve backed the PU-coated fabric with fleece to make this bootie warm in the coldest conditions, while the high stretch also gives it a close, comfortable and aero fit."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Castelli lists these features
- Waterproof PU-coated stretch fabric with fleece layer inside
- Silicone bead at inside top of cuff to seal water out
- Wrap cuff construction to optimise fit
- Waterproof zipper
- High-durability material under foot
- -2°-12°C / 28°-54°F
These have some really high-end features including
- a waterproof zip
- a flap over the top of the zip, a bit like a chinguard that you find on mnay jerseys, to prevent damage to your tights
- excellent fabrics
- Hard-wearing sole
– Reflective trim front and rear
These keep the rain out as well as any overshoes I've used, and they provide a good level of warmth too.
The area that wears out first is nearly always the sole; the sole here is tough and should last for ages - I've been using these for a couple of months switching between them and the Castelli Diluvio ULs and the soles have picked up a couple of scratches, but not much. The zip is really good quality too so I don't see that packing up any time soon.
Some overshoes can feel restrictive as you pedal: these are thin and supple so they don't. They also keep your feet dry longer than most others, which is where they really score.
Yeah, £60 is quite a lot to spend on overshoes but you're paying for genuinely useful features like the waterproof fabric and zip. These aren't bog-standard overshoes.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They keep the rain out far longer than most overshoes. That's what they promise and that's what they deliver.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The level of waterproofing – and that's probably worth paying for if you live in the UK.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I'd be hard pressed to find any negatives in terms of the performance.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 41 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: time trialling, 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 over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.