DEXSHELLS HEAVY DUTY OVERSHOES
DexShell Heavy Duty Overshoes are a robust take on a winter favourite, offering protection from both water and cold. Whilst there could be lengthy debate about the benefits of overshoes compared to waterproof socks, most cyclists I know agree that there are few miseries like cold, wet feet on long day rides; a good pair of overshoes can also protect office shoes on a commute. As the name would suggest, these are heavier weight than some other in my collection, but they’ve won me over, with one or two minor gripes.
Pros: Durable, watertight, warm.
Cons: nothing significant.
DexShell Heavy Duty Overshoes are described a “Water Resistant, Showerproof, Abrasion Resistant” with a “Reflective Stripe” and “Water Repellent Zipper.” They have quite a lot to live up to.
Taking a closer look, you’ll quickly spot that the Neoprene fabric has a more textured feeling than is sometimes the case. How abrasion resistant this makes it is something I have tried not to test. However, unlike some Neoprene it does not seem to bear the marks if compressed.
Toe, heel, and under-foot strap are reinforced. The zip has an internal storm baffle, and external reflective detailing. A large fob makes the apparently robust zip easily accessible. Robust? Well that’s good, especially as the snug fit initially felt as if things were being forced over trainer type SPD shoes. Additional security is provided by a rubber hook and loop tab at the top.
Further reflective detail is provided by logos etc, but some of these will be hidden, if you are wearing longs.
Whilst the whole is clearly well-made and neatly stitched, I have been particularly impressed by the hems. These are, of course elastic and offer a truly snug fit – at least in my case.
Size and fit 4.5/5
Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large are all on offer. Being a UK 9.5/EU 44, Large was indicated on the chart. Now, I’ve often gone larger than necessary with overshoes – especially those secured by hook and loop strips and straps. Remember, think shoe size – not to mention your preference for slipper or more chunkily-soled trainer types. The latter are my usual wear, hence my default for larger. However, I was not on the borderline with these, so obeyed the guide and went for Large. I have not regretted this.
At first, I was wary of pulling too hard – these are snug fit. However, with a little persuasion and developing a sensible technique, I soon found these a cinch to slip on. As for the tight fit, well there’s a great benefit to having these snuggling your shoes: water and cold are kept at bay.
Drip dry after a 30C wash, or a good soaking in the rain. At that temperature you could also bung in other technical waterproof gear – just check whether you need technical wash or not. DexShells demand nothing technical, but should not suffer any harm.
On the bike things can dry pretty quickly, but away from the bike do not expose to heat – simple drip drying overnight. Of course, the inner is unlikely to be wet, so putting them back on before they are fully dry is unlikely to be much of a problem.
Overshoes with cut-away soles, to allow use of cleats, are, of necessity, water-resistant rather than waterproof. However, there are those that have a tighter seal than others. Stretchy fabrics make for a better seal, and these are no exception. Splashing through fords and road-consuming puddles at speed have failed to breach the defences and wet my shoes.
Needless to say, precipitation form above has not been a problem either. Neither has the “Water Repellent Zip” been a weak point in the defences.
Generally, the tester has been wearing over-trousers or Showers Pass Skyline Trousers adding extra coverage. Do folk wear shorts and overshoes at the same time? Yes. Wet legs is one thing, cold wet feet another, in my opinion. Of necessity, the ankle cuff is not a tightly sealed as the sole. Even so, things can be made pretty watertight with the hook and loop strap and internal silicone gripper strips.
General performance 4.5/5
On the bike these have been excellent companions in autumn weather. Deluges, flooded cycle paths, dawn commutes at 1C, have all been comfortably handled. Off the bike? Well, I have seen some overshoes trashed by too much walking, so don’t too many steps before removing. Having said that, these have been forced into a few hundred metres and seem to be suffering no ill effects.
Overshoes like these are aimed at cleated shoes. I have used them with brogues, but I’d be careful of damaging the hems on rat-trap pedals.
At first getting them on seemed to be a bit of a challenge. Pulling them on in one go was not an option. I wondered how convenient they’d be at the roadside when the rain started to pelt down. In fact, they have loosened up a little with use. Moreover, pulling the toe up tight, easing the instep strap into place and pulling the rear flaps together before zipping up has become a pretty smooth operation. Similar to SealSkinz models I’ve worn.
Temperatures during testing have ranged from 1C to 12C. Things have felt comfortable throughout, with no ghastly fungal odours emanating after a day’s ride in leather or synthetic shoes. I’ve a gut feeling that they may well be too warm for a UK summer downpour. Equally, as winter comes on, my gut feeling is that with a pair of Merino socks, Jack Frost won’t be nipping at my toes.
£35 is a good deal of cash to splash. Value will depend a great deal on how much you value dry, warm feet in winter and how often you use overshoes. Whilst I’d rate them as just about the best overshoes I have used, there are other considerations, too.
Although more expensive, Proviz Reflect 360 Shoe Covers would be my go-to for commuting or night time road ventures. Then again, there’s a host of others available. OK, I’ve used many that are secured purely by hook and loop ankle-to calf-strips, with a similar instep strap. Whilst these seem to deal with general rain pretty well, I’ve found few that will provide the kind of all day hell and high water protection offered by the Proviz and DexShells versions. There’s a DexShell Light for summer use, too – same rrp.
Looking for long day ride protection on wet or cold winter days, then the DexShells Heavy Duty is well worth a look: especially if the going is likely to be mixed surface, with some rough terrain and potential brushes with undergrowth. I’ll be taking these on a November tour – as it will ran heavily for at least fifty percent of the time if previous ventures are anything to go by.