RAVAL SHOE COVERS LONG
XL 172g Black (as tested) €35
A top-calf length akin to walking gaiters, but very much designed for the cyclist, Raval’s Long Shoe Covers have proved to be a very handy addition to the wardrobe. Similar in many ways to the ankle length Shoe Covers from Raval, they offer a little extra, but also have some of the same compromises.
Pros: extra protection for the lower leg.
Cons: hard to get a tight fit around the calf.
Most of Raval’s shoe covers are made to order, so get in touch with them if you’d like something other than black – their website shows a hi-viz version that would light up the dullest day, for example. Raval also offer an ankle-length length version.
Made form ‘Sealand’ water-repellent fabric, these shoe covers have the usual cutaway sole – with elasticated hem and fixed instep strap – to accommodate SPDs. Like many others, too, they have a reflective stripe at the back, and are secured with a combination of zips and Velcro straps. Unlike some, the zip runs the full length from top to bottom; easy to use.
The netting lining is designed to help temperature control. That’s not unknown, but takes a different approach to breathability compared to, say, the Proviz Reflect360 Shoe Covers, with their tactile soft fabric inner.
The seams are not sealed, but that is rarely a deal-breaker, in my opinion, for overshoes of this type. Neoprene models may appeal to hell ‘n’ high water riders. Open soles will never be totally waterproof.
There’s no reinforcement at key contact areas, such as heel, toe, or hems. Not necessarily a problem, but suggestive of road, utility, leisure use.
I have worn them on size 44 (EU) SPD trainer type shoes, with moderately prominent soles and heels. They’ve gone on with ease and no awkward adjustment when trying to zip up. They’ve fitted with equal ease over brogues and traditional leather shoes, as well as flat general-purpose trainers and my Chrome Storm Pro 415 SPD Boots. Having said that, I wonder if a smaller size may offer a tighter fit around the calf, even if they may be harder to get on.
Length is perfect for added protection. Long enough for plenty of coverage, but short enough to avoid discomfort around the back of the knee.
As mentioned above. There’s no issue with the fit around the shoe, but I’ve not found it easy to get a really tight fit around the calf. OK, could be that my puny muscles are not big enough, but some foul-weather riders may appreciate either a smaller size (if compatible with shoe size) or a model with stronger elastic.
Dead easy; wipe with a damp cloth, or bung in the wash on cool. Mind you, drying time indoors is around the three-hour mark – faster on breezy day on the line. By the way, I’ve used a liquid detergent, but I tend to err on the side of caution. There’s no instruction stating that you can bung these in with the general wash (remember to do the Velcro straps up).
As mentioned, these are easy to get on and off, even in one of those roadside rushes.
There’s no doubt that the fabric keeps the water out. However, open-soled shoe-covers like this can never be fully proof against surface water. I’ve only felt ingress when hitting the deeper puddles or a ford. The latter was inevitable, but the former could have been avoided by either slowing down or more careful steering.
There has been no riding up, provided the toe is located properly in the first place. The additional length has offered great protection to smart trousers – or even scruffy ones – on the commute. Equally, they’ve been especially good in the snow when just out and about having fun.
Torrential rain found its way in at the top. Mind you, it was truly torrential, and steady gentle rain has been kept at bay. If you don over-trousers – which I didn’t – remember to wear them over the shoe-covers.
When the mercury was hovering just above zero, with a pair of ordinary cotton socks on, things got a bit chilly after an hour or so. Longer rides in cold weather will benefit forma merino blend sock, or similar. I managed to induce a little condensation inside the upper reaches, but I was attempting to make up for a late start and was wearing a pretty hefty pair of moleskin trousers. Apart from that, temperature control – courtesy of that netting – has been very good. I look forward to trying things out on a wet, warm UK summer day!
The extra length has caused no discomfort. The fabric is soft and flexible allowing the lower leg to rotate without chaffing, but possibly mitigating against getting things really tight around the upper calf.
I’ve ridden with cheaper-end polyester, light walking gaiters before. They been adequate, but temperature control has not been so good as these, nor has the fit been so solid for cycling. Mind you, they’ve done a job and can be found considerably more cheaply.
In one sense, you get a lot more fabric for your money than with some ankle-length shoe covers. Sometimes these have distinct advantages in some circumstances. For example, it is hard to beat ProViz Reflect 360 Shoe Covers when it comes to visibility. A tighter fit can be found with DexShells Heavy Duty Overshoes. Both are a little more expensive. Incidentally Raval’s ankle length version comes in at the same price.
These have been an interesting and useful addition to the cycling wardrobe. Whilst the design suggests road, leisure, commuting use, I’ve found them especially handy in the latter role. Likewise, in snow and slush, as well as on muddy or inundated sections of cycle path, when keeping surface water of is a distinct aid to keeping warm.