Exceptional warmth and excellent waterproofing – better than most winter boots
Jan 13 2021
Arm and leg warmers, Clothing
Fend off most water
More durable than most
Can cause crank rub
You ride in all weathers and hate cold feet
These might look like something pulled from a sci-fi convention wardrobe, but the Spatz GravlR overshoes provide quite possibly the best winter protection going. The price might make you wince, though, and I wouldn't recommend them if you do a lot of walking on rides.
Spatzwear was started by a former pro road racer from Yorkshire, where wet, cold weather is all too frequent (and the winters are harsh too... ah ha ha). Its original overshoe was for the road, and consequently this new GravlR model actually has quite a few iterations behind its design.
The hydrophobic neoprene repels water, while inside there's a thermal layer for extra warmth. Whereas most overshoes are ankle height, Spatz takes things higher, finishing at the top of the calf. They certainly look, erm, different, but then we cyclists are hardly the height of fashion at the best of times, whatever we like to believe...
The GravlRs give the best protection of any overshoe I've used – or any winter boot, for that matter. On extremely wet days water can still seep in (you can never stop it completely), but what sets them apart from anything else is their warmth, even damp. With temperatures close to freezing and my socks wet, the GravlRs still kept my feet warm.
On more normal wet days when the trails aren't quite at Flood Alert levels, my feet stayed completely dry.
There are a few things, besides the potentially offputting aesthetics, that could cause issues. Firstly, the sizing is quite tight and while there are three options – plus some stretch in the material – you might need to go up a size if you use chunky trail-style shoes.
They are also not the easiest to put on, although with use they stretch and become easier. My tip: put them on before your shoes. Once over the shoes there is a full zip, which is quite tight but very strong (it's a neoprene-specific YKK one) and a Velcro fastening to secure the zip.
Another potential issue is the extra width these give your riding shoes – I had to move my cleats to stop the crank rub, so if you're already at the outer limit (or simply don't like a wide stance) you may have issues.
The neoprene around the toe and sole is kevlar reinforced, but I would still be hesitant about walking far in them – if only because of their cost. I'd strongly recommend removing any toe spikes when wearing these, too.
The £120 asking price puts these at another level to most overshoes, and not all that far off actual winter boots. The Endura MT500 overshoe is £33, in comparison, and even that's at the higher end for typical overshoes. On the other hand (foot?), I'd choose these over any winter boot anyway.
Spatz' own very similar Roadman 2 overshoes retail at £85, although they lack the zip and other features aimed specifically at offroad conditions.
Ultimately though, the protection and comfort of the GravlR overshoes match their price – they're on another level from just about everything else. If you ride year round and want your feet warmer and drier than anything else can manage, these are simply the best things out there.
Matt is an endurance nut who loves big rides and big events. Former full time racer and 24hr event specialist but now happy riding off-road on gravel bikes or XC mountain bikes and exploring the mountains and hills of Mid Wales.