- Fend off most water
- More durable than most
- Can cause crank rub
- Snug sizing
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.
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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. The problem with all the winter boots I have used is water will too easily go over the top and into the shoe, where it then stays and results in your feet getting cold, but this doesn't happen with the GravelRs, or at least it is delayed significantly.
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.
On second thoughts, cold wet feet are not so bad....If you're that desperate buy a pair of £20 wellies and cut a hole in the bottom for your cleats = £100 saving!
I have never used a winter boot that keeps water out. Rain gets in much, much easier than these and then your feet get cold far quicker.
Warm but not the solution. I too wore the paint off my new XT cranks so cleat movment is required. I had myself convinced they are wellies and would seal the shoe as they are hard to get on, but it is England, it is Winter and you come home with wet feet and sodden skin if you even walk on grass.. Would purchase again of they were £40, but dont be taken in by the price, these are not the solution.
I find it hard to believe at that price that you're not going to be better off with a pair of winter mtb boots and waterproof socks. I'd certainly rather sink 120 notes on boots than overshoes.
Indeed. I wear Spatz Legalz (no zip and designed for the road);over Sidi goretex winter boots. What I also do differently is put my leg warmers OVER the Spatz, not under them. This stops any water from being sucked in by capillary action down your leg warmer. I have done 4hr+ rides in next to zero temps and my feet have remained warm and dry. They are brilliant. And I paid £60 for them, so half the price.
"I'd choose these over any winter boot anyway."
Why? You say this but never say why that is, wintershoes are also waterproof and very warm and they last much longer! And I never had water in my wintershoes even in a downpour so maybe you had a bad experience (or none) with wintershoes!
If u put an opinion in a review you should also tell us why that is your opinion!