Spatzwear 'TUFR' Off-Road Overshoes review

Product reviews

Spatzwear has updated its toughest overshoe and aptly named it the TUFR. Featuring a solid toe box area and lots of design changes over the previous off-road version, it isn’t without its faults. That said, it still raises the bar as far as the best overshoes for cycling are concerned, utilising an off-road-specific design that can double up for both mountain bike and gravel use.

Spatzwear was started by former pro road racer Tom Barras from Yorkshire who would spend hours and hours on the bike in all kinds of weather the North of England could throw at him and wanted to keep his feet warmer and drier through the winter months. And so Spatzwear was born.

Spatz_TUFR_Overshoes_2.JPG, by Matthew Page

Spatzwear 'TUFR' Off-Road Overshoes – Technical details 

Spatzwear now produces a full range of clothing and accessories but, while some garments are suitable across all disciplines, the footwear range is almost all road-orientated. One exception was the Spatzweae GRAVLR and, while some of the features were brilliant, not many of the elements were truly specific for off-road use. They were also prone to wear around the toes.

Spatz_TUFR_Overshoes_under.JPG, by Matthew Page

The TUFR has gone back to the drawing board with multiple changes including a reduction in height to mid-calf, removal of the full-length zip, a thinner neoprene material that might help reduce crankarm rub and a solid section of material around the toe box.

It is available in three sizes ranging from S (EU 38-42), M-L (EU 43-45), and L-XL (46-49), and Spatzwear recommends sizing up if you are using these with off-road shoes – and I chose to do just that.

While the neoprene sections have stretch within the fabric, the toe box area has some movement but no stretch. I found the shape quite narrow and it meant the end sat proud of the shoe. The issue might not be the same for all shoe brands and models, but with off-road shoes usually having a wider form, extra width around the toe box would give a more secure fit.

Despite not having a zip, the TUFR are easy to put on with plenty of stretch in the neoprene and enough movement in the tough Velcro strap beneath to secure in place. Putting the TUFR on before your shoes is best, and it makes the whole process simple. Zips on overshoes are probably the section most prone to breaking and wear, so it will be welcomed for many to see one less section that might break. The instep area of the foot is also reinforced with a vulcanised rubber section and this provides good protection against sharper objects, such as rocks or brambles.

Spatz_TUFR_Overshoes_both.JPG, by Matthew Page

Spatzwear 'TUFR' Off-Road Overshoes – Performance

The TUFR overshoes have been used throughout winter from the coldest sub-zero temperatures to incredibly wet days to test the full range of conditions they are designed to protect against.

Spatz_TUFR_Overshoes_front.JPG, by Matthew Page

On colder days there is a noticeable amount more heat held within the feet, even when wearing a relatively thin sock and normal shoes. The construction and material thickness is not as generous or as warm as the road Spatzwear models or the previous GRAVLR – especially on the calf area which only has a thin section of neoprene. There is no water-resistant coating to the fabric, except for the small section on the instep, so on wet days or riding through deep water you will get ingress through the material. Thankfully, the combination of the mid-calf height and the insulating properties of neoprene help add comfort on even the wettest of rides.

One problem area, linked to the shape and fitment of the front toe area is during walking. I found the toe area would come off the foot on sections where you might need to walk for a short period, especially walking up a slope. A closer or tighter fit might improve this and make it less likely to happen but it was frustrating when it did happen. To put it back in place the Velcro strap needs to be undone, the toe area put back in place and re-strapped.

Spatz_TUFR_Overshoes_side.JPG, by Matthew Page

Spatzwear 'TUFR' Off-Road Overshoes – Verdict

The previous GRAVLR overshoes were priced at £120 and that was pushing them into a new league but the TUFR goes further still, at £140. Justifying the price is difficult, especially when most overshoes are less than half the price. Only a few other brands make off-road specific overshoes and these include Endura with the MT500 overshoes priced at £50 and the GripGrab Explorer waterproof gravel shoe covers at €100.

Many riders will look at using winter-specific shoes and many brands will have options with some of the cheapest being the Shimano MW5 at £140. For some riders, there will be no question about which option represents the best value. While it may seem obvious, not all riders are happy to change footwear for various possible reasons, usually related to shoe and bike fit but it is still difficult to justify the high price of the TUFR overshoes.

Spatz_TUFR_Overshoes_under2.JPG, by Matthew Page

For riders who are serious about trying to keep their feet warmer and drier through the colder months and want to keep using their preferred footwear, the Spatzwear TUFR overshoes have provided lots of added warmth, with the one main issue being the solid toe cover that wasn’t wide enough to sit across the full width of my shoes. 

Spatzwear has gone back to the drawing board and aimed to design the best off-road overshoe on the planet, and I believe they have succeeded. There are still some problems, with the fit of the toe box area being the main issue and the knock-on effect this has when walking. But the TUFR are extremely well made and should stand up to lots of abuse through many winters. For riders who value warm feet and don’t want to switch to winter-specific footwear, they are the best option available.

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