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What are Cycling Overshoes?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2016
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Cycling overshoes are a type of garment commonly known as booties; these garments fit over a cyclist's shoes to provide an extra layer of warmth during inclement weather, or to improve aerodynamics during certain types of racing. These cycling overshoes are often made from waterproof or water-resistant materials that have insulating properties to add warmth to the cyclist's feet during cold weather. Many cyclists wear cycling overshoes in conjunction with full length tights for warmth throughout the legs. Some overshoes cover the entire foot, while others only cover the toe of a shoe to provide warmth without adding extra bulk.

Some professional and amateur athletes make their own cycling overshoes by cutting holes in the bottoms of large socks; these holes allow the pedal cleat to protrude through the sock to allow the cyclist to clip into clipless pedals. These types of cycling overshoes have no water-resistant or waterproof properties, but they can improve aerodynamics slightly, and they can provide a bit of warmth to the cyclist. The overshoe in this case is sometimes simply an aesthetic choice, as many cyclists prefer the sleek look of the overshoe as opposed to a bare shoe.

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Heavier duty cycling overshoes may be made from waterproof and breathable materials, and they are likely to feature a zipper or hook and loop security strips to keep the overshoe on the feet tightly. The cyclist does not want the overshoe to shift during use, as this can cause discomfort as well as a safety hazard: the overshoe material can get caught around the pedal axle, on the chain, or on the teeth of the chain rings. Cyclists often use such booties during wet weather as well to keep water from entering the shoes and causing the foot to become wet, cold, and uncomfortable. Wet feet and shoes can lead to blisters and hot spots, so booties can help avoid injury as well.

Several professional cycling teams have custom made cycling overshoes with the team logos printed on them. Such booties are often made of Lycra®, the same material used to make cycling shorts, because Lycra® is tight fitting, comfortable, relatively durable, and able to provide some warmth. The tight fit of Lycra® around the shoe ensures no loose, flapping material will create excess drag or a hazardous condition in which the material can get caught on any part of the bicycle. The price of such booties will be significantly more expensive than other types of overshoes, though the cost of overshoes varies according to the specific features.

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