Safety is afoot.
Castelli's Reflex Shoe Covers don't let your feet claim exemption from reflective duties on rides in low-light or inclement conditions. The booties' wind- and waterproof material is reflective and conspires with the sealed seams and neoprene cuffs to maintain an impervious barrier against the elements. The fabric is also breathable to prevent clammy — then icy — feet, and the cordura sole protects the equally valuable carbon skin of your shoes' outsoles.
- Item #CST009O
- Q & A
Great idea, indifferent quality.
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
- Fit: Runs small
I use the Reflex shoe covers most of my evening commute home (with a battered pair of Pearl Izumis when visibility isn't a problem) and they're beginning to wear-out after about four months of use.
On the plus side, they provide very good waterproofing, even on the occasional extended ride at the weekend, and do a good job of keeping the wind out and the heat in, without cooking your feet on milder days. Then, of course, there's the retroreflective fabric, which really helps you get seen (I can see oncoming drivers move back across to their side of the 1.5 car-width poorly-lit street I live, on as they notice me).
Sadly, however, the execution of the design is patchy. The finishing around the top of the zippers leaves a sliver of sharp-edged material sticking out that scrapes against legs or clothing (there's a neoprene lip along the other half of the zipper, but it doesn't extend far enough to prevent this rubbing). This was fixed with careful use of a small pair of scissors.
The bigger issue is the durability of the reflective fabric. They run pretty small (I wear size 44 Sidis which themselves run a size smaller than most brands), which means it takes considerable amounts of practice to pull them on. Small shoe covers with limited stretch to the fabric is not a great combination. Despite careful use (and only using them for evening rides, to extend their life), the outer fabric is already starting to tear at the seams, since there isn't enough 'give' anywhere in the design.
I bought them in the sale and can grudgingly tolerate only getting one winter's use out of them. If I'd spent $99 for something that's starting to give way after four months, I'd be furious.
I love the discrete reflective design, but how are they in the colder temps? I need something for wet 40 degree commutes to replace some 6 year-old neoprene booties (the velcro is shot and the ankles have become loose).