Help my feet not get wet!
January 9, 2013 3:21 PM   Subscribe

I need a Portland-proof bike shoe cover.

For the last couple years, I have been using these for my 12 mile round trip daily bike commute in the winter. I don't know how to put this elegantly, so I'll just come out and say I freakin' hate them. They're bulky, they're awkward, they don't fit my shoe right (there's about an inch of space between the toe of my shoe and the toe of these, even after yanking them as tight as I can), and they're not easy to put on/take off with gloves on.

But I spent a lot of money on them, so I figured I should live with them a while. Now, "a while" is done, and I'm fed up with them. I'm finally in the market for a new set of shoe covers. I have relatively simple criteria:

1. Waterproof. Not water-resistant, waterPROOF. I live in Portland. It rains a lot here.
2. Low-ish profile, although if that's not possible with waterproofing I can live with a little bulk.

That's about it. I am not all that interested in windproof/thermal ones - I really don't care about keeping warm nearly as much as keeping dry. I don't want to spend more than $75 or so, unless something exceptional is available for more than that. Really, waterproof is most if not all of what I'm looking for.
posted by pdb to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
In my experience (I'm also in Portland and was a daily bike commuter for a long time), nothing will keep your feet completely dry if it's raining hard enough because the water will run down your legs into your shoes.

That said, I use and like these booties, which work fairly well in light-medium rain. They're also pretty warm.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 3:32 PM on January 9, 2013

Best answer: A front fender helps as much as anything since that's where a lot of the water comes from.
posted by kcm at 3:55 PM on January 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

I live in Portland and bike commute, too. So are you wearing road shoes with cleats? If so, I'm not sure it's possible to have a shoe cover which will keep your feet completely dry because a lot of water comes up from the ground through the cleat hole in the bottom of the shoe cover.

Have you thought about switching to platform pedals and waterproof shoes in the winter? Most days I ride with platform pedals. With good fenders, my feet in regular sneakers aren't really that wet, and on the rainiest days, I can wear waterproof shoes. I know it's not ideal for 12 miles, but the only really waterproof solution I know of otherwise would be bread bags over your socks, inside of your shoes.

I hear your pain, though. I did ride my road bike with clipless pedals today, and my feet were soaked, even with fenders and good shoe covers.
posted by bluedaisy at 5:56 PM on January 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Those particular booties look a little baggy. So, if it's gaps causing the rain to get in, maybe consider something more neoprene? That's the type of overshoes I've used in the past for my 10 mile round-trip commute in Portland and there was no gapping as far as I can recall. These look a little snugger. You could also go the unsexy route of putting bags in your shoes.

I can't recall my feet ever getting wet with my neoprene booties, other than getting sweaty. I think a front fender is a great idea if you don't already have one. Have you talked to the folks at Performance and Bike Gallery?
posted by amanda at 6:31 PM on January 9, 2013

Best answer: I ride year-round (13-mile round trip, used to be 24-mile) in Portland in road shoes with cleats and those same Gore-Wear booties, and my shoes are always bone dry. The trick is wear waterproof pants OVER the booty cuffs. Nothing will keep your shoes dry if water can get down the cuffs. If you are determined not to wear those, the only other advice I can give is; DON'T get anything lined, the lining will wick water like crazy, and neoprene won't keep your feet dry in the worst rain, for sure. I wear neoprene only to keep warm, not dry.
posted by outfielder at 7:42 PM on January 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Looking closer, those aren't the ones I have. I use these, which are all gore-tex, no neoprene. If you don't use bike shoes, my wife has these and says her shoes stay dry always.
posted by outfielder at 6:52 AM on January 10, 2013

Outside-the-box: Oddly enough, I know someone who rides with sandals and wool socks in inclement weather. You never know, it could work.
posted by Doohickie at 8:54 AM on January 10, 2013

Mr Corpse rides a similar commute in similar weather. Sadly, best thing he's found to keep his feet dry-ish is plastic bags from the grocery store. I believe he wears them under some dayglo booties, and outside his bike shoes.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:35 AM on January 10, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks all. I get that I will never achieve "completely dry" - I wear road shoes, so of course some water will come in through the cutouts for the cleats. What I'm trying to avoid is the majority of the water soaking through the front/top of the shoe cover. I wear waterproof tights that I zip down over the shoe covers, so water doesn't get in the top of the cover, but the bulk of my Gore ones doesn't make that easy.

rabbitrabbit - I have a pair of those that I use in light rain, which is about what they're good for. In a downpour like this morning's, they're basically useless (I wore them just to see how bad they were....they were bad). I would love to find a waterproof shoe cover that has this profile, because I like how low-profile they are, but I'm not finding any.

bluedaisy - I've thought about swapping pedals, but I'd like to avoid that if possible.

amanda - I might have to give those a shot. They're close to what I was hoping I could find.
posted by pdb at 4:02 PM on January 10, 2013

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