GRIPGRAB RACE THERMO X OVERSHOES
by Chris Galley
by Chris Galley
The weather has been so awful this winter that the roads have been constantly filled with mud and debris fom the fields. When it came to reviewing these GripGrab MTB/CX overshoes, we decided then to do something different – how would they stack up on these debris laden roads as a general pair, suitable for both mountain bike and road and saving you some money.
A while back we reviewed the GripGrab Artic Waterproof overshoes. Suffice to say we were very impressed with it’s quality, warmth, fit and waterproofing. When GripGrab sent us their RaceThermo X waterproof winter MTB/CX overshoes, we were expecting big things. Having testing these over the last few weeks these are our thoughts to help you decide whether or not to purchase these. Having said that, GripGrab tell us these overshoes are now sold out so despite what I’m about to say you have bought them all up which paints a picture all of it’s own.
First impressions straight out of the pack, RaceThermo X overshoes look robust and well made. You might overlook the technology and design aspects of such an item of cycling apparel but these overshoes, as all of their products are stacked with clever thinking. GripGrab explains that IntelliSeal™. is an ingenious technology that greatly enhances the durability, fit and water resistance of shoe covers. These overshoes are made from 4 mm waterproof neoprene which will protect your feet and lower leg from dirt and sprays when riding in wet and cold conditions. These are compatible with most types of pedal systems and contrary to what I’m used to these overshoes are zipperless which takes out any opportunity for rain to penetrate through the zip whilst at the same time creates a very snug fit around your ankle.
Having tested these through rain, wind and a little snow I can safely say these are snug and warm overshoes. They don’t let any dirt or rain through the 4mm neoprene material and they did keep our feet warm and dry through all rides and in all terrains. I really like the strap on the rear heel which is robustly sewn over a reflective patch as this could be used to attach a rear facing red light. A nice touch. I also really like the toe guard which again is robust and well sewn in place. The bottom seam is heavily stitched with a mixture of rubber and stitching making sure this high abrasion area and key seam stays in place for some time. The textile strap with Velcro fastener on the underside holds the overshoe together and again is strong and will stand up to abrasion. GripGrab logo on the edge of the Velcro is another touch of class.
In terms of their performance on the mountain bike, these shoes are excellent. My editor swears by them, and they are robust and solid and keep the water and river runs out as much as they can. That being said, the large open under shoe area does let in some water on rivers. However, the lack of zipper (which I’ll come back too) means that there’s no area of weakness for wet on those extra muddy mtb trails. The neoprene collar is useful, holding the cuff tight against the ankle. However, this is something I’ll come back to later, as it’s stitching quality seems variable and at odds with the quality of stitching elsewhere. Maybe it was just this pair, I don’t know. GripGrab are renowned for their quality, and that also means by us.
So, these RaceThermo X waterproof winter overshoes are worthy of your money? Well just hang on a second and I’ll tell you why you might be better off spending another few Euro to get something just a little better from the same brand. These overshoes are zipperless, which might be extra useful riding through rivers on the mtb. This might suit, and it takes away an area of weakness for water ingress, but for me the experience of putting them on was just a little clumsy and you have to remember to pull them over your feet and ankles before you put your shoes on. Unfortunately, I’m not a zipperless convert but you might be. I like to put overshoes on as a last piece of equipment and be able to take them off first but that’s just my personal opinion. Pulling up does cause tights to ride up but that’s just a small thing and not much of an issue. However over time pulling them up might become an issue. The top section of these overshoes is made from smooth wetsuit type of neoprene which is a great collar around your ankle but I do worry how long the neoprene will last against the stitching. As a triathlete I know all too well how easy wetsuits are to puncture. It’s also a shame the very top of the collar was not given the same robust stitching as the bottom seems to have been given. Finally, the bottom area is large and totally exposed to the elements apart from the Velcro strap. This might allow water and dirt into the lower part of your cycle shoes especially if you’re riding in muddy cycle cross or typical winter mountain bike conditions.
So, all in all, yes it’s another great overshoe from GripGrab. You’ve bought them all up so you must also find them a great piece of kit. Would I buy these myself – probably not, whilst i like them in many ways. For me, I’d spend just another few Euro and grab a pair of the GribGrab Artic range. They just have some extra touches of technicality and quality for your money. Then again, I’m just a person who likes zips, even though I accept the area weakness arguement.