What do weddings and winter bike rides have in common? You don’t want to have cold feet for either. Ba-dum ching!
OK, I didn’t write that — it came from Pearl Izumi — but that doesn’t make it any less true. I tend to “run cold” once the mercury dips below 40, so I couldn’t wait to give the brand’s Elite Softshell MTB Shoe Cover a try and extend my riding this fall and winter. And I did, on days as frosty as 20 degrees.
The first thing I noticed was how easy the flexible covers were to slide on and off, and how well they snuggled around my shoes. The design is made to fit the bulk of an MTB-style shoe but could just as easily accommodate a commuter or casual shoe. Just slip your foot in from the back, push your toe forward, set the bottom “power band” around your front shoe treads and secure the booties with the Velcro closures at the back.
The power band holds the toe section in place and keeps the cover from riding up your foot. The cut is high on the ankle to provide extra protection and keep as much warmth inside as possible. Speaking of which, these booties are constructed of a three-layer fabric: weatherproof outer, breathable middle and a fleece-lined inner. I rode in mud, water and snow, and my feet stayed dry and oh-so toasty no matter the conditions.
Durability is important, too, which is why the bottoms of the Elite Softshell MTB are made from super-tough Kevlar. This provides added peace of mind in winter, when snow and ice can mean more walking. (You don’t want your shoe cover to rip midway through your day.) Pearl Izumi even incorporated reflective elements for extra visibility in low light. All of which is good news for those of us who want to open up new riding options this winter and beyond.
Pearl Izumi Elite Softshell MTB Shoe Cover; MSRP: $70; www.pearlizumi.com
Author: Brad Kovach is the editor of Terrain magazine