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Gore Bike Wear Oxygen II Overshoe Review: A Terrific Cycling Shoe Cover for Your Winter Cycling Needs

Updated on July 13, 2011

Why Would I Want to Cover My Bike Shoe With a Bootie?

As I talked about in my review of the Gore Bike Wear Mistral IV cycling gloves, moving to Maryland from Florida left me ill-prepared for the rigors of winter cycling and triathlon training. In the apparel department, my winter cycling wardrobe consisted of the same items that were in my summer cycling wardrobe: short-sleeve cycling jerseys and cycling shorts.

A cycling bike shoe cover? The thought of such a mysterious item never even entered my mind. Booties are for, well, babies, I always thought. And so cycling booties must be for . . . cycling babies?

I Am Not a Baby. Or Am I?

Fast-forward to my first long ride in the cold weather of an Eastern Shore winter. The bad part about feeling your toes start to go numb (is that phrase an oxymoron?) is that they are in a position on your bike where there is no way to block them from the wind. If your hands start to go, you can tuck them in behind the handlebars to block the wind for a while. Your toes, on the other hand, are sticking out there, taking the brunt of the wind head-on, and there is nothing you can do about it.

Or is there? As I was riding, I began to think, "How do people do this? My toes are going to break off and I have 15 miles to go before I get back home and inside to thaw out. What if they made . . . I don't know, some kind of biking . . . shoe . . . cover, you know, like a cycling . . . bootie, or something?" Uh-duh.

Welcome to the Internet, May I Help You?

After a long, hot shower to defrost my feet, I got right to work on the Internet, settling in to begin what I imagined was going to be a long and arduous search for the elusive "cycling bootie."

This long search took approximately .20 seconds, according to Google. I had pages filled with information on winter cycling apparel, shoe covers, cycling booties, winter cycling gear, etc.. Apparently, somebody thought of the shoe cover before I did. Good news for my next ride.

Gore Oxygen II Cycling Overshoe


Gore Oxygen II Cycling Overshoe

After doing a ton of research on the subject and talking to a couple of experienced winter cyclists, I settled at last upon Gore-Tex's (or 'Gore Bike Wear's', as they call their cycling apparel line) Oxygen II Overshoe.

Well, I thought, at least they call it an 'overshoe' instead of a 'bootie'. Sounds more manly.

This shoe cover is very lightweight and has Gore-Tex's patented 'Windstopper' membrane. When I first started using the covers, the weather was in the 30s and I didn't have any problems whatsoever. I wore DeFeet Blaze wool socks (I use these for winter running also) over a thin cotton sock which I could pull over my Long John's to keep the cold air from breaching my layers.

When the temperatures started dipping into the 20s, however, I found that my feet needed more protection, especially on the longer rides. The Oxygen II can only do so much when the shoe it is covering is designed to breathe, complete with ventilation holes in the sole, and not to provide warmth.

I tried a couple of ideas before I found one that worked well. If the temperature is below 30 degrees Fahrenheit, what I do now is put on my long, thin cotton sock, pull my DeFeet Blaze over top of that, then pull two plastic grocery store bags over my socks (I tuck the tops of the bags underneath my Gore-Tex Paclite cycling pants), which I then put in my shoe, covering it all with the Oxygen II.

This set-up has kept my toes warm on 35-40 mile rides at 22 degrees Fahrenheit. I don't know how much colder I will be able to go without another layer in there somewhere, but up to this point I have had no issues whatsoever with cold feet or toes while riding.

Have a great ride, and when you're done don't forget to make a delicious protein shake or fruit and vegetable smoothie to help your body to recover faster.

And always remember, if there's not snot running down your face, you're not working hard enough.

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    • Mike's Corner profile image

      Mike's Corner 6 years ago from Maryland

      Definitely, Micky, I like to get down a shake before the sweats dries. And I don't use it as a replacement meal either . . . more like an extra meal. The way I look at it, I earned that extra 450 calories!

      Thanks for the tip, I never thought of a silk base layer on the feet -- I'll have to try that out.

      Yeah the zipper runs all the way up the back and then there's a thin Velcro strap to kind of 'lock' it once it's zipped. I'll have a better idea at the end of the season of the wear and tear around the zipper area, but you may be right because you do have to pull the fabric really tight to zip the zipper, so there is a lot of stress in that area. . . I may have to update the hub come season's end . . . thanks for stopping by!

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 6 years ago

      "when you're done don't forget to make a delicious protein shake or fruit and vegetable smoothie to help your body to recover faster" Yep! Great advice and I follow that for most of my rides. Even if you're planning to "dine" a little later, it's good to replenish somewhat quickly.

      Great advice. I use thin silk next to my skin whenever possible or another thin wonder material for wicking with thicker wool on top.

      The shoe covers look great. These, of many manufacturers, wear out at zippers and other places. One can't tell by the pics how they are fastened. Velcro is my choice anymore due to zipper failure. Thank you for a great post! God bless!

    • Mike's Corner profile image

      Mike's Corner 6 years ago from Maryland

      You said it, Katie! I don't know how they did it before these great products -- my guess is lots of wool and plastic garbage bags -- but I am grateful that we have such great gear these days.

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

      I've long loved bikes, forever and always will. There's nothing like taking off and ride where ever, when ever and thanks to great products from Oxygen II we can do just that wearing cycling gear! :) Katie