Way back in one of my first Singletracks articles ever, I extolled the virtues of shoe covers as a crucial piece of gear to keep you mountain biking, all year long. Since that time, many purpose-made winter mountain biking shoes have hit the market, which make mountain biking during the winter warmer, more comfortable, and more convenient than ever before.
But not every one of us wants to go out and drop several hundred bucks on winter-specific shoes. Not everyone rides often enough in the winter to warrant that expense. And sometimes it really isn’t super cold outside–just cold enough to freeze your little toes when you’re moving fast.
For those riders who want to save money or who aren’t ready to take the plunge into full-blown winter riding, shoe covers are still a good option… but not all shoe covers are created equal.
The Hincapie Arenberg Zero Shoe Covers are constructed of “textured, 4-way stretch TourTek™ Zero fabric,” which is lined with fleece on the inside for added warmth. Hincapie claims this design is very form fitting and insulating. The covers also feature a “durable, ballistic sole with finished clear ports to accommodate most shoes and pedals.”
Out on the Trail
I’ve used several different brands of shoe covers in the past, and invariably I’ve destroyed all of them in just a couple weeks of riding. These shoe covers from Hincapie, however, have been serving me well all winter long.
Generally the soles of shoe covers are the parts that fail on me the quickest, but the soles of the Arenberg Zeroes really are well-built and designed to take a lot of use and abuse over time–not just last for a handful of rides. These soles look and feel visibly stronger than other covers I’ve worn in the past, so I decided to try them with a pair of enduro shoes this winter instead of my normal cross country shoes. The choice of an enduro shoe + shoe cover worked out admirably well, and my feet stayed warm and dry even on very cold, very deep, snowy rides.
Much of this comfort was thanks to the great wind-breaking fabric of the upper cover. Unlike the hard, inflexible material I’ve seen on other shoe covers, the material on the Arenberg Zeroes really does conform to the shape of your shoes and ankles, stretching yet still blocking all the wind.
Finally, the velcro closure is extremely strong and very reliable, while also easy to get into quickly. Even after many rides the velcro is still going strong.
Not all shoe covers are created equal, and the Hincapie Arenberg Zero Shoe Covers stand head-and-shoulders above the rest. While you can buy a cheaper pay of covers, if they only last you a handful of rides, you’ll save way more money in the long run by investing in a quality pair of covers up front… and they’re still cheaper than a pair of dedicated winter riding shoes.
Thanks to Hincapie for providing the Arenberg Zero Shoe Covers for review.