VeloToze Waterproof Gloves & Shoe Covers Reviewed!
As the Scandanavian maxim says: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.” So the veloToze waterproof cycling gloves and overshoes are a godsend in cold and wet weather, and now’s the perfect time to try ’em out.
As a skinny-ish guy of tropical ethnic heritage (Filipino), I don’t weather the cold as well as my hardier, Nordic heritage riding buddies. Over the course of the last several riding seasons, I’ve managed to acquire various cold weather-specific kit – for example, Gore Windstopper Oxygen Classics – that has made winter riding tolerable, if not actually enjoyable.
The result being that I’m riding that fun and silly winter riding competition Freezing Saddles for the third year. But keeping my hands and fingers warm (enough) – or as I like to say, at least not numb freezing cold – is still a bit of a challenge. There is a tradeoff between insulation and bulk, with more insulation usually coming at the expense of more bulk. And more bulk means less feel and control on the handlebars. While many hard core Freezing Saddles’ers (who will ride in even Arctic-like conditions that I’m not man enough to weather) use bar mitts to keep their hands warm, I readily admit to being a roadie snob and as Meatloaf said, “I won’t do that.”
So I was more than happy when my fellow PEZ contributor Charles Manantan (who lives in Arizona where “cold” means “warm” by East Coast winter standards) suggested that I’d be the perfect guinea pig for the veloToze Waterproof Cycling Gloves.
veloToze Waterproof Cycling Gloves – $48
veloToze is a Sonoma, CA, aka wine country, based company and has been around since 2014, when they introduced their Latex shoe covers (a little more about them later). PEZ introduced readers to veloToze at Sea Otter 2016.
Their Waterproof Cycling Gloves are their foray into gloves intended to keep your hands and fingers warm and dry. veloToze claims that they will “keep your hands warm on cold morning or winter rides (-5C/20F to 15C/60F).” Waterproofness is the result of the gloves being made with a neoprene material what is both windproof and waterproof. The seams are blind stitched and sealed both for comfort and to keep them waterproof. And the cuffs are on the long-ish side. The gloves themselves are basic black and the fairly prominent veloToze logo is reflective.
If not for the logo, you might mistake these for a pair of scuba gloves, which is exactly how they fit – which is to say pretty much skin tight. The neoprene is 2.5mm thick. Interestingly, this scuba equipment website rates such thickness as appropriate for diving in water temperatures between 16C and 24C (60F to 75F) – so for much warmer temps than what veloToze rate the gloves for riding. But we’re not scuba diving.
Scuba or cycling?
The texture of the neoprene material is different on the outside than inside. The outside feels a little “sticky,” which aids with grip on the handlebars. The inside (which has more of a sheen finish) is more “slippery,” which helps getting the gloves on and off.
Outside (top) and inside (bottom) are different textures and shades
Getting veloToze gloves on is relatively straightforward and pretty much like putting on any other winter glove. Just slip your hands into them. veloToze recommends folding the glove over at the wrist to put it on, but I found I could get my hand in without having to do so – YMMV. However, I did find that folding the cuff of the glove up helped with getting them off.
Folding the cuff can help with getting the glove on and off
Because of the extended cuff, the inevitable question is whether you should wear the cuff over or under long sleeves if you’re wearing a long sleeve jersey or jacket. veloToze’s pro tip is: “Pull rain coat jacket sleeve over top of glove to ensure no water can enter the glove, especially in heavy rain.” So under your sleeve because you want the glove to seal against your skin to keep water out. That said, if you’re riding in dry weather with a long sleeve jersey but without a jacket, there’s no reason that you couldn’t ride with the gloves over our sleeves, which is what I do just because it’s less hassle.
For best results, wear the glove against the skin and underneath jersey or jacket sleeves
So do the veloToze Waterproof Cycling Gloves live up to their billing?
I can attest that they’re definitely very good cold weather riding gloves. Despite not being a traditional “insulating” glove, they’ve been able to keep my hands and fingers reasonably warm enough down into the 30s (fahrenheit). The more I ride in the cold, the more I’ve come to find that windproofness seems to matter more to me than insulation per se and the veloToze gloves are very windproof. If I was riding in extreme cold with below freezing temps (which isn’t something I would ordinarily chose to do), I would probably want a combination of both thermal insulation and windproofness. But for the typical winter riding I do, the veloToze gloves – at least so far – have been up to the task.
That’s not to say that they’re perfect. The “downside” of windproofness of the neoprene material is that they don’t really breathe a lot (if at all). So the inside of the glove might get a little clammy if your hands sweat a lot. Personally, this really wasn’t an issue for me. And where you’re more likely to feel it is after taking the gloves off at a coffee stop and putting them back on.
The one thing I learned is that you need to turn the gloves inside out after riding so that the interior will dry out. I didn’t do that after my first ride and, while not wet, the gloves felt ever so slightly damp the second time around. Getting the gloves turned completely inside out is a minor PITA. It’s easy enough to get the glove itself inside out, but you have to fiddle a bit and individually push the thumb and fingers to get them turned inside out. This takes a little extra time and effort due to the “stickiness” of the neoprene material on the outside of the glove (which is the inside when you have it turned inside out). I also learned that turning the cuff of the glove up makes it easier to get to the fingers to turn them inside out.
So what about waterproofness?
In my old age, I avoid doing #9 rides intentionally so haven’t ridden the veloToze Waterproof Cycling Gloves in the rain. I have, however, ridden with them after the rain when the roads are still wet enough to get road splash and had no issues with my hands getting wet.
But just for grins, I did my own waterproof test in the kitchen sink. I’ll let the video below speak for itself. BTW, that’s a Hansgrohe faucet – as in Bora-Hansgrohe – so my kitchen is Euro pro cycling friendly.
veloToze Tall Shoe Covers – $18
This is the original veloToze product. Unlike most other shoe covers that are made with a fabric-like material with a zipper or velcro closure, the veloToze shoe cover is made with stretchy latex (think surgical gloves) that is one piece and slips on over your shoe. But you don’t put them on the same way as regular shoe covers. Instead:
1: Put on sock
2: Pull shoe cover/overshoe on over sock
3: Put foot through large cleat hole, and pull shoe cover up around ankle
4: Put on road bike shoe
5: Pull shoe cover down over heel of shoe FIRST, then toe
6: Adjust around ankle, cleats and heel pad. Ensure no part of shoe covers/overshoe are over cleats or heel pad.
Per veloToze, “Warning: Shoe cover may tear if you do not FIRST put on shoe cover, then shoe.” Yes, it’s a little more “involved” but also “easy.” If a picture is worth a thousand words, the video is a much better explanation.
The nature of the latex material is such that you will want to take your time and be a little careful. The result is an aero, Euro pro shoe tight fit. Reinforcing the pro aspect is the fact that veloToze is the shoe cover used by Team Bora-hansgrohe.
Another veloToze pro tip: “Pull top of shoe cover over sock or under leg warmers. The top of the shoe cover needs to be against your skin or water may enter the shoe cover.” Of course, if you’re riding in cold but dry weather, this isn’t necessarily an absolute must.
Wind and waterproof plus aero
To take the shoe covers off, simply reverse the process. Again, don’t rush and be careful so as to not catch the material on anything that might cut or rip it.
veloToze claims their shoe covers will “keep your feet warm even on cold morning or winter rides (5C/40F to 16C/60F).” I found them to work reasonably well down to about 40F by keeping the windchill off. My feet weren’t warm, but they weren’t bone chilling cold either. In other words, about on par with most other (non-insulated) shoe covers I’ve tried. I’ve also “cheated” and used toe warmers to help keep my feet warm if the shoe covers themselves aren’t enough, e.g., when the temp dips below 40F. But if it’s really frigid, I need shoe covers that are both thermal insulating and windproof (plus toe warmers) to keep my toes and feet from feeling like they’re in a meat locker.
Except for the cleat and heel bumper, the entire bottom of the shoe is covered – but you’ll still want to tape over any shoe vents on the underside to prevent water and cold air entering from the bottom of the shoe
As with the gloves, I haven’t ridden with the shoe covers in the rain – just wet roads and they warded off road splash. But here’s another kitchen sink video for your enlightenment and entertainment.
Like neoprene, latex doesn’t really breathe so you might experience the “clammy effect” with the veloToze shoe covers if your feet sweat a lot. It wasn’t something I experienced, but YMMV.
Another thing about the veloToze shoe covers being made with latex is that you should expect them to have a shorter shelf life than more traditional waterproof/windproof fabric used by other manufacturers. For example, a general rule of thumb is three years for disposable latex surgical gloves. That’s not to say that the veloToze shoe covers will only last you three years, but you probably shouldn’t expect them to last you forever. But at $18 a pair, you can buy two or three pairs for the price of most other cold weather shoe covers.
Finally, there’s a fun quotient to the veloToze shoe covers. If you’re a traditionalist, they come in basic black. But if you want to add some color to your life, they are available in eight other colors: hi-viz yellow, hi-viz green, hi-viz orange, red, white, blue, purple, and pink.
Add a little color to your life
veloToze was also kind enough to send a couple pair of socks to try out. One pair (black) are a Merino wool blend and the other pair (white) are a Coolmax blend. Both Merino wool and Coolmax have wicking properties to keep your feet dry, but the Coolmax socks are probably better suited to warmer weather while the Merino wool socks are probably warmer in colder weather. I wore both on cold weather rides and I’m not sure my feet could really tell the difference. I’m going to guess that the same will be true when the weather is warmer. So in that respect: socks is socks.
Black Merino wool
The veloToze socks are 6 inches high, so shouldn’t run afoul of the UCI sock height police but maybe not PEZ’s own Ed Hood.
One thing that’s different about the veloToze socks is that they are active compression (12-16mmHG – this is where Wikipedia comes in handy). You can feel that they exert a little more “pressure”than regular socks. The theory behind compression socks is that they help increase blood circulation and aid with recovery. Triathletes swear by them, but studies show they have little to no effect athletic performance. Still … #marginalgains and #sockdoping.
Waiting for Belgian Spring
The veloToze Waterproof Cycling Gloves and Tall Shoe Covers are both welcome additions to my cold weather riding wardrobe (and you can never have too many pairs of cycling socks). They basically do what they claim to do and you can’t ask for much more than that. So now I have more options at my disposal for warding off the cold on winter rides.
For me, where I think the veloToze Waterproof Cycling Gloves and Tall Shoe Covers will really shine is on Belgian Spring rides. Cold enough, but not freezing cold, to need an added layer of insulation. Damp air with maybe an occasional sprinkle or drizzle, but not pouring rain, to need to be able to stay dry. And wind – not necessarily howling wind, but enough wind to let you know that it’s colder than what the thermometer says and you need to keep the windchill off. Throw in gray skies so you don’t get the benefit of ambient heat. Classics weather. Hard men weather. The kind of weather where skinny guys like me need all the help we can get.
Not only will veloToze be truly functional in such conditions, but will also look “oh so pro.”
Real men ride pink
See the entire collection of veloToze products here.
PEZ contributor Chuck Peña is a former weekend warrior racer who now just rides for fun and coffee, but every once in a while manages to prove Fausto Coppi’s adage true: Age and treachery will overcome youth and skill. He lives in Arlington, VA with his wife (who is his favorite riding partner), his daughter (who takes great joy in beating him at golf all the time, but at least he’s still faster on a bike), and their dog (who is always there to greet him when he comes home from a ride). You can follow him on Twitter and on Instagram.