Waterproof boots and waterproof socks can be great for mountain biking, but many of them have one big flaw: water trickles down through the cuff, until eventually your foot is sloshing around in a small bath. GripGrab’s simple neoprene CyclinGaiter is designed to fit under your legwear but over your boot or overshoe so that the water that drips down your leg ends up on the outside of your shoe. Amazingly, it works, or it did for this tester.
Design and specifications
This’ll be quick. Each CyclinGaiter is a simple cone of what feels like good quality 3mm thick wetsuit material. It’s shiny, smooth and grippy on the inside and coated with smooth matt waterproofing on the outside. The gaiters are 15cm deep, and they come in two diameters, and two colour options (black and neon yellow), each with reflective markings.
And that’s it. The key thing is that if you’re wearing a leg covering – tights or trousers – the top layer should go over the gaiters, not under them. That’s because if your top layer goes under the gaiters, the water that lands on it will just soak in and under the gaiter.
You can also wear them with shorts, where even though it might not stop water completely as it runs down your legs, especially if you have hairy legs, it should show things down.
The GripGrab site mainly shows the CyclinGaiter being used over overshoes, but our test was with boots. Read on and find out more.
My challenge this autumn was to mountain bike the three-day Trans Cambrian Way – notorious for river crossings and long trenches of water – without getting wet feet. Short of wearing wellies, I thought that’d be pie in the sky and that I’d have to aim for warm but wet.
My Shimano XM9 Gore-Tex boots have been brilliant winter companions for the last couple of years, but even in previous experiments with ordinary hiking gaiters over the top, heavy rain ended up leaking down through my trouser legs and into the boots. And the hiking gaiters were sweaty. My most recent success had been wearing my excellent Gore-Tex Pro 7mesh Thunder Pants with the ankle cuff left long. It mostly covered the top of the boot but it wasn’t perfect, and I didn’t fancy its chances for river crossings.
I took to Wales this time with waterproof socks under the Gore-Tex boots, and the GripGrab CyclinGaiter stretched over the top of the boots. When it wasn’t raining, I was wearing cycling leggings, with the cuffs over the top of the gaiters, and if it tipped down, I put the Thunder Pants on, again with the cuffs over the gaiters.
The gaiters were a bit of a stretch to get over the top of the boots, and if you had the other end too far up your leg they’d just pop off the boot once you started moving. But once I’d worked out a technique of keeping the top end low enough to leave slack for movement, they stayed over the boots nicely.
And amazingly, they worked. I reckon my feet were fully submerged at least once or twice an hour for three full days, sprayed much more regularly, and it rained what felt like half the time. On two days I wore waterproof socks, and on one my trusty DeFeet Woolie Boolies, and they’d all have been dry enough to wear again at the end of each day.
Your mileage may vary, but I was impressed. I’m not sure how durable they’ll be - like a wetsuit they’ve started to pick up nicks, on the inner side, quite possibly from the metal lace hooks on the boots – but I reckon some Stormsure glue will keep them going if it gets bad.
Aside from a much needed chicken and leek pie at the Bluebell Inn in Llangurig, the CyclinGaiters were the star of that excellent but very wet three-day Welsh bikepacking trip. They really did save my bacon, and I’ll be using them for more wet rides in winter.
Tech Specs: GripGrab CyclinGaiter
- Price: £14.99 / $19.99 / €15.95
- Colors: Black, Neon yellow
- Weight: 40g (pair, s/m)
- Sizes: S/M, L/XL
- Materials: Waterproof coated neoprene (80% rubber, 14% polyamide, 6% polyurethane)