I bought these VAUDE Bike Gaiters at the start of last winter, when I was still riding my fat bike. They’ve been used off road mostly, protecting my Lake MX 237 Endurance shoes from the local slop. I have worn them with my road shoes too, on a few lengthy tarmac rides.
When I bought them, I was after something slightly longer than the usual neoprene offerings I’d used before. I was also hoping they’d last slightly longer than the usual neoprene offerings too, as those only ever seem to last a couple of months before they start disintegrating on you.
They are made from polyester, and coasted with VAUDE’s Eco Finish, which they claim is an environmentally friendly water-repellent finish without fluorocarbons (PFC). Their website claims these are water resistant and then in another paragraph, that they are waterproof. The seams over the shoe and up the leg are all sealed with tape, and I have certainly found the material to be waterproof.
They are very simple to get on an off, featuring what is claimed to be a full length Velcro closure up the back. This is slightly misleading, as while there is a full length of hook fastening behind the reflective trim, there are only four patches of loop fastening on the other side, so there are gaps. The top of the closure features another bit of Velcro, that goes round the back of the leg and stops the main closure from being accidentally opened.
My main criticism would centre around VAUDE’s claim that these have a reinforced tip of soles [sic]. Looking at the images on their website, they certainly look like they have beefier material under the toe. The ones I have, however, do not. As you can see, the spike bolts on my shoes easily wore through the material.
Once the material started to go, it wasn’t long before it failed completely. This happened first to the left gaiter, which is the foot I put down at traffic lights etc. After a few hike-a-bike incidents on clarty byways, the toe of the right gaiter failed complete too.
To be fair to VAUDE though, these don’t appear to be marketed as an off-road cycling product. Although you could argue that wet trekking and bike tours, or Trekking bike + Day-to-day biker, could be construed as encompass some off-road riding. Either way, the bit of material under the toe on the pair I have, was woefully inadequate, even for occasional on-road riding.
Other than under the toe, they’ve lasted fairly well considering the abuse I’ve given them and are still mostly useable. Even without the material under the toe, they mostly stay in place, thanks to the bit of elastic that goes round your shoe. It’s only when you ended up having to drag your bike along a mud bath of a byway that they show their limitations. As they are quite loose fitting, even with all the straps done up, mud and water can find their way up between the material and the shoe. So if you find yourself yomping through ankle deep liquid mud, or ploughing through deep puddles, your still going to get muddy shoes and potentially wet feet. I speak from experience on this one.
Along with the toe box failing, the waterproof coating on the inside is starting to show wear and tear, especially around the heel. This appears to be caused by repeated rubbing against the shoe, rather than bumps and scrapes causing cuts and tears. They still appear to be waterproof though, and most importantly for me, windproof. Due to knee issues, I don’t like wearing full length leg wear, these have been great in keeping the winter chill off, in all but the coldest conditions.
I would certainly consider buying another pair of these gaiters, especially if VAUDE have switched to using a tougher material under the toe. Considering most shorter length neoprene overshoes sell for around the same amount and the full length Spatz overshoes are three times the price, for the level of protection they provide, these could be considered a bargain.