I went for a ride last weekend around some forrest trails, it was particulary muddy with lots of puddles, and was also raining at the time.

I've got a good set of mudguards, so my back was reasonably clean

The only part that really got wet/dirty were my trainers and shins.

I understand mudguards can only prevent dirt/water to a certain extent, but what can I get to prevent me ruining my trainers on each ride?

I've heard about overshoes, but have read mixed reviews about how after 10 minutes or so you'll still be just as wet as if you didn't bother, and they're not much use if you come off your bike and step in a puddle..

What about mountain bike shoes, are they waterproof?

  • 1
    Technique helps too - if you see the puddle coming, stop pedaling, raise your toes and drop your heels. This should catch much of the water on the underside of the shoe rather than on top. You can also lift your feet off the pedals completely but that means a loss of power and decrease in control while you coast through the puddle, and any unseen potholes will hurt more.
    – Criggie
    Jul 19, 2016 at 23:42

7 Answers 7


I've never had a pair of MTB shoes that are waterproof though I wouldn't doubt if they exist. Even if they were you'd still have water coming of your shin and into the shoe (this is what makes even waterproof shoe covers a bit wet inside).

I just tough it out. I have a set of neoprene shoe covers that keep my feet warm and maybe even dry depending on how wet it is. I have a set of full length tights and a set of leg warmers. If either of those are dirty I just hose them off when I clean my bike at the end of the ride and let them dry. I'll wash them every few rides.

  • 4
    +1 for neoprene shoe covers. Your feet may get damp -- even soaked if the conditions are really bad -- but you'll hardly notice because they'll stay warm.
    – darkcanuck
    Oct 26, 2010 at 22:00

Full fenders with mudflaps keep you much, much drier -- you can make your own mudflaps out of a cut-in-half water bottle, if need be. Neoprene booties are nice, too.

  • Yes - but much of the splash that comes from the front wheel is a spray from the ground/bottom of tyre. No mudguard can stop water sprayed up and sideways by the front tyre, even if it went down to the ground.
    – Criggie
    Jul 19, 2016 at 23:39

If you take a look at photo shoots of professional DH/4X riders, you'll be surprised at how many of them use cling-film around their shoes/lower legs to keep them water tight.

A bit of a ghetto fix, but if it's good enough for the pros...


I wear waterproof Gore-Tex walking boots. My feet have never got wet while wearing them, even when riding in a downpour.


If you ride SPD shoes, Buy Shimano MW-81 winter boots. They are waterproof with gore-tex lining. Water generally can only enter via the top of the shoe. Combine these with gaiters and you'll be very dry. I find these good down to about freezing and are great for spring / fall commuting or off road riding in sloppy conditions.

Also for SPD shoes in colder conditions, buy 45nrth fasterkatt or Wolvhammer boots. They are basically a cycling shoe with a waterproof bootie integrated in to the shoe. Fasterkatt is for moderate cold, Wolvhammer is for sub freezing weather. These are pricey, but very effective. Again, water can infiltrate through the top of the cuff, so gaiter covering the upper area will reduce the chance of that.

Shoe covers will help a bit, but most shoes are not sealed around the cleat and are very vented on the sides and may have water infiltration there, and will likely fill up with water if you step in even a shallow puddle.

Neoprene socks (look for ones called SealSkinz) are recommended by some for very wet and cold weather. You can wear these with normal shoes. Your feet may get a bit wrinkly, but it keeps the hot water in and the cold water out.

If it's not cold, then just deal with wet feet getting wet. Rinse your shoes when you get home and dry them out with newspaper, a hair dryer, or get yourself a fan powered boot dryer.

Wear wool socks as well, since if they get wet, they still retain some insulating ability.

For you legs, a downtube mounted grunge guard does a good job and can be installed and removed relatively easily and doesn't tend to get in the way of suspension or big tires as much.

  • I find the Shimano MW-81 winter boots can be enhanced with shoe covers for colder conditions and also prevents water infiltration at the cuff. You will probably want something with a durable bottom like the endura MTB shoe covers, as walking off road tends to kill road style shoe covers quick.
    – Benzo
    Nov 18, 2013 at 19:02

For platform pedals, the solution is IMHO obvious:

How about mountain hiking boots, with gaiters over them.

  • The boots breathe, unlike nylon wrap or neopren overshoes. The gaiters could also be breathable, if one puts the extra $$ into a pair of gore-tex ones.
  • The stiff sole, when used on a spiky platform, provides excellent pressure distribution, as if the platform of the pedal was way larger
  • Ankle protection in a possible fall

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Get brown shoes, this way the mud won't stain them.
Get the longest possible gaiters - right up to the knee.


I don't ride a mountain bike and I ride mostly in the city, but when conditions are wet, I always wear rubber overboots. They're cheap, durable and oh-so stylish.

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