Winter brings wanted snow to the Sierra—wanted, that is, if you’re an outdoors person who welcomes the white stuff for skiing, boarding, snowshoeing and backcountry explorations. If you’re en route to your winter adventure you might need to consider some transitional equipment to get you across the slippery surfaces safely. These two products meet different needs but each has its place in snow country.
When is the last time you saw an overshoe? It harkens back to an earlier time, when rubber overshoes with cheap metal clasps went over street shoes to keep them dry. In an update on that timeworn shoe protector concept the Neos look like overshoes on steroids with rugged, knee-high material, long strips of Velcro and an easy-on, thick, plastic buckle.
I tested a pair of Neos Overshoes at Demo Day at the 2014 Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City. The warm rays of afternoon sun had slid behind the mountain and within moments it was freezing. The ice in the parking lot was thick and slick after hardening in the chill and I almost slipped a couple of times. After donning the Neos I was impressed with several aspects of the overshoes. First, it was difficult to tell right from left as the oversized shoes look like exaggerated moon boots—but they already thought of that. As soon as you separate the long strip of Velcro and look inside large white letters spell out “right” and "left”. Genius. My hiking boots fit neatly in the overshoe. Even with bulky gloves on it was simple to press the Velcro together along my lower leg, fasten the buckle and off I went. The next most impressive thing was the grip. The beefy Vibram Ninja tread is equipped with pointy and ridged tips that grip the snow—you’re not going anywhere you don’t want. The sturdy, waterproof nylon upper is flexible and easy to manipulate while a cord-lock at the top cinches snugly to keep out the elements. When I got to the car I ripped open the Velcro, unsnapped the buckle and was out of the overshoe in seconds.
These boots now have a permanent place in the back of my car in winter. It’s a great overshoe in case of emergency, is available if I decide to walk around in deep snow after a day of skiing and is handy if I need to shovel the driveway.
Neos Overshoes, a subsidiary of Honeywell Safety Products, has a complete line of insulated and non-insulated overshoes that are short, mid-calf or knee-high. The model I tested isn’t available online but the nearest version, the Adventurer, retails for about $102 on the Neos Overshoes website, or $75 on Amazon.
Pros: The Neos Overshoes are easy to get on over shoes and hiking boots and provide good traction over ice and snow.
Cons: They’re pretty bulky and they aren’t designed to dig into the ice. Use YakTrax for that purpose.
See related article, Get a grip on ice: Part 2, YakTrax.
Disclosure of material connection: I received a test sample from Neos Overshoe but the opinions expressed are solely the author's.