When it comes to wind protection, few names inspire the confidence of GORE. Castelli enjoys a similarly glowing reputation for high-end cycling apparel. Since it represents a combination of the two venerable manufacturers, we had high expectations for the latest generation of Castelli's Narcisista 2 Shoecover. With cold-resistance courtesy of GORE and Castelli's decades of cycling know-how behind it, the Narcisista 2 doesn't disappoint.
And that's a good thing, because we've built up a relationship with the Narcisista models of the past. Like its predecessors, the Narcisista 2 incorporates panels of neoprene at the ankle and heel for weatherproof flex that protects against road moisture. It does feature an upgrade to GORE, though, with the previous model's Stratolight body being replaced by Windstopper X-Fast.
The combination of materials insulates to preserve body heat and provides water resistance so that warm microclimate isn't compromised by clammy dampness. It isn't equal to a monsoon-like deluge, but the Narcisista 2 will keep your feet dry in most conditions where riding a bike at speed is still a feasible undertaking. If it's raining so hard that the Narcisista 2 would be overwhelmed, it's probably best to just stay inside and watch replays of the weather-stricken 2002 Roubaix, anyway.
The inclusion of a zipper makes the Narcisista 2 easy to pull on, and the zipper is waterproof so there's no easy point of elemental ingress. The shoecovers' soles are built for durability, and a hit of reflectivity on the heel helps keep you visible in the kind of low-light, overcast conditions where the superlative protection of GORE Windstopper and neoprene will really come in handy.