Preferences regarding levels of cushioning and coverage in gloves are very personal, but for women who like a minimalist feel yet enough cushioning for distance riding, the Rapha Souplesse Mitts are definitely ones to consider. They are great looking, lightweight and extremely comfortable.
Fifty quid might seem like a lot to pay for a pair of lightweight summer cycling gloves, but these deliver value in spades in terms of quality, style and comfort.
Despite the super-lightweight feel, they're made from durable materials and are designed to last, no matter how long or how hard you ride.
On the backs is a breathable moisture-wicking fabric with SPF 50+ and an antibacterial treatment, while the abrasion-esistant synthetic suede palms are home to military-grade padding (as used on gloves designed for snipers). The thumbs also feature the synthetic suede for nose or brow wiping.
The simple pull-on design makes them quick and easy to get on and off, with none of the danger to other expensive technical clothing posed by Velcro tabs. The fit is close without being too tight, while the cuff finishes neatly ahead of the wrist to keep it out of the way, allowing for nice, crisp tan lines.
In use, the light, moisture-wicking backs kept my hands cool in hotter weather, but weren't so minimalist to put me off wearing them on warmer spring days, and they'll be suitable well into autumn too.
The padding on the palm is a good combination of firm yet pliable and just the ticket for long rides or short, keeping my normally slightly grumbly hands very comfortable throughout.
They also look great, in both blue and black colour options (with pink details).
This may just well be the consummate summer riding glove
road.cc test report
Make and model: Rapha Souplesse Mitts
Size tested: Women's, Black, Medium
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Rapha say: "Constructed from a high-wicking fabric, they have been created for comfort, grip and protection on long rides in hot weather"
Spot on for their intended purpose.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
78% polyamide/22% elastane
Lightweight and breathable
Quick drying fabric
Machine washable at 30
Available in sizes S, M, L
Beautifully finished seams and stitching, very well put together.
Extremely comfortable and very fast drying, with great padding.
They are a lightweight glove but no reason not to expect them to last for years with the correct care.
Very, very light.
Superbly comfortable, both in terms of breathability and drying, but also in terms of the density of padding on the palms. Just right.
Expensive but great value considering the quality and levels of comfort and performance they can deliver.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well indeed.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Looks, lightweight construction, low profile but dense padding, pull-on design.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, very much
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
A genuinely excellent summer cycling mitt, particularly suitable for those who aren't keen on the bulk of most gloves.
About the tester
Age: 42 Height: 1.65m Weight: 73kg
I usually ride: Boardman Hybrid Fi My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.