Altura's Thermo Elite Gloves are a well-rounded package for cooler-weather riding. Just be sure to check the fit as they size up pretty snug.
- Pros: Very warm for the thickness/weight, highly reflective, good feel on the controls
- Cons: Very snug fit for the size, wrist covering could be longer
Gloves, like shoes and helmets, are very personal items, with often little correlation between price and function. I've been happily surprised by £20 mitts and let down by £80 Gucci finger-loafers. In the £35 Thermo Elite gloves, Altura has struck a pretty good balance and the end result is well worth considering.
The inside face has a fine fleece surface, and with wind blocked at the outside the result is surprisingly warm for such a thin material. The fingers and palm are black, striped with silicone grip-strips, the back of the palm and fingers consisting of a single section of reflective material that really catches car headlights. Handy for indicating if you go full jazz-hands.
Rounding out the feature list is a wee fleecy patch on the back of the thumb, perfect for wiping away that errant nosedrip or bead of sweat (just remember which side's for which).
The wrist is covered by a 2in-long 'engineered cuff extension' that flares ever so slightly to accommodate a jersey cuff for a wind-cheating seal. Personally, I prefer something an inch longer in adverse-weather gloves, to guarantee a waterproof or windproof seal in the event of a not-quite-long-enough sleeve length or when sleeves ride up a smidge.
With a 20cm measurement from tip of index finger to wrist, I'm at the bottom of Altura's Medium range (20-24cm). The gloves were very snug – the description is 'Fitted for a comfortable bar feel'. When off the bar there was a gap felt between the webbing of thumb and forefinger, which closed when wrapped around bar or hoods – so in other words, snug indeed.
I initially thought they felt tight to the point that they'd be uncomfortable on longer rides, but this wasn't the case. After over two hilly hours out in 8-9°C, averaging 17mph, my hands felt fine. This surprised me, given my historically woeful circulation and Raynaud's Syndrome reaction to anything remotely chilly. I've learnt the secret is to keep the forearms warm, in this case a long-sleeved merino, windproof jersey and occasionally the excellent Showers Pass Ultralight windproof jacket for nippy descents.
I'd normally wear a merino liner glove under my go-to Castelli Garas, so was surprised when the Thermo Elites lived up to their claim that the 'thermosuede' fabric would keep me warm. Just as well, as there's no way I'd fit a liner under the size medium, such is their snugness.
I'd say for me, these gloves aren't going to work below 5°C. The inability to fit a liner and my penchant for crapulous bloodflow restricting them to the upper half of single digits. But if you run with warm hands, I could see these working down to properly chilly temperatures. As with gilets, baselayers and socks, there's no such thing as the perfect glove for all weathers, but at £35 the Altura Thermo Elites could well fit a slot in your all-round weather armoury.
Windproof, warm and reflective, with a snug fit, these are great gloves for nippy rides
road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Thermo Elite gloves
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
These are for people wanting to ride fast in chilly weather, who fancy a snug fit.
Altura says: "This Elite glove is perfect for cooler rides, offering wind protection and thermal insulation, combined with our new NV360°™ reflectivity to offer all round comfort and visibility."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* Altura Darkproof® technology offers superior retroreflectivity
* Altura Shield™ technology is engineered to provide protection from wind, whilst still offering high levels of breathability
* Altura Thermo™ technology using thermosuede fabrics delivers body warming insulation and warmth, as a glove inner, keeping you warm,dry and comfortable
* ErgoFit 3D patterning delivers fewer creases across the palm for a more comfortable fit across the palm
* Winter cuff construction offers enhanced insulation and warmth through an engineered cuff extension
Very well assembled.
Kept my fingers warm, and that's quite an achievement.
The suede and build point to a long-lasting build.
They come up snug, so choose with care.
I should have been swimming in a medium, but they were quite tight.
Pretty light for what they do.
On the bar, very comfy. Surprisingly so, showing attention to the cut and assembly.
For £35 RRP, these are indeed good value.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Throw them in a 30° wash and they come up fine.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Pretty darn well, considering my circulation.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fabric really is quite warm.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The cuff could be a bit longer.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
With a slightly longer cuff and £5 cheaper, I'd be aiming these at 4.5 stars. As is, they are 'very good'.
About the tester
I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling