The Altura Night Vision Waterproof gloves are worthy options for commuting from late autumn through to spring, as well as for training and general middle distance road riding.
Altura's long running Night Vision series of technical wear has always struck me as great value for money, doing most things pretty well, and these gloves are no exception. Ours were the seasonally appropriate fluoro yellow but they also come in stealth black with acres of Scotchlite, should you prefer.
Some truly impervious designs employ a TPU lining, which is very welcome in sub-zero conditions but horribly clammy when the mercury nudges 6°C or so. Thankfully, Altura has gone a different three-layer route: the backs employ a pliable polyester laminate, next in sits a windproof, breathable membrane, and a thermal liner completes the sandwich.
Waterproof and water-resistant can vary wildly, but the Night Visions have passed my freezing canal water immersion test – right to the stitched cuff line. No surprise then that, to date, rain, sleet and snow have just rolled away.
Runny noses are synonymous with cold rides, so thankfully there's a fairly generous, low-pile thumb pad for taming them.
Though the yellow backs quickly sullied with spray and slurry thrown up along the back roads, there's no doubting their presence on gloomy afternoons. It's great for acknowledging other riders and, crucially, nailing driver attention long before signalling, as was their twin-stripe piping and branding, which seemed more attention-grabbing when signalling than those relying on forefinger tips.
Spray, slurry, snot... when it does come to washing, minimal detergent and 30-degree cycles are as complicated as it gets. Unlike some budget models boasting comparable spec, the lining is tethered to the fingertips, so no danger of it flopping out as a soggy clump. Drying times are slightly faster than more densely padded types, although we're still talking three hours at room temperature before they're bone dry.
The adjustable, mid-length gauntlet cuffs offer sufficient overlap with jackets/jerseys to keep out the weather. I have long fingers and slender wrists, but the Velcro cuff closures meant no danger of wind or rain getting funnelled inside.
The gloves' relatively sleek design means they're easily packed on changeable early spring rides, the sort where it's blazing sunlight one minute, hailstorms the next. Everything's ergo these days it seems, but the 'Ergo-Fit' 3D patterning here does seem to work, preventing creasing and bunching.
Diagonal silicone strips are designed to optimise grip on all surfaces, whatever the weather, and they work. Wet or dry, tenure is excellent, regardless of handlebar covering, though not quite up with tacky silicones in torrential rain, especially on rides exceeding two hours or so. Altura doesn't stipulate duration, but despite the flat palm and mixed terrain jollies, moderate numbness didn't materialise until the three-hour mark, which is more than adequate for general riding.
Silicone detailing on the forefingers makes swiping touchscreens and operating similar tech faff-free, but dexterity doesn't end here: using computers, lights, unlocking and rifling through luggage is easily achieved with the gloves in situ.
Through a relatively mean, chill February, overall performance has been the right side of temperate – impressive given the slightly generic 'everyman' flavour. On 20 to 25-mile training rides in temperatures between 3°C and -2, my hands felt nimble and warm.
Some gloves, including the BTwin 700s I tested last year, can allow chill in through the stitching. No such problem here, and on those rare occasions when the mercury has lapped at double figures, my hands haven't felt particularly clammy. Sure there's a faint dampness common to any polyester before the fibres come on stream, but it doesn't linger. At the other extreme, when temperatures have fallen over the course of a ride, I've regretted not packing liners but was still able to spin home without numbness or chilblains.
Summing up, the Night Vision Waterproof gloves do exactly what they say on the tin. Yes, they're more expensive than some budget models promising a similar spec, but the detailing seems a notch or two higher and their performance is very good.
Well thought out gloves for commuting and general riding
Note: The top two results in the Best Deals panel below from Evans Cycles and Leisure Lakes Bikes are for earlier versions of the Altura Night Vision Waterproof glove and are not the glove tested in this review
road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Night Vision Waterproof Gloves
Size tested: 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?
Altura clearly feels the Night Visions require little introduction, going straight for the technical benefits. I would say they are a slimline waterproof and pretty windproof glove ideally suited for late autumn/moderate winter/early season commuting and general riding.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* Altura NightVison™ technology offers superior retroreflectivity
* Altura Shield™ technology is engineered to provide protection from wind and water, 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
* Velcro cuff adjuster
Strategically located reflective trims give maximum reflectivity whilst the Altura Shield™ fabric keeps you warm and dry in downpours.
Seem well made with the usual detailing I would expect from this price point.
Live up to their design brief in practice.
Looking favourable so far.
Less precise than some at the fingertips, which makes handling keys or tending roadside mechanicals a little trickier, but no worse than several others and nothing I couldn't adapt to.
Light and pack down compactly, which makes them easy to stow in saddlebags and panniers.
Surprisingly temperate at both ends of the spectrum. Lower padding density and lack of ulnar defending blobs presented no problems on rides 2-3 hours long.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Generally very straightforward. Some traces of grimy patina remained following 30-degree machine washes but this says more about the tenacity of modern high-tech lubes rather than the fabric quality. Drying times vary according to room or air temperature but don't be tempted to tumble dry them, or the shells will weld themselves to the drum.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very capable gloves, ideally suited for commuting, general riding and maybe a bit of light touring too. Genuinely waterproof, passing my immersion test in freezing canal water with flying colours. Protection from wind is also pretty impressive. Unlike cheaper designs, this doesn't give rise to clamminess when temperatures climb into double figures. Palms are reassuringly good too. Though padding density is moderate, I've never felt any aches, numbness or tingling on rides between two and three hours.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Pretty much everything, when their design brief and pricing are factored into the equation.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
A more precise fit at the fingertips would make roadside fettling a bit easier but it's nothing I couldn't adapt to and therefore, hardly a deal-breaker.
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 score
More than decent gloves for general winter/early season riding that have exceeded my expectations.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)