A well-fitting, comfortable pair of mitts is a cycling essential and I can certainly recommend the Altura Sportive 97 mitts for a blister-free day, even on the longest outings.
Altura has issued these gloves to match its 20th anniversary 97 Sportive SS jersey, which I also reviewed. It shares the zig-zag, two-shades-of-blue theme and offers similarly good performance at a reasonable price. Also, the sizing, which seemed a little generous on the jersey, is spot on here.
The palm, which is made from synthetic leather, utilises Altura's Ergofit 3D patterning. Altura says it means it can use less material to get a good fit without creasing and I found this excellent. There's a sandwich of padding, which feels like gel, across the base of the fingers, and gel pads (with silicone grip strips) sewn into holes at the base of the thumb and heel of the hand. These were all intelligently placed and made these quite the most comfortable road mitts I've ever worn at any price.
I thought the point at the web of the thumb and index finger, which is so easy to rub and make sore, might present a problem because five panels meet here and form a small bump, but no. Handlebar grip was very good, too.
The backing is made from a nylon fabric which Altura calls 'Flexmesh'. It's light and soft, very stretchy and well fitting. After a month or so on test it shows signs of plucking, but that's not affecting the performance. While the fabric stayed dry on warm days, it's not hugely ventilated. I await a really hot day to find out whether this makes them too warm for very summery conditions but I haven't found them so on days when the temperatures have crept into the low-20s. The back of the thumb is a kind of faux-chamoix material for useful mopping of wayward drips.
I tested a size L but often go for an XL in gloves. The large turned out to be ideal, keeping the fabric close to the palm and stretchy across the back with a just-right hold around the base of the fingers. Two yellow pull-tabs are sewn onto the middle and ring fingers but even so I found these quite tricky to get off, probably because of the close fit. At the wrist, a light elastic insert keeps everything in place and was comfortable on the hand.
While these are designed to complement the 97 Sportive jersey, they looked good with other blue-themed kit and also come in red or black. Even at £20 these are a good investment for all-day comfort – of the last 20 pairs of mitts tested on road.cc only two are cheaper – but they are widely available below RRP, which makes them even better.
Really comfortable gloves that are a pleasure to wear on long days out
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Sportive 97 Mitts
Size tested: Large
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?
From the Altura website: "Celebrating 20 years of performance cycling, Altura deliver their sportive mitt with strapless cuff construction and easy removal finger pull tabs."
I didn't find the finger pull tabs all that easy to pull, actually, but apart from that it's a lovely pair of gloves to use.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Altura Dry™ technology enhanced breathability and wicking through perforated palm panels and flexmesh upper panels
* Altura Ergofit™ 3D patterning delivers a palm with less fabric and therefore fewer creases for a more comfortable fit
* Silicon grip print: enhanced grip through silicon palm
* Strategically positioned microfibre sweat wipe
* Easy removal finger pull tabs
Sizes S, M, L, XL
Made in Indonesia. It's mostly adequate but the single-stitching on the fingers isn't the best.
Very nice and comfortable to wear, lightly padded in all the right places, and there was no rubbing or pressure points. The "Flexmesh" backs are quite breathable but not all that vented, so some people might find them a bit warm on hotter days.
After a few weeks' testing they're holding up fine, but over the longer term I fear my constant plucking at them to get them off will split one of those single-stitched finger seams. The backs show signs of plucking. This is so common in road mitts as to be almost beneath mention. Anyway, at under £20 it's more than acceptable.
I often take an XL glove but found the L sent to me fit very well with no creasing or wrinkling in the palm. It did make them a bit difficult to remove though.
I'm not too sure about Altura's sizing guide, which tells you to measure your hand from the base of the thumb to the tip of the middle finger – 21-25cm for large!
Otherwise, I found this about correct for a large.
Unless you are looking for something super-ventilated, there's little to worry about here.
This is what its all about with gloves, and Altura scores top marks here.
If it fits it will be worn a lot and therefore £20 is very good value.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Fine, and no Velcro involved so it doesn't attach itself to other garments in the wash.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They look good, especially with the matching jersey, fit closely and prevented sore hands, even on rides of 60 miles or more.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Fit and comfort, good padding and a soft back.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It was a fiddle to get them off, even with the finger pull tabs.
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
Any glove stands or falls on comfort and this one excelled in that area. It helps to have a close fit, which prevents any wrinkling in the palm. The padding is well positioned and the elasticated wrist doesn't cut in or rub. Altogether, very nice to wear and ride in, and taking the price into account too, I think a 9 is fully justified.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale CAAD10 My best bike is: Tomassini Prestige
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking