Altura's supremely comfortable ProGel 3 mitts come with very effective padding, fantastic fit and brilliant reflectivity. Which means they should appeal just as much to cycle commuters as road riders.
Pros: Fantastic comfort and fit, great choice of materials, excellent reflective detailing
Cons: A little difficult to remove
I first used the ProGel 3 mitts while riding a fairly stiff hybrid and, while my backside sure felt plenty of shocks, my hands got away effectively scot-free. What's even more impressive is that I've had a broken finger throughout the time I've been testing them. I quickly grew to realise that once the NHS-issue finger splint was squeezed through the relevant hole, everything would feel really quite fantastic.
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It's all too easy to be cynical when it comes to a brand's marketing spiel but it's hard to argue with the 'strategic placing' of Altura's ProGel inserts. There are two raised but still very modest padded sections on the lower palm below a silicone grip surface, plus a shallower, wider band of padding at the top of the palm. Combined, these give perfect hand support on the top of flat bars then, when transferred to a road bike, excellent comfort on brake hoods and more than enough movement to hold the drops unencumbered.
In fact, so humble is the padding, the comfort it provides is almost unbelievable. But it's a case of 'less is more' throughout the ProGel 3's design. Fit is really impressive, apparently thanks to Altura's ErgoFit 3D patterning, which it says uses less fabric and therefore creates fewer creases in the palm to cause discomfort. Again, I'd have to agree that the end result is simply superb. These large size mitts felt beautifully snug with no incidence of any ruffling or rucking.
My hands also stayed impressively free of sweatiness – even on long, hot rides – so breathability is top-notch. The palm has a small selection of perforations, while the thin, stretchy fabric on the back of the hand seems to allow effective evaporation. The fact the ProGel 3 has a strapless cuff may well also aid airflow just a little.
Meanwhile, soft material around the thumb is there to soak up sweaty or runny nose moments. This is all very subtly integrated, without the overt kind of 'please wipe bodily-fluids here' styling sometimes associated with such features.
Finally, there's the ProGel 3's reflective talents. The most instantly obvious of these are two high-vis yellow reflective strips sewn into the finger tabs on the inside of the middle and ring finger. However, more interesting is the 'Darkproof 360 reflectivity' band of dots and Altura branding on the back of the mitt. In dark conditions, they pick up direct light very impressively; under normal lighting they look just like a fairly reserved style detail.
As for value, £27 isn't the cheapest you can get away with, but it's on par with quite a few decent pairs of mitts reviewed on road.cc – and it's less than many. The unpadded Lizard Skins Aramus are £2 cheaper, but go for the padded options and you're looking at £30.
> More mitts: read more road.cc reviews here
So the Altura ProGel 3 Mitts are perfect then? Almost. This is really nitpicking but Altura has placed a reinforced rubber pull tab on the top side of the mitt. Surely I'm not the only person who puts on and removes mitts by gripping the palm side instead? The two middle finger pull tabs do help with removal but, such is the laudably close-fitting nature of these mitts, taking them off still took a little time.
Then again, maybe that was purely psychological. With comfort like this, it's tempting to just keep wearing them.
Great mitt with superb comfort and enhanced reflectivity that's ideal for commuting as well as road riding
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Make and model: Altura Progel 3 Mitt
Tell us what the product is for
Altura says: "Our ProGel performance mitt with Darkproof ® Technology strapless cuff construction and easy removal finger pull tabs."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Altura Dry™ technology is engineered to move excess moisture away from the skin, keeping you dry and comfortable.
Altura ErgoFit™ 3D patterning delivers a plam with less fabric and therefore fewer creases for a more comfortable fit.
Altura Darkproof® technology offers superior retroreflectivity. NV360° performance offers 360 degree reflectivity for maximum dark light visibility.
Altura ProGel™ strategically placed gel inserts to provide enhanced comfort.
Silicon grip print: enhanced grip through silicon palm.
Perforated palm for breathability.
Easy removal finger pull tabs.
Rate the product for quality of construction:
Really well made with very careful placement of padding and excellent design and manufacture.
Rate the product for performance:
Incredibly comfortable mitt with added bonus of reflective detailing.
Rate the product for durability:
Early days, but seem to be handling daily use very well.
Rate the product for fit:
Quite literally fits like a glove... well, a mitt.
Rate the product for sizing:
I used a size 'large' and have moderately large men's hands.
Rate the product for weight:
Very light, no excess padding or material.
Rate the product for comfort:
Fantastically comfortable in a range of positions and on a range of handlebars.
Rate the product for value:
Not super-cheap, but certainly not outrageously priced. If anything, the level of performance is excellent value.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Seems to handle a quick spin in the washing machine without any issues.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Even on bikes with stiff front ends or less-than-cushioning grips or bar tape, these mitts provide a painless handhold. In dark conditions, the reflective sections work brilliantly, too.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfort is superb and all achieved without copious amounts of padding. I also liked the way the thumb wipe section was subtly integrated into the overall design.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The reinforced pull-on tab is on the back of the glove – it would surely be more convenient to have it at the base of the palm.
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
Quite simply, the best mitts I have ever used. Comfortable, well made and very impressive reflective details for nighttime riding. The pull-on/off tabs could be better placed, and they could be cheaper... but these really are deserving of a 9 overall.
Age: 39 Height: 6'0 Weight: 16 stone
I usually ride: Islabikes Beinn 29 My best bike is: 25-year-old Dawes Galaxy
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: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking, leisure
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