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The Altura Firestorm Reflective Gloves are ideal for autumn and springtime commutes, offering great reflectivity as the days shorten. Thanks to the lightweight, softshell construction, they keep the chill off your hands without loss of the dexterity necessary to operate lights, locks and mobile screens.
I've found the Firestorm gloves ideal for temperatures around 10°C, give or take a few degrees, though it's also dependent on the level of exertion and personal levels of tolerance. I've used them primarily for commuting, early mornings and evenings, when it's beginning to feel like winter is approaching and the nights are drawing in.
The Firestorms have a softshell main fabric, which is effective at keeping the wind at bay, surprisingly so considering how thin it is. For the temperatures mentioned, I found the gloves plenty warm enough, though they didn't cut it for me when I did an early commute in 4-5°C. They don't stand up to persistent rain either; indeed, once wet, they offer no protection from even the wind.
If I put the hammer down in milder temperatures, I found that the suede became a little damp with sweat, though not excessively so.
Following the sizing guide, the mediums I tested were spot on in terms of fit and length of finger and cuff, with room for movement inside. I'd recommend staying true to size if you are buying. The cuff itself is a good length and snug enough to stay tucked under a jersey, preventing draughts getting in.
The thin upper and Amara suede palm mean that the Firestorms aren't bulky. This is great for operating even the fiddliest of lights and locks. You hardly lose any dexterity. When in contact with bar tape, the suede provides good grip, justifying the omission of any silicone gripper. The terry sweat wipe is well positioned and super-soft for snot and sweat wiping.
For some, the complete lack of padding might be an issue. I didn't miss this, especially during my 30-minute commutes. I tested them on longer rides and didn't suffer either.
Overall, the quality is good, with neat and tidy stitching. The fabric at the fingertips is showing a few signs of wear, but nothing severe, and I have used them literally every day and, on several occasions, played around with Velcro straps (bikepacking baggage) while wearing them.
There's a reinforced section between the thumb and forefinger to resist wear when your hands are spending hours wrapped around the lever hood.
Altura claims that the fingers are touchscreen compatible, but this was a bit hit and miss for me. I've certainly experienced more effective gloves in this department. Patience and persistence was sometimes necessary.
The biggest boast, in my opinion, is the reflective detailing on the back of the hand. I tested the grey Firestorms, perhaps more striking than the alternative black ones in daylight. At night they are impressive. Your indicating won't go unnoticed – provided you remember to point the back of your hand appropriately.
When it comes to pricing, I'd say that £39.99 is a fair bit to pay for a glove that only offers wind resistance and no respite from the rain, when you can get options like the Sportful NoRain gloves for the same money, though you do forgo the reflective element.
Lusso's Windtex Terrain gloves are windproof, breathable and water resistant, and are a tenner less than the Alturas.
As ever, though, you can always go more expensive: the Castelli Scalda Elite Gloves are an eye-watering £70, but do tick every box.
Overall, I have loved using the Altura gloves. They are sure to serve regular commuters well, their reflective properties will be appreciated. If you have a collection of gloves for more extreme weathers, then these slot in for those days when it is just a bit chilly.
Great mid-season gloves for any regular commuter or night rider who's content with no padding
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Firestorm Gloves
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Altura says: 'The Firestorm Reflective Glove has been designed to keep your hands comfortable in cool or warm weather with a breathable soft shell outer fabric featuring an Amara suede palm. Reflective design detailing offers visibility in low light conditions providing additional safety on the bike. A reinforced thumb with touch screen compatible finger tips allows use of touch screen devices.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
-Softshell main body fabric
-Touch screen compatible fingers
-Terry sweat wipe lower thumb panel
Performed well in the 'cool or warm weather' that Altura intends them to be used in.
Lack of padding may not be for everyone.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
The grey version will show up more stains than the black ones; I found myself using Vanish for stubborn, oily marks. Repeated washing hasn't affected performance though.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Brilliant for night riding and commuting in autumn and spring. The lack of padding won't appeal to all, though, especially for long training rides.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Effective reflective rear side. Low bulk.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Although touchscreen compatible, they aren't as effective as some out there.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They aren't overpriced but, equally, are not cheap given that they lack things like padding and waterproofing. Sportful's NoRain gloves are the same price, for example, while Lusso's Windtex Terrain Red gloves are a tenner less.
That said, Castelli's Scalda Elite Gloves at £70 make the Firestorms look cheap.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Likely, at a discounted price.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
While they won't handle every element or temperature, their minimal bulk, high-vis features and general comfort are big pluses.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road My best bike is: Carbon road.
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, Getting to grips with off roading too!
Emma’s first encounters with a road bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling.
After a couple of half decent UK road seasons racing for Leisure Lakes, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there and spent two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, then a new Belgian team of primarily developing riders, where there was less pressure, an opportunity to share her experience and help build a whole new team; a nice way to spend her final years of professional racing.
Since retiring Emma has returned to teaching. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. In addition to the daily commute, Emma still enjoys getting out on her road bike and having her legs ripped off on the local club rides and chain gangs. She has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been rare sightings of Emma off-road on a mountain bike…