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The Altura Women's Nightvision DWR Waist Tights are a good choice if you want protection from the elements without the hassle of a bib. A palatable price tag gets you warmth, a decent pad and some excellent reflective detailing. You'll need to take care where sizing is concerned, though, and the leg ends could benefit from some alterations.
A decent pair of waist tights can be an absolute godsend in winter – comfort breaks are slick, so you can minimise skin-exposure to the cold and there is no issue with irritating or uncomfortable bibs. That said, get a bad fit at the waist and they can be the most annoying thing ever.
Using Altura's size guide, my waist measurement is a 10, my inner leg a 10 and my height an 18 – yes, that extreme. I opted to test the 10, and it was genuinely a battle to get these on.
The first sticking point was at the ankle. There is no zipper here, and there's very little give in the silicone-lined hem, which meant prising them over the heel was a real effort.
To keep the waist snug, there is a deep band of doubled-over fabric that also doesn't have a huge amount of give, so the second sticking point was at the hips.
Once on, they certainly weren't budging, and I found the fit at the waist spot on, not over-tight or cutting.
Should I have sized up? Doing this to avoid a battle to get them on would mean they might then be too long in the leg. As they are, there is more than enough length in the leg, so much so that I experienced some bunching behind the knee. And because of the material's lack of give, I found this bunching pretty irritating while riding. It's fair to say that they are not the most comfortable of tights I've ridden in; they don't flow freely with my body's movement on the bike.
While the fabric doesn't have much give, it's relatively lightweight, with a fleece backing to help trap body heat and keep you warm. I found them ideal for temperatures between 4 and 10°C. The DWR treatment keeps off the lightest of rain and road spray, too, though it doesn't handle much more.
The Nightvision reflective detailing is great – well placed and plenty of it. This is a big plus for any commuter or night owl. (You can see pics of it in action in Stu's review of the men's version.)
The tights have a 3D Comp pad, which is at the lower end of Altura's range of pads.That's not surprising as the tights come from Altura's commuter range; it's not intended for long stints in the saddle. I found it perfectly sufficient for a couple of hours, with no signs of chafing or irritation, but – in line with Altura's guide – it wouldn't be supportive enough for rides much beyond that.
At £64.99 the Nightvisions are an affordable option – they're £20 less than Fat Lad At The Back's thermal tights, for example.
The lack of bib helps keep the price down, but you can get cheaper, such as Madison's Stellar tights for £49.99 – though you need to check the fit here too, you may need to size down in this case – or dhb's Flashlight Thermals for £60 (we haven't reviewed these, so I can't comment on performance or fit).
Overall, the Alturas are a decent option for shorter rides in colder weather. They are let down a little by a lack of suppleness in the fabric, and would be much easier to pull on if there was more give at the ankles. I could recommend sizing up, but this might not solve all the issues. In short, it would be advisable to try before you buy to avoid disappointment and unnecessary exertion while dressing.
Warm, with decent reflectives for urban riding and commuting, but some will have issues with the fit and fabric
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Women's Nightvision DWR Waist Tight
Size tested: 10
Tell us what the product is for
Altura says: 'The Nightvision Waist Tight uses soft-touch fabrics to deliver body insulation and warmth. The bold reflective print offers enhanced visibility, helping to keep you safe on the road. The DWR treatment repels water to help keep you dry, whilst the Altura Comp 3D pad provides added comfort making this the perfect choice for the regular commuter.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
-Thermal brushed back fabric
-Highly reflective print
-Body mapping construction
-Comp 3D pad
Do a good job of keeping you warm and seen.
Personally, I found they had plenty of length and a nice fit at the waist, but they were tight in the leg 'girth' and this was compounded by the fabric's lack of give.
You might need to size up to avoid a battle to get them on, but then they might be too long.
For me, the fabric doesn't have enough give, and the tights don't flow very well with the movement of the body. The bunching behind the knee was the most irritable consequence.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
I followed the guidance and they are still in great condition.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Ideal warmth for a cold commute and knock-about rides, with the added reflective detailing that many others don't offer.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Material's lack of give, and tight ankles.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Middle to lower end end of the range: cheaper than Fat Lad At The Back's Thermal tights at £84.99, and Gore's Thermo Waist Tights are £99.99, but more expensive than others, such as dhb's Flashlight Thermals for £60 and Madison's Stellar Women's Tights at £49.99.
Did you enjoy using the product? No, the fit just wasn't right for me.
Would you consider buying the product? Unlikely, they simply don't suit my body shape.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, with a warning to try before they buy.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Affordable, good quality, warm and with very good reflectives, but the cut won't suit all, not helped by a lack of give in the fabric, especially at the ankles. Try before you buy – if they suit your shape, they're good.
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…