ALTURA PROGEL 3 MITT ON ROAD.CC
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 communters 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.
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 the 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' through out 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 end result is simply superb. These large size mitts felt beautifully snug with no incidence of any ruffling or rucking.
My hand also stayed impressively free of sweatniess - 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 ariflow just a little.
Meanwhile soft material around the thumb is there to soak up sweaty or runny nose moments. This is all very subtly intergrated, 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.
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.
Verdict: Great Mitt with superb comfort and enhanced flexibility that's ideal for commuting as well as road riding.