Back in the day, cycling mitts (or gloves) were either crocheted, leather, or sometimes both. Today it's more common for them to be made of man-made materials but there is still a market for a more classic-looking glove. The Leather Mitts from Chapeau tap into that demand nicely, with Chapeau's iconic bowler hat logo a nice match for the retro-influenced white leather backs. Chapeau has used modern leather from Pittards combined with various other more modern ingredients to result in a comfortable and stylish glove.
It's not just the fabric, I found the cut a pretty good approximation of the shape of my hands. Generally with leather gloves, you aim for a fairly tight fit to begin with so that the leather can yield a bit over time and conform to your hands. I have fairly large hands and the supplied large size was just right – a squeeze to begin with but comfortable from the outset too. I found I mostly just didn't really think about my gloves while I was riding, even on longer rides, and as ever, that's a pretty good indication of comfort.
They're only available in one colour, with a white leather back and a black palm. The white leather is a soft sheepskin, perforated with holes so small they are really barely more than pores. Unlike some, you won't get crazy tan spots from these gloves. Chapeau says that this offers uncompromised breathability, but they don't let as much air through as a mesh back. This never resulted in reduced comfort, but on really hot days it would mean they became a bit more tricky to remove as my hands sweated.
The palms are very well ventilated. They're made from a combination of more textured Pittards leather and a couple of different meshes. The leather is positioned in the areas where you'd want a little more padding, which are also the areas most susceptible to wear. The leather sections around the thumb and the base of the palm have some thin padding, while there is none added at the top of the palm. You may have a preference for a well-padded or an unpadded glove – what we have here is what I'd consider the happy medium, with just the right amount of padding.
In between the leather sections on the palm is a 3D mesh material which is both breathable and comfortable. A second type of much finer mesh is used under the base of the fingers. This feels a little bit flimsy and I was worried it would be a weak point, but after a couple of months' using the mitts it's not showing any inclination to disintegrate.
Care is pretty straightforward – I've just been chucking them in the washing machine in a low-temperature wash with non-bio detergent. The leather seems to cope with this pretty well and I've not yet had to treat it – it comes out pretty much as supple as it went in.
As there's no Velcro or poppered strap, they aren't the easiest to put on or, particularly, to take off. I found that careful removal would take a few seconds longer than some other mitts. On the outside of the wrist is a small section of stretchy Lycra which yields a little, but they are still a bit fiddly.
A welcome concession to bodily function, the large soft snotwipe is the best I've used. It does the things that you'd want a snotwipe to do; I don't think we need to delve into further details here.
Priced at £35, these are decent value. They cost the same as the Gore Bike Wear Retro mitts, which are made from similar materials, and are significantly less than other full leather mitts from the likes of Rapha and Giro, although more than those from Galibier. I've enjoyed wearing these mitts and they're likely to be a go-to pair for all but the hottest days.
Smart, comfortable, easy to look after and sensibly priced
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Chapeau Leather 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?
Chapeau says: "If you enjoy taking care of the details, you'll love the Chapeau! leather mitts. With classic styling to complement any kit selection these gloves are more than mere accessory, engineered to perform to the stresses of riding in any condition.
"Constructed in the very best water and sweat resistant Pittards leathers, a soft feel and form fitting sheepskin, the mitts feel as good as they look. Whilst the leather resists the absorption of moisture from rain, sweat and humidity, breathability and comfort are not compromised.
"A textured pattern on the palm leather increases grip and provides abrasion resistance with 3D meshed palm for extra comfort and increased air flow.
"Finished with extra-soft binding around the thumb at the all important contact point, these mitts are going to become to your cycling like a hand to a glove."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Back is perforated leather, palm is a mixture of synthetic mesh and textured leather.
Nicely put together and pleasingly robust on the evidence of a couple of months' use.
I hardly ever thought about them during a ride – that's the hallmark of something doing its job well. On really hot summer days I'd probably choose something more breathable.
I wouldn't expect these to last as long as full-leather gloves, but they coped well during testing.
Snug and comfortable.
No complaints, per the chart.
You can get lighter mitts, but really, we're talking about a few grams here.
Just the right amount of padding for my tastes, and soft material in the places where you want it (e.g. around the thumb).
Decent value compared to some leather mitts.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
I bunged them in the washing machine in a cool wash a few times without any issues.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really well - they are comfortable and smart.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Classic looks; come up clean after a wash; comfort; inclusion of a good snot wipe; good value...
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not the easiest to take off.
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
These are a pretty likeable pair of gloves with a more traditional look without going full retro (with the attendant concessions to practicality that tend to accompany that). Their only real issue for some people will be that they are more fiddly than many to get off. A solid 4 stars.
About the tester
I usually ride: On-one Bish Bash Bosh My best bike is: Rose X-Lite CRS
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: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Jez spends his days making robots that drive cars but is happiest when on two wheels. His roots are in mountain biking but he spends more time nowadays on the road, occasionally racing but more often just riding.