The Alé Aria Summer Gloves are an excellent example of why sometimes things should just be kept simple. A bit of Lycra, a hardwearing palm and subtle padding make the Arias barely noticeable in use, which is great for mitt and non-mitt wearers.
Testing policy at road.cc is that if the product is something you wouldn't normally use, you're unlikely to be given it to test. If you wouldn't choose the product in the first place, it would be on the back foot from the start. Sometimes, though, it's nice to get the chance to be converted – and that's what the Arias have done for me.
When I started riding I always wore gloves – thinking back to my first 'racer', a 5-speed Apollo Crusader at the age of eight, I can still recall the black pair I had. They made me feel proper pro when racing around the housing estate against the BMXs and mountain bikes.
Since then, though, my use of the short-fingered mitt has been in steady decline for reasons I don't really know – well, okay, tan lines is one of them! I also like to feel everything that is going on with the bike, so I avoid thickly padded gloves that mute things.
The Arias fit the bill, though. The palm is lightly padded, just slightly thicker where it needs to be for comfort without bunching up, and when paired with decent bar tape they're damn near perfect in the comfort stakes.
Running across the palm are strips of silicone, for grip, and they work very well on wet and slippery bar tape.
The rest of the construction is a simple printed Lycra back – black with a range of three coloured logos on offer, white, yellow or pink. It'd be nice to see some brighter colours to match the rest of Alé's vibrant kit.
I like the fact that there is no Velcro strap to secure them or finger loops to remove them, as while they are great at the start and end of the ride, I find they can irritate during. The stretchy material makes them easy to get on and off anyway.
For the 20 quid asking price they can't really be knocked. Yeah, you can grab a pair from Aldi or whoever for a few pounds, but the Alés are a quality item. I visited the Alé factory recently and saw how everything is handmade, plus there's a department where they go through every item to check for stray threads and imperfections; that's what you're paying for.
To sum up, the Arias are a great, simplistic pair of mitts that are so unobtrusive they feel like you aren't wearing any at all. The fit is close, and without any form of fastening for tightening they offer a smooth transition from glove to skin for aerodynamics.
On the whole, an impressive pair of performance summer gloves especially for those who like the minimalistic feel.
Simple summer gloves that give great results in minimalist fashion
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Alé Aria Summer Gloves
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?
The Aria Summer Gloves are simple printed Lycra mitts that give a nod to the aero thing that is going on in pro cycling at the moment.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Slip-on crono gloves in printed Lycra. The glove features an anti-slip silicone material on the palm and a medium padding for comfort and shock absorption.
Back: 80% Polyester, 20% Elastane(Spandex)
Finger inserts: 80% Polyamide(Nylon), 20% Elastane(Spandex)
Palm: 66% Polyester, 34% Cotton
Palm reinforcement: 100% Polyester
Most gloves are measured across the knuckles but the Ales are measured at the wrist. This seems to work: they are snug without being tight all over. No worries on the sizing front from me.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Thirty-degree wash with the rest of your kit and they dry in next to no time.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Lightweight, close-fitting mitts that offer comfort and protection.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The minimalist fit.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Some brighter options maybe, to match the rest of the bold Alé kit.
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
For someone who doesn't really wear mitts I was mightily impressed with the Arias. Their lightweight simplistic construction means you hardly notice you are wearing them, and the thin, simple palm is comfortable enough to take road buzz out. Well worth the 20 quid outlay.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Mason Definition
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.