Lightweight and loud, the Altura Podium Elite Mitts give a race-orientated first impression. They're perfect for short rides when you need something that's trim and grippy to give you the edge over your mates/competitors.
On arrival, the first feel was pleasant as they're light and the materials are soft to the touch. There's no Velcro or fastening involved – they're a purely pull-on affair – so there's a weight saving benefit there, and one thing less to irritate your hands. The colour is distinctive and the fluorescent colour is noticeable, making your hand visible (from the rear at least) for arm signals.
One concern I had before pulling the gloves on was the level of padding. There's distinct gel pads in specific areas of the palm, something that I usually shy away from when selecting a glove as I find that's all that can be felt on the bar. My fears came to nothing as the padding is moderately thin and well designed, positioned in the correct points for bar/palm contact.
The thing that I didn't foresee was the seam that runs in the crook between thumb and forefinger. I found this uncomfortable on long rides, especially if you spend a fair amount of time on the hoods. Anything under two and a half hours is fine; over that and I noticed the seam.
The other issue I had in the early weeks of testing was the suppleness of the fabric around the thumb. It took a long time to develop some elasticity, but fortunately its gain wasn't offset by any other parts of the glove fabric becoming looser, as the fit on the palm, finger and back section of the gloves has been great from the start. The lack of give in the fabric mainly came to light when riding with my hands sat on the bar tops, but it has now relaxed after plenty of washes. This is welcome, as the fabric on the thumb is a soft suede-type feel, which is great for brow/nose wiping.
The palm fabric is wonderfully grippy, especially when in contact with soft-touch bar tape. It also works well on smoother bar tape and has had a few successful outings on mountain bike grips. This is combined with the super-thin fabric on the rear of the hand, which comes coloured either fluorescent yellow or red.
The detail around the finger and cuff openings is well executed, with neatly finished stitching and soft edges. Two tabs on the inside of the ring and middle finger make pulling the gloves off an absolute cinch, Altura has really got this detail spot on, and you can tug the gloves off without fear of ripping any stitches.
Overall, these gloves have worked well for shorter rides once they wore in – don't be put off by the initial feel of the thumb fabric.
Give them time to wear in and these will be your go-to glove for short, fast rides
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Podium Elite Mitt
Size tested: Medium
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?
Aimed at the rider wanting performance with a modern look. Not for those wanting an understated mitt.
Altura says it's "A lightweight performance mitt with strapless cuff construction and finger pull tabs" – a bit of a dry description but on the money with that summary.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* Altura Dry™ technology enhanced breathability and wicking through breather mesh palm inserts and flex mesh upper
* Altura Ergofit™ 3D patterning delivers a palm with less fabric and therefore fewer creases for a more comfortable fit
* Altura ProGel™ strategically placed gel inserts to provide enhanced comfort
* Silicon grip print: enhanced grip through silicon palm and finger printing
* Breather mesh palm inserts and flexmesh upper
* Strategically positioned microfibre sweat wipe
* Easy removal finger pull tabs
Some nice touches such as the piping across the back of the cuff, which keeps the fabric looking neat and flat against the skin.
Love the grip you get on the bar with the textured palm fabric, and the finger tabs for removing the glove.
Nothing going wrong so far, and no reaon to think it might.
I found the thumb fabric took a while to 'break in'; it felt very odd at first and was slightly uncomfortable after long rides.
Odd sizing on the thumb fabric compared to the rest of the mitt.
Not the lightest race glove, but no heavyweight.
Now the thumb fabric has worn in they're much better. The seam at the crook of the thumb and forefinger still causes the odd niggle.
Pretty decent for the quality and performance.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
The mitts have washed well, with no distortion or change in elasticity apart from the thumb section – which was welcome.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Great mitts for short to medium-length rides or racing. Not really for those putting in mega miles.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fit – once the thumb fabric had stretched a little. The finger tabs to remove the mitts work better than any I've every used previously – a triumph!
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The seam at the crook of the forefinger/thumb. The length of time taken for the thumb fabric to give a little.
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 didn't win me over on first use, but they've worn in very well and are now my go-to mitt for short, fast rides. It did take a while for them to get comfortable, but it was worth the wait.
About the tester
I usually ride: Kinesis Racelight T (winter) Cervélo S2 (Summer) My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking