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Altura Shield Waterproof gloves are ideal for training, touring, commuting and cross country mountain biking thanks to hardy weatherproof construction, comprehensive detailing and competitive pricing. However, gel padding designed to protect the Ulnar nerve area induced precisely the tingling it was supposed to alleviate - for me anyway.
The shell is made from a clever multi layer polyester/nylon/polyurethane mix, striking an excellent balance between performance and cost. Moisture management (for internally generated moisture)isn't comparable with more expensive fabrics such as Gore Tex so Altura have addressed this using an anti bacterial lining, which keeps things hygienic between machine washes.
Previous incarnations of the Shield were criticised for a lack of reflectives but this has been addressed for 2011. Flipping them over reveals three-layer synthetic Amara palms, extensive silicone detailing and the obligatory Ulnar padding. Typically Altura, the sizin is quite generous so try before you buy or go a size smaller than usual but the rubberised Velcro cuffs complete the snug fit and lock the elements firmly outside. Fully submerged, riding through solid downpours and unforgiving winds my hands have remained completely dry and temperate.
Their heavy tog weight can leave the controls feeling a little remote, necessitating removal for roadside tune-ups but the material soon moulds to the hands without compressing uncomfortably. Insulation from road and trail shock is generally superb and the silicone detailing certainly inspires confidence in the wet -even white knuckle rides through slippery singletrack couldn't induce slippage.
My only gripe is the ubiquitous gel padding, which didn't compress or mould to my hand so well as some brands, resulting in an uncomfortable tingling sensation around the main thumb pad after two hours continuous riding.
Versatile winter gloves but gel padding not the most comfortable
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Make and model: Altura Shield Waterproof Gloves
Size tested: Grey/Black, 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?
"Waterproof softshell gloves providing fantastic comfort and warmth".
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Multi layer polyester/nylon/polyurethane mix, silicone detailing, anti bacterial lining.
Generally good but I found the ulnar padding induced, rather than relieved discomfort.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
There's no doubt Altura have produced a very competent, likeable do-all winter glove that keeps the elements locked outside. Common to this type of glove, there's some trade-off in terms of dexterity but revising the ulnar padding would elevate the Shield from a good to classic winter glove.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Attractive weatherproof design that suits most types of riding.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Ulnar padding needs revising.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, with revised padding
Would you recommend the product to a friend? By and large, yes.
Age: 38 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)