The Altura Endurance Mistral Women's Softshell Jacket is light, comfortable and offers good windproofing and reasonable rain-proofing for autumn/early winter rides. It's a good midlayer for the coldest rides, too.
This jacket claims to protect from showers, and it certainly did this well, with no water ingress through the parts of the jacket treated with DWR (durable water repellent). Seams are always a potential point of entrance for the rain, and the Mistral's aren't taped to stop this from happening in prolonged downpours.
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Softshells with better rain protection are available, but at a cost. I feel at this price though, Altura is offering something that is respectable in the rain-stopping department, but not perfect.
The Mistral was really effective against the fenland winds. With a collar that's close but not tight and sleeves that are easy to layer gloves over, this jacket really keeps out the breeze – half the battle in keeping warm in the colder months.
For a relatively waterproof jacket it's really very breathable. Whilst some might want more warmth, it's perfect for cold autumn rides and the semi-fitted cut works well under a hardshell jacket for the coldest days.
I found it worked well to around 6 or 7°C over a single baselayer. It was also loose enough to layer over a longsleeved jersey for the start of a ride, then strip off as the temperature rose later in the day.
The three deep pockets are shielded by their own rain flap. Whilst this is great for keeping items dry, it does mean accessing anything on the move requires a little faffing, and as the material is so smooth it's easy to miss. There is no zipped pocket, but you'd have to try quite hard to get anything to fall out of these.
I was really confused by the choice of material for lower sleeve, which changes from softshell to a thin green rubbery fabric for the last 6in or so. The intention is to provide a weatherproof seal, but feels like overkill. It also offers no warmth or breathability at all, and if rain does creep in at the cuff, your arms get wet and stay wet.
Altura bills the sleeves as 'keeping the wind at bay' but frankly I'd have preferred some warmth. I tend to wear a watch-based heart rate monitor whilst cycling, and this style of cuff gave no ability to tuck it away and retain a good seal against the wind.
Technically this jacket is 'navy/green,' but in all honesty it looks charcoal and green to me – the promo photos do look bluer. That said I much preferred it, but then my 'street' coats are mostly grey or teal, so I may be a bit biased.
> 55 of the best winter cycling jackets - stay warm and dry when it's cold and wet
A winter jacket in grey may be considered a bad idea by some (notably, drivers on Twitter). The Mistral has reflectives for night riding which extend from the neck to the bottom, and down both arms. They're unobtrusive in daylight but work their magic well under car headlamps.
The Mistral is available in sizes 8-18 and, as is usual with this brand, it comes up similar to regular street sizing. As a semi-fitted jacket it's a good close fit, but with room to layer.
This is probably the cheapest women's softshell we've reviewed in a while, coming in under the £120 Giro Ambient or the £154 Women's Winter Cycling Jacket from Fat Lad At The Back. However, it is in line with similar mid-market brands such as dhb's £110 Aeron Equinox.
This jacket offers a lot for the price - most winter softshells we review are more expensive - and though it's not ideal on its own for very cold weather, it's versatile with layers from early autumn though until Easter.
Good windproofing and useful shower resistance, and warmth that works well with other layers
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Make and model: Altura Endurance Mistral Women's Softshell Jacket
Tell us what the jacket 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?
Altura says, "Keep the chill off when the temperature drops with this stylish shower-proof soft shell jacket.
"Designed to keep the warmth in and the rain out, the Mistral Jacket features a smart external DWR treatment to protect from showers and road spray whilst a high-loft inner fleece delivers thermal efficiency. Stretch and breathability bring added comfort whilst streamlined cuffs and sculpted neckline offer improved functionality and keep drafts at bay. Reflective panels for increased visibility to others and three rear pockets complete this great all-rounder."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
- Durable water-repellent coating
- 245gsm softshell fabric with high-loft inner fleece
- 3 covered rear-stash pockets
- Sculpted wind-protective collar
- Large area of reflectivity
- Shaped cuff
Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
Generally well made, but the stitching on one cuff started to come away after three outings and one wash.
Rate the jacket for performance:
The windproofing is good and water resistance was adequate for showers, but I don't feel this jacket copes with the cold as well as might be expected.
Rate the jacket for durability:
Rate the jacket for waterproofing based on the manufacturer's rating:
Rate the jacket for breathability based on the manufacturer's rating:
For a jacket designed to be shower-proof, the breathability is very good and I didn't overheat.
Rate the jacket for fit:
Altura says it is 'semi-fitted' and I agree; you can layer under and over it easily.
Rate the jacket for sizing:
It's available in sizes 8-18 and they're accurate.
Rate the jacket for weight:
It's a lightweight softshell.
Rate the jacket for comfort:
It's a little less warm than might be expected for a softshell, but comfortable to wear.
Rate the jacket for value:
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Fine at 30 degrees.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Can withstand showers and is usefully windproof, but it's not the warmest of softshells.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
I liked the feel of it, and its semi-fitted nature makes it versatile for layering.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
I didn't like the thin rubber sleeve ends.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
This is probably the cheapest women's softshell we've reviewed in a while, coming in under the £120 Giro Ambient or the £154 FLAB offerings mentioned in the review. However, it is in line with similar mid-market brands such as dhb's £110 Aeron Equinox.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The Altura Endurance Mistral is a good value softshell, which will take you through two seasons and, if used as a layer, be useful in the coldest months too.
Age: 38 Height: 5'7 Weight: size 16
I usually ride: Trek 7.5 WSD My best bike is: Turquoise Cruiser
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Novice
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, general fitness riding, Leisure
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