The Altura Grid Men's Waterproof Half Zip Softshell Hoodie is a very good option for days between 5-14°C, provided there's no heavy rain forecast. It has a DWR coating but it'll only stand up to light showers – it can't compete with the best waterproof cycling jackets. It's aimed at commuters primarily, but would also work well on your local trails, too. It's very snug and warm, and the softshell material is very breathable – even when you're motoring it keeps you at the right temperature.
Altura's hoodie is designed to work well on or off the bike. I think it looks pretty smart, but upon seeing it my wife immediately commented how it looked like 'a tracksuit top from the 90s'. That's either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how much of the 90s you remember, I guess.
It comes in two colours – Carbon/Olive as well as the Blue/Grey on test – and is available in a wide range of sizes, from S-3XL. There's a decent amount of reflectivity for night-time riding, with strips around the lower arms, and a hefty one on the tail.
You also get two zipped pockets for keeping your hands warm or stowing stuff.
Altura describes it as an 'urban softshell hoody and a cosy layer for when the temperature drops'. Cosy is definitely how I would describe it, because as soon as I pulled it over my head, that's how I felt. That feeling of being cosseted is accentuated by the thermal grid fleece on the inside, which is designed to trap warmth, but allow air to flow in.
There are no temperature management 'zones' that you might find on other garments, but the fabric works very well in terms of breathability. Even when riding hard I found I was able to maintain a good core temperature without sweating too much, and I felt very comfortable overall.
I did notice, however, that as soon as you stop, you get very hot – the hoodie definitely relies on cold air passing through the material to cool the core. On particularly bitter and windy days, that might prove to be too much, but you could easily use the jacket down to about 5°C without issue, provided you wear suitable thermal layers underneath. It felt comfortable up to about 14°C, which is where I would probably place its temperature ceiling.
The half zip allows you to control the temperature as you go, and it's reasonably easy to operate on the move.
If the temperatures drop off the bike, the hood helps to keep you really snug and warm, and the collar keeps draughts out. Although you can adjust the hood for fit, there's no adjustability at the waist, though I didn't find it needed it, in my case.
Speaking of fit, the cut is quite slim, but as I've found with other Altura garments I've tested, it feels slightly undersized. I tested an XL, and probably could have gone up to an XXL for a bit more room; I'm usually a large in most garments. The sleeves could also be an extra cm for my liking, but then I do have very long arms.
The cut at the back is good, with decent coverage on your backside when you're in a riding position.
In terms of weather protection, the Altura hoodie does feature a DWR coating which I found was effective if the rain was light, but as soon as the droplets got a bit bigger and heavier, rain would start to pass through it. That's only to be expected of a garment without a proper membrane, though.
In the casual hoodie category, there's not a huge amount to compare Altura's Grid jacket with.
Endura's Hummvee Hoodie is more at the casual end of the scale, but in his review Matt Lamy thought it offered some decent on-bike performance. It's a bit cheaper, by £20, but there's no DWR coating.
Admittedly, BTwin's Warm Reversible Urban Cycling Jacket is a jacket, not a hoodie, but yours truly thought it offered a similar performance, and it's only £49.99. You get better windproofing, but much less breathability. It wins hands down in the high-vis stakes, though.
Although it's perhaps a little on the expensive side for a hoodie, the Altura does perform very well – it's warm and breathable, and the DWR is a decent bit of backup in case the weather doesn't play ball. It's a great option for commuting, on or off the bike.
Great commuter hoodie that looks good and performs well
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Make and model: Altura Grid Men's Waterproof Half Zip Softshell Hoodie
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, "The Altura Grid Men's Cycling Softshell is an urban softshell hoody and a cosy layer for when the temperature drops. The DWR finish offers protection from any unexpected showers and thermal grid fabric traps the warmth to keep you snug whilst letting the air flow to prevent overheating. The adjustable hood and half zip style provide a laid back, casual feel with zipped hand pockets to keep belongings secure and easily to hand. Subtle reflectivity in key areas for signalling help to keep you visible on the road yet do not interfere with that on / off bike look making this a really versatile layering piece that is also great for outdoor activities."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
DWR coating to repel water
Thermal grid fleece traps warmth while letting air flow
1/2 zip style
Zipped hand pockets
Reflective print in key areas for signalling
Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
Rate the jacket for performance:
It's very good, especially in terms of breathability, and keeps you warm without feeling like you're wearing something too hefty.
Rate the jacket for durability:
Stains have washed out, and although it hasn't been subjected to anything more rigorous than commuting, it's standing up well.
Rate the jacket for waterproofing based on the manufacturer's rating:
The DWR repels water, as you would expect, but due to a lack of membrane it can only do so much.
Rate the jacket for breathability based on the manufacturer's rating:
Very good, though you might feel hot when you stop riding.
Rate the jacket for fit:
A decent cut, fairly slim, though there's room under for a couple of layers. Sleeves could be a smidgen longer, but it's not a deal breaker, and the tail is cut for cycling.
Rate the jacket for sizing:
Rate the jacket for weight:
It's quite a weighty thing, but then you kind of expect that with a hoodie.
Rate the jacket for comfort:
Very comfy and snug – you'll want to grab this when it looks chilly outside.
Rate the jacket for value:
Fairly expensive for 'just' a hoodie, but then it offers a fair bit more performance than a regular hoodie.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No issues at 30 degrees.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's a cosy softshell hoodie that you'll want to wear whenever you're in need of a warm hug. The DWR coating is okay in very light rain, but you'll want to take a backup in case the weather is changeable.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Feels so snug.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's slightly pricier than Endura's Hummvee Hoodie, which is £20 less and offers similar performance, albeit with more off-bike than on-bike focus. The BTwin Men's Warm Reversible Cycling Jacket is even cheaper at £50, but it's definitely more of a jacket than a hoodie.
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
If you're looking for a casual commuting hoodie that works well on or off the bike, the Altura is a really good option. It performs well in all the key areas, and looks good too.
Age: 39 Height: 6'4 Weight: 175lbs
I usually ride: Condor Italia RC custom build My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, mtb,
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