The Altura Grid Softshell Pants are cosy, comfortable and water resistant enough to make commuting in most conditions pleasant. There's plenty of room to wear a pair of bib shorts underneath if you want the extra padding, and with their fleeced inner you'll be warm enough on mild days, but don't count on them getting you through those frosty mornings. Our guide to the best commuter cycling clothes has more options, for tops and bottoms.
It's hard not to love the Grid Softshell Pants. From the outset, it's clear that Altura has designed them to be as practical as possible. With their tapered design and fleece-lined inner, the Pants can be worn on and off the bike, much like a pair of sweatpants. And the zippered hand pockets mean you can keep your keys, mobile and other valuables close to hand so you can favour a shirt over your usual jersey.
Of course, practicality in the UK means water-resistance, and the DWR coating Altura has applied to the Grid Softshell Pants comfortably withstood the miserable weather we've experienced in the North West this winter. Whether it was a brief downpour or the more usual constant drizzle, I didn't get cold, wet legs – just remember to wear booties to keep your feet and shoes dry!
The waffle-textured fleece lining is incredibly efficient and does an excellent job of balancing your body's heat, although I was a little disappointed that things started to feel nippy below 10°C. Having said that, I never felt sweaty, even going as far as riding on the indoor trainer to 'fact-check' the supposed airflow properties. Impressive.
Room for improvement
The ergonomic fit of the Pants is cosy without being restrictive, and certainly doesn't paint a picture for the world to see. Equally, the tapered legs are a nice touch and do stop them from catching in your chain.
However, there's room for improvement. A more aggressive taper on the legs and elasticated ankle cuffs would improve temperature retention as well as preventing chilly updraughts and road spray.
There's also a lack of reinforcement in the saddle area. I've not had any issues yet in a month of riding, but considering the general wear your average bib shorts go through in a year, I wonder how the Grid Pants will fare.
The Grid Softshell Pants are currently offered in Carbon (grey) only, and are available in six sizes from S to XXXL. (They're also available in a women's version.)
In terms of sizing, I can't fault them. The medium was perfect for me, neither too restrictive nor too loose, and the waistband features a simple drawstring so you can adjust the waistband and ensure they fit just right.
And as I said earlier, a pair of bib shorts can be worn underneath without being visible.
Coming in at £70 a pair, the Grid Softshell Pants are good value, especially considering their versatility off the bike. When comparing them to recent trousers tested by other road.cc contributors, the price seems almost too good to be true.
The Pas Normal Studios Escapism Pants, for example, which Steve tested last year, do have a number of additional features, including ankle adjusters, but they're £100 more.
Pearl Izumi's Rove Trousers are probably the most similar product to the Grid Pants that we've reviewed on road.cc, and they cost £100, though they're no longer available.
Rapha's Technical Trousers, which Oli tested back in 2020, are now £130, and although praised for their comfort and versatility, the lack of weatherproofing doesn't make them ideal for use in all conditions. Its new and more similar style Explore Pants are £140.
The Altura Grid Softshell Pants are a great pair of cycling trousers, whether you're using them on the daily commute or exploring further afield. For most riders and most days, the textured fleece and DWR coating will keep you warm and dry in mild conditions and are complemented by the comfortable yet cosy fit. And if you're seeking a bit more comfort or wanting to travel further afield, you can always add a pair of bib shorts underneath.
Cosy, comfortable and easy to live in
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Make and model: Altura Grid Softshell Pant M Carbon
Tell us what the product is for
'A COSY URBAN SOFTSHELL CYCLING PANT WITH CONTEMPORARY STYLING
The Altura Grid Softshell Men's Cycling Pant combines contemporary urban styling with technical thermal fabrics to keep you looking great whilst keeping the chill off on cooler days. The technical grid fleece back traps warmth whilst still allowing air to flow for comfort. The DWR coating will help keep the rain and spray off in wetter conditions whilst the tapered leg gives an up to the minute look whilst preventing the pant from becoming caught in your bike chain. Zipped hand pockets let you keep essential items close or hands warm when off the bike. Subtle reflectivity helps you to stay seen in lower light but does not detract from that on / off bike look, making these a really versatile pant.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
DWR coating to repel water
Thermal grid fleece traps warmth while letting air flow
Zipped hand pockets
Reflective print in key movement areas
Material: 100% Polyester
Rate the product for quality of construction:
High quality manufacture, no concerns surrounding seams or poor quality zippers.
Rate the product for performance:
Does the job it's designed to, though a few minor improvements would make them even better, namely: thicker fleecing, and elasticated ankles.
Rate the product for durability:
All good so far, but I wonder how well the saddle area will last.
Rate the product for fit:
Rate the product for sizing:
No issues with sizing; the drawstring ensures you can make them fit if they are slightly loose.
Rate the product for weight:
Don't feel heavy – you barely notice them.
Rate the product for comfort:
DWR coating and fleece lining ensure you can remain comfortable at all times. The tapered design perfectly complements them, and ensures they remain practical.
Rate the product for value:
Although the Altura Grid Pants might not have all the technical inclusions of those tested recently on road.cc, I'd go out on a limb and say you wouldn't miss most of them. Especially when comparative pants retail for £30-£100 more!
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy to live with – chuck in the machine on a cold wash.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Did everything they're claimed to. Elasticated ankles to prevent updraughts and a thicker fleece for colder winter days would make them better... but these are minor nit-picks.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Versatile and comfortable; the tapered design, DWR coating and fleeced inner make them ideal for all weathers.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Although they don't feature as many technical features as some competitors (additional pockets, quick-dry material, and the like), it's hard to argue with the value proposition they offer. Rapha's Explore Pants, for example, are £140, and Chrome's Madrone 5 Pants have been replaced by its Brannan Pants which cost £147.
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 overall score
They're very good: a versatile pair of cycling pants benefiting from a well-thought-out design and excellent construction.
Age: 24 Height: 173 Weight: 72
I usually ride: BMC Teammachine SLR ONE My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, general fitness riding,
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