Cycling sunglasses are part of looking good and staying healthy on the bike.
Yes, other bike shoes, kit, socks, and helmet are a part of your biking experience. However, it is equally important to protect your eyes during your training rides and even your races.
When you decide to shop around for glasses, there are several factors you should keep in mind.
Of course, you can use your casual sunglasses, but if you’re a frequent rider, I’d recommend at least buying cycling-specific glasses.
Best Cycling Glasses and Shades in 2020
|Oakley Flight Jacket|
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|Roka CP SERIES|
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|Smith Attack Max|
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In this piece, I’ll provide a product review and buyer’s guide to help narrow down your choices.
1. Oakley Flight Jacket — Best Sunglasses for Cycling
The Oakley Flight Jacket cycling sunglasses were aerodynamically engineered that makes this pair of sunglasses ideal for cycling, running, and any other outdoor activity.
The sunglasses have an open-edge brow that maximizes your upper field of vision while riding. And, Oakley’s new Advancer nose bridge opens airflow so that your glasses won’t fog or overheat. This would be ideal in any condition so you can pedal to your maximum speed.
The sunglasses come in standard, Prizm, Prizm Polarized, and Photochromic lens options.
As mentioned before, standard lenses keep out 100% of UV rays and dim the sunlight if you’re biking in the middle of the day. Just be sure you can still see road bumps and pot holes with these lenses.
Oakley’s Prizm is best used for bright light conditions since it can transmit 12% of light. Instead of staring at bright colored buildings or light bouncing off the road, the lenses make the color look warmer and richer. You’ll be able to appreciate your surroundings because you won’t be squinting. The base color for this lens is purple.
The Prizm Polarized lenses essentially work the same as the Prizm lens. It’s best for bright light condition and makes all your surrounding look inviting and cozy. The base color for these lenses is orange. And the other difference is the light transmission. This one transmits 17% of light.
The last lens these glasses offer is photochromatic. This means that the lenses automatically adjust to whatever light condition you’re riding in. The contrast between using and not using these glasses is neutral. And, the base color for these lenses is clear.
The frame material, O-Matter (patented), is lightweight and durable so you can use them for cycling seasons to come.
This pair is ideal if you think you have a medium or large-sized face.
Cyclists who have bought the pair of sunglasses like it because it protects their eyes from the wind, sun, and any road debris. And on top of that, they never fog up and breath very well because of the lack of framing around the top. Cyclists say that the glasses are a bit large and can make them look like a bug, but for functionality, it works.
I recommend this pair of sunglasses if you need something that has a lot of different lens options. Oakley can help you pick out which lens or lenses that suit your cycling needs. And, these are very comfortable to wear and work very well.
2. 100% Speedcraft — Best Perfomance Cycling Glasses
The 100% Speedcraft was made with its signature lens that has a cylindrical shield that features 360-degree visibility on the bike. The glasses also have ultra-grip rubber nose and temple pieces that help give you all-day comfort. And the lower air scoops increase ventilation and reduce moisture on the lens.
When you order this pair of sunglasses you also get a hard case, microfiber cleaning bag, nose pad, and a clear replacement lens. Not every brand offers this and if you don’t already have a glasses case then this would just be a “gift” to yourself.
Although if you didn’t have a glasses case, you could go to a drug store and buy one yourself.
The glasses durable since the lenses are high-impact resistant and the lenses are made of light-weight polycarbonate. The lenses also have a 5-base cylindrical shield lens so you can see peripherally and protect the side of your face. If your lenses do get scratched (which will happen over time), you can interchange them if needed.
Going on about the lenses these have the HYDROLIO lens treatment which repels water, dirt, and oil while you’re riding. No matter where you find yourself, you’ll be sure that your vision won’t be blurred.
Curious of the specs of the lens?
I can tell you that the lens base color is orange and transmits 21% of light. These are best used for medium light conditions and really help you see the bumps and holes in the road.
Cyclists who have bought these cycling sunglasses like it because they are durable and fit large heads very nicely. The lenses rarely fog up since the ventilation is very good. On the road, these glasses never slip and are reliable even in a race.
I recommend this pair of sunglasses if you bike in the same region regularly and are familiar with the weather patterns. There’s only one type of lens so be sure that it fits the type of conditions you bike in.
3. ROKA CP Series (CP-1 and CP-1X) – Best Sunglasses for Multisport and Triathlon
The ROKA CP Series (CP-1 and CP-1X) was created and perfected for the triathletes who need full-frame protection in the lightest package on the market. It comes with everything to make it adjustable to any size face.
The lens gives you complete protection from every angle so you won’t miss a pothole or a car not paying attention. The lens has font and backside lens coating for the best performance in any condition you decide to ride in.
Before I describe the different lenses, let me tell you that each once is fingerprint resistant and was impact tested. You can be sure that you’ll have the same quality of vision on the thousandth ride as you did on the first.
And, after the glasses were finished they were sport tested so that it won’t fall off your face. It also helps that the glasses come with GEKO nose pad options to ensure a comfortable fit for every face. And, the titanium core wires help customizes the fit and make it precise.
The HC Fusion mirror lens transmits 19% of light and is an extremely versatile high-contrast lens for the best infrared protection. It’s best used for partly cloudy to bright and sunny condition. And, if you want to go mountain biking, you can also take these on the trail with you.
The Dark Carbon and Black Mirror lens transmit 12% and 11% of light respectively. Both lenses are an all-around neutral-colored lens that is made to keep cyclists comfortable and protected in intensely bright and sunny conditions. You can take these glasses in any environment and it will serve your biking needs well.
The HC Octane Mirror lens transmits 20% of light and provides significant contrast and comfortability on the bike. The lenses enhance the white lenses on the road and traffic lights for your safety. These lenses are best used for partly cloudy to sunny conditions.
The Glacier Mirror lens transmits 13% of light and has a moderate contrast for a neutral-colored lens. It’s great for every day riding in very bright and sunny conditions. It significantly reduces harmful blue light.
Cyclists who have bought this pair of cycling glasses like it because there are so many lenses to choose from. They are never without an appropriate lens for the riding occasion or weather conditions. Additionally, the fit is nearly perfect and it’s very adjustable so any size head can find a comfortable adjustment.
I’d recommend this pair of cycling sunglasses to those who want a pair with a lot of lens options. And, is a great option for those who want one that is very light-weight. These are very long-lasting and don’t easily scratch or pick up smudge marks.
4. Rudy Project Defender
The Rudy Project Defender cycling sunglasses combines racing priorities with the most advanced glasses technology to give riders the best comfort. Doesn’t matter if you consider yourself a weekend rider, high-intensity triathlete, or somewhere in between. You’ll find value in these glasses.
This pair of sunglasses give you a deep and wide field of vision since the lenses are wide and tall. When cyclists use these glasses, they can see further than when they used a different brand.
To ensure each cyclist has a precise and comfortable fit, the glasses have an adjustable nose pad and temple tips. Cyclists have reported little to no complaints regarding the fit of these glasses.
The Power Flow Ventilation System features strategically placed vents on the temple tips, the front chassis, and the lens to enhance air circulation and maximize aerodynamics. This is all accomplished without disturbing the clear vision cyclists get.
Rudy Project means that the company is moving forward in research and development for helmets and sunglasses with complete fall protections. You’ll be sure that whatever you purchase from them has the most up-to-date technologies.
Like other glasses, this one also comes with different lens options you can choose from if you decide to buy. All Rudy lenses are made with RP D Centered Optics to reduce glare and ensure visual clarity with distortion.
Cyclists who have purchased these glasses like them because they can see distant bumps and holes in the road clearly. And, the fit is nearly perfect. The field of vision is great without looking like a bug. These glasses are very light and are barely noticeable.
I’d recommend these glasses to anyone who wants a pair of glasses that can give you a clear vision of distant road bumps. And, the glasses themselves don’t make you look like a bug. I’d also recommend these if you want glasses that are very up-to-date with their safety technologies.
5. Smith Attack Max – Best Road Bike Glasses
Smith Attack Max cycling glasses features a larger lens for maximum visibility, fast lens interchangeable technology, two ChromaPop lenses, and two-position nose piece. This would make these glasses a good option for cyclists maxing-out their miles during the summer.
The ChromaPop is a patented Smith lens technology. The ChromaPop lens filters two specific wavelengths of light that cause color distortion. As a result, you get a bright, crisp vision and can to see the road or trail in exceptional detail.
The Smith MAG technology lets you very quickly swap your lens between both of the included ChromaPop lenses. Don’t worry if you only have seconds to change, the technology makes it possible.
Cyclists who have bought the Smith Attack Max cycling sunglasses because they have ChromaPop lenses and are frameless. Cyclists who are in the aero position or riding in the drop bars can easily see ahead without craning their necks to see the upper part of their vision. They also like well-designed peripheral vision coverage. And, there isn’t a center “pole” between the left and right eyes to get in the way.
Some cyclists compare the field of vision to ski goggles. It’s wide and crystal clear where to go.
Cyclists love that it comes with a hard case that carries both lenses and a microfiber sleeve.
The only downside might be the price for some and lack of color options.
I recommend this pair of cycling sunglasses to those who are interested in the ChromaPop technology or want to try a frameless option. The field of vision really is wide and if you’re nervous about seeing things on the road, you won’t need to be since there are few design structures.
If you’ve had trouble seeing over the top of framed sunglasses before, then this pair would be a good option. You won’t have to crane your neck while down in the drop bars or aero bars.
6. Tifosi Aethon – Best Sunglasses for the Money
Tifosi Aethon provides full coverage protection with a sporty style for those who need high-performance eye ware. This pair of glasses comes with a removable brow bar for your unique look and feel.
All the standard lenses by this company have UV protection so you can comfortably ride on the sunniest of days in the summer. And, the lenses have a glare guard so that it reduces the strain on your eyes. The glare guard is an extra coating on the lens.
The lenses were made with your vision in mind and what you need to see on the road. That’s why the lenses were optically decentered. This eliminates distortion and prevents unwanted magnification while riding.
The lenses are also vented so that it increases airflow. This helps prevent fogging and keeps your face cool.
Finally, the lenses are made with polycarbonate material, which is scratch-resistant and nearly shatterproof. Still, be careful with your glasses, but you won’t have to sweat over a fall off the café table.
This pair of sunglasses come in AC Red, Clarion Blue, or Clear colored lenses. The AC Red is great for all conditions your ride in and have 41.4% light transmission. The Clarion Blue is a mirrored lens so it really blocks out the sun and only transmits 14.7% of light. And, finally, the Clear lens is best used for late-night riding or riding in cloudy conditions.
The frame technology is well-made so that it can comfortably fit your head. The frame has an adjustable nose piece(s) so you can get the custom fit, limit slippage, and increase comfort. The earpieces are also adjustable so you can have a comfortable long ride. And ear and nose pieces are made from hydrophilic rubber so that it increases its grip when you sweat.
The frame is a Grilamid TR-90 frame which is an incredibly light and durable nylon material, which resists chemical and UV damage.
Each pair of glasses comes with its own case if you don’t happen to have one with you.
Cyclists who have purchased these glasses like them because they fit well and have some good adjustment features if needed. The lenses work really well on the road and cyclists like the different options they have. The glasses are a good value for your money and actually last a long time.
I’d recommend these if you need a good pair of cycling sunglasses with different lens options. And, regularly ride in the sun or enjoy doing all-day rides and require a change of lenses through the ride.
7. Bolle B-Rock – Best Cycling Sunglasses with Interchangeable Lenses
The Bolle B-Rock cycling sunglasses offer full-rim for maximum protection and a better coverage against whatever comes your way on the road. And, the brow bar on the inside and the wide field of vision give you a perfect view and comfort.
The glasses have interchangeable lenses to help you stay comfortable on the bike. It gives you the ability to match the lens to whatever condition you find yourself riding in. This ensures that you’ll be able to see a bump in the road on a cloudy day as well as an optimal day.
The lenses have anti-fog treatment so that it repels fog that would obstruct your vision. And, after the fog is repelled it is revived by applied moisture. The anti-fog lenses are available for the polarized lenses as well.
The lenses also have oleophobic and hydrophobic treatment, which stops dirt, grease, and water spots from accumulating on your lenses. The treatment actually stops dirt, grease, and water spots from ever coating before it becomes a distraction.
For comfort and fit, this pair of glasses have adjustable temples, which increases the area of contact with the skin. This helps ensure that the glasses have the best hold and nearly perfect adaptation for your specific head shape. The glasses also have an adjustable nose piece for the same reason.
The B-Max Extra Large Field is a unique feature that is actually aerodynamic. It lets airflow in and out of the glasses and the frame shape maximizes your field of vision both horizontally and vertically.
The B-Clear NXT lenses are lighter than polycarbonate and allow for larger design and fuller coverage. Overall, this will give you better protection for your eyes without weighing you down.
Nearly all lenses are available in for those who wear prescription glasses.
Cyclists who have bought these glasses like them because they are well-designed and have great wrap-around protection. The lens options are fantastic and cyclists can easily wear this frame all day and still have the same crystal clear vision. The only drawback for some is how big these glasses are; they don’t look great for wearing around but are excellent cycling sunglasses.
I’d recommend this pair of sunglasses if you’re looking for ones that have a wide field of vision, doesn’t accumulate debris from the road, lots of lens options, and supports prescription glasses.
9. Uvex Sportstyle 812
Uvex Sportstyle 812 are sport-specifically designed with the best materials and lenses at a price that won’t break the bank. These were made for cyclists but can be worn for any active outdoor sport.
The glasses have a base curve 10 lenses that create a completely different level of peripheral vision. The highly curved lenses increase the field of vision and improve eye protection. And, the optical curve increases the freedom from drafts.
The soft nose pads and ear pieces improve comfort and ensure a perfect fit on your face. This also ensures that your glasses won’t slip off your face even while you sweat.
The frame is made from premium lightweight material that is durable and survives your best and worst rides. The frame has a medium to large fit profile but with the flexible nose and earpieces, it will fit a variety of face shapes and sizes.
The Uvex lenses are polycarbonate, which is strong, lightweight and shatter resistant. And, they will give riders optical clarity. The Polycarbonate lenses provide 100% protection from the sun’s UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. The Supravision anti-fog coating combined with carefully placed lens venting prevents fog and keeps the field of vision clear.
If you’re interested, you can order the glasses with Photochromic lenses so that the tint adjusts to the conditions you’re riding in. These glasses don’t have different lenses to swap out so if you ride in all types of conditions this might be your best bet.
Cyclists who have bought these glasses like them because they are comfortable to wear and rarely slip down their faces. The glasses are also comfortable to wear during the run leg of a triathlon and actually look good off the bike. The downside is that there aren’t interchangeable lenses you just need to pick one frame that has the desired lens.
I’d recommend these glasses for those who want a versatile, lightweight option for cycling and possibly running.
Best Cycling Glasses — Buyer’s Guide
Reasons to Buy Cycling Sunglasses
Before I get into the different types of sunglasses and how to pick one, let’s talk about why.
Some of you may be skeptical about buying cycling-specific sunglasses, which is ok.
Here are a few reasons why you might consider looking at them before completing dismissing the idea.
1. Protect Your Eyes from the Sun’s Rays
Just like casual sunglasses, cycling sunglasses protect your eyes from the elements when you’re outside.
It’s not just the dangerous UV rays, but also winds that blow-up debris and dust particles, mud, raindrops and even the occasional insects that fly into your face.
As cyclists, you spend a lot of time in the sun especially during the summer, which is why protecting your eyes is no different from your skin with sunscreen.
If you regularly wear contact lenses, sunglasses are even more important as a cyclist. The sunglasses prevent your tears from evaporating so that your eyes are moist and comfortable.
2. For the Sake of Looking Fashionable
In recent years, cycling sunglasses have stepped their game up and transformed from being protective wear to fashion wear.
Cyclists, especially ones who consider themselves “hip” seems to have the latest trendy cycling sunglasses and accessories.
Of course, you don’t need the latest and most expensive sunglasses.
However, you can be sure that there are “attractive” options out there.
3. Look “Tough” on the Road and During Races
In addition to protecting your eyes, some professional triathletes wear sunglasses to hide how tired they are from their opponents. If your competition can’t see how weary your eyes are, they won’t know how tired you are.
Types of Cycling Lenses
The most important part of any cycling sunglasses is the lenses.
The tint of the lenses will tell what type of conditions you can wear them in.
The more expensive glasses are treated with lenses that can be used in a rand of light conditions.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a pair of cycling glasses. There are cycling sunglasses that have interchangeable lenses that can be swapped out accordingly.
Most cycling sunglasses that have interchangeable lenses will come with three different options.
First, you should have a standard shaded lens that will provide 100% UV protection and dims bright sunlight during the summer. But, they shouldn’t be so dark that you can’t see road surface if you’re descending through a heavily wooded or pop-hole area.
The second lens should have a yellow tinge, which is great if you need to brighten things up if you’re riding in overcast conditions. This makes it easy to spot rough spots on the road in the dim light.
And, the third lens should be clear that you can use if you are riding after dark.
The other option for cycling sunglasses is buying one with a photochromatic lens. This is arguably the most versatile lens for you.
These lenses will change their lightness and darkness depending on the conditions.
When these first were advertised, they might not have been great since they didn’t change fast enough if riding in and out of shad.
However, the latest sunglasses are much better and offer quick changes in tint.
These would be a good option if you want to ride in different conditions but don’t want to change your lenses every other day.
The polarized lens should help block out reflected light from the road surface, car hoods or road signboard.
This type of lens should make it more comfortable for your eyes during your summer rides.
Remember, glare is caused by horizontal reflected light waves. And, polarized lens filters these out and only allows the vertical light waves to pass through.
Besides clear lenses, orange/brown lenses are another option for those who ride in low lighting conditions. The orange/brown tint helps brighten up the road ahead of you.
Cycling Glasses for the Rain
Keep an eye peeled for cycling sunglasses that have a hydrophobic coating.
If you have a cycling hat, cycling sunglasses with hydrophobic lenses are very useful. The coating ensures that water doesn’t stay on the lens and impede your vision.
Cycling Sunglasses Frame
When you finally decide to purchase your cycling sunglasses, most of your money will be going towards the frame rather than the lenses.
This means you want to make sure that the frame fits well.
Here are a few tips to ensure the frame fits:
- The tips of the arms should fit snugly around your temples.
- When you look down or swing your head from side to side the glasses should stay in place.
- Use little rubber grippers to hold the glasses in place without needing to tighten the arms.
- Look for an adjustable nose piece so that the glasses don’t slip down your face while riding.
There are a few cycling sunglasses brands that have adjustable arms to ensure a good fit.
Generally, there are three different styles of frame design: full frame, half frame, and frameless. All these options offer similar function so you have a variety to choose from that suits you and your cycling needs.
When you ride, heat and perspiration tend to get trapped between the lens and your face.
But, if you have airflow, the heat and perspiration get displaced and hence no fogging. But once you stop at a traffic light, you’ll notice that the lens will quickly fog up.
Look for cycling sunglasses that have air vents on the lens that allow for additional ventilation and breathability that prevents the lens from fogging up.
If you wear prescription glasses, you might want to look into getting prescription lenses for your cycling sunglasses too.
Some brands can supply prescription versions of most lens styles. Other brands provide clip-on inserts which can sit behind your sunglasses lenses.
Either option works and it depends on your personal preference. And both options can be ordered through your opticians and just adds an extra expense to your bill.
This is a practical alternative to wearing contact lenses underneath your normal cycling sunglasses.
Choosing a Pair of Cycling Sunglasses
What brand and style you ultimately choose come down to your personal choice.
But here are a few features any good pair of cycling sunglasses should have:
- Frames should fit snugly.
- Air vents to provide airflow and prevent fogging.
- Lens covers your eyes completely.
- Silicon or rubber grippers on the nose piece and temples which grips more during wet conditions.
- Adjustable nose piece.
Good luck on your search for sunglasses! We hope this article helps narrow your options. Sunglasses will keep you safe on the bike.