What to look for in cycling glasses
Cycling is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing competitive sports in the world. There are many options when it comes to choosing the right piece of equipment for the right situation. However, one of the most overlooked pieces of equipment seems almost like an afterthought: sunglasses. After all, most cycling is done outside in the sun, so why wouldn't you take the time to make sure the equipment protecting your eyes is the best?
This article will first describe several features to look for in quality cycling glasses and then review and describe some pros and cons of some of the best available eyewear. To get the best edge you can over your competition you need the best sunglasses you can get. Several features are important but the three most important are the frames, the lenses, and the fit.
Perhaps the most important part of choosing which sunglasses to buy is figuring out which frames are the best. There are several key aspects when deciding that one must consider. Make sure the frames are polycarbonate plastic, not metal, because if you get in an accident the last thing you want is to have a bunch of metal near your eyes.
Other factors to consider are airflow and comfort. Lots of airflow will mean the lenses fog up less and you won't have to stop as often to wipe them off. Comfort is essential, especially when cycling for long periods of time at once. Having soft pads on the bridge of your nose and temples will be ideal for comfort.
There are several schools of thought on the right fit but ultimately it will be up to you and whether or not they feel comfortable to you. Some sit snugly on the temples and very close to your eyes, while other are still snug but hang a little farther away from your eyes to give an increased field of vision.
Lenses are the heart and soul of good glasses regardless of if they're for cycling or for everyday use. Without them you're not protecting anything! They are two different styles of lenses. The first is having a single lens that covers both eyes and wraps slightly around your head. The other is the more traditional method of having two individual lenses that can be changed out when needed.
Several things to look for in a good set of lenses is UVA and UVB protection so the sun won't damage your eyes more than it already tries to do! Also be on the lookout for impact or shatter resistant lenses so a stray rock won't shatter them while you're riding. Fogging can also be an issue sometimes so decide if you want ones that have an anti-fog coating as well. The last option is also important if you plan on riding in different conditions and that is lens color. Interchangeable lenses are also a great idea to take advantage of this.
Making sure the glasses fit your face is important because you don't want them falling off mid ride. The best option for this is to try them on in person and make sure they aren't too tight or loose on your face. Another big area to look for is obstruction to your peripheral vision. Your peripheral vision is very important for avoiding obstacles and accidents, so if this is blocked it can be very dangerous. Whether you like a tight fit or loose, or even want to get a pair that can actually wrap around your head and become one single piece, be sure the frames sit snug on your temples and closely to your forehead, cheeks, and nose.
Last, but certainly not least, is to figure out if you need to have prescription lenses. While wraparound or wide lenses will protect your eyes if you wear contacts, some people find riding with prescription lenses easier. There are two options for riders who prefer not to wear contacts. An optometrist can make inserts, basically a second lens that sits between your eye and the sunglass itself or the lenses themselves can always be made to prescription.
Best Cycling Glasses of 2018
Sunglass options for cycling have come a far way in the past decade. Even if you have a decent pair of 10-year-old athletic glasses, there is a good chance there is a much better pair available today. There are many options but only a few best solutions. Today's competitive cycling scene is fierce. Having any advantage will not only help you succeed but may often help you win. Having the best eye care and protection is pivotal to being the best. Frames, lens, and the fit are critical to determining the right sunglasses for you and your cycling career. Here are some the best competitive cycling sunglasses available today.
Smith Optics Pivlock Arena Performance Sunglasses
The Pivlock Arena Sunglasses are an excellent choice for those who ride in several different conditions and terrains. Featuring a medium size frame with a large wraparound style lens, these glasses are ideal for those looking for maximum coverage as well as ease of use.
They come with three sets of hydrophobically treated lens that repel dirt, oil, and water. The Pivlok system is pretty unique in that you can easily change out the lens you are using with just a simple pivot of the temple arm. A proprietary frame material also means top of the line performance and comfort. The frames are available in a myriad of colors to suit anyone's personal preference. The lenses and the frames all come in a handy sturdy carrying case that protects all the items from damage.
Another great feature is the ease with which you can adjust, and even remove the temple and nose padding. These glasses are perfect for anyone who cycles at all times during the day and even in inclement weather. These glasses are definitely the most economical model you can get and are very well priced. The frames come in a variety of eye catching colors like Reactor Green and Safety Orange to a Fire Red and even a shiny Mustard.
Smith Optics Pivlock Arena Sunglasses Review
Pros: The extra sets of lenses and hydrophobically treated lenses are an excellent starting point for someone just getting into cycling. They look great and are comfortable for most people.
Cons: The materials feel cheap, and when the next step up is only a few more bucks, this could be a deal breaker for some people.
Oakley Radar EV Path Sunglasses
The patented Oakley Unobtanium make these glasses an excellent all around choice. Featuring a very tall lens with an extremely wide peripheral view range, these glasses are some of the best technology has to offer.
Oakley's Three-Point Fit is in full effect and force with these glasses making them so comfortable sometimes you might forget they're even there. Several 'tint's' are available for different uses depending on road conditions and weather. Regardless if you're cycling the streets of France, or the forests of Germany, or even your own neighborhood, these sunglasses offer excellent protection and comfort for that winning edge.
A myriad of colored frames and lenses and extra nose pads also make these an excellent choice for cyclists looking to coordinate their glasses to a helmet or uniform. The sculpted geometry means they will fit just about any face shape without much discomfort.
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Surge ports on the temples and top of the frames allow for an excellent ventilation system that will leave the glasses fog free for an exceptional amount of time. A bountiful bouquet of lens and frame colors mean no two pairs will ever be the same. There is even an option for polarized lens that come in several sharp colors. The large range of design in the frames will accommodate any size head from large to small and will easily fit beneath a helmet.
While Oakley Radar EV comes in an astonishing array of colors, some might be put off by the price, especially if just starting out. However, for those already used to competition or even know that they will be used in other day to day activities, these are some of the best sunglasses one can own period.
Oakley Radar EV Path Sunglasses Review
Pros: They are some of the best all around cycling glasses available. Oakley has a great reputation for quality, and these are no exception.
Cons: The price point may be too steep for cyclists who are just starting out, but those who are more experienced and have tried other glasses may be able to cough up the extra money for these premium glasses.
Oakley Jawbreaker OO920 Shield Sunglasses
Another great pair of glasses is the Oakley Jawbreaker. Similar to the Radar EV above but with a different frame style that offers a more versatile adaptability. The size of the lens is almost comparable to those of skiing or snowboarding goggles. This size offers an unparalleled level of protection and coverage and offers a superior field of vision so wide and tall it seems sometimes that you're not wearing any glasses at all.
The frames are exception in their design and look almost futuristically robotic. This design allows for specially placed vents that allow for superior airflow. The non-polarized lens allows for an extremely clear view of everything in front of and beside you as you ride. These are some of the best options in sunglasses for any athlete looking for eyewear and to make a statement.
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The quality of feel is somewhat less than other frames but only because it seems like someone decided they needed maximum face coverage and as little Unobtanium to stand in the way. The adjustable nose bridge is also integral in making sure the fit is perfect for you and that slippage becomes a thing of the past.
A futuristic style to some of the best Oakley has to offer, these are the quintessential sunglasses for competitive cycling. However, the price may put some off, but with Oakley's the price is very much justified.
Oakley Jawbreaker OO9290 Shield Review
Pros: They are a futuristic looking pair of glasses that offer everything a competitive cyclist is looking for: comfort, optimized airflow, stability, and quality.
Cons: Again, the price. Oakley is not the cheapest option out there, but you get what you pay for.
Lazer Solid State Sunglasses
This is an excellent option of sunglasses for those looking for comfort as well as an excellent coverage over your eyes. The single solid lens makes for a great and stylish addition to an excellent pair of frames.
A very high and wide field of view makes these an excellent choice for cycling. The lens is a solid piece of polycarbonate that is easily interchangeable in a groove along the top of the frame and a locking mechanism in the arms. They come with two lens options, the first is a set of three different lenses that are interchangeable and have varying degrees of light transmission. The second is known as a photochromic lens which actually adjusts light admission based on changes in light levels.
These also come in two variants, clear and melanin. Which type you choose is entirely based upon your riding conditions and whether you prefer more or less light in your eyes. The lens are extremely safe and made of polycarbonate and provide excellent UVA and UVB protection. Since the lens is actual one solid piece, swapping between them is a cinch. Vents in the upper and outer edges of the frames provide excellent air flow and limit the amount of fog build up on the lens. They even include adjustable temples to make comfort a priority.
These sunglasses are an excellent and economically model for any beginner or advanced rider. Those just starting may be put off by just HOW large an area the lens covers, but once used, the coverage will feel second nature.
Lazer Solid State Sunglasses Review
Pros: They are a lower-priced option that still provides a great myriad of features that are great for cyclists. They provide great eye protection, have a comfortable fit, and have a ton of customization options to make the perfect pair of glasses for you.
Cons: The lens area is very large and can be off-putting.
Adidas Evil Eye Evo Pro S A194 6050 Sunglasses
The Adidas Evil Eye Sunglasses are some of the most well used and recognized in the world. The rectangular design of the lenses is fairly unique in the world of cycling lenses as most have a solid piece of plastic. The benefit here is that if one of the lens breaks, you only need to replace one and not the entire lens.
Used by just about every type of athlete in every sport these sunglasses offer some of the best coverage and style money can buy. They offer a wide range of view as well as almost wraparound coverage of your head so they stay secure no matter what. Ventilation of superior quality makes fogging almost a thing of the past when racing down hills and through forests.
They come in three colors, black, white, and grey, and are fitted with a four position nose bridge and ergonomic temple guaranteed for maximum comfort and reliability. They offer a 10% UVA and UVB protective coating to allow you to see the road and not be harmed by the suns rays. The lenses are easily interchangeable and prescription ready. A convenient carrying case also makes these an excellent choice for any road warrior.
The Adidas Evil Eye are the best option for those looking for a balance of quality and price. They offer an extraordinary amount of comfort and style but the lack of a hard case and extra sets of lenses may turn some people to other slightly comparable glasses.
Adidas Evil Eye Evo Pro S A194 6050 Review
Pros: They are a great all-around pair of sunglasses. They balance quality and price perfectly. They are very comfortable
Cons: They do not come with a hard case or extra lenses, these need to be bought separately.
Choosing The Best Cycling Glasses For Your Needs
Competitive cycling is one of the fastest growing and recognizable sports on the streets today. Millions of people enjoy pushing themselves to the limits of their bodies and seeing just what they are capable of achieving. One of the most overlooked aspects of the entire cycling sport is choosing the best pair of sunglasses for a competitive edge. There are several things to look for in an excellent pair, those being frames, lens, and the fit of the glasses themselves. The styles reviewed here are just a few of the top sunglasses for competitive cycling.