The trick to finding the perfect performance sunglasses is to find a pair that can seamlessly make the transition from cycling to running. If you’re in the market for a new pair of shades, make sure they rate high on these six scales.
Field of vision
An unobstructed view no matter your head positioning is of paramount importance.
Top pick: 100% Speedcraft Long Lens; $175, Ride100percent.com
It’s tough to find a product that appeals equally to triathletes and enduro mountain bikers, but the Speedcraft fits the bill because of its extended lens coverage and moto styling. 100% is a brand best known for outfitting downhillers with goggles, but the Speedcraft packs plenty of performance features triathletes will appreciate, such as the extended upper part of the lens that increases visibility when your head is tilted down. Extra space between the water-repellent lens and your face increases airflow while the wrap-around design holds the frame in place. Each model comes with extra lenses and interchangeable nose pads.
Choosing a quality lens may be the most vital decision when it comes to selecting a pair of multisport lenses. Consider things like airflow, contrast and crispness of vision.
Top pick: Oakley Radar EV Path Prizm Road; $190, Oakley.com
If you’ve shied away from plunking down the cash for Oakleys in the past, know that the lens quality of the Prizm collection makes them well worth the price. The color and tint of the Prizm lens is finely tuned to increase contrast in a way that makes you feel like you’ve been given superhuman eyesight. Vents on the lens help increase airflow to prevent fogging while the earsocks and nosepiece maintain their grip when you sweat. Like the 100% Speedcraft, the Radar EV has a taller lens to extend your upper field of view while riding in the aerobars.
If you want to maximize your spend, find a frame that can go from sporty to casual or from rainy to a bright summer day—it’s like having four pairs for the price of one.
Top picks: Tifosi Launch SFH; $150, Tifosioptics.com, Ryders Eyewear Strider Photochromic antiFOG; $130, Ryderseyewear.com
The Tifosi Launch SFH is a quiver of sunglasses in a single box. You can set them up with the one-piece lens and frameless arm pieces for your ride, then swap to the full-frame, dual-lens setup for casual settings. There’s also the half frame option, which is suitable for pretty much any circumstance. There are four different lens tints included so you’re covered in every possible light condition. Swapping frames and lenses is a snap. Considering how much you get with this package, it’s a tremendous value.
If brightly-colored fighter-jet style sunglasses don’t suit your style, the Ryders Eyewear Strider has a classic shape with styling that makes these shades extremely versatile. The photochromic lens lightens and darkens depending on the light conditions so you don’t have to mess with swapping lenses and a permanent anti-fog layer keeps your vision clear in cold or humid climates. Adjustable nose pads allow you to customize the fit and fine tune the amount of airflow behind the lens.
Your sunglasses need to withstand countless rides and getting tossed around in a bag traveling from race to race, which makes durability is a non-negotiable.
Top pick: Aspire Eyewear Legendary; $290, aspireeyewear.com
While most frames are made with metal or plastic, Aspire recently came on the scene with a new solution called SDN-4, which is a proprietary nylon blend. This means they are light and flexible, without sacrificing durability. You can literally smash and twist these glasses and they spring back to their original shape.
When you’re sporting a quality pair of performance sunglasses, you’ll hardly be aware of them. Selecting a pair of sunnies that are light and slim will allow you to focus on the road ahead without distractions.
Top pick: Smith PivLock Arena Max; $159, smithoptics.com
The PivLocks are so light you’ll forget you’re wearing them about 15 seconds after you slide them onto your face. The fit works well for medium and smaller faces (the Arena Max offers more lens coverage while the PivLock Asana is designed specifically for women). Plenty of frame and lens color options means your shades can match your kit, and swapping between lenses can be done in about a minute. If anything goes wrong, the PivLocks are covered under Smith’s lifetime warranty.
Glasses that fall off your face or fit too tightly on your head have the potential to take you right out of the zone during a race. When trying on glasses, pay special attention to how they fit along the sides of your head, as well as on your nose.
Top pick: Rudy Project Tralyx; $250, E-rudy.com
The trademarked “Adaptive Tips” on the Tralyx flex to fit just about any face shape. The frame’s adjustable nosepiece takes things one step further by making the fit fully customizable.