Buyer's Guide: How-to Choose the Best Cycling Sunglasses
Read our updated Cycling Buyer's Guide to learn about what goes into the perfect fitting pair, what to look for and avoid, and the latest lens and frames technologies to take you and your riding to the next level.
Finding the right pair of cycling sunglasses can mean the difference between seeing the upcoming obstacles in the road or flying over the handlebars in disbelief. Whether it be a pothole, debris or a bump in the road seeing them with enough time to react makes all the difference.
There are some key things to consider when it comes to choosing the best cycling sunglasses. A pair of true, cycling-specific sunglasses will have:
- Proper fit in the cycling position
- Grip on the nose and/or temple
- Arms with minimal hook
- Wrap around lenses that enhance contrast
Proper Fit - The number one thing many companies overlook when manufacturing “cycling” glasses (and what people often forget when choosing glasses for cycling), is how the glasses fit in the bicycling position. The issue is having to look over the top of the glasses, or having the top of the frame in your way, while actually on the bike. This can be even more of an issue on a road bike with an aggressive geometry, if you’re running aero bars, or if you get into the drops.
Improper fit is problematic for a few reasons: 1) it's annoying; 2) it allows sunlight to come in; and 3) if you have prescription lenses but you’re looking over the top of your glasses, you’re not looking into your prescription. Not only are you compromising your vision, you are also compromising your position on the bike so that your glasses work better. Real cycling glasses will take these problems into consideration and help minimize the issue in their fit and design. We spend thousands of dollars on a nice bicycle – some spend hundreds for the perfect bike fit; it’s silly to sacrifice positioning because your glasses don’t fit properly. Finding the right glasses not only allow you to see better, they also help keep you in a more efficient and aero position as well as save you from neck strains.
Comfort - A more obvious thing to consider when purchasing cycling glasses is comfort. A true pair of cycling glasses will be lightweight and have a nose grip or temple grip (ideally both). This is the rubberized material that prevents the glasses from sliding down your face. Also, the arms should be straight or have very little hook behind the ear in order to allow the rider to get glasses on and off while wearing a helmet.
Contrast - When it comes to cycling lenses, contrast is the name of the game. I recommend erring on the side of the lenses being too light rather than too dark. It is better to deal with a little brightness here and there than to inhibit your ability to see what’s ahead of you on the road. Very dark lenses are great when you’re climbing up a hill and the sun is in your face. But when you’re done climbing and you have to come back down the hill at 40 MPH and there is a shadow covering a pothole, you really don’t want to have those dark lenses anymore. A warm lens color like a rose or a brown is great for these types of conditions. When it comes to lens shape, a curved, wrap around lens is a must for maximum coverage in the front and periphery.
Click here to see some of our favorite cycling sunglasses.