If you’ve ever had the pleasure of riding a bike down the side of a mountain after a grueling climb or gone out for an evening ride after work – you know how important riding glasses are. Not only do they protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, but they keep them shielded from the whooshing wind, random patches of insects, and whatever is being kicked up off of the road.
Not everyone is aware of this fact, but not any pair of sunglasses are intended to be used as riding glasses. Unlike your common pair of casual sunglasses – riding sunglasses need to be able to withstand pretty serious crashes. If they aren’t crash rated, you run the risk of shattering them and potentially doing serious harm to your eyes. Maybe more intuitively – your cycling sunglasses also need to be able to fit comfortably on your face and not slide down as you sweat it out over those rolling hills and headwinds. Take a scroll through our list of the ten best cycling sunglasses and see for yourself the kind of shades you can sport on your next ride through the city or countryside.
Ryders Seventh Standard
Adjustable, capable, and casual. Ryder’s Eyewear sunglasses with clear antiFOG lenses provide cyclissts with a clear view of the road even in low light conditions. Featuring a hydrophilic nose pad and temple tips, the frame sits comfortably but firmly on your temple. Not a fan of how they rest on your face? Adjustments are made easy thanks to the customizable nose pads and temple tips. Those same adjustable elements can also be used to regulate how much air flow comes in behind the lenses – helping combat fogging on high energy rides.
Tifosi Davos Sunglasses
A great pair of entry level sunglasses for riding. Everything from the Davos’ frame down to the bridge and lens are all optimized for wearing while you’re huffing it down the final stretch of your ride or while descending after a serious climb. For a lightweight feel and bend-ability, the frame of the sunglasses is built from a special Grilamid TR-90 homopolyamide nylon. As far as lenses go? The Davos doesn’t come up short. Made from polycarbonate and featuring wind-vents, they easily block out UV rays and are easily switched out for other lenses.
Julbo Cortina Sunglasses
If you are looking for something you’d be as happy to wear out on a hike as you would on your weekend rides – then consider Julbo’s Cortina. Based off of the brands classic 1980s silhouette originally developed for mountaineering, they’ve found second life both in the mountains and in the saddle. Best suited for seriously bright riding conditions, these polycarbonate lenses block out 88 percent visible light transmission. Unfortunately a couple downsides to these sunglasses are the fact that they don’t feature any wind vents or adjustable nose pieces – and really shouldn’t be worn during low light situations.
Nike Tailwind Swift Sunglasses
These may not look like the most stylish sunglasses out there but Nike’s Tailwind are among the best when it comes to solid eye protection on the road. More than anything else these sunglasses are comfortable to wear. The frames feature a lightweight, aerodynamic design that sits comfortably on your face even during your longest rides. For increased comfort, wind channels along the arms of the sunglasses pull in air – ventilating areas that’d otherwise be untouched. The lenses themselves also feature wind slots designed to keep you cool.
Zeal Carson Sunglasses
Another pair of sunglasses you’d be happy to wear off of the saddle as well as on it. Made from a plant-based z-resin material and injected with Proflex, these frames have the technical ability you’d want out of a pair of shades paired with a popular design. To top off the technical features of the frame itself, it also boasts a hydrophobic and oleophobic coating – making it easier to stick to your face on hot, tough rides. For eye protection the shades also boast a polarized E-llume lens with an anti-reflective coating.
Bolle 5th Element
All the tech you could hope for in a solid pair of cycling sunglasses is here in Bolle’s 5th Element. They boast photochromic lenses with all of the hydrophobic and oleophobic treatments, a lightweight and comfortable frame, as well as adjustable nosepieces. Thanks to the signature ‘B’ shape used for the sunglasses, they also provide an uninterrupted field of vision for riders making it easy to see the whole road no matter the conditions.
POC DO Blade Raceday Sunglasses
Another solid pair of athletic sunglasses made with a lightweight and flexible grilamid frame. Generally speaking these frames are larger than other sports sunglasses you’ll come by. That oversized look, however, provides plenty of sun protection thanks to the use of large Zeiss lenses. To compensate for the crazy amount of coverage the sunglasses feature venting above the eyes as well as an anti-fog treatment that makes it so water and sweat don’t block your view. Riding in darker conditions? The lenses can pop out and be switched for a lighter pair.
Smith PivLock Arena Max
If your ideal pair of sunglasses combines high visibility with non-fogging technology and a snug fit – these sunglasses from Smith might be worth the splurge. The rimless carbonic TLT lenses on this pair allow for an un-interrupted view. As far as comfort is concerned, these are just about the best. Made with a TR90 frame material the sunglasses have a lightweight feel to them that will have you forgetting they’re even on in the first place.
Rapha Coppi Classic Glasses II
Handmade in Italy with Carl Zeiss lenses, these sunglasses from the ultra cool cycling brand Rapha are at home on and off the saddle. This particular pair are inspired by Rapha’s spirit animal – legendary cyclist Fuasto Coppi. The cycling shades use an old school ‘Havana’ acetate sourced from an Italian manufacturer that has a rose/pink hue when it hits the sun just right. But just because the frame and inspiration are old school doesn’t mean the frames are antiquated. They feature integrated nose pads, a special oleophobic and hydrophobic coating on the back and front of the lenses, and high quality Cat 3 lenses.
Uvex Variotronic Shield Sunglasses
You’re not always going to want the same amount of tinting on your sunglasses. Uvex understands as much, so they went about building the Variotronic Shield sunglasses. These shades feature an LCD technology in their lens that changes the tinting according to the lighting situation. And no. We’re not talking one of those slow gradual change. Think more like less than a second. As if that wasn’t enough, the sunglasses can do this either automatically, or with the touch of the button.
Urban Commuter Essentials
Not everyone uses their bike just to go on long weekend rides. If your your bike is among the handful of ways you get to your desk in the morning – then take a look at our list of urban commuter essentials.