Above all, cycling glasses should do one thing: give you the feeling that they’re not there at all. Because the lighter the frame and the clearer and less distorted the lenses are, the more you will enjoy your bike ride. And let’s be honest, we could all do with a bit of enjoyment at the moment, right? Nothing is better for switching off than feeling the wind in your hair and seeing nature all around you. It’s even better than going to the pub (well, almost). So, let’s get outside! In this article we first of all explain the features to look out for when choosing cycling glasses and then give you our top cycling glasses recommendations.
Are Cycling Glasses Necessary?
Maybe you’re asking yourself, why can’t I just use a normal pair of sunglasses or glasses for cycling? What are sports glasses anyway? In short, a good pair of sports glasses is useful, not just for cycling, but also for running, climbing, skating, hiking, canoeing or sailing. They have a higher wearing comfort and most importantly a larger protective area for the eyes. The following features are equally important and really make wearing cycling glasses worthwhile.
Good cycling glasses protect the eyes from wind, insects, dust, grit, or pesky branches sticking out into the road. It’s also extremely important that the lenses don’t break with impact or collision. The same holds true for the frame because, of course, no-one wants shards of plastic in their eyes. That’s why most of the sports glasses by top brands such as Nike, Adidas, Gloryfy or Smith are made from light and shatterproof polycarbonate plastic. This material withstands almost any impact and significantly reduces the risk of injury. The glasses by Oakley are high end in this segment. Their lenses are ultra scratch-resistant and very durable – according to them you can even shoot at the lenses without breaking them. If you don’t believe it’s possible to have such durable lenses, you’re welcome to read this testimonial here.
Bounces, jolts, fast head movements: sports glasses have to withstand a lot. Throughout all the action, they have to stay snug and secure on the nose and behind the ears. They shouldn’t slip down (and fall into the depths of the ocean), but they should also not be too tight. One-size-fits-all doesn’t work here, because the frame of the cycling glasses should fit to the width of the head. The weight of the frame also plays an important role in the comfort of the glasses. Here, this simple principle applies: the lighter, the better.
> Field of Vision
Even the best pair of sunglasses is useless if a thick frame is always in your field of vision. Good cycling glasses have an ergonomic shape that curves around the shape of the head. This not only. increases the field of vision and prevents the rim from getting in the way, but also increases. protection against harmful solar radiation. It only gets tricky if the sunglasses are too tight, because if there is too little ventilation, the lenses will fog up due to sweating during sports. Special sports glasses are designed to ensure good ventilation, and some of them even have an anti-fog coating. This guarantees good vision when you’re out and about.
If you’re doing sports outdoors, it’s a good idea to treat your eyes to sunglasses with certified UV-protection and the CE symbol. You need UV 400 to ensure your eyes are well protected against damaging UV rays. This UV protection is actually not related to the tint colour of the lenses, even clear lenses can have a high filter value and protect you against UV rays. The tint, categorised according to strength, only helps against bright light. Category 2 is a medium tint, sufficient for a sunny day in northern to mid Europe. For southern Europe, beaches, mountains and winter sports, category 3 with more than 80% light absorption is best. And if you’re hanging out on a glacier or in the mountains, it’s best to choose filter category 4 with a strong tint that absorbs more than 90 percent of the light.
> Lens Tint
Is there a perfect tint colour for cycling glasses? Yes and no. Depending on the weather and where you are riding, a pair of glasses has to suit different needs. Changing light conditions mean changing visibility, which is why many sports glasses are often sold with a set of interchangeable lenses. As a general rule, yellow tints have a brightening effect and are ideal for riding in fog. Orange lens colours increase contrast, which is good for mountain biking, for example, Brown, green and grey lenses change the natural colours only slightly and offer very good glare protection. Blue tinted lenses also increase contrast but are mainly intended for swimming or activities in the snow – they can be dangerous in traffic, as blue lenses filter out the colour orange. A gradient tint can be helpful, where a darker, upper area helps against glare, but the lower area is lighter and provides undistorted vision.
> Polarised Sports Glasses
For outdoor activities, a polarised filter can completely change your experience: polarised sunglasses filter reflections from shiny surfaces (eg. wet roads, water or even white house walls) and are thus a great relief for the eyes. Oakley even has special cycling lenses with Prizm Road technology in its range.
> Self-Tinting Sports Glasses
Finally, there is the variant of photochromic lenses. These self-tinting lenses contain light-sensitive molecules that react to UV rays. The lens is automatically darkened depending on the brightness. Such self-tinting cycling glasses are very practical, for example, when you go from a sunlit road into a dark forest. No need to get off the bike, no need to change your glasses, no need to swap lenses just continue cycling relaxed and with the best vision.
Which cycling glasses are the best?
The last cycling glasses test by Stiftung Warentest, a German consumer goods comparison company, is a few years old, but it is still useful when choosing the right cycling glasses. The testers checked how well the glasses fit, how well they keep out draughts, whether they fog up and how good the overall usability is. One of the two test winners is still a bestseller: the Oakley Flak Jacket XLJ made it onto the winner’s podium as the best cycling glasses. The model is available in in matte black with polarised, grey-tinted lenses and also in matte black without polarisation filters. The second winner, also with a rating of Very Good, was the Adidas Gazelle glasses (not to be confused with the legendary sneakers). Unfortunately, the A123 and A129 models are no longer in production. We recommend the mono-lens Adidas SP 0016 in black with red details or the Adidas SP 0030 model in sleek black with red mirrored lenses as worthy successors with the same wearing comfort.
Which glasses are suitable for mountain biking?
Do you need special mountain biking glasses when you’re hurtling down a slope on your mountain bike? A well-fitting pair of cycling glasses will certainly do the job here just as well as on the road. If you’re into some really hair-raising action, you can also attach a sports glasses strap (also called a leash) to the temples of your cycling glasses to keep them securely in place. If that still doesn’t help, it might be safer to change sports in general…
And how much do sports glasses with prescription lenses cost?
Cycling glasses with prescription lenses aren’t cheap, but if you’d prefer not to use contact lenses plus sunglasses or clip-in prescription lenses, your only other option is prescription lenses. The price is usually around 400 pounds. However, not every sports eyewear manufacturer offers prescription lenses. Oakley, on the other hand, even offers its original lenses with prescription, and prescription lenses are also available for some Gloryfy glasses in our online shop. Just browse online and soon not even blinding rays of sunlight will stand in the way of a wonderful day bike riding.