Despite what most folks think, wearing cycling sunglasses is far from being just a fashion statement. They’re a piece of gear just as important as gloves or helmet, seeing as they protect your eyes from bright sunlight, UV rays, wind, rain, grit, dust, bugs and other assorted whatnots that can impair your vision and ruin the ride. Moreover, with proper lenses, the glasses can even improve your vision, so it’s safe to say they are far from being just a fashion statement, indeed.
So, what do the best cycling sunglasses look like? The choice will invariably boil down to two things – fit and lenses. Any quality cycling sunglasses will have adjustable fit, but most are one-size-fits-all. They’ll have rubber nose pieces, so that the glasses stay put when you perspire profusely. As far as lenses go, there are generally two types – those that protect from bright sunlight and those that boost contrast in poor lighting, and a myriad of shades (pun intended) between. You’ll usually come across sunglasses with fixed lenses, but interchangeable lenses are becoming increasingly common, and with good reason. Higher-end brands are even using photochromic lenses which change the tint depending on the lighting conditions, though you’ll have to shell out some serious cash for that.
Comparison of the sunglasses
Six 6 Best Cycling Sunglasses Reviews
1. FiveBox Polarized U.V Protection Sports Glasses with 5 Interchangeable Lenses
The FiveBox Polarized Sports Glasses are one of the best options money can buy these days. Not only do they have a set of five interchangeable lenses for varying lighting conditions, but they come in six very stylish varieties, pretty much guaranteeing you’ll find a model you like. The fit is an entirely different matter, though, and you should find a way to try them on before deciding.
The frame is a snug fit, with a soft rubber pad to prevent them from falling off once you start sweating. They’re quite lightweight, even when it comes to sunglasses, and comfortable enough for prolonged rides. As for the lenses, all are made of shatterproof PC material, though only one is polarized (the main, black one), while the rest are just colorized for different environmental conditions.
The FiveBox Sports Glasses pretty much deliver on what the name promises – they’re one of the best cycling glasses for folks who like to get their money’s worth. You can change between five various lenses with a mere snap.
2. Oakley Men’s Jawbreaker OO9290 Shield Sunglasses
With twelve frame and thirteen lens color options, you can take your sweet time picking out the perfect Oakley Jawbraker OO9290 Shield shades. Granted, the frame variants will not be available in all lens colors, but the choice is still incredibly varied. One more thing – don’t let the designation Men’s confuse you – these will look good on women, as well, provided they fit. You can get them both polarized and non-polarized, though all models come with UV protective coating.
The frame is plastic, fairly durable, though not indestructible. They are lightweight, however, and you’ll barely feel them once you put them.
The Jawbraker does cost a pretty penny, but you can rest assured you’ll feel where each and every penny went. They are good for both pros and amateurs, though if you belong to the latter category, you might want to skip these unless you have pockets reaching all the way to China.
3. Tifosi Envy T-I291 Sunglasses
The aptly named TIfosi Envy T-I291 Sunglasses will pretty much make good their name, making everyone envy you for your gear. Price-wise, they’re quite affordable, but no one would go as far as to call them cheap. They come with 100% UV protection coating, though without polarization. Since we’re
The frame is fairly durable and lightweight, and it’s quite a snug fit. Made of Grilamid TR–90, it’s very flexible and highly resistant to chemical and UV damage, so it should last you a good long while. As for lenses, you get three pairs – Smoke, AC Red and Clear. Although you can pretty much wear any of them for most conditions, the Smoke lenses are best used for bright and sunny weather, AC Red for poor lighting (cloudy or fog), whereas Clear lenses come into their own for riding at night or in the rain.
The TIfosi Envy T-I291 are the best cycling sunglasses for folks who want all the utility of sunglasses without sacrificing the style. With the durable frame and three pairs of lenses these puppies bring to the table, they’re more than worth every dime you pay for them.
4. Tifosi Podium Shield Sunglasses
The TIfosi Podium Shield Sunglasses come in five distinct flavors – Matte Black, Metallic Silver, Metallic Red, another version of Metallic Silver and Clarion Red, which all vary somewhat in price. With this in mind, for all intents and purposes, we’ll be talking about the Matte Black variant (though the same more or less applies to the rest when it comes to lenses).
The Podium shades feature a plastic frame and interchangeable plastic lenses, which is pretty much the industry standard. The lenses are not polarized, sadly, but they do come with UVA/UVB protective coating, and they’re fully interchangeable.
Who’d benefit most from the Tifosi Podium? They’re not cheap, but no one would go as far as to call them expensive, regardless of the “flavor” we mentioned above. So, with this in mind, they are primarily meant for budding pros, or folks who are not exactly amateurs, but aren’t quite serious about racing, either. Most of all, they’re meant for people who want to ride with style, men and women alike.
5. Tifosi Veloce 1040800167 Wrap Sunglasses
The aptly named Tifosi Veloce (“veloce” means “fast” in Italian) 10408001667 Wrap Sunglasses definitely help with reaching peak performance and high speeds you need to win races. Granted, it’ll still depend more on you than your gear, but every little helps, eh? Just ask Lance Armstrong.
The glasses frame is made of Grilamid TR-90, which is a Nylon compound that has incredible flexibility and resistance to chemical and UV damage. This pretty much guarantees they’ll serve you well for quite some time. The lenses are polycarbonate (basically, it’s all plastic throughout, don’t be surprised if it feels like that), with UV protective coating, though not polarized. You get three sets – Blue, AC Red and Clear, for different environments.
Let’s expand our vocabulary with another Italian word – “tifosi”. This translates to “fan”, though the English connotations hardly capture the true meaning of it. The point is, once you try the Veloce Wrap Sunglasses, you’re bound to become a tifosi of Tifosi.
6. Bobster ESH211 Shield Sport Sunglasses
Like most of the best cycling sunglasses in this price range, the Bobster eSH211 Shield Sport Sunglasses come with a decent plastic frame and a matching set of smoked lenses, ideal for most lighting conditions. This is what you might call a budget-friendly buy, with a decent bang for the buck. Not only do you get a (admittedly, pretty limited) choice of frames (Blue or Red), but the lenses are prescription ready (meaning you can get Rx lenses and put them into the frame). On the other hand, you can get more color options if you order directly from the manufacturer.
If you’re a novice to the world of biking, or an amateur working with a tight budget, then you might want to check out the Bobster ESH211 Shield Sport shades. Are they the best cycling sunglasses on the market? Not by a long shot. However, they are a great value for money (very little money, as a matter of fact), and are a great way for you to start you off.
Depending on your riding requirements, you might have to switch between several pairs of sunglasses during a single day. You’ll start with bright and sunny weather, ride through cloudy afternoon, and finish the ride after nightfall. This may be in stages or as one continuous, gruelling run, but it’ll require dark, protective sunglasses for the morning, yellow-tinted lenses in the afternoon to boost contrast, and clear lenses for after dark (if you want optimal results, that is). This is where you’d want to have photochromic lenses, or at least cycling glasses with interchangeable lenses, but, let’s be honest, most rides are not like that. For most of your cycling needs, the best cycling glasses are any you have lying around. Speaking of lying around, it’s always nice to have a hardshell case to protect your glasses from scratches, as well as a nice, microfiber cloth to keep the lenses clean. So, when shopping, always go for the pair with more accessories.