The glasses you wear can be a stylish fashion accessory that helps you appear "cool" as you ride your bike; however, they also have a much more important role – protecting your eyes. Glasses help to protect your eyes from road grit, harsh sunlight, stones that may be thrown up by the tires and even the ubiquitous flying bugs.
Glasses for cycling have been created with a number of different materials and features to help your ride be safer and much more comfortable. Some of these elements include lightweight frames, reflective coatings and shatterproof lenses. Regardless of if you need these glasses for your daily commute or for the trails, some tips to keep in mind when shopping are highlighted here.
When analyzing the frame of the sunglasses, you will notice that two main types of frames exist. One requires a prescription lens insert for users who may need prescription lenses and the other frame allows prescription lenses to fit into the frame. The most popular option for cyclist glasses is polycarbonate plastic. It is strong and lightweight and will not shatter if you fall. This material can also create a "wrap-around" fit, which is often preferred by cyclists, helping the glasses fit more securely on your face. Wrap around sunglasses also add UV protection to sides which most traditional sunglasses don’t offer. In general, it is recommended to look for a frame with slim-line arms to ensure that the sunglasses slide comfortably beneath a helmet.
If you get hot when you are riding, you should look for lenses that allow airflow to help keep you cooler and to reduce the possibility of them fogging up. Also, look for grippy rubber pads on the temples and nose, which help to ensure the glasses remain in place. Also, some models come with removeable straps for extra support and comfort.
Choosing the lenses for you sunglasses always depends of the riding conditions of your biking route. Photochromic or Transitions lenses are ideal for early morning or late afternoon rides. Why? Because the lenses are designed to change the level of tint depending on the amount of sunlight there is throughout your ride. Meaning, you will never have to carry an extra pair with dark tinted lenses when the sun rises or an extra pair with clear lenses when the sun sets. It’s important to invest in reusable anti-fog wipes to enhance visibility under various weather conditions. Some sunglasses are packaged with interchangeable color lenses which offers more versatility.
Grey tinted lenses work for almost any outdoor activity. They don’t alter any natural colors. Lenses in the yellow, brown or green shades typically increase color contrast which help users see the terrain more clear. Although yellow and brown lenses add a slight color tinge to vision when riding, they are considered to add an extra element of safety because the user can better see the road, even under low light condition with yellow lenses. Optional mirror coating on selected sunglasses not only add to style, but can help further reduce glare.
When you choose a wraparound frame for your glasses, you will also have the option of curved lenses. This provides a larger field of vision, which will help it feel as though you are not even wearing glasses. If you plan to be outdoors for a while, you need to ensure that the lenses provide both UVA and UVB protection. Without this, it can cause premature aging and sunburn of the skin around the eyes, not to mention cause damage to the eyes. Try looking into polarized lenses to help reduce the sun glare that sometimes reflects off wet roads.
You may also want to look for shatter or impact resistant lenses. This feature means that if you do get hit by say, a stone in your face, the lenses will remain intact. Also, if you drop them, you won't have to go out right away and purchase a new pair.
If you wear contacts or glasses, there are a few more things that you need to consider. For example, the wraparound style glasses will help to minimize the dirt and grit that gets near the lens. However, if you prefer to wear glasses, then your opticians can create inserts to sit inside the sunglasses. You can also have the lenses created with your prescription.
When you are shopping for cycling glasses, there are quite a few things to keep in mind. However, being a savvy shopper means being informed and knowing what to look for. The glasses you wear while you ride are a crucial part of your gear and something that deserves plenty of thought and consideration to ensure the right pair is purchased.
GogglesNMore Recommendations for Biking Sunglasses:
- Sports Wrap-Around Sunglasses JH0028 Black / Yellow – UV400
- Raven (Grey): Sporty Prescription Wrap Around Sunglasses – UV400 Rated
- Harrier (Red/Black): Sporty Prescription Wrap Around Sunglasses – UV400 Rated
- F. Morys MS038 (White/Orange with Grey Tinted Orange Revo Mirror lenses) Rx-able with prescription lens insert, standard revo mirror lenses with optional photochromic outer lenses that's probably most price competitive on the market.
- F. Morys MS035 Flip Up (Black with Grey Mirror lenses) Rx-able with prescription lens insert, standard mirror lenses
- Fuglies RX11 Sunglasses [Honey Crystal] Rx-able without the need for prescription lens insert, comes with removal weather guard and it even floats on water!
The Best (For those who want the lot):