Sunglasses are a must-have item for all bikers whether mountain or road biking.
A pair of cycling sunglasses has the important of job protecting a biker from bright sunshine, UV rays, wind, trail debris, low branches and anything else that you do not want in your eyes.
With the huge choice on offer, knowing which pair of sunglasses to get can be tricky. There are cheap and expensive models with different designs and colors available.
Are the more expensive models better? Will a cheaper pair do the same job?
When it comes to such an important piece of safety equipment, we want to help make a good decision. This article aims to let you know what to look out for and give you a selection of sunglasses for cycling to keep your eyes safe when you are riding.
Quick Answer: The 5 Best Biking Sunglasses For 2018
- Oakley Radarlock Path Sport Sunglasses
- POC Crave Sunglasses
- Tifosi Podium Xc Shield Sunglasses
- adidas Evil Eye Halfrim Pro S Rectangle Sunglasses
- Bolle Diamondback Sunglasses
Here are my 3 top rated biking glasses with full reviews and our buyers guide below.
Best Cycling Sunglasses
Biking Sunglasses Reviews
If you do like the way they look, the Radarlock Oakley cycling sunglasses are about as good as it gets.
The two scratch resistant “Plutonite” or polycarbonate lenses that are included have vents to prevent fogging and provide a great field of vision and protection.
They can be swapped out with a large range of other lenses and doing so is a quick and easy job.
The “unobtanium” (rubber) nose clamp can be adjusted to fit your nose and the arms also have rubber coating to prevent any slipping. The frame is made from Oakley’s light and slightly flexible “O Matter” (plastic).
They are not “cheap” but you are paying a fair price for a truly fantastic pair of sunglasses and not just for the fancy material names.
Overall I would say the Radarlocks are the best cycling glasses whether you are road or mountain biking.
Also a big hitter in terms of price and performance. The Craves have an unbeatable field of vision and a variety of high quality Carl Zeiss lenses are available.
A hydrophobic coating on the lens prevents too much fogging and any rain or muddy blobs of spray from the trail will not hang around long.
The flexible frame runs almost fully around the outside of the lens but does not get in the way of your vision. Rubber on the slim, detachable arms and nose clamp prevent slipping.
The latter is not adjustable so may not fit odd shaped noses but it is soft and comfortable.
I would say the POC Crave’s are the best MTB sunglasses. If you are looking for POC sunglasses that are polarized, take a look at the POC Sports.
Some faces are just not big enough to fit standard sunglasses, so Tifosi have produced the Podium XCs for riders with a smaller face.
The half frame is slightly flexible and provides enough coverage. A variety of lenses are available for these bike sunglasses, including photochromic and clear.
The lenses are not vented, so they will get foggy if they sit too close to your face. An adjustable nose clamp helps tune the fit and the rubberized arms hold them in place.
On top of all of this, they come at a great price and in my opinion the best budget cycling sunglasses.
Another great pair of road bike sunglasses when it comes to fit and protection. These glasses are available in three sizes and each can be customized, so you are almost guaranteed to be able to find a pair that fits.
Your eyes are very well protected by the large replaceable lenses. There are 20 (yes that many) different lenses available (not included) with a variety of colors and tones on offer.
Swapping the lenses takes a bit of practice but it is no problem once you have got the hang of it.
Not everyone can afford to pay for premium mountain bike glasses. That is where the Bolle Diamondbacks come in but you will be making a couple of compromises.
The rubber finish keeps them in place and the large anti-fog and antiscratch lenses provide reasonable vision and comfort.
These MTB glasses even look good enough (or “normal” enough) not to look out of place when you are not on your bike.
The main drawback to the Diamondback’s is that the frame has a tendency to collect sweat, but this isn’t a problem for all riders. It just depends on the shape of your face if it’s going to be a problem.
The frame is very sturdy however and makes them ideal for MTB riding. So give them a go if you do not want to pay top dollar.
Cycling Sunglasses Comparison Table
|Ccycling Sunglasses||Polarized||Lens||Frame||UV Protection||Rating|
|Oakley Radarlock Path Polarized Sunglasses||Yes||580 Polycarbonate||Nylon||100% UVA, UVB & UVC||3.9 / 5.0|
|POC Crave Sunglasses||Yes||Polycarbonate lens||Grilamid nylon||100% UVA, UVB & UVC||4.5 / 5.0|
|Tifosi Podium Xc Shield Sunglasses||No||Polycarbonate interchangeable lenses||Grilamid TR-90 nylon||100% UVA, UVB & UVC||4.1 / 5.0|
|adidas Evil Eye Halfrim Pro||No||Polycarbonate lens||Resin||100% UVA, UVB & UVC||4.6 / 5.0|
|Bolle Diamondback Sunglasses||No||Polycarbonate lenses with|
Carbo Glass Coating
|Nylon||100% UVA, UVB & UVC, blue light||4.4 / 5.0|
How to Choose the Best Sunglasses for Cycling
It may sound obvious, but even the most expensive, high tech pair of biking sunglasses will be useless if they do not fit you properly. If they are too big or wide, they will fall off your face as soon as you hit rough terrain.
Glasses that are too small will not provide sufficient eye coverage. If they sit too close or make contact with your face, they will steam up in winter and collect sweat streaks in summer.
Although we always try to advise you as best as possible, the fit of a pair of sunglasses is something so personal that you simply have to try a pair on and see if they fit your unique face shape.
Polarized vs Non Polarized
When lenses are polarized they automatically filter horizontal reflected glare. This is what causes the strange effects when looking down a long straight road in bright sunlight. The polarizing of the lenses blocks this glare and provides a crisper image.
For this reason having polarized lenses is much more important for road bike riders than for MTB riders. There is no downside to having this feature for MTB riders however.
If you do both types of riding, you may as well get biking glasses that have polarized lenses. The small increased cost is worth it.
Another benefit to polarized lenses is they automatically block UVA and UVB ultra violet light. Of course non polarized lenses can block them as well. In fact you will have a difficult time finding sunglasses nowadays that don’t block at least UVA and UVB rays.
The only “downside” of having polarized lenses is that it is more difficult to read LCD screens of phones or GPS devices.
The lenses need to be large enough and wrap around the sides of your face to protect you as much as possible from debris and wind. This kind of lens will also give you the best field of vision. Make sure that the nose clamps or frame do not obstruct your vision.
In winter, you will be best off with a clear lens. In summer, choose a tinted but light lens.
A dark lens will make it hard to see detail in patches of shadow, whereas a colored lens will highlight these, while allowing you to see easily in bright sunshine.
Some lenses make the borders of objects pop out, giving you razor sharp vision.
Photochromic lenses react to the light conditions, getting darker when you enter sunshine and lighter when you enter shade.
If you want this feature, then you really should commit to getting a good pair at a higher price. Cheaper models take longer to react, which does not help you at all.
You want road cycling sunglasses with UV protection.
Fortunately this is a usually a standard with all sunglasses and the UV protection rating will be available either in the product details or from the manufacturer.
The best biking sunglasses have interchangeable lenses but this does not automatically mean that they will come with spares or alternatives. You may have to pay more to get a different tint, but this is certainly cheaper than buying two or more pairs of sunglasses.
Full or Half Frame
Half frame glasses usually give you a better field of vision, whereas half frame designs are more robust. It is usually easier to change the lens on half frame glasses.
The best full frame sunglasses will not obstruct your vision at all and tend to be sturdier and be able to take more abuse and a better choice for mountain biking sunglasses.
In additon the the style of frame, another big factor is airflow around the lenses. The more airflow means less fogging and better vision and you won’t need to stop and wipe off the lenses in the hot weather.
If you crash, you do not want your sunglasses to break for two good reasons. The first is that you probably spent a fair bit of money on them.
The second, more important reason is that if they do break, you run the risk of sharp pieces stabbing you in the face or eyes. Likewise, a quality pair of sunglasses will have a shatterproof lens, which will not break into pieces.
For those of us with less than perfect vision and wear glasses you will want to consider cycling glasses that can be fitted with prescription lenses. The adidas Evil Eye is a good choice if you want to go that route.
Many riders prefer to wear contacts because of the added cost of having the sunglasses fitted with prescription lenses. Another option are “inserts”, these are prescription lenses that sit in between your eyes and the sunglasses.
This adds to the weight as you essentially have two pairs of glasses then. However it is s cheaper option and you will have more choices of sunglasses.
FAQ For Cycling Sunglasses
Q: What are polarized sunglasses?
A: Polarized lenses in sunglasses have a chemical treatment that reduce glare. Glare is when light is reflected off solid surface or water. The treatment neutralizes this glare resulting in being able to see more clearly while reducing harmful UV rays.
Q: What are the benefits to polarized sunglasses?
A: Polarized lenses give you increased visibility and comfort by blocking blinding glare. Your vision is improved in bright sunlight and they increase contrast for enhanced visibility.
Q: Are Polarized lenses worth it?
A: Short answer: YES! Glare is not only a nuisance, it decreases your depth perception and distorts colors. Having better visibility will of course increase your riding safety. There is no reason not to wear sunglasses with polarized lenses.
Q: How does a photochromic lens work?
A: Also known as transition lenses, there are special dyes in the lenses that react and darken when exposed to UV rays. How dark they get varies on the intensity of UV rays.
Q: What are the benefits of photochromic lenses?
A: They can provide greater comfort and visibility in one pair of sunglasses. They can reduce glare and eye strain while providing UV protection.
Q: What is UV 100 protection?
A: UV 100 protection means the lenses block 100% of the harmful UVA and UVB from the sun. These rays are extremely harmful and its important to check and make sure the sunglasses offer 100% UV protection.
As mentioned above, fit is key, so this should be your absolute priority. Identify first which style you would like as well as the kind of lens you need. Then you can pick out a variety of sunglasses that fit the criteria and try them all on. The best fitting pair wins!
I hope this guide was helpful for finding the best cycling sunglasses to fit your needs. If you want to comment or recommend a pair of sunglasses I didn’t include, please use my contact form to get in touch.
Have fun and be safe out there!