Cycling Sunglasses FAQ
What should I look for in cycling sunglasses?
Please view What should I look for in cycling sunglasses? to view the detailed answer to this question.
In summary, the key qualities and features to look for when buying a pair of cycling sunglasses include:
• Fit and comfort
• Lens quality and materials
• Lens colour, tint level and lens type
• Lens coverage
• Anti-fog coating and anti-fog ventilation
• Hydrophobic coating
• Frame materials and durability
• Included interchangeable lenses
• Helmet compatibility
• Low weight (but sturdy frames)
• Other product inclusions
• Consider prescription sunglasses or contact lenses
What are the best sunglasses for cycling?
The best and most highly rated cycling sunglasses to buy as rated by the experts in 2022 include:
100%: S2, S3, Speedcraft
BBB: Avenger (BBB – equal best low to mid-budget category)
Ekoi: Perso Evo 9
Endura: FS260-Pro (Endura – equal best budget category)
Koo: Demos, Open Cube, Orion
Oakley: Flight Jacket, Jawbreaker, Radar EV, Sutro
Rapha: Pro Team Full Frame
Rudy Project: Defender, Cutline, Keyblade, Spinshield
Salice: Model 022 (Salice – equal best low to mid-budget category)
Scicon: Aerocomfort, Aeroshade
Scott: Sport Shield
Sungod: Velans FF
Tifosi: Alliant, Crit (Tifosi – equal best budget category)
See the full list of the most highly rated and popular cycling sunglasses that are available to buy, with summarized reviews and the latest deals.
What sunglasses do cyclists wear?
Cyclists tend to wear cycling specific sunglasses which generally have: a narrower frame with a larger lens, tough lenses usually made from polycarbonate or an equivalent material, anti-fog qualities, hydrophobic lens coating and interchangeable lenses for a variety of weather and lighting conditions.
The major sunglasses brands most commonly worn by cyclists include: 100%, BBB, Bollé, Ekoi, Endura, Koo, Oakley, POC, Rapha, Roka, Rudy Project, Salice, Scicon, Scott, Shimano, Smith Optics and Tifosi.
We have made a list of the most highly rated and popular cycling sunglasses that are available to buy, with summarized reviews and the latest deals.
What sunglasses do the pro cyclists wear?
The sunglasses used by a professional cyclist in the WorldTour depends on the team or individual sponsor. The cyclist or supplied team tend to choose their preferred pair of sunglasses from the sponsor’s range.
Below is the break down of the sunglasses models worn by the pro cyclists in the WorldTour:
100%: Hypercraft, Speedcraft, Speedtrap, S2, S3
BBB: Avenger, FullView
Bollé: Chronoshield, Shifter
Ekoi: Perso Evo 9, Perso Evo 10, Premium 70, Premium 80
KOO: Demos, Open Cube, Spectro
Oakley: Kato, Kato X, Jawbreaker, Radar EV, Sutro
POC: Aspire, Crave Clarity, Do Blade, Do Half Blade
ROKA: CP Series, GP Series, SR-1X
Rudy Project: Cutline, Defender, Tralyx
Scicon: Aeroshade, Aerotech, Aerowing
Shimano: S-Phyre X, S-Phyre R, Spark
Smith Optics: Shift MAG, Wildcat
To see summarized reviews, as well as the latest deals for the cycling sunglasses worn by the pros, then view our best cycling sunglasses page.
To view the full list of the sunglasses brand sponsors for each team, view the WorldTour Gear 2021 page.
Why do pro cyclists wear sunglasses? Why do cyclists wear sunglasses?
Cyclists wear sunglasses to protect their eyes from the harmful UV rays of the Sun, the elements, as well as other hazards such as insects and road debris. Sunglasses are also essential for reducing eye fatigue and eliminating the need to squint by reducing glare. For some cyclists, fashion is just as important as the eye protection.
Do I need special sunglasses for cycling? Do I need cycling specific sunglasses?
It’s best to wear cycling specific sunglasses when you are riding a bike. The advantages of cycling specific sunglasses over standard everyday sunglasses include:
• Larger lens and a narrower frame – typically wraparound with greater lens/eye coverage – For a greater field of view improving vision and awareness, as well as providing greater eye protection from the wind, UV rays, dust, road debris and other hazards.
• Polycarbonate lenses – Which offer better impact resistance than standard plastic or glass tinted lenses.
• Interchangeable lenses – Which allows a rider to switch different lenses into the same frame, to suit the weather and/or lighting conditions. Typically a clear, yellow and tinted lens are included with the purchase of cycling sunglasses.
• Available lens tint/colour options – Manufacturers typically have a large range of available lens tints to suit different weather conditions and a cyclist’s needs.
• Fit – Cycling sunglasses usually have grippy rubber nosepads and temple arms, which allow for a comfortable and secure fit, without side movement or sliding down your nose, even during intense sweat inducing exercise.
• Anti-fog – Cycling specific lenses can have an anti-fog lens coating or have small strategically positioned air holes in the lenses, to help prevent the lens from fogging up in various weather conditions or during intense workouts.
• Hydrophobic lens coating – Some lenses can have a hydrophobic coating which allows water to easily fall off a lens without any build up, which is useful for providing clear vision if you ever ride in wet conditions.
In summary, the benefits of cycling specific sunglasses far outweigh the use of standard everyday sunglasses, normal prescription glasses or no glasses at all.
Why are cycling sunglasses so big? Why do cyclists wear big sunglasses?
There are three main reasons why cycling sunglasses are big.
Larger lenses allow for:
• A wide, uninterrupted field of vision which allows a cyclist to easily see every detail around them
• Greater eye protection against the wind, road debris, insects, dust and UV rays (direct or reflected)
• Greater reduction in eye fatigue due to increased eye protection and the reduction of glare.
What are the advantages of polarized sunglasses?
The advantages of polarized lenses include:
• Substantially reduce glare
• Reduces lens reflections
• Improved clarity
• Better colour contrast
• Good levels of UV protection
• Reduced amount of eye fatigue and strain as a result of the reduced glare, improved clarity, UV protection and excellent colour contrast
• Makes it easier to see beneath the surface of water
What are the disadvantages of polarized sunglasses?
The disadvantages of polarized lenses include:
• LCD screens are very difficult to view because of the horizontal light filtering mechanism
• Can cause you to see ‘grids’ or an ‘oil slick’ like appearance on the road
• Polarized lenses tend to cost more than standard tinted lenses
• Can have durability problems depending on the lens, environment and use
• Can filter out too much light which can make some people feel uncomfortable
Is it worth getting polarized sunglasses?
It is worth getting polarized sunglasses if you struggle with glare and lens reflections. Polarized lenses reduce glare from horizontal light and surfaces such as water, the road and snow. Apart from significantly reducing glare and lens reflections, they can also help to improve clarity, improve colour contrast as well as reduce eye fatigue and strain.
The UV eye protection of polarized lenses is equal to any UV protective lens tint, so the main advantage of polarization is the substantial reduction of glare. It is also important to know the disadvantages of polarized lenses when making your decision, in particular the difficulty with using LCD screens, the occasional ‘visual disturbance’ that you might see on the road as well as a higher price tag. The full list of the advantages and disadvantages of polarized lenses are listed above.
In summary, if you have a little extra money to spend and you suffer from glare, then polarized lenses for cycling are highly recommended.
What are photochromatic (transition) lenses?
Photochromatic or transition lenses (typically used interchangeably) darken when exposed to sunlight/UV light, for example when you are outdoors, due to a chemical reaction that takes place within the lens as a result of the light. When a photochromatic lens is no longer exposed to UV light, for example when you walk indoors, the lenses return and remain in their clear state.
Are photochromatic lenses good for cycling?
Photochromatic lenses are ideal for cycling due to their ability to seamlessly transition from light to dark (and vice-versa) in various lighting conditions, and are especially useful if you are a dedicated cyclist or commuter who rides at dawn or dusk.
Photochromatic lenses offer 100% protection from UVA and UVB rays. They can protect your eyes in overcast conditions and in bright sunlight, whilst allowing the optimal amount of light to pass through the lens for the best clarity based on the conditions. The size of photochromatic lenses are generally similar or slightly smaller compared to standard tint or polarized lenses, which is still more than adequate to cover and protect the eyes from the elements, road debris and other hazards.
The main downside to photochromatic lenses from a cyclist’s point of view, apart from the slightly higher cost and that they don’t darken that well inside vehicles, is that they usually take 30 seconds or longer to transition to a suitable level. This can make riding between short stretches of shadow and intense sunlight even more challenging. The time to transition as well as the degree to which the lens tint can darken, can depend on the age of the lenses as well as the manufacturer.
How do you wear sunglasses when cycling? Where do you put your sunglasses when cycling?
It’s best to correctly put on your helmet first, tightening up the straps and connecting the buckle. You can then position your sunglasses on the outside of your helmet straps. This looks better, helps to hold down the helmet straps and makes it easier to take the sunglasses on and off. The vast majority of professional and non-professional cyclists wear sunglasses this way.
If you occasionally take your sunglasses off whilst riding, you can place them in your back pocket or saddle bag (if they fit), clip them to the back pocket or the open front of your jersey by closing the one of the sunglasses arms, or you can place the arms of your sunglasses in the helmet air vents at the front or rear. Many helmets accommodate the storage of sunglasses in the front vents.
When should I wear clear lenses whilst cycling?
Clear lenses are ideal for cyclists to use in dark lighting conditions, to allow the maximum amount of light to pass through the lens, and to protect your eyes from the elements and debris. Cyclists usually wear clear lenses on very overcast and/or wet days, as well as early morning and night rides.
Why do cyclists wear yellow lenses?
Lighter lens colours such as a yellow, amber, orange, brown, rose or vermillion lens are ideal for cyclists to use in low to moderate lighting conditions, especially at dusk/dawn or in overcast, hazy or foggy conditions, as they make the environment appear brighter. They also enhance contrast and depth perception.
Lighter lens colours such as a yellow, amber, orange, brown, rose or vermillion lens are ideal for cyclists to use in low to moderate lighting conditions, especially at dusk/dawn or in overcast, hazy or foggy conditions. Lighter lens colours make the environment appear brighter, and also enhance contrast and depth perception.
Lighter lens colours such as a yellow, amber, orange, brown, rose or vermillion lens, make the environment appear brighter, enhancing contrast and depth perception. Lighter lens colours are ideal for cyclists to use in low to moderate lighting conditions, especially at dusk/dawn or in overcast, hazy or foggy conditions.
What color lens is best for bright days?
Darker lens colours such as a grey, green or brown lens are ideal for bright sunny conditions and most outdoor activities, as they absorb and block the most amount of light.
Grey: Grey tints block the most amount of light, whilst providing neutral ‘true world’ colour perception. Most people will prefer a grey lens tint over a contrast-enhancing tint.
Green: Green tints also provide true colour perception and have excellent light blocking properties similar to a grey tint, however they enhance contrast slightly more.
Brown: Brown tints enhance contrast more than a grey or green tint, yet they also block significant amounts of light.
A polarized grey, green or brown lens will further reduce glare on bright days. A mirror lens finish is also another great option for reducing the amount of light that passes through the lens which also reduces glare.
Why do my eyes water when riding a bike? How do I stop my eyes from watering when cycling?
Dry eye disease is a common condition in everyday life. Dry eye occurs when your tears aren’t able to provide adequate lubrication for your eyes, either from low production of watery (aqueous) fluid or when the tears evaporate too quickly from a lack or imbalance of oily (lipid) or mucous like (mucin) fluid. People with dry eyes experience either watery eyes, where the eyes can continually run, and/or a dry feeling, where the eyes feel irritated, burning, gritty, sore and/or red.
Riding a bike can cause and exacerbate dry eye as the temperature and wind disrupts the three layers of the tear film, the watery (aqueous) layer, the oily (lipid) layer and the mucous like (mucin) layer. Windy conditions decrease tear volume on the ocular surface due to increased evaporation, resulting in dry eye symptoms. In addition to the wind, the particles in the air such as dust, pollen, exhaust fumes or smoke can also cause ocular irritation.
There are a number of ways to help prevent dry eyes whilst riding. These include:
• Wear large, well fitting wraparound sunglasses to protect your eyes from the wind. Most sunglasses protect your eyes from the wind to some degree however make sure that there is great coverage, with no gaps or areas that the wind can manoeuvre around. This is especially important if you are a contact lens wearer, as the majority of contact lens wearers experience dry eye in everyday conditions.
• Visit your local optometrist, to accurately identify the exact cause of your dry eyes. Many people have dry eyes without realizing, albeit with very mild symptoms which is then exacerbated whilst cycling.
• Discuss the side effects of any medication that you are taking with your doctor. Medication for hypertension, mental health, allergies and hormone regulation can all cause dry eyes.
• Use artificial tear supplements throughout the day and whilst riding. These eye drops are available over the counter at chemists and even at supermarkets. Look for preservative free eye drops as they are the best for your eyes (this is written on the packaging). The bottle and snap-off packaging is very small and can easily be put into your back pocket, just in case they are needed.
• Improve your ‘visual hygiene’ which means monitoring your phone, computer and TV habits. Ensure that you have enough breaks from near work and that you are actively giving your eyes needed rest. We may not realize but we don’t blink as much when we are focused on our everyday technology.
• Stay well hydrated throughout the day and whilst riding
• Eat a healthy diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which includes fish, nuts, seeds and plant based oils. Researchers believe that Omega-3 has anti-inflammatory properties which helps to reduce eyelid and ocular surface inflammation thereby reducing dry eye symptoms.
What are the best photochromatic cycling sunglasses?
The best photochromatic cycling sunglasses to buy (in alphabetical order) in 2022 include:
100%: Hypercraft, S2, S3, Speedcraft, Speedtrap
BBB: Avenger PH, Commander PH, Fullview PH, Fuse PH (BBB – best low to mid-budget category)
Bollé: Chronoshield, Lightshifter, Shifter
Ekoi: Premium 70 and 80, Perso Evo 9 and 10
Endura: FS260-Pro (Endura – equal best budget category)
Koo: Open Cube
Oakley: Radar EV Pitch, EVZero
Roka: CP and GP series, Matador, SL-1X, SR-1X
Rudy Project: Cutline, Keyblade, Tralyx
Salice: Model 016, Model 021, Model 022
Scicon: Aerocomfort, Aerotech, Aerowing
Smith Optics: Shift MAG, Ruckus, Reverb
Tifosi: Aethon, Alliant, Crit, Sledge (Tifosi – equal best budget category)
*The sunglasses model in blue writing indicates the best, most highly rated and recommended photochromatic cycling sunglasses as determined by the experts.
Looking to buy cycling sunglasses? We have made a list of the most highly rated and popular cycling sunglasses that are available to buy, with summarized reviews and the latest deals.