What should I look for in cycling sunglasses?

You might ask yourself, how do I choose the right cycling sunglasses for me? The key considerations, qualities and features to look for when buying a pair of cycling sunglasses include:

Fit and Comfort

The frames should sit well and evenly balanced on your face, fit snuggly on your nose and ears, and should not pinch, rub, move or be too tight. The weight of the sunglasses should be evenly distributed across the face and the lenses should not touch your eyelashes. Most cycling sunglasses have adjustable rubber nose pieces that can fit to the shape of your nose or include an extra interchangeable nosepiece to ensure that the frames don’t sit up to high or slide down your nose. Regardless of the style and the latest fashion trends, the sunglasses must fit well and be comfortable.

Lens Quality and Materials

The most important part of sunglasses is the lens. A good quality polycarbonate lens that meets all the requirements, is durable, has an appropriate tint level for your needs and blocks out all UV light is definitely recommended.

Lens Colour, Tint Level and Lens Type

Choose your preferred and appropriate lens colour, tint level and/or type (such as a polarized or a photochromatic lens) for the conditions that you ride in. Please see The Cycling Sunglasses Gear Guide or sections of the Cycling Sunglasses FAQ page for in-depth information on lens tint colours, tint levels and lens types, and their ideal uses.

Lens Coverage

The lens should cover most of your field of view at the very least. Make sure that it is difficult to look below, above or out the sides of the lens. The smaller the lens coverage, the more susceptible your eyes will be to wind, glare, UV damage, road debris, insects and other hazards. One piece lenses usually provide the best coverage.

Anti-Fog Coating and Anti-Fog Ventilation

An anti-fog coating or lenses with small strategically positioned air holes can help to prevent the lens from fogging up in various weather conditions or during intense workouts.

Hydrophobic Coating

A hydrophobic coating is a thin lens surface layer that repels water. The coating allows water droplets to simply ‘slide off’ the lens without buildup or impending your vision. This is very useful when riding in the rain.

Frame Materials and Durability

Durable frames made from high quality materials which are finished well, don’t scratch or damage easily, and have sturdy frame arms or spring hinges, in conjunction with a more hardy scratch-resistant lens is recommended.

Interchangeable Lenses

The lens tint will dictate what conditions you can wear them in. Some more expensive sunglasses manufacturers have lenses which are suitable to use in a range of lighting conditions, such as the Oakley Prizm lens. However, there are many other sunglasses options (usually at a lower price) which include multiple interchangeable lenses. Most of the best and recommended sunglasses come with multiple interchangeable lens, which generally include: a clear lens for dark lighting conditions, a yellow lens for low light conditions as well as a tinted lens to use on bright sunny conditions. When selecting sunglasses, it’s always best to see if they come with extra interchangeable lenses just in case the weather conditions aren’t right for a particular lens tint. It can also help to determine whether the sunglasses are good value for money.


There are basically three different frame design styles: full-frame, semi-rimless and rimless. All three offer similar function so it depends on which style you prefer. For example, some people may find that full-frame sunglasses can cause the upper or lower part of the frame to be in their eyeline, or some people with a narrow and vertically longer head shape may find that a semi-rimless frame leaves a large gap underneath for wind and debris to affect the eyes. Regardless, the design style you decide to go for ultimately depends on what suits your head shape, personal preferences as well as the fit.

Helmet Compatibility

You must ensure that the sunglasses frame fits and works well with your helmet. Some helmet brands have included features such as port docks or have altered the helmet moulding around the sides, which increases compatibility with different frame shapes and sizes.


A frame that is sturdy, well balanced and light but not so light that it comes at a cost to durability or fit, i.e. that can easily fall off your face or easily moves on an angle, is recommended.

Prescription Sunglasses or Contact Lenses

If you wear prescription glasses, then you will most likely want to look at getting prescription sunglasses for cycling as well. Some of the best brands who make cycling sunglasses such as Oakley, Bollé, Rudy Project, Ekoi and Roka offer prescription sunglasses online or via an optical store. However prescription sunglasses are usually much more expensive. The alternative is to wear contact lenses and put standard non-prescription sunglasses over the top.

Other Inclusions

A hardshell case is useful for protecting your sunglasses during travel. A soft microfibre case is usually handy for compact storage as an alternative to a bulky hardshell case, especially if you want to protect your lenses from being scratched whilst they are left in confined spaces. Some microfibre storage cases can also double as a cleaning cloth. You should expect to receive a soft microfibre cloth to help keep your lenses clean with almost any sunglasses purchase. Sometimes a cleaning kit with spray is included as well.

Other Considerations

For the fashion and colour conscious, some brands offer a choice of interchangeable arm grippers, nosepads, frames and lens options in a huge variety of different colours, so that you can mix and match the colour of your sunglasses to suit your mood and/or what you are wearing.

Looking to buy sunglasses for cycling? We have compiled a list of the most popular and highly rated cycling sunglasses that are available to buy.

To learn more about cycling sunglasses, check out the Cycling Sunglasses Gear Guide.