There’s nothing like slipping on a fresh pair of sunglasses at the start of the summer. While a good pair of shades is fine for the pool, they’re crucial for trail rides where we need to protect our eyes not just the sun but also dust, wind, and tree branches. Oh, and being able to see trail obstacles clearly is nice too.
We tested about a dozen different pairs of cycling glasses this summer to see which ones fit our faces and riding styles the best.
Holy cow, the 100% Norviks. These glasses make a statement, even in the box. I received the Norviks in Translucent Lavender, which isn’t for everyone. I wouldn’t say it is my preferred color but for those who want something different from the common earthtone/black/tortoise than these should fit the bill.
The Norviks are quite large and have interchangeable lenses which also repel water and dirt, and they have a rubber nose and temples, although those are not adjustable. The Norviks are louder-looking than I’d opt for but I must say I enjoyed the fit and feel on rides. The lenses tone down glare and help with contrast. For those who want something more subdued the glasses are available in quieter colors.
- Price: Starting at $165.
- Available from 100%.
The Natty Ice Lime (right) and Royal Blitz (left) sunglasses from Blenders Eyewear both utilize the same “M Class X2” design but clearly offer different personalities. These aren’t bike-specific or performance-oriented glasses, weighing 30g and offering little-to-no wraparound. The temples and arms aren’t adjustable, and there’s no rubberized anything anywhere. Still, I’ve found they do just fine protecting from rays and slappy branches on the trail, and fit in just fine with my bike helmet.
I had a hard time choosing between the Natty Ice Lime and Royal Blitz glasses, so I ordered both. Each is available with polarized lenses for maximum ray blocking abilities, while the Royal Blitz adds a unique twist by fading from purple to yellow top to bottom. The effect is noticeable inside the glasses as well with the purple working to enhance contrast and the yellow to diffuse blue light on hazy morning starts. If I had to choose a personal favorite between the two styles, I would go with the Natty Ice Limes.
- Price: $49.
- Available from Blenders.
Dragon Ridge X LL sunglasses
The Dragon Ridge X LL sunglasses offer extra coverage for a wide-angle view of the trail and the interchangeable, dual-lens system means we’re prepared for pretty much any trail in any conditions. The frames are made from castor bean oil which means they’re plant-based and petroleum-free which is said to be environmentally friendly. With the extra lens real estate, my test pair weighs 37g. Adjustable temples, along with a rubber-like coating on the ends of the arms, make for a slip-free fit.
- Price: $245. Lumalens Orange Ion lens pictured.
- Available from Dragon Alliance.
Glade Roost Sunglasses
The Glade Roost are a light and simple uni-lens pair of sunglasses with a wide field of vision that works great for mountain biking. Glade is based out of Breckenridge, Colorado. The Roosts have a polarized, scratch resistant lens, a rubberized nose, and are made from a lightweight Grilamid material. These don’t have quite the premium feel as the 100% Norviks or some other glasses, but they do feel light and comfortable.
The pair I received has a photochromic lens that adjusts from light to dark or vice versa based on the amount of sun in the sky. They’re a good pair of shades for those who want a single lens with good visibility for all styles of riding.
- Price: $109
- Available from Glade.
Glade Townie Sunglasses
The Glade Townies are glasses for people who don’t like mountain bike glasses. They have a classic square wayfarer shape with rubber under the nose and at the end of the temples. The Townies come in five different colors, have polarized lenses, a partially bio-based Grilamid frame, and they do a great job at reducing bright glare.
- Price: $99
- Available from Glade.
Ombraz Teton Armless Sunglasses
Like the OG Ombraz, the new Ombraz Teton sunglasses are armless. Instead of arms, the wraparound nylon cord is adjustable to fit (and stay on!) more heads – yes, even small ones. The squarish lenses on the Tetons are scratch-resistant and available in grey, brown, and yellow. The grey lenses tested provide a good amount of shade, and with the armless design, these darker lenses are better suited for being out on a sunny day when you want to keep your glasses on for long periods of time. The incredibly light aerospace-grade nylon frames (23.9g in total) come in classy tortoise and charcoal styles.
The armless Ombraz Tetons and the more circular Viales aren’t your average sports sunglasses, and they do have a very chic, Euro vibe that’s perfect for all kinds of summer adventures. And with any pair of Ombraz sunglasses purchased, the company plants 20 mangrove trees.
- Price: $135 (non-polarized) – $150 (polarized)
- Available from Ombraz.
Rudy Project Spinshield
I took the Rudy Project Spinshield out for a few rides myself and decided they’re just a tad too big for my noggin. To aid in “my” review of these sunglasses, I had my 10-year-old son, who has a much larger head/face, wear them and report back. Here are his thoughts (slightly edited) on the style, fit, and performance of the Rudy Project Spinshield Sunglasses.
“The style seems pretty modern (clearly he was born in 2011). I love the larger size and hot pink color. The Spinshield provides a lot of face coverage and the lens delivers unobstructed, crystal clear vision while keeping dust and debris out of my eyeballs. They’re easy to clean and look cool, which makes people compliment me on the trails. The nose bridge is big enough to fit wide(r) noses and the rubber bridge material seems to get stickier when wet, so the glasses to stay put even on the bumpiest of rides. The arms are thin, lightweight, and fit under all helmets comfortably. It would be nice if the arms had the ability to bend a bit and mold more precisely around a particular head shape, but that’s not the end of the world. Overall, I really like the Spinshield sunglasses, my friends are jealous because I look so good on the trails.”
Pink FLUO with multilaser orange lenses, pictured right. Black Matte with Impactx Photochromatic 2 black lenses, pictured left.
- Price: $108.74-146.24.
- Available from Rudy Project.
Scott Pro Shield Sunglasses
The Scott Pro Shield sunglasses are geared toward medium/large faces and are meant to provide maximal field of vision through extra large lenses. The Pro Shield is lightweight (36g) and the frame is made from 45% bio-based polymers sourced from castor beans. You read that right; beans. On top of attempting to minimize their carbon footprint, Scott has also applied a fair amount of technology including: interchangeable lenses, no-slip nose and temple pieces, impact protection, optimized helmet integration, 100% UVA/UVB protection, and ACS (Air Control System) ventilation.
The silicon nose piece is said to be no-slip, but I found it did slip down my nose when bombing down chatter and when sweating heavily. Fortunately, the rubberized temple pieces hold nicely in place underneath my helmet adjusters. One feature I really like is the ACS (Air Control System) which refers to the almost unnoticeable cutaway vents on the top left and right of the brow.
Overall the Scott Pro Shield sunglasses are comfortable on their own, and with most helmets. I tried these on with all of my helmets (six to be exact) and I can confidently say they fit nicely with most of them. Though the rubber nose piece isn’t as grippy as I’d prefer; the style, weight, and lens quality is top notch.
- Price: $109.99. Pictured: mineral blue / green chrome.
- Available from Amazon.
Smith Bobcat Sunglasses
That “so enduro” look doesn’t always work for smaller faces, and the Smith Bobcat is the smaller fun-duro version of the popular, goggle-like, enduro-sized Wildcat glasses. Now we can be in the cool kids club without glasses slipping off the ends of our noses! Seriously though, the Chromapop optics make everything clear and vibrant. There are also some new classy colors (navy, merlot, gold) to coordinate with their helmets.
- Price: $209 – $229
- Available: Smith Optics.
The Tifosi Sizzle sunglasses are marketed as sport-lifestyle shades which seems like a pretty smart combo. I can certainly appreciate the benefits of performance eyewear on the trail but if I’m honest, style is just as important, especially since I tend to wear the same shades wherever I go.
Starting at the nose, rubberized pads minimize slippage. Folks with long hair will likely be stoked there isn’t anything sticky or grippy on the arms, and while the one-piece lens appears to offer uninterrupted views across the middle, there’s actually a solid bridge at the top of the nose. (Not that you can see through your nose anyway.) These shades weigh just 24g and I’ve found them to be comfortable enough to wear all day.
- Price: $34.95
- Available from Tifosi.
Tifosi says the Crits are designed for “endurance sports” and by that I take it to mean they’re meant for XC riders — or road/gravel riders. They feature an adjustable rubber nose piece and temples for a custom feel. The Crits have a photochromic red lens too that adjusts to the amount of light, which makes them a great option for nearly any conditions.
The Crits have a snug fit and a secure feel with the adjustable rubber temples and nose piece, though, these “shooter” or safety-style glasses may only appeal to certain crowds, the same way the 100% Norviks will likely appeal to a different crowd. At $80 however, the Crits are a well-priced option with great fit, venting, and photochromic lenses
- Price: $79.95.
- Available from Tifosi.