The Cycling Glasses of 2020
Crankboutique covers the essentials of cycling eyewear and our countdown of our favourite pieces into the new decade.
Should You Wear Cycling Glasses
While we get that to non cyclists the glasses can look a bit ridiculous (but we kind of like looking like an 80s neon afterthought) they offer some essential protection and perks over even normal sunnies.
Frame Materials & Types
While style is paramount when looking at frames also consider functionality. A good nose bridge material is essential for all day comfort and it’s also worth looking at features likes grippers on the arms.
In terms of frame types, cycling glasses usually fall into three categories:
See: Oakley Jawbreaker
See: BBB Summit
Frameless are the most uncommon type and also tend to be the most expensive due the engineering requirements of making a pair of glasses usable without the support of a frame. Also goes without saying that they are far more fragile than glasses with frames too.
See: Smith Attack Max
Types of Lenses
The lenses in your cycling glasses perform the key role of keeping dirt and the sun out of your eyes and come in a huge number of colours and materials.
There are also a few specific types of lenses on cycling glasses that are worth being aware of if you’re shopping around.
It’s worth noting that glasses with photochromic lenses are generally more expensive than standard glasses and choice is generally more limited.
Anti-Fogging & Weather
There are also lens cleaning solutions that offer anti-fog properties after application.
Photochromic lenses aren’t for everyone, a lot of time because they’re more expensive or simply because the glasses you have your heart set on simply don’t offer it.
Interchangeable lenses are pretty common and offer a way for different shades of lens to be easily swapped into the frame for different conditions.
If you need prescription lenses for your cycling glasses you’ll be glad to know you’re pretty well covered although the expected premium is there with the majority of offerings coming from the higher end brands such as Adidas and Oakley, although you can find some cheaper options from brands such as the Rudy Project and Tifosi.
Bike Glasses Fit
Making sure your glasses fit your head is important. Mainly to make sure that you’re comfortable and that your shiny new investments stays on your heads and doesn’t go flying into traffic.
Shopping online is generally going to get you the best deal, but where possible, we always recommend that your visit a shop to try some for fit first – not all manufacturers advertise the sizing of their glasses . Those fancy Smith glasses might look amazing, but if you have a bean pole head you should probably get something else.
There are a lot of folk with narrower or smaller heads and don’t despair – there are definitely frames for you. We’ve found Tifosi & BBB to be our best friends but always best to read around when you shop.
Those riders with wider faces tend to have an easier time than those with narrow, having said that riding with a pair of glasses that feels likes they’re trying their best to crush your head aren’t great. 100%, Oakley & Smith tend to be better for big heads.
Many glasses will come with some degree of adjustability on the nose bridge, with many opting to have a flexible attachment to the frame behind the lens. There are as many shapes of nose so there are glasses though and some just won’t work for you.
Our Favourite Bike Glasses of 2020
Best Glasses to Look Like Sagan
100% make cycling glasses that are about as subtle as a slap to the face – they’re outrageous and we love them. The S3 is the newest iteration on the S2 feature a more angular design and new vents, while still featuring the quality of life innovations that made them so popular in the first place. Apparently there’s this Slovakian guy that wears them too.
Best Glasses for a Budget
dhb Triple Lens
Wiggle’s in house brand dhb get unfairly looked down on by many. While the brand may not have the cachet other many others they make great performing (and consistently well reviewed) products at a good price – especially for those of us that can’t justify three figures on a pair of glasses. The triple lens comes with three interchangeable lenses and a tough polycarbonate frame designed for a wide range of faces.
Best Glasses for Narrow Heads
If you’ve got a narrower head, then you could go worse than BBB’s Summit glasses. They come in a wide range of colours and lens finishes and the purchase will come with three sets of lenses unless you plump for the photochromic version. We love the aggressive styling, the quality of the lenses and the comfort. Plus the pricing is in a real sweet spot.
Best Photochromic Glasses
There are lots of brands that make photochromic glasses, but our favourite lenses are on the Endura Char. The lenses have excellent clarity on road detail and are very responsive to changing light conditions as well as coming with decent anti fog protection. Generally available for a good price too.
Best Glasses Off the Bike
Sometimes you want something more casual for your Sunday ride, in which case the Swank fits the bill. While more of a set of “sport” glasses than cycling they do feature sweatproof features so they don’t slide around like a pair of regular glasses do a good job of avoiding glare – you can also get them in polarized versions. Plus they just look great.
Best Glasses for 80s Action
Smith Attack Max
If you’ve always fancied looking like an 80s action villain, then the Attack Max is for you. Joking aside, the glasses have amazing visibility due to the frameless design, and as you’d expect from Smith the lenses and frame finish are very high quality. They also have an ingenious magnet system on the lens and arms so it’s super easy to change lenses for different conditions.
Best Glasses for 2020
They’re still expensive, and they’re still the best. While Oakley are possibly the worst when it comes to marketing jargon, the Jawbreakers are super tough and super comfortable. We’d recommend spending the money and going for the Prizm lenses too – the clarity it provides for road features when you’re out in the sunshine are unbeatable.
How Can I Get Glasses That Fit?
You need to go and try them on – we can’t stress this enough. There are some online tools that try to help with measurements, but they never give a good enough approximation.
How Can I Get the Best Deal?
Shopping around online is still your best bet for getting the best price. While we all hate spam email, it is worth signing up for a few of the big retailers as you’ll often get some amazing sales popping up.
What are the best Cycling Glasses?
We’ve picked out a few of our favourites below, but like most things in cycling it’s completely subjective. There are a few features like glare reduction and comfort that you should always be looking for though.
What Glasses Do the Pros Wear?
While they have some great stuff, the pros are restricted to whoever their sponsors are, so there’s a huge range of glasses worn. If you like something you’ve seen check on Instagram or the official team sites.