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BUYER'S GUIDE

Best cycling sunglasses 2024 — protect your eyes from the sun, bugs and more with some cycling-specific shades

While normal sports glasses might suffice, cycling-specific sunglasses will have all the features you need to protect your eye protect your eyes from the elements. Here are our top picks

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Cycling sunglasses can make you look cool, but also see very well. The best cycling sunglasses protect your eyes from bright sunlight and harmful UV rays and also offer protection from the wind, rain, dust, grit and bugs that can impair your vision. Whether you're a roadie, gravel rider or mountain biker, cycling glasses are something that you will want to wear for the same reasons. Here, we've rounded up the best cycling sunglasses you can buy.


Can't you just use your normal sunnies when cycling? Absolutely, you can! But they will not be as good at keeping the unwanted elements and little creatures out of your eyes as dedicated cycling glasses are. 

When cycling, you might not always want to have only the sun away from your eyes, but in the darker and wetter winter months you want to keep the grit, salt and rain off too. That's when photochromic lenses, which adjust to the lighting conditions, are a great option. Or alternatively (and usually for a lot cheaper) you can choose a clear lens. 

> How should you dress for winter cycling? Here are our best tips for layering up

The best cycling sunglasses can often take several lenses, meaning you can change the lens that suits the riding conditions the best without needing multiple frames. 

If you're still wondering why you should get a pair of cycling glasses, we've also rounded up some of the most common questions further down in this article and answered them for you, so scroll down if you want some more info before making your decision. 

The following pairs have impressed us with their clear optics, light weight and sometimes very bold designs, plus great value. There should be a great pair of cycling sunglasses for everyone... although if your budget is tight and you want to browse a wider selection of affordable shades, you might want to check out our guide to the best cheap cycling sunglasses too.

Right then, let's dive into the best cycling sunglasses we've tested and rated highly!

Our top picks for the best cycling glasses

Magicshine Windbreaker

Magicshine Windbreaker Classic Sunglasses

9
Best for quality on budget
Buy now for £44.99 from
Comfortable
Adjustable nose-pad
Good optical clarity
Rugged semi-hard case
Very light
Nose-piece is just about visible in wear

The Magicshine Windbreaker Classic Sunglasses are nicely shaped, comfortable, ultra-light and offer good levels of protection. They make excellent cycling-specific sunnies at a great price. 

The price is not the only low thing about these specs, as they also weigh very little - 30g on the road.cc Scales of Truth (1g more than claimed). The Classic model we tested comes with a wraparound style polycarbonate lens, has a mirrored Revo coating on the outside for reduced glare, enhanced contrast and clarity, and an OAR coating on the inside to reduce reflected glare.

Galibier Regale Ultra Optics

Galibier Regale Ultra Optics

9
Best for versatility
Buy now for £39 from Galibier
Great value for money
Loads of coverage
Great clarity
Comfortable fit
Not helmet dockable

You might think, what versatility? These shades are only suitable for sunny days! That might be true, but the Galibier Regale Ultra Optics glasses come with an impressive five lens options, so no matter what the conditions, you're covered. 

They're very reasonably priced, provide a crystal clear view and a completely uninterrupted field of vision. The fit is also great, and they're comfortable too thanks to the minimal pressure from the arms. There's very little to dislike, which is why these shades also bagged a road.cc Recommends award. 

Alba Optics Delta BLK VZUM Lava glasses

Alba Optics Delta BLK VZUM Lava glasses

9
Best for secure fit
Buy now for £145 from END.
Lightweight
Changeable lens
Retro styling
Secure frame
Narrow arms won't suit all
No hard case

Alba Optics Delta glasses feature a unique "hook" frame design that delivers a very secure fit, whatever terrain you charge through. The lens has impressive clarity, and even though the price is just below that of some premium designers, you are getting the premium experience.

The nylon/carbon fibre frame is lightweight, and combined with the VZUM Lava lens fitted to the pair on test, the specs weigh 30g. The lens is designed to enhance visibility on cold tones in bright conditions – there are seven other options too - including a photochromatic lens. All of them protect against potentially damaging UV rays, with UV400 protection.

 

Panda Optics Conquer sunglasses

Panda Optics Conquer sunglasses

9
Best big lens glasses
Buy now for £79 from Panda Optics
Comfortable fit
Good coverage
Cool looks
Decent price

If big shades are your thing,  the Panda Optics Conquer Sunglasses might be just the right fit for you. They feature a fashionably large-lens option offering good performance and cool looks but without the 'pro' price.

The Conquer sunglasses are snowsport expert Panda Optics' first foray into sports sunglasses, and despite the multisport intentions, they work very well for cycling. The sturdy yet lightweight frame (available in three colours) comes in a hard case with three lenses: mirrored (9.73% light transmission), amber (27.18%) and clear (89.87% transmission). You also get a microfibre cleaning cloth and a drawstring microfibre bag.

They are also great value, but the 40g weight is more than on sleeker framed specs. 

 

best cheap sunglasses

Madison Stealth glasses

9
Best frameless design
Buy now for £19.99 from Freewheel
Clear vision
Comfortable
Secure
Great price
Slightly visible edge to the lens

Madison's Stealth glasses are brilliant riding shades at an exceptional price. The frameless design gives an almost uninterrupted field of view, while the bronze mirror lens is lovely to look through on overcast to bright days.

In our testing we found they remained comfortable even on long rides and the bronze mirror lens was lovely to use (blue or silver mirror options are available too). The vision was good in lightly overcast and bright conditions with the (many) road imperfections easy to pick out from a good distance. 

For those of us with a prescription, you'd be pleased to know that this pair can be fitted with Madison's £4.99 RX insert to add in prescription lenses.

 

Magicshine Windbreaker Polarized Sunglasses

Magicshine Windbreaker Polarized Sunglasses

8
Best lightweight polarised glasses
Buy now for £74.99 from Amazon UK
Excellent lens clarity
Nice, lightweight design
Good looks
Comes with hardshell case
Some issues with steaming
Lack of colour options

The Magicshine Windbreaker Polarized Sunglasses come from a company much better known for its well-priced bike lights – but its sunnies have scored well in our reviews (there is another pair on this list here, too). These polarised specs have a low weight and good, frameless build quality - at a very competitive price.

Keeping in fashion with modern cycling glasses, the Magicshine Windbreaker Polarized Sunglasses have a large lens, which aids in excellent visibility and gives it a distinctive style.

Oakley Kato sunglasses

Oakley Kato sunglasses

8
Best for excellent optics
Buy now for £245 from Oakley
Lens shape gives great shielding
Excellent optics
Brilliant fit
The looks won't appeal to all
Super expensive

Oakley is a name that has dominated the cycling glasses market for a long while and for a reason. Oakley lenses have become known for their excellent optics, offering you a crystal-clear vision in a variety of conditions. The recent Oakley Kato sunglasses feature a little different design that may not be for shy and retiring types, but the style aside, in our testing Jamie said these glasses tick all the boxes.

If the design - a bird-like beak protruding out over the nose - doesn't bother you, and you can justify the hefty price tag, these specs are not going to disappoint you. 

Alba Optics Solo RST VZUM MR ALU

Alba Optics Solo RST VZUM MR ALU

8
Best for distinct style
Buy now for £164.77 from Alba Optics
Comfortable
Adjustable arms
High quality optics
Excellent ventilation
Expensive
Nose piece is non-adjustable

The Alba Optics Solo RST VZUM MR ALU Glasses are well-made and comfortable for long rides, and offer high-quality optics and excellent coverage. They're on the expensive side, but you do also get quite a distinct style with these specs. 

The tan brown, rather bold frame, is your only option if you want the MR ALU lenses, though the Solos are also available in black, white and sand (grey) frames with other lenses. The shape is quite unusual too, kind of a hybrid of classic aviator sunglasses and modern big-lens cycling shades. These glasses also feature removable side shades, which for cycling glasses is quite unusual, but something we're seeing in glaciers and mountaineering glasses. 

Rapha Explore Sunglasses

Rapha Explore Sunglasses

8
Best for combined style and function
Buy now for £150 from Rapha
Impressive lens with excellent clarity
Good looking
Come with lots of accessories
No instructions on how to swap lenses

The Rapha Explore Sunglasses offer impressive clarity in a range of conditions, don't fog up easily, and come with a strap and clear lens. These lenses are one of the cycling apparel brands ever-expanding ventures into the gravel market, hence the "Explore" in the name. These Explore glasses actually sit at the top of the pyramid in terms of the company's eyewear offerings, above its Pro Team models.

The glasses come in three colour variations: Brown Havana/Bronze Lens, Brown/Black Mirror Lens, and Dark Navy/Purple Green Lens, plus a clear lens with each. The Dark Navy version on test got a great score for looks, with a slight gradient and slight transparency in areas across the frame to give them an interesting aesthetic.

100% Eastcraft glasses

100% Eastcraft glasses

8
Best for durability
Clear lenses included
It's hard to smudge or smear the lens
Flexible but durable
Expensive
Pretty large for casual wear
Long arms may not suit

The 100% Eastcraft glasses aim to blur the lines between casual and cycling glasses. In our test, they performed brilliantly on the bike, offering an excellent field of vision, great clarity and good protection from the (removable) side shields. You get both the tinted mirror lens and some clear lenses, and both are high quality – off the bike they're quite large, but still more subtle than some super-size offerings.

Size-wise, these glasses sit in the middle: they're not too big for casual wear, but not the smallest on the bike. 

Rudy Project Deltabeat Light Grey Impactx Photochromic 2 Black

Rudy Project Deltabeat Light Grey Impactx Photochromic 2 Black

Rudy Project Deltabeat Light Grey Impactx Photochromic 2 Black

8
Best for eco-conscious
Buy now for £111 from Merlin Cycles
Easily adjustable nosepiece
Excellent optics
Eco frame material
Robust
Pressure point behind the ears
Not full coverage

The Rudy Project Deltabeats may not compete with the unobstructed viewing experience large frameless sunnies provide, but the top-quality photochromic lenses adjust to changing light conditions effectively, as well as providing protection from wind and flicked-up dirt. The sturdy feeling frame uses a bio-based polyamide, reducing the Deltabeats' carbon footprint as well as delivering good ergonomics.

The Deltabeat sunnies have a wraparound frame made from Rilsan Clear, which is a bio-based polyamide produced from castor bean oil grown in the Gujarat region of India, and then developed by Arkema. 

A photochromic lens helps to deal with varying light conditions – which are typical for most UK riding.

SunGod Airas BF with Iris Photochromic lens

SunGod Airas BF with Iris Photochromic lens

8
Best photochromatic cycling glasses
Buy now for £200 from SunGod
Customisation options
Great optical clarity
Wonderful fit
Excellent adaptable lens for sunny to overcast conditions
Expensive
Don't fully protect from gusts

The SunGod Airas BF Sunglasses with Iris Photochromic lens are impressive, offer excellent clarity from a large lens and plenty of customisation to suit your style. Although they have a high price for the photochromic spec, it doesn't feel quite so painful if you bear in mind you're essentially getting two lenses in one, as it quickly adjusts to the light conditions as you're riding along.

The Iris lens doesn't have the largest range – it isn't suitable for a pitch-black commute – but it works really well for road rides with bright sunshine that flip to overcast conditions. 

SunGod Classics3 8KO Polarised sunglasses

SunGod Classics3 8KO Polarised sunglasses

8
Best multi-use sunglasses
Buy now for £70 from SunGod
Excellent clarity
Super sturdy frame
Customisable
Not adjustable
Expensive

The SunGod Classics3 Sunglasses are excellent multi-use sunnies that are very handy for transitioning from the bike to other activities throughout your day. They're incredibly well made, stay put while riding casually, and are pretty much bombproof. With the top-end 8KO polarised lenses, though, they're quite expensive.

The Classics3 are basically a blend between the square styling of SunGod's Renegades and the round Sierras. The simplistic design looks great, and you can choose the frame colour and icon to suit, as well as lens tint. These vary from 11%-14% Visible Light Transmission (VLT), and all come with 100% UV protection. 

Koo Demos Sunglasses with Red Mirror Lenses

Koo Demos Sunglasses with Red Mirror Lenses

8
Best for big lens style
Buy now for £170 from Wiggle
Clear, distortion-free lens
Polycarbonate is tough, and impact resistant
Nice amount of airflow through the glasses
Some nice fit adjustment makes them comfortable
Minor reflections cause distractions

It's a fact that some cycling glasses just look slightly out of place when you're not wearing a helmet - or aren't surrounded by other cyclists. These Koo's, with their large mirrored lens, is one of those pairs. When paired with a helmet, though, it really completes the aesthetic and balances out their bulk, and I think they look the business. And they have the performance to match.

The Koo Demos sport a polycarbonate lens, rather than the inferior CR39 plastic found in purely 'fashion' glasses, which is deeply reassuring. In our testing, they effectively shrugged off the grit and any wayward small stone that hit them, though they were not tested by anything larger or moving perilously fast. 

The big lens means some trade-offs and one of them is reflected light. There was a noticeable amount of reflected light on the inside lower section of the lens, which is almost unavoidable with designs such as these, and the Demos are coated on the inside to minimise this.

Best cycling sunglasses: how to choose and what you need to know

faq-icon
What should I look for when buying cycling sunglasses?

When you scroll through the best-scoring cycling sunglasses we've listed above, you might notice there is really a wide range of options to choose from. A big part of choosing a pair is the style and personal preference, but there are a few key points that can help you choose the best cycling glasses for you...

Fit

Fit is the key aspect to get right with a new pair of cycling sunglasses. The cycling sunglasses need to be comfortable with no pinch points or excessive tightness, and they need to sit close to your face and not obscure your vision. Some manufacturers offer sunglasses in a narrow design or a women-specific fit, but the vast majority of cycling sunglasses are unisex with a one-size-fits-all design. For that reason, it's always a good idea to try some on before you buy and choose the glasses with the best fit. Our heads are all unique and hence one size and shape doesn't fit all! 

Fit can sometimes be adjusted to preference. Some cycling sunglasses have adjustable arms and nosepieces that can tailor the fit, and some have interchangeable rubber parts that can customise the fit even further. You want the sunglasses to be stable so they don’t bounce around or slip forward. The rubber contact points will help the glasses stay put when you sweat a lot. Generally, a sign of good fit is that you forget you're wearing them when you're cycling.

Arms can be flexible or rigid, Most are covered with a rubber material to grip your head and stop them moving about. When you're trying on a pair of glasses, it's worth doing so with your helmet on, as some glasses can foul the straps and retention systems of some helmets. The nose piece can either be fixed or adjustable, some glasses come with several differently sized rubber nosepieces so you can get the fit just right.

Lenses

Cycling glass lenses come in a huge range of tints and colours from dark black to protect your eyes in bright sunlight, to yellow for boosting contrast in poor light. Clear lenses are good for riding at night. There's now so much choice that it can be a little bewildering to pick the right lenses for particular conditions.

You need to choose a lens that matches your riding requirements. Many cycling sunglasses have a fixed lens, so you're stuck with whatever lens comes with the sunglasses. Cycling sunglasses with interchangeable lenses are common these days, and very popular, for good reason. Choose a pair of glasses with several sets of lenses and you will be prepared for most typical cycling conditions.

Some manufacturers make photochromic lenses that get lighter or darker according to the conditions, but the range they offer is more limited at present than specific lenses but can be a useful and appealing alternative if you don't want to have to worry about changing lenses.

Some lenses are vented or have an anti-fogging coating to help reduce fogging when you sweat. Some manufacturers apply a hydrophobic coating to help rain run off the glasses. You also want to make sure the lens has UVA and UVB protection. Some cycling sunglasses offer a prescription option, either with the sunglasses lenses made to your prescription or with clip-in lenses behind.

Price

The price you can expect to pay for cycling sunglasses varies hugely. What does paying more money get you? The biggest difference is in the lens. The best cycling sunglasses boast very high-quality optics that provide exceptional clarity, and you often have a wider range of tints to choose from.

The extra money often gets you a lighter weight frame and often more fit adjustment. You can expect extras like spare lenses to suit different conditions, hard-shell cases to store them in as well as soft fabric bags cleaning the lenses and storing the glasses when they're not in use.

Let’s not forget that as well as performance, cycling sunglasses are also a fashion item, and looks are an important consideration for many. Cycling sunglasses are available in a massive range of designs and colours and there's something for all tastes and styles. But we'll leave that bit to you.

faq-icon
Are cycling sunglasses worth it?

You might wonder if it's worth getting cycling sunglasses. We would recommend getting a cycling or at least outdoor sports-specific pair. The best cycling sunglasses are designed to protect your eyes from UV rays, bugs, wind, and debris. The lens design means the glasses won't fog up quite as quickly as your regular sunglasses, and the wraparound design of many cycling glasses feature helps to keep the wind at bay. 
 

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Are polarised lenses good for cycling?

Cycling sunglasses don't always come with polarised lenses. They are primarily designed to reduce glare and provide more clarity and contrast when you’re wearing them; so in essence, they're very good at reducing unwanted glare from surfaces. Why are they not necessarily the best for cycling, then? 

If you've ever worn polarised lenses, you might have noticed how they reveal the 'grid' on a car window, formed through the tempering process. The effect can make the window appear distorted or difficult to see through, and a similar thing might happen with computer screens, which can be impossible to see from certain angles. 

Here, trying before you buy is good advice. There are polarised cycling glasses out there and for some, they might work. Screens on cycling computers have got better to accommodate this, too. 

faq-icon
Why are cycling sunglasses so expensive?

Not all cycling sunglasses are expensive, and the market is ever more varied when it comes to price. You can pick up cycling-specific sunglasses from as little as £20 with some of the features you'd find on options that cost well over £100. 

As a rule of thumb, the pricier lenses will have an anti-fog coating, designed to prevent misting on the inside surface and to promote clearing if this does occur. They're often hydrophobic treated too, so that if you're out in the rain your field of vision should remain clearer of water droplets.

Once more we'd highly recommend checking out our round-up of the best cheap cycling sunglasses if your options here are limited!

faq-icon
What are the best lenses for cycling?

As mentioned above, cycling glass lenses come in a huge range of tints and colours, from dark black to protect your eyes in bright sunlight, to yellow for boosting contrast in poor light. Clear lenses are good for riding at night or in the winter. There's now so much choice that it can be a little bewildering to pick the right lenses for particular conditions.

You need to choose a lens that matches your riding requirements. Many cycling sunglasses have a fixed lens, so you're stuck with whatever lens comes with the sunglasses. Cycling sunglasses with interchangeable lenses are common these days, and very popular, for good reason. Choose a pair of glasses with several sets of lenses and you will be prepared for most typical cycling conditions. If you can't choose, then pick photochromic lenses! 

faq-icon
​What if I need prescription cycling sunglasses?

Most top eyewear makers offer prescription sunglasses, so if you need them you can ask your optometrist for them. Alternatively, some cycling sunglasses can take prescription lens inserts, meaning you can slot in little lenses inside the cycling glasses on the days when you need them. 

Suvi joined F-At in 2022, first writing for off-road.cc. She's since joined the tech hub, and contributes to all of the sites covering tech news, features, reviews and women's cycling content. Lover of long-distance cycling, Suvi is easily convinced to join any rides and events that cover over 100km, and ideally, plenty of cake and coffee stops. 

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2 comments

Avatar
grasen | 9 months ago
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Why are there not more companies that make (sexy)usefull sunglasses with bifocal lenses ... like BZ opotics?  Surely there is a market for them.

Avatar
Fluffed replied to grasen | 9 months ago
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Yes, I'd like to see Rudy Project update their Rydon reader frames to seomething a bit more modern at least. As it is I''m using the BBB Impulse readers, and even though they fog easily and aren't quite dark enough for bright days, I find myself reaching for them over other non-bifocal glasses more often than not now.