The glasses worn in the professional peloton have got so big lately that's it hard to ignore them, so we thought it was high time we took a look at exactly what's out there.
Big eyewear is nothing new, of course. Pro cyclists of the late 1980s and 1990s often wore huge, snow goggle-sized specs and it's a trend that has returned periodically ever since. These days glasses offering loads of coverage and protection from everything from UV rays to insects and flying gravel are very much the norm, both in the pro peloton and among amateur riders.
Most WorldTeams have an eyewear sponsor; there's a commercial relationship where a brand is guaranteed exposure at the top level of the sport. This means that all riders in a particular team will generally wear glasses from the same brand – they don't have any choice about that – but they do usually get to choose the model(s) they'd like to wear based on personal preference.
For all the marketing and the fancy names, most cycling eyewear uses essentially the same technology. We're not saying there aren't differences in fit and features, but they're all made or more or less the same stuff.
Click on the various headings to go to the relevant brand's website, and click on the model names within the text to go to an online retailer where you can make a purchase.
Team Dimension Data, CCC Team, Team Ineos, Team Sunweb, Movistar Team, Team Katusha-Alpecin
Oakley partners six of the 18 WorldTeams this year with a huge range of its glasses on display in the professional peloton.
It looks like Team Ineos' Jhonatan Narvaez is using EVZero Strides (£140) here. These are lightweight and there's no frame to obscure vision. The Prizm lens is designed to increase contrast in medium light conditions.
Laughing or grimacing? pic.twitter.com/VqWi3U6t5l
— Geraint Thomas (@GeraintThomas86) May 1, 2019
Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas prefers Racing Jackets, which are a fairly conservative size in today's terms. You get two different sets of lenses here (one for bright light and one for low light) and swapping between them is quick and simple.
And four-time winner Chris Froome goes with Flight Jackets which are open-edged at the top to maximise the field of vision up there.
We reviewed these last year and said, "The superb visual clarity and unobstructed field of view, ventilation and anti-fogging performance of Oakley's brand new Flight Jackets will suit those whose eyewear tends to steam up on long, hot climbs. If you don't suffer from fogging there are other benefits to these new shades, but the usual high price tag is tricky to go past."
— Mark Cavendish (@MarkCavendish) April 28, 2019
Dimension Data's Mark Cavendish is a long-time Oakley wearer who likes to do his best to please the sponsors! These are Jawbreakers with a Prizm lens. Vents at both the top and bottom of the lens are designed to avoid fogging.
— Peter Sagan (@petosagan) January 24, 2019
Bora Hansgrohe is sponsored by 100% eyewear. Peter Sagan has always been a fan of big glasses and it looks like he's giving a run out to the Glendale here. These have adjustable temple tips (or 'arms' to most people) and changeable nose pads so you can customise the fit.
Both the men's and women's Trek-Segafredo teams use glasses from Kask's eyewear brand Koo. The range is still fairly limited with the Open Cube (£174.99) being the go-to model for most riders, including Richie Porte.
When we reviewed them we said, "With astonishingly clear optics and a solid frame that stays where you put it, these are excellent shades."
The frame and lens wrap around the head very effectively to provide a lot of protection from sun and wind.
Riders from Belgium's Deceuninck–Quick-Step wear glasses from Ekoi.
"I escaped unscathed, but had to get my chain back and lost time there. I am disappointed, but there’s still an opportunity to do something in the race, so I remain confident" - said @JamesKnoxx after a crash on stage 3 took him out of the #TDR2019 top 10.https://t.co/O7t8TvL1QI pic.twitter.com/Y0Ap2X5dLW
— Deceuninck-QuickStep (@deceuninck_qst) May 3, 2019
Britain's James Knox is using Perso Evo 9s here with an orange lens and the lower part of the frame detached for improved vision.
You can configure the glasses with various different lenses and parts, with prices starting at £77.77. You can do this via Ekoi's website and see the changes as you go.
Our reviewer Liam didn't find these glasses the most secure ever – that's likely to be a personal thing – but he felt that they offer very good value for money, particularly considering the level of customisation on offer.
Lotto Soudal, Team Bahrain Merida
Italy's Rudy Project has been around the cycling world since the 1980s and is currently partnering Lotto Soudal.
It has been a solid week of racing in @tourofturkeyTUR, where @CalebEwan took two impressive stage victories. #TUR2019
Relive the #TUR2019 with our photo album: https://t.co/5TvDkEZiLE pic.twitter.com/mEcuMojmcd
— Lotto Soudal (@Lotto_Soudal) April 22, 2019
These look like Defenders that Caleb Ewan is wearing here with the bumper removed. The bumper is a soft, thermoplastic elastomer that would sit around the lower edge of the lens. The idea is that it helps prevent injury in the event of a crash, although it also affects vision so some riders prefer to go without.
The nosepiece and temple tips are adjustable and the top of the lens is vented to avoid fogging. The front ends of the temple sections are also vented to allow more air circulation.
@sonnycolbrelli's face says everything.
He was in a very good position with about 800 meters to go and ready for the uphill sprint, but some riders crashed in front of him and he had to stop. Too bad! pic.twitter.com/mCtyTeQVy3
— Team Bahrain Merida (@Bahrain_Merida) May 3, 2019
Bahrain Merida riders generally go for Defenders, too, although in gold, blue and red to match the rest of the kit.
AG2R La Mondiale
The AG2R La Mondiale riders are fans of big glasses, the Bollé model of choice usually being the Shifter. This design was inspired by the Bollé Chrono Shield which was introduced in 1988. The Shifter is by no means a direct copy but it offers about the same level of coverage.
Stu really liked these when he reviewed them here on road.cc, saying that they offer excellent visibility and sharp optics. He also said that the lens wraps further around the side of your face than most glasses with a frame, which means that when glancing over your shoulder or looking left or right you have full visibility.
EF Education First
Sweden's Poc provides both the helmets and glasses for EF Education First. Poc is another brand that provides a massive amount of coverage, the glasses being worn here by Rigoberto Uran being the Aspire EF Ed. These will set you back £190. Other Aspires start at £175.
The Aspire features hydrophilic rubber grips on the nose and temple that are designed to stay grippy even when wet and a lens from Carl Zeiss that enhances contrast and colour definition.
Dani Martinez prefers Do Half Blades (£195) which are smaller with a frameless lower section so there's nothing to interrupt your vision. Although you don't need to wear these with a Poc Octal helmet, they have been designed to integrate.
There are big glasses, and then there are BIG glasses! The Mitchelton-Scott riders mostly use the Scott Sport Shield (£59.99), although you'll see other models being worn too. The design was originally produced in 1989 and now features a red chrome lens.
If you want full 1980s chic, the multi-colour version is for you. It's fair to say that this is a statement piece that won't go unnoticed.
Jumbo-Visma riders use glasses from Shimano's S-Phyre range. The S-Phyre X (left, £139) is a rigid half-rim design with a one-piece lens and a lower rim that you can either fit or detach. The nose pad features different front and back thicknesses and is reversible for fit adjustment. If it still doesn't fit, an XL nose pad is included.
"We were too far back at the crucial moments and we were not represented in the front when it split to bits. Partly due to the excellent work of Jonas, George was able to return to the group with favourites," @SierkJdehaan
— Team Jumbo-Visma cycling (@JumboVismaRoad) April 12, 2019
The S-Phyre R (right £129.99) is a similar shape and size but it's a rimless design so there's very little to interrupt your vision. It's also marginally lighter than the S-Phyre X, although we're talking about 25.9g versus 28.6g, so you're unlikely to notice the difference.
Each is available with a photochromic lens as an option and comes with a spare lens so you can swap according to the light conditions.
Several WorldTeams have no official eyewear sponsor, which is why you'll sometimes see teammates in glasses from different brands, Here, for example, UAE Team Emirates' Tadej Pogacar is in Rudy Project Defenders while Jasper Philipsen is in Oakley EVZero Strides.
Groupama-FDJ doesn't have an eyewear sponsor either, so you'll see a mix of brands being worn here. Oakley and Rudy Project dominate, not surprisingly, but brands like Poc, Ekoi and Roka get a look in while Tobias Ludvigsson wears glasses from Sweden's Bliz. This model looks like the Matrix, priced €69.95. Bliz allows you to choose a frame colour and pair it with a lens of your choice.
Don't think that the lack of a team eyewear sponsor means that a World Tour rider is nipping down to their local bike shop and putting their hand in their pocket. For example, Astana doesn't have an official eyewear partner but Colombian rider Miguel Ángel López has an individual contract with Roka, hence the CP-1s (£225) with a Glacier Mirror lens he's wearing here.
These come in two different sizes and the temples feature titanium core wires that you can bend to adjust the fit.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.