Welcome to Optic Nerve 2022

What Should I Look for In New Cycling Sunglasses?

Cyclist wearing sunglasses

Cycling sunglasses are fast becoming a real fashion item, however they are not just made to make you look cool whilst out on your bike although there are some pretty stylish designs to choose from now.  Their main purpose is to offer protection from sunlight but they will also provide a barrier against the elements as well as any passing debris including grit and insects.  

A good pair of cycling glasses will most likely increase your ride experience and visibility and help prevent headaches and eye injuries.  Cycling shades often have lighter frames than regular glasses, shatterproof lenses and ventilation holes to prevent them from steaming up and often they feature a wrap around design for improved peripheral vision.

So what should you look for in a pair of cycling sunglasses?  Keep reading to find out.


Shape is crucial when choosing new sunglasses.  You need something that offers good coverage to keep the sun, bugs, wind and rain out of your eyes.  One piece lenses are generally bigger and offer the best coverage around the sides as do wrap around styles.

Fixie Pro - ultra-lightweight Performance Unisex Cycling Sunglasses

Fixie Pro


Single and Double Lenses

Probably the most important part of any sunglasses are the lenses and there are a few options here.  You could choose from either single or dual lens sunglasses.  Single lens limits you to just one tint but will provide more coverage and greater peripheral vision.  Dual lenses will provide you with interchangeable lenses so that you can suit the lens to the light and weather conditions in which you will be riding.

Maxxum - Semi-Rimless Adjustable Dual Copper/Smoke Lens Sunglasses

Maxxum Sunglasses

Interchangeable Lenses

Many of our glasses come with three interchangeable lenses and these sunglasses are ideal for those who like to get out whatever the weather.  The interchangeable lenses provide different tints suited to different conditions and you should change them accordingly.  Typically, the brighter the light the darker the lens you will require. 

Desoto - Unisex Triple Lens Interchangable Sports Wrap Sunglasses

Desoto Sunglasses

Lens Colour

The correct lens colour can really impact your ride and overall experience.  Not only will they give your eyes UVA/UVB protection but they can make a difference when it comes to spotting rocks and debris in the road and uneven surfaces in flat light conditions. 

  • Grey, Blue/Purple, Green - most suited to low to bright, sunny conditions.  These colours will help to dim bright sunlight, reduce glare and will not distort true colour perception.
  • Yellow, Brown/Amber - Yellow lenses are more suitable for overcast and low light conditions and will provide improved clarity.  Brown or amber lenses are suitable for variable conditions and will enhance contrast as well as improve depth perception.
  • Clear - clear lenses are the best choice for overcast or night riding.  They will provide protection from debris but not sunlight.

Photochromic Lenses

Photochromic lenses are lenses that change automatically to suit the changes in light.  They are great for unreliable weather when it can be bright and sunny one minute and dark the next.  They are a popular choice amongst mountain bikers who often switch between off-road wooded areas and open trails.  They offer the convenience of not having to switch between lenses but it’s worth noting that their tint range is limited.   

Polarised Lenses

If a lens is polarised, it means it is coated with a special chemical film that reduces glare and reflection enabling greater clarity and allowing you to see further ahead.  This is advantageous when the sun reflects off of standing water and wet roads.  The polarised film only filters out horizontal light waves, which can cause glare, and allows the vertical light waves through offering better visual clarity.

Flashdrive Polarized -Shiny Black Polarized Interchangeable Sunglasses

Flashdrive Sunglasses

Ventilation and Padding

Both ventilation and padding will improve the fit and vision of cycling sunglasses.  Padding offers a barrier between your sunglasses and your face which will help to prevent them from fogging up.  Vented sunnies will do the same by allowing air to circulate.

Variant - Vented Unisex Interchangeable Sunglasses with Hydrophobic Lenses

Variant Sunglasses

Other Features To Consider

UV Protection

It is always worth checking the UV protection level of sunglasses.  The lens colour may not accurately reflect the ability to protect from the sun’s harmful rays.  It is worth noting that glasses with darker lenses that do not offer UV protection can actually cause more damage than wearing nothing as they can cause your pupils to dilate, allowing more light through.  

Anti Scratch & Shatterproof

Anti-scratch or shatterproof lenses are quite a key feature to consider. Just a small piece of grit kicked up by your front wheel or clumsy hands dropping your shade will cause damage to them so this and getting this extra safety feature would save you money in the long term.

Hydrophobic Lenses

Hydrophobic lenses help to repel against water, sweat, oil and dust.  Lenses with a hydrophobic coating allow any of the above to run straight off without decreasing your visibility which is critical when cycling in the rain.  

You should wear some type of cycling glasses every time you head out on your bike, they'll protect your eyes from UV glare, debris and will improve your performance and visibility in various light conditions.  We hope this guide has been useful and will help you to choose a style and lenses that will suit you and your riding conditions.  Click here to view the full range of Cycling Sunglasses available at Optic Nerve.