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10 best cycling glasses that will protect your eyes come rain or shine

From wrap-around lenses to traditional styles, these specs will see you through every season

Aaron Roe
Tuesday 02 August 2022 11:00 BST
Many models feature removable lenses that you can swap out depending on the weather
Many models feature removable lenses that you can swap out depending on the weather (The Independent)

Don’t wait until you’ve had an insect or chunk of gravel strike you squarely in the eye before you buy a pair of cycling glasses – your peepers are too precious.

And it’s not just bugs and debris they’ll keep at bay – they’ll also let you ride through rain, hail and strong winds in safety and comfort.

Darker lenses stop you squinting on summer days, while some are designed to boost contrast, making it much easier to see the road ahead. As with ordinary specs, you can get photochromic lenses that adapt to changing light levels, while many have a hydrophobic coating, which helps water and oils to run off.

Modern polycarbonate lenses are designed not to shatter on impact, while decent frames flex in a crash rather than snapping into sharp bits that could injure you.

Many sports glasses come with removable lenses you can swap out depending on the weather. And while some are wraparound models aimed at giving you the maximum protection and best view of the road, others are more traditional styles you can wear off the bike, too.

Read more:

When choosing your cycling glasses, make sure you only buy from a legitimate retailer to avoid picking up a pair of dodgy fakes, and ensure that your chosen pair has the CE mark that guarantees protection from dangerous UV rays.

How we tested

We rode hundreds of miles, both on and off road, trying out our selection of the best designs around right now – from budget offerings through to cool, customisable models costing hundreds of pounds. We wore them in a range of weather conditions and light levels, and also tried them while wearing a selection of helmets to see how they worked together.

The best cycling glasses for 2022 are:

  • Best cycling glasses overall – Endura dorado II glasses: £71.99, Tredz.co.uk
  • Best budget cycling glasses – Goodr wrap GS: £45, Goodr.co.uk
  • Best cycling glasses for gravel riding – Rapha explore sunglasses: £140, Rapha.cc
  • Best cycling glasses for looks – POC aim: £190, Pocsports.com
  • Best cycling glasses for comfort – Bollé C-Shifter cycling glasses: £145, Bolle.com
  • Best prescription cycling glasses – Optilabs onyx vented: £135.95, Optilabs.com
  • Best cycling glasses for warm weather – Oakley sutro lite sweep (vented): £152, Oakley.com
  • Best cycling glasses for customisation – SunGod tempests: £65, Sungod.co
  • Best cycling glasses for wannabe racers – 100% Speedcraft Peter Sagan limited edition purple sung: £150, Wiggle.co.uk
  • Best cycling glasses for city riders – Roka kona ultralight performance sunglasses: £130, Roka.com

Endura dorado II glasses

Endura dorado II cycling glasses.jpg

Best: Cycling glasses overall

Rating: 9/10

With three changeable lenses, this pair will see you through all four cycling seasons. There’s a mirror-finish one for the brightest summer afternoons, amber for low light, and clear for the dullest days and night-time riding. Swapping them only takes a couple of minutes and you can also remove the lower portion of the frame if you prefer to ride with a half-frame set up.

In the semi-hard case, there’s a spare adjustable nose piece, plus a soft carrying case to take with you on rides. They were a nice close fit with our cycling helmets but air gaps cut into the top of the lenses prevented them from steaming up.

If you want a high-quality, high-value pair of cycling glasses and aren’t too worried about big brand names, Endura’s dorado II are a great buy.

  1. £71 from Tredz.co.uk
Prices may vary
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Goodr wrap GS

Goodr wrap GS cycling glasses.jpg

Best: Budget cycling glasses

Rating: 8/10

A price tag of just £45? There’s got to be a catch, surely? Well, if there is, we couldn’t find it. The anti-fog multi-coated lenses are polarised and carry the CE mark, the grippy arms don’t slip when you’re dripping in sweat, and there’s even a soft case and spare nose piece. OK, you can’t swap the lenses and there are no ventilation slots, but they’re £45!

If the iridescent mirror lenses and pink accents of our test pair aren’t to your taste, there are plenty of alternatives to choose from. And they all come with a great bit of suitably tongue-in-cheek Goodr advice: “Don’t try to polish them with sandpaper.”

These glasses aren’t available to buy just yet, but enter your email and you’ll be notified as soon as they are.

  1. £45 from Goodr.co.uk
Prices may vary
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Rapha explore sunglasses

Rapha explore cycling glasses.jpg

Best: Cycling glasses for gravel riding

Rating: 8/10

These cycling glasses are aimed at gravel riders and off-roaders, but there’s nothing to stop you tearing up the roads in them, too. The warm cast offered by the purple and green lenses of our test pair gave everything a glow while boosting contrast, helping you to spot potential hazards ahead.

Drilled holes across the brow do a decent job of stopping them steaming up in cooler conditions, and there’s a spare set of clear lenses for when light levels drop. Swapping the lenses was really easy – you pop them out at the sides by bending the arms slightly.

There’s an extra nose piece in the zipped case, along with a handy lanyard, so you can carry them around your neck while off the bike.

  1. £140 from Rapha.cc
Prices may vary
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POC aim

POC aim cycling glasses .jpg

Best: Cycling glasses for looks

Rating: 9/10

If you like a larger and less angular pair of glasses, these could fit the bill. POC’s signature oversized design offers impressive protection and visibility. They do a brilliant job of keeping debris and rain out of your eyes, and the frame is out of sight when the glasses are on, so it doesn’t obscure your view.

You can easily swap the lenses around – there are eight different ones available for various light conditions. We were big fans of the category 2 brown/ silver mirror ones we tested, working well in both bright sunlight and overcast conditions.

A great choice if you like a bit of Scandi cool, especially if you team up the aims with one of POC’s excellent helmets.

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Bollé c-shifter

Bollé C-Shifter cycling glasses .jpg

Best: Comfortable cycling glasses

Rating: 9/10

Bollé has been around since 1888, so it knows a thing or two about making glasses. Its cycling models have their roots in the legendary Chronoshield from 1986, which was based on ski goggle designs. This new model is a more angular half-frame design that’s perfect for road riding.

We loved the volt cat 3 lenses in our test pair – they were developed using artificial intelligence, and have a stunning iridescent finish, which was perfect in bright summer sun.

Even when we were sweating buckets in the grip of a heatwave, the thermogrip pads on the nylon arms stayed in place, and the notches cut into the top of the lenses prevented them steaming up on the climbs.

  1. £145 from Bolle.com
Prices may vary
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Optilabs onyx vented

Optilabs onyx vented cycling glasses .jpg

Best: Prescription cycling glasses

Rating: 8/10

With so many potholes in our roads, these could be a lifesaver if you need glasses in everyday life. Our short-sighted tester had a pair of these made to his prescription and thought they were brilliant.

Rubber tips to the arms, plus an adjustable rubber nose bridge, mean they won’t slip when the going gets damp or sweaty, while little cutaway vents at the corner of the lenses stop them steaming up.

We went for photochromic lenses and they proved a smart choice, making riding a lot more pleasant on bright days and adjusting rapidly when light levels dropped. You can also buy them with standard tinted or clear lenses if you prefer.

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Oakley sutro lite sweep (vented)

Oakley sutro sweep cycling glasses.jpg

Best: Cycling glasses for warm weather

Rating: 8/10

The perfect choice for warm days, this bold-looking pair from Oakley has circular vents just below the brow to help increase airflow. With an unobtrusive half-frame design, the field of view is excellent, while the lenses feature Oakley’s Prizm coating to increase contrast and help you spot road hazards.

They stayed rock-solid on the face and remained comfortable for many hours, thanks to their lightness and the grippy compound on the nose pad and temples.

Oakley’s taken inspiration from its iconic Eighties sunglasses with this pair – we’re big fans of the retro styling, especially in the vibrant-pink shade we tested.

  1. £152 from Oakley.com
Prices may vary
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SunGod tempests

SunGod tempests cycling glasses .jpg

Best: Cycling glasses for customisation

Rating: 8/10

Dive into SunGod’s huge options list and you might never meet another rider with the same specs as you. There are almost endless combinations of lenses, frame and colours available on the brand’s website.

The 8KO polarised lenses we chose were truly stunning, really boosting contrast and making it super-easy to spot problems ahead. We also found them a comfy fit, while the grip-link nose pads and arms meant they stayed secure, even on bumpy trails.

The stylish frames look great off the bike, too, and being made from 100 per cent recycled plastic waste, they have impressive eco credentials. Oh, and they come with a lifetime guarantee and a soft carrying case.

  1. £65 from Sungod.co
Prices may vary
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100% Speedcraft Peter Sagan limited edition purple sung

100% Speedcraft Peter Sagan LE soft tact  cycling glasses .jpg

Best: Cycling glasses for wannabe racers

Rating: 9/10

The name may be a bit of a mouthful but these limited-edition shades are superb. The over-sized purple mirror lenses offer great peripheral vision, and have a raised bit just above your brow to stop the frame limiting your view when pushing hard in the drops.

They stuck like limpets even in hot weather, thanks to grippy nose and arm sections, and we found they worked really well in combination with a cycling helmet.

The tie-dye finish may not be to everyone’s taste, but are sure to brighten up winter rides when you swap the mirror lenses for the clear spares that come in the hard case. Other accessories include an extra nose piece and a soft carrying case.

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Roka kona ultralight performance sunglasses

Roka kona cycling glasses .jpg

Best: Cycling glasses for city riding

Rating: 9/10

This low-key option from American company Roka is a great alternative to more sporty styles. Weighing roughly the same as a packet of crisps, you’ll barely notice them on your face.

With sticky Geko grips on the nose and arms, they’ll stay firmly in place whether you’re heading out to train or riding to meet your mates in a beer garden.

The polarised lenses cut glare, and thanks to the lens coating and air vent on the front, we didn’t experience any fogging up. They also come in a very nice hard case and soft pouch.

  1. £130 from Roka.com
Prices may vary
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The verdict: Cycling glasses

Finding your perfect pair of cycling glasses very much depends on personal choice, but there are some amazing designs out there right now at prices to suit all pockets. You can find brilliant glasses for under £50 if you’re not too bothered about big-name brands.

We loved the Endura dorado II, as the extra lenses mean they can be worn all year round – and they’re fantastically comfortable and capable, too. If you want a pair you can wear both on and off the bike, take a closer look at SunGod’s new tempests, while the Optilabs are brilliant for anyone who needs prescription lenses.

Voucher codes

For the latest discounts on cycling gear and other sports essentials, try the links below:

After a power-assisted cycle? Read our review of Brompton’s electric P line folding e-bike

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