Though their name might suggest they’re just for shielding your eyes from the sun, the best cycling sunglasses will do much more than that.
Protecting your eyes from the elements and hazards, such as insects or grit from the road, is also incredibly important
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Like anything your wear on the bike, a decent pair of cycling sunglasses needs to be durable, comfortable and should ideally offer some versatility – either through interchangeable or photo-chromatic (light sensitive) lenses.
Of course, they also need to look the business. Let’s be honest and admit that choosing a pair of cycling sunglasses is as much about fashion as it is about protection, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
As with any cycling product though, there are far too many brands, styles and price points for any one person to trawl through. With that in mind, our expert testers have selected what they believe are the best cycling sunglasses on the market right now.
Once you’ve finished exploring all of the options, keep reading to check out our buyer’s guide to cycling sunglasses.
The best cycling sunglasses in 2021, as rated by our expert testers
- Bollé Shifter: £149
- Oakley Jawbreaker Prizm Road: £175
- Rudy Project Sintryx: £130
- Rudy Project Keyblade: £150
- 100% S2: £160
- Agu Bold: £40
- Alba Optics Delta: £150
- Alpina Twist Five CM+: £60
- BBB Avenger: £50
- Ekoi PE9 Quickstep: £86
- Endura FS260 Pro: £78
- Julbo Rush: £165
- Lazer Eddy: £110
- Koo Orion: £160
- Scicon Aerocomfort Glasses: £227
- Scott Sport Shields: £60
- Tifosi Amok: £70
- RRP £149
- Comfortable and stylish
- Available with prescription lenses
Bollé’s stylish Shifter sunglasses have an angular look that somehow manages to be both thoroughly modern and also a little retro.
The impact resistant, single-piece lens offers great clarity. It’s also well vented and has an anti-fogging treatment applied, so they don’t steam up too easily in humid conditions.
The reassuringly robust frame has a premium feel and the kinked arms grip your head very well.
The thickness of the frame does mean it shows up in your peripheral vision, but it didn’t bother our tester.
There’s also a prescription option available, for those who need it.
Oakley Jawbreaker Prizm Road
- RRP £175
- Broad, lightweight coverage
- Easy to change lens
The style of Oakley’s Jawbreaker sunglasses was certainly polarising when they were initially released in 2015, but it’s hard to deny they reignited the trend for big sunglasses.
The coverage of the 53mm tall, 131mm wide lens is excellent, with the chunky frame only visible at extreme angles.
Furthermore, the nose and ear pieces are both adjustable, so you’ll be certain to find a combination that offers a secure fit over the bumpiest of roads, and changing the lens is a simple process.
Our only gripe is that we’d like to see Oakley’s excellent hydrophilic treatment on the inside of the lens.
Rudy Project Sintryx
- RRP £130
- Stylish and practical sunglasses
- Excellent lenses with options for every season
Rudy Project’s Sintryx glasses are a stylish and practical pair of sunglasses that are equipped for a wide range of uses.
Coming with three lenses – a lightly tinted lens for low light, a grey option for brighter days and an orange-mirrored Polar 3FX HDR lens for filtering out glare – these are sunglasses fit for every season.
Switching between lenses is also a doddle, thanks to an innovative, spring-loaded design.
Heavily vented frames, built using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software, ensure consistent airflow and we didn’t experience any fogging during our testing, despite the big frames.
While not cheap by any standard, the inclusion of three sets of lenses, of excellent quality, certainly makes this an appealing package.
Rudy Project Keyblade
- RRP £150
- Super clear, photochromic lenses
- Adjustable venting
With excellent photochromic lenses and styling that’s just as good off the bike as on, Rudy Project’s Keyblade sunglasses are a great option for anyone looking for one pair of sunglasses to cover a wide range of uses.
The lenses are also guaranteed to be unbreakable, so they should prove durable over the long term too.
The ventilation is adjustable and our tester didn’t experience any fogging so it clearly works as intended.
If you want to add prescription lenses, they’re compatible with Rudy Project’s RX optical inserts.
- RRP £160
- Excellent lens quality
- Robust frames
- Buy direct from 100%
Rather simply recreating a retro design, 100% has taken inspiration from that eighties style and added angular design cues to make a pair of sunglasses that look much more contemporary.
The lens quality of the mirrored Hiper lens is as good as any we’ve tested and the finish around the edges is of a noticeably high quality.
The frames also feel very robust (though this does make changing the lenses initially a bit of a slog, until you get the hang of it) and the package includes a clear lens for poor weather conditions and two different nose pieces.
- RRP £40
- Good looks and protection
- Excellent price
- Buy direct from Agu
Since Agu started sponsoring Lotto-Visma it’s really stepped up its sunglasses game, and the Bolds are genuinely WorldTour-worthy shades available at a great price.
The Bolds are built around a large, squared-off lens design that’s right on trend. Agu has set the frame slightly back from the lens to offer much greater ventilation than would have been achievable by simply putting vent holes by the lens.
This, combined with an anti-fog coating, means the lens stayed pretty clear throughout our testing.
The minimal arms, complete with tacky temple tips and adjustable nose-piece mean fit and comfort is great and they stay put on rough roads.
Alba Optics Delta
- RRP £150
- Great fit
- High quality lens
- Buy direct from Alba Optics
The Alba Optics Delta sunglasses might look like they’ve been pulled straight from a Tour de France in the mid-’80s, but they’re actually the first pair to come to market from the young Italian brand.
Don’t let the retro look fool you though, these are thoroughly modern sunglasses. The massive 58mm lens offers great coverage and clarity, but they might be a touch too large on smaller faces.
The curvy arms hug your face brilliantly, but can potentially make it difficult to store the sunglasses in your helmet, if that’s your thing.
Alba Optics does offer 11 different lens options though (and eight different frame colours), so you should be able to find something for all conditions.
Alpina Twist Five CM+
- RRP £60
- Excellent fit and good build quality, especially for the price
- Good on and off the bike
Alpina’s red mirror lens gives a warm feel to the visuals and it’s nicely curved without causing any distortion.
An adjustable nose piece and angle-adjustable arms help give an excellent fit and security on the face.
Small screws all around the frame add to the feel of high build quality and good value. Aesthetically, they’re the least sporty and most pub-friendly here, but that could be either a plus or minus for you depending on your taste.
- RRP £50
- Three lenses included, good ventilation
- Great value package
Despite sitting very close to the face, especially over the cheeks, these BBB glasses have good ventilation, thanks to cutaways at the top of the lens. The nose piece is adjustable, allowing you to tweak the fit to a degree too.
Three lenses are included – a dark tint, yellow for low light and clear – making them great value. Swapping the lenses by popping them out of the frame is a formality and we had no qualms with the optics either.
They are broad-framed, so the arms can interfere with some helmets, and we needed to do some fine-tuning with the nose piece to get the fit just right and stop them touching our eyelashes. It’s hard to complain at this price though.
Ekoi PE9 Quickstep
- RRP £86
- Good lens clarity
- On trend styling
- Buy direct from Ekoi
Worn by Julian Alaphilippe and a host of other European pros, the Ekoi PE9 sunglasses were developed in collaboration with the riders of WorldTour team Deceuninck–Quick-Step.
The large, deeply wrapped lens gives an almost goggle-like feel, and consequently provides great protection from the elements.
Lens clarity is also pleasingly good, but the standard tint is quite dark – they’re really a sunny day only option.
A photochromic lens might be a better choice for cyclists in the UK, but Ekoi’s online store fortunately offers a huge array of customisation options for both lenses and frame colours.
Endura FS260 Pro
- RRP £78
- Secure fit and good value
- Photochromatic lens included
Endura’s FS260 Pro is more of a package than a single pair of sunglasses. There are three different lenses in the box, including a photochromic option, making these ideal for days when the weather is changeable.
Our tester found the fit to be particularly secure, even over the roughest terrain, so you won’t need to worry about losing them on gravel or bumpy rides.
The 52mm curved lens offers decent protection from hazards and the elements, and the styling is a little more relaxed than many of its contemporaries.
So, if you don’t want your sunglasses to overshadow the rest of your outfit, these might be the pair for you.
- RRP £165
- Solid build quality
- Excellent lens clarity
The full framing of the lens isn’t obstructive to your eyeline and the broad, highly sprung arms have a metal core so that you can bend and mould them to your head shape, making these superbly secure, even when venturing off road.
They aren’t the lightest around, weighing in at 39.5g, but our tester didn’t mind taking a gram or two extra when the fit is this secure.
The lens itself is superb with a deep curvature around the face from top to bottom, which means no distortion even at the peripheries of your vision.
The lens is also light-reactive and very quick to change. It can shift between cat 0 (fully clear) to cat 3 (dark for bright sunshine) in a matter of seconds, which means you can use these on the brightest days to protect from the sun or at night to protect your eyes from foreign objects.
- RRP £110
- Well vented with good protection
- Sharp styling
Presumably named after one of Belgium’s greatest Eddys, these sunglasses perhaps don’t quite live up to his G.O.A.T status, but they are very good.
Their sharp, classic styling means you can easily imagine they’d be something Merckx might choose to wear though. Thanks to the inclusion of three different lenses, he’d be able to find something appropriate for all conditions too.
The tightly hinged and well sprung arms mean they’ll stay in place even when riding over the roughest Belgian cobbles.
Koo Orion Sunglasses
- RRP £160
- Adjustable fit and venting
- Tough with superb lenses
With excellent Zeiss lenses, tough build quality and adjustable fit, Koo’s Orion sunglasses are a worthy competitor to more widely known names.
The arms offer up to 15mm of length adjustment, meaning you can adjust them to play nice with both on and off-road helmets, and the venting can be modulated as well to provide a little extra protection against fogging on humid days (not that our tester ever needed it).
Our only gripe is that you only get the one set of lenses, a clearer option would be better for darker days.
Scicon Aerocomfort Glasses
- RRP £227
- Technically excellent and great performance
- Good value package with lots of accessories
- Buy direct from Scicon
The Aerocomforts aren’t cheap, but they do pack in a lot of impressive technology.
The impact resistant, photochromic, OLEO/Hydro coated lenses are water and chemical resistant, and are guaranteed against cracking.
They also transition from fully clear to a dark smoked lens in just 8.25 seconds. Impressive.
The lens vents top and bottom do their job keeping fogging at bay, and for prescription glasses wearers the Aerocomforts have an RX Adaptor available as well.
Scott Sport Shields
- RRP £60
- Impressive lens clarity
- Good fit
- Buy direct from Scott
Based on their original 1980s design, Scott produced these sunglasses in celebration of its 60th anniversary.
The enormous lens measures over 60mm at certain points, giving these an incredibly bold look. It would be tempting to predict that sunglasses of this size would only be suitable for larger faces, but the Yates brothers of team Mitchelton-Scott clearly disagree.
The frames have a sturdy, premium feel and the single-piece lens itself performs brilliantly. The coverage and protection is, thanks to their size, fantastic.
The price is good, but the package only includes one lens tint, which somewhat limits their all-conditions versatility.
- RRP £70
- Comfortable and stylish
- More affordable than premium brands
The Amok sunglasses from Tifosi are well-priced compared to more expensive options from premium brands but still offer top-notch performance.
The full-frame design features a mid-size lens (you only get one, but it’s easy to switch out if you buy another separately) and it works well in a range of conditions.
The glasses are also comfortable to wear, with sticky temple tips and an adjustable nose-bridge to keep the shades secure.
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Buyer’s guide: what to look for when buying a set of cycling sunglasses
The lens is clearly the most important component in a pair of sunglasses, so you need to consider your choice carefully, based on your riding style and requirements.
While mirrored lenses can look cool, they’re really only designed for use on very sunny days. If you live somewhere where it’s often dark and wet, you’ll want to consider a sunglasses package that includes multiple lens options.
Alternatively, some brands offer photochromic lenses, which react to the light level to change their light transmission value, meaning they’ll automatically get darker when it’s sunny, then clearer when it’s not.
Frame choice is arguably more a matter of fashion because these dictate the overall shape and look of the sunglasses.
Big, eighties-style sunglasses are back in fashion at the moment and these do have several advantages, such as massive amounts of protection and coverage, but their bold looks aren’t for everyone.
Large frames, for example, can often hover in your peripheral vision, which some riders might find annoying, whereas frameless models offer a much more unrestricted view.
The arms of cycling sunglasses need to be robust enough to safely hold the sunglasses in place over even the roughest terrain. Often, tacky rubber inserts are added to increase friction without causing discomfort.
High quality models will also have reassuringly stiff arms and hinges, without any play. If you’re spending a quite substantial sum of money on sunglasses, you want to know they’re built to last.
Everyone has a different shaped face and nose, so sunglasses with adjustable or interchangeable nose pieces can offer a more personalised fit.
This can be especially important on sunglasses with large frames, where it’s key to ensure the frame doesn’t impinge on your view too much.
When shopping for sunglasses, it’s worth considering the overall package. While some options just include a single lens and frame, others will include multiple lens options, a microfibre bag and possibly even a hard case.
These extras all add significant value and mean you’re unlikely to need to keep spending more down the road to get, for example, a clear lens for the winter months.
Additionally, if you’re a glasses wearer in everyday life, it’s worth considering brands that offer prescription lenses.
Contact lenses and normal lenses are certainly a viable option, but most wearers will have experienced days where wearing contact lenses for long periods of time can start to get uncomfortable.