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Best Oakley cycling sunglasses in 2023 | Oakley sunglasses buyer’s guide

We’ve road-tested Oakley’s cycling sunglasses collection to compare their features and performance

Oakley Encoder Strike Vented sunglasses

Oakley sunglasses are a popular go-to option for cyclists, and with good reason. While often more expensive than some of the competition, there’s no denying that Oakley’s shades are well-designed, high-quality and, at times, unmistakably distinctive. 

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The current collection of cycling-specific shades features a wide range of frame styles to suit all tastes and face shapes – from the traditional to the truly out there, there’s something for everyone.

That choice has been added to by Oakley’s new custom sunglass programme. This enables you to choose your own frame parts and lens for 14 different models, offering up to a claimed 40 million combinations. Oakley often has special editions too, such as Tour de France glasses and the Evzero Path Kokoro we’ve featured.

For those of us who wear spectacles in everyday life, Oakley’s cycling glasses range includes prescription cycling glasses.

We’ve also compiled a list of the best cycling sunglasses we’ve reviewed from other brands and Oakley. Head to our guide to the best mountain bike sunglasses if you’re looking for dedicated off-road shades.

Oakley Prizm lens tech explained

Oakley Re:SubZero close up
Oakley’s various Prizm tints are claimed to improve clarity and contrast in different scenarios.
Stan Portus / Our Media

Oakley’s cycling sunglasses are also defined by the brand’s Prizm lens technology. Oakley says it took 15 years to develop, with each lens tint designed to optimise visibility and contrast in different light conditions and sports. 

For example, a specific tint is used to enhance the clarity of road surfaces, helping to reveal potholes, which can often be hidden by glare. These may sound like bold claims, but our expert testing team is united in its agreement that Prizm really does make a difference.

Oakley frames are donned by a huge number of cyclists around the world. So if you’re looking for a list of the best Oakley sunglasses available, you’ve come to the right place. All the sunglasses in this article have been road-tested and rated by BikeRadar’s expert testers.

The best Oakley cycling sunglasses 2023 – as rated by BikeRadar’s expert testers

Oakley Jawbreaker Prizm glasses

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Low key the Oakley Jawbreaker Prizm Road sunglasses are not
The lens is designed with road riding in mind.
Ben Delaney / Immediate Media
  • £195/$234/€207 as tested
  • Distortion-free Prizm lens with tint specific to roads
  • Unobtainium grippers at temples and nose keep glasses in place 

Our highest-rated pair of Oakley sunglasses for cyclists, we found the Jawbreaker to offer crystal-clear optics. Its distortion-free Prizm lens and road-specific tint clarifies road surfaces, while its 53mm tall lens gives unobstructed visibility, even when riding in the drops. 

The 131mm width wraps around your face with scalloped lower sections to fit comfortably around cheekbones. For added comfort, the nosepiece is adjustable and so are the earpieces. 

Oakley’s signature ‘Unobtainium’ rubber grippers keep each section from slipping, even on a sweat-slickened face. The channels that hold the lens in place also have little rubber bumpers for a secure fit.

Oakley Encoder

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Oakley Encoder sunglasses for road cyclists
The glasses are designed to be worn with cycling helmets.
Sam Challis / Immediate Media
  • £204/$257/€228 as tested
  • Largely unrestricted field of vision
  • Sturdy feel with secure fit

The Encoders feature decent lens coverage and are lightweight, tipping the scales at 32g.

Sharing similar DNA to the Kato, the Encoder uses a frameless design with a wrap-over nose portion.

The Encoder sits on the face well and is compatible with many helmets.

To avoid warped vision around the curved nose, Oakley has added a rubber nose pad that blocks the section out.

Unfortunately, our tester found this encroached into their vision, and acted as a distraction when out on the bike.

Oakley Encoder Strike Vented

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Oakley Encoder Strike Vented sunglasses for cyclists
Oakley has adjusted the lens design of the Kato for the Encoder Strike Vented.
Warren Rossiter / Our Media
  • £210/$255/€235/AU$330 as tested
  • Great lens clarity and ventilation
  • Good fit and styling for larger heads

With the Encoder Strike Vented, Oakley has mirrored the Kato’s frameless design and added a vented brow to the wraparound lens.

There’s a cosmetic element to the vents, but our tester found they helped prevent the exceptionally clear lens fogging up.

The fit and aesthetics are suitable for larger heads – we recommend trying them on before committing to a distinctly styled and expensive pair of cycling sunglasses.

Positioned in your line of sight, the large nosepiece can block your vision.

Oakley Kato sunglasses

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Oakley Kato sunglasses
Lighter and darker-coloured lenses are available.
Ashley Quinlan / Our Media
  • £265/$318/€310 as tested
  • Largely unobscured line of sight
  • Minimal distortion around the nosepiece

The Oakley Katos are a boldly-styled pair of sunglasses that won’t appeal to everyone, but they perform well on the bike.

The wraparound Prizm lens has great clarity, whichever shade you choose, and there’s a colour for most conditions.

The cycling sunglasses sit securely on your face, although the nosepiece is not adjustable. That’s a shame on a highly priced pair of shades.

Oakley Sutro Lite Photochromic

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Oakley Sutro Lite Photochromic sunglasses for road cyclists
The Photochromic lens reacts quickly to changes in light conditions.
Ashley Quinlan / Our Media
  • £172/$214/€200/AU$279
  • Offers a wide field of vision
  • Photochromic lens give impressive versatility

Sharing retro-inspired looks and interchangeable lenses, the Sutro Lite fits a little smaller on the face compared to the Sutro.

Oakley’s photochromic lenses respond to changing light conditions quickly, but aren’t as dark as standard lenses in the sunshine.

With a weight of 33g, the Sutro Lites are what their name suggests, though we found the non-adjustable nosepiece to be a let down.

Oakley Sutro Lite Sweep Ascend

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Oakley Sutro Lite Sweep Ascend sunglasses for cyclists
Old-school looks meet a modern, ventilated lens.
Warren Rossiter / Our Media
  • £152/$184/€180/AU$253 as tested
  • Low weight and good ventilation
  • Best for narrower faces

Compared to the Oakley Sutro Lite (featured above), the lens on the Sutro Lite Sweep Ascend is about half the size and sweeps upwards, better suiting riders with smaller heads.

Oakley has retained the circular brow vent holes, which give the Sutro Lite Sweep Ascend classic aesthetics and effective ventilation.

The lens is crisp in different light conditions and free of distortion even on the periphery. Comfortable arm grippers stop the Sutro Lite Sweep Ascend’s frame from budging except on really rough terrain.

Oakley sunglasses to also consider

The following sunglasses scored fewer than four stars out of five, but are still worth considering if they suit you.

Oakley EVZero sunglasses

3.5 out of 5 star rating
The Range lens shape is the larger of the two, offering similar coverage to the Radar XL
Two lens shapes are available for the EVZero frame.
Colin Levitch / Immediate Media
  • £140 as tested
  • Frameless construction for broad field of view
  • Good protective coverage 

If you’re looking for some lightweight frameless cycling glasses and don’t mind being locked into one lens, Oakley’s EVZero sunglasses are claimed to be “the lightest performance glasses in history”.  

An obvious plus to these is the unobstructed aspect thanks to their frameless construction, and there was no noticeable distortion towards the edges. 

Two lens shapes are available: Path and the slightly larger Range. Both come with Oakley’s ‘O-Matter’ ear socks and ‘Unobtainium’ rubber on the nosepiece and temple tips, which keep them firmly in place. 

If you’re looking to do a lot of mixed-surface riding, the Prizm road lens is not the best choice. Luckily, the EVZero series is available in non Prizm lens options. 

Oakley Sutro sunglasses

3.5 out of 5 star rating
Oakley Sutro Sunglasses
A bold design with Oakley performance.
Jesse Wild/Cycling Plus
  • £130/$173/€172
  • Well-sprung arms keep glasses securely in place
  • Good ventilation for minimal fogging

As the brand’s take on the modern-retro styling made popular by 100% and Peter Sagan, we can see these being popular with both urban cyclists and style-conscious roadies. 

You get massive coverage, with the Sutro’s tinted Prizm lenses being 58mm deep, and they offer absolute clarity. Its square-section frame prevents fogging by holding them away from your face.

The arms don’t feature Oakley’s usual rubber tips, but are well-sprung so fit snugly despite this. 

Oakley has recently added the Sutro Lite to its range. It has the same extra-large lens as the original Sutro, but a more open frame without the lower rim around the lens.

Oakley Flight Jacket sunglasses

3.5 out of 5 star rating
The Oakley Flight Jacket has a great, ergonomic fit
The Flight Jackets include Oakley’s Advancer switch to increase airflow.
Jack Luke / Immediate Media
  • £185/$249/€225
  • Broad range of Oakley Prizm lens options
  • Advancer switch for airflow 

Similar in design to the Oakley Jawbreakers, but with the top section of frame removed, the Flight Jacket model is a futuristic-looking upgrade that features a range of Oakley’s high-performance tinted Prizm lenses. 

Variants include Prizm Road, Prizm Low Light and Prizm Trail, dialled to enhance visibility in their specified area. 

While the upper edges offer a great field of vision when in aggressive riding positions, the chunky lower frame hinders visibility when looking down towards gears or when turning to look behind at blind spots.

These glasses feature an Advancer switch on the nose, which alters the angle to allow for greater airflow – great for defogging, but perhaps an unnecessary gadget. 

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