Despite its size as a fashion and sports brand, Nike isn’t known for its eyewear. Yet the global label offers a rather complete range, some of it even pitched to cyclists. So does the big Swoosh have a product worthy of your money, or has it just bunched cyclists into a group of sports sunglass users?
To find out, we got hold of the Nike Show X1 and Skylon Ace XV sunglasses. For us, the Show X1 offers the most coverage for cyclists, while the smaller split lenses of the Skylon are decent, but lack the wide peripheral vision and raised brow coverage needs of cycling. With that, this review will focus on the large shield-lens equipped Show X1 – likely Nike’s best option for cyclists.
Aesthetically, the Show X1 glasses clearly borrow inspiration from Oakley’s hugely successful Radar range. The Radars are a model that BikeRadar testers have long loved and so we felt right at home with the Show X1s.
Pricewise – $196 / £132 / AU$TBC with an additional lens included – the Nike Show X1s sit in a similar ballpark to the Oakley Radar EVs with a single lens. With that, we can’t help but draw further comparisons in this review.
The fit is quite similar to the Oakley Radar Pitch
Compared to the Oakley Radars, the Show X1’s arms are extremely similar in length, and while straighter out of the box, the rubber-coated temple tips can be easily bent to your preferred shape. The arms on the Radars are notorious for causing issues with some helmet retention systems and the Nikes are certainly on par in this regard. That said, many helmets now cater to the sunglasses and so fewer modern helmets give issues.
They fit a little more loosely than a pair of Radars and are perhaps better suited to wider heads. That said, the last 50mm of the arms can be bent to hook in and we were able to achieve a stable, yet comfortable fit on our small/medium helmet wearing heads.
The glasses are supplied with a single non-adjustable nosepiece. It’s quite comfortable, ventilated and resists slip decently, but if you’ve got a narrow nose you’re likely to find it too roomy.
Compared to the vast array of transition, polarized or environment-specific contrast-enhancing lenses, Nike’s lenses on the Show X1s are fairly basic, though certainly not lacking in quality.
Serious coverage on offer here
Nike claims its ‘Max Optics’ lenses are 100% UV-protected, distortion-free and impact-resistant. Further to this, the lenses are given a hydrophobic coating for a scratch-resistant surface that repels water, dust, sweat and other stuff you don’t want in your vision.
The Show X1’s shield lens does a decent of keeping itself clean, but it’s not perfect. Sweat still leaves a trail, and you’ll certainly want to clean the lens before every ride.
Despite there being no vents in the lens or frame, the vented nosepiece does well to help resist fogging of the lens. While testers experienced a minor amount of fog when stopped catching our breath at a hilltop, the glasses never caused issues when moving.
Our ‘Orange Flash’ lens sample does well to reflect harsh light out on bright days, and keeps vision clear without any detectable alteration across the full lens. However, the colours produced are slightly cold (blue) and are certainly best suited to use on the road. Off-road, the lens is a tad dark for singletrack, while the colours reduce contrasting shadows, making riding in technical terrain more challenging.
You get two lenses with the Show X1
A second lens, which lacks a reflective coating, is included too. This proved to offer a warmer (orange) colour better suited to off-road use. Here contrast was good and trail features were more defined.
Coverage is great, and the lens extends high enough to avoid interrupting your vision when in the drops. Peripheral vision is equally extensive, with the glasses wrapping the head.
While we suspect such things may appear in future, at the time of writing there’s currently no polarized or transition version of this lens. Additionally, there are no provisions for clip-on prescription lenses, and the shield lens design just about eliminates these from having custom lenses made.
Additionally, for the money we expected more than just a soft bag. Sure you get two lenses, but the majority (not all) of premium eyewear tends to include a more protective storage case.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the Show X1 glasses, and they function quite respectably – whether that be for cycling, running or ball sports. However, at this price you’re undoubtedly paying a premium for the Nike Swoosh. It’s a Swoosh that in other sports may hold pedigree, but in cycling it’s perhaps not enough to compete with the established eyewear players – such as Oakley, Rudy Project and Adidas – without offering something truly innovative.