It never fails to amaze us just how many cyclists focus huge amounts of time and attention on every piece of their clothing, only to completely overlook the importance of eye protection. It’s not as if anyone’s really in the habit of overlooking their own personal safety by choosing a wholly inadequate helmet, but at the same time to neglect your eyes in such a way is to run a pretty frightening risk of life-changing injury.
Now, to say that any glasses are better than no glasses at all gives a bit of a mixed message. Yes, a pair of super-cheap specs will protect your eyes from dust and grit, but this isn’t anything to celebrate if the same glasses are prone to shattering into a million razor-sharp pieces the first time you sneeze.
It’s a gruesome illustration, but one that’s important to make.
Our Oakley, Endura and Mark Cavendish sunglasses may be more expensive than the alternatives you’ll find at the supermarket, but that’s also for a very good reason – your eyes matter. But assuming you’ve already decided to go with a quality pair, what else should you bear in mind?
Rimmed or Rimless?
Well, first of all there are those cycling sunglasses with rims and those without – the clear distinction being obvious at a glance. In terms of which makes the most sense, cyclists planning to hit the roads and little more will be fine with rimmed sunglasses, but for those in need of completely unobstructed views for off-road cycling and mountain biking for example, rimless makes more sense.
You’ll probably note a series of bright and pretty colours to choose from, though each has its own unique benefits to consider:
- Mirrored – Excellent for cycling in the sunshine and usually the best at blocking out at much light as possible. They’re also the most private and can only be seen-through one-way.
- Yellow and Orange – By contrast, when looking to ride when natural lighting isn’t as bright as it could be, yellow and orange lenses can help bath the view ahead in a warm, clear and generally quite comforting glow. Great on duller days, they’re not however well-suited to night-time riding.
- Clear – As for clear lenses, these are basically used a little like helmets for your eyes, shieling them from debris and wind though not affecting visuals at all.
It may not feel like it, but even on the cloudiest of days your eyes are still taking a battering at the hands of the sun’s UV rays. This can over time lead to irreparable damage, which is why it’s of crucial importance to only ever select cycling sunglasses that offer full UVA and UVB protection.
Last up, never just assume that the shades you’re interested in are shatter proof and therefore safe – there’s a chance they might not be. It’s of paramount importance for your own personal safety to choose quality sunglasses with quality lenses that will not cause injury in the event that they crack, chip or break entirely – something that cannot be ruled out when cycling at a competitive level.