Best Sunglasses For Triathlon Reviewed


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A good pair of sports sunglasses can make all the difference in performance. Not only do they look ultra professional, but intense glare eye protection will also help you squint less, which is proven to save precious energy.

What are the best sunglasses for sports?

When buying a new pair of sunglasses, go for one with a high UVA rating to protect your corneas from sun damage, even if you’ve just been running in the UK. Like some glasses here, many brands offer multiple interchangeable lenses, so you can tailor the choices to suit varying lighting conditions.

This versatility is useful when cloudy days require a brighter lens or if a sunny course requires a darker pair to provide adequate clarity. Recent years have seen the introduction of the photochromatic lens, which becomes darker when exposed to high UV rays. However, replacing these lenses can be a precarious task, so a durable frame is essential.

While this type of eyewear refers to obscure 80s pop groups, the visor-style wrap-around lens shape provides the best performance advantage as it maximizes field of view and coverage. A sturdy frame that sits close to the eyes is also desirable to help cool the wind during the ride, while the built-in vents and an anti-fog coating are lifesavers when you blow and blow through T2 on the run.

Finally, to reduce the risk of your sunglasses bouncing on the fly, make sure you have a snug fit on the nose bridge and silicone clamps along the arms, which will also help improve comfort. We’ve tested sunglasses from eight major brands to give you an educated comparison of price, comfort and practicality …

The best triathlon sunglasses

Bollé Shifter

Credit: Bollé

In our eyes, the coolest and simplest glasses in the test. They are fully framed, but the depth of the lens means that vision is unimpeded. The lens offers a clear definition. On trial, Bolle’s Phantom Vermillon, an orange shade that works wonders except on the brightest days.

Like most tests, the lens features an anti-fog treatment, supported by subtle but helpful vents above and below each eye. The design of the ski goggles wraps around your temple and attaches with rubber grips on the nose and arms. Seven frames are available with different lens options.

Verdict: A relatively simple but effective pair of glasses
Rating: 86%

Alba Optics Stratos

albaoptic

Handcrafted in Italy and a featherweight 30g are two instant draws of the Stratos, the latter being due to the pair lacking a main frame. It has given us some sustainability concerns, especially in the chaos of the race day transition, but they are closing in on the Roka in their nearly invisible racing prowess.

In terms of adjustment, there is no replacement nose piece (you can opt for an “Asian Fit” nose pad when purchasing), but the arms have four different length options, a nice feature for a better grip when running. There is an interchangeable lens but no replacement part is provided.

Verdict: good arms and low weight, but better glasses in the test
Rating: 70%

Roka GP-1X

roka

The GP-1X stays true to the brand’s multisport roots, feeling as close as possible to a tri-specific pair of eyewear. This is due to the lack of a top frame for clear visuals on aerobars or drops, and reduces the weight to just 27g.

Four different nose pieces help find a secure fit, we had no issues with fogging and the large HC Fusion lens works in a variety of lighting conditions. For that over £ 200 spend, however, you’d expect a second lens and we’d be happy to swap out the fancy outer box they arrived in if it went to a supplied transparent lens.

Verdict: Quality pair for cycling and racing, but lack of spare parts
Rating: 79%

Buy from Roka

Sungod Vulcans FF

solar gods

The Vulcans come in two modes: the TF (top frame, £ 125) and the FF (full frame, £ 150) here, which sees the frame extend under the lenses for added durability. This move saw the weight increase by 5g to 37g, but that still wasn’t a problem while running.

Unlike Sungod’s early Pacebreakers, the Vulcans offer huge facial coverage with no noticeable gap. But it’s the lens that really excels here, providing versatility and fog-free driving in a variety of changing conditions. You don’t get an aftermarket lens, but there are plenty of custom options.

Verdict: duarble and secure, but no spare lens
Rating: 87%

Buy from SunGod

Scicon Sports Aerowing

icon

The Aerwing 33g’s large shield design is on-trend, providing both wide facial coverage and an obstructed view on the cowls (part of the top frame slips into vision on the tribars, however). The fit is best in class, with the nose pieces providing horizontal and vertical movement; the arms can be bent and reinforced to ensure the desired level of grip and flexibility; and a series of ventilation channels prevent fogging. However, we didn’t feel quite confident swapping out the lenses for the included clear pair – not ideal when the expense is £ 170.

Verdict: good pair but there is a knack for swapping the lens
Rating: 89%

Buy on ProBikeKit

Tifosi Alliant Interchangeable

Credit: Wiggle

Credit: Wiggle

The cheapest pair here exceeds its fiscal weight and wraps comfortably around the face. They come with two lenses for brighter and darker conditions which, without providing the definition and clarity of its high-end competitors, are pretty good.

The vents at the top and bottom increase airflow to prevent fogging, but the slightly narrow lens means the vents in the base are too visible. The nose bridge is also too big and adds interference. Still, the construction is solid and the rubber ear cups provide stability. From experience, the Grilamid TR-90 frame material will last a few seasons.

Verdict: a solid pair of glasses for the price
Rating: 80%

Oakley aviator jacket

Credit: Oakley

Credit: Oakley

The Oakley Flights follow a similar design to their Jawbreaker model, although they lose the upper part of the frame and feature a thicker finish. They also supply Oakley’s ever-impressive Prizm lenses, offered in Prizm Road, Prizm Low Light or Prizm Trail.

Prizm Road does wonders to increase the contrast of vision and make the colors sing while riding or running. But what muffles those luminous notes is the unique nasal vent which, when turned upside down, pulls the goggles slightly away from the face to improve ventilation. Unfortunately, the execution is poor as the bridge becomes uncomfortable, especially when on the run.

Verdict: a costly deception of optical legends
Rating: 72%

Tifosi Davos

Credit:

Credit: Tredz

Davos glasses from Tifosi seem to represent excellent value for money. It is a budget model and comes with a hard storage case, a soft cleaning bag and three interchangeable lenses: a clear lens, a light enhancing lens and a slightly reflective smoked lens. Switching between them requires a bit of brute force to start with, but gets easier as you hone talent and the frame develops a bit of flexibility.

Still, the frame is more of a problem when you wear them, as it is visible no matter what you look like. It’s not embarrassing but, certainly in this color, it’s hard to ignore. The biggest problem is the insecurity of the frame – the glasses are constantly sliding forward, and with the slightest tilt of your head you can see over the forehead.

Vented lenses are also ventilated, which can help prevent sweat from entering your eyes, but also makes your eyes more prone to tearing. So not such a great value, after all.

Verdict: A few handy extras and a relatively cheap price, but lacks a secure fit
Rating: 66%

Best Image Credit: Getty Images

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Wiley C. Thompson