Picture this: you're riding a rocky trail, tree roots jostling you as you fly over them. You hit a sharp curve, and suddenly a low branch from a maple sapling smacks you right in the face. Normally that wouldn't be a problem, but today you're wearing a cheap set of aviators, and the branch just shattered one of the lenses. Dang! You should have grabbed a pair of the best mountain bike sunglasses before your ride.
Thankfully you didn't get cut, or worse. You're standing there with the bike between your legs, spots of sunlight dancing around the ground between the shadows from the canopy above. You're rubbing your eyes and looking at your busted sunglasses. Does this sound familiar? If not, it could, because that's exactly what happened to me when I skipped out on a good pair of the best mountain bike sunglasses and went with my driving aviators instead. They're just not built for that kind of punishment.
How to Choose the Best Mountain Bike Sunglasses
Before you go and whip on the first pair of performance sunglasses that you find, stop to consider what shape your face is. You've probably stood in front of the tiny dented mirror on the sunglass turnstile and tried on various $20 sunglasses. But when you're about to drop serious cash on the best mountain bike sunglasses you can find, you want to make sure they look good. To do this, you can follow some simple rules.
First, whatever shape your face is, choose sunglasses that are the opposite shape. Do you have a delicate oval face? Go with rectangles for your sunglasses. Or maybe you have a square-jawed, high-browed box-like face? You'll look great in a pair of curvy sunglasses. You get the idea. The only problem is if you're one of those people with a triangle face. In that case, go for frames that are really big.
Next, think of the material you need in the frame. Light plastics are great for mountain biking because they can take a beating and don't weigh too much. Also, you can choose a nylon-based frame for something that is flexible and can withstand an impact. The trade-off is that it's a bit heavier and sweatier.
What's the difference?
Why not just wear your normal everyday sunglasses when you hit the trail? The answer is: because they'll get broken. Metal frames and glass lenses are horrible for any sport, especially mountain biking. The best mountain bike sunglasses consist of plastic or nylon frames and plastic lenses. If they have glass lenses, they're reinforced and scratch-proof. There's a reason Oakleys became the number one brand in the skiing world.
Then there's the design of sports sunglasses. Many of them wrap around your peripheral vision, offering an unbroken line of sight. The frame keeps out of the way, so your vision isn't impeded. Also, the lenses will usually include technology that keeps the clarity of the colors intact. When you're driving, you need bright sun rays blocked so you can see the road. Regular sunglasses are dark and impede fine details. When you're blasting down a rocky hill at 30 miles per hour, you want to be able to see every stone and groove. That's where the best mountain bike sunglasses shine.
How can they help me?
Performance sunglasses will keep your vision sharp in sunlight, but also in the shade. The last thing you need to worry about at high speed on treacherous terrain is constantly adjusting your sunglasses. Some of the best mountain bike sunglasses keep their clarity regardless of sun, cloud, or canopy. Of course, you won't want to wear them in the evening or under a rain cloud, but you should already know that.
Also, unlike regular sunglasses, sports sunglasses won't slide around on your face when you're all sweaty. They'll stay firmly planted on the bridge of your nose and tucked behind your ears. That is because they slightly grasp your skull.
How much do they cost?
We're not going to lie to you. A good pair of performance sunglasses doesn't come cheap. Of course, you can find many for between $30 and $75, although higher-end sunglasses will set you back between $150 and $300.
How We Reviewed
Image via Pexels
Finding the best mountain bike sunglasses from among all the choices isn't easy. There are a lot of sunglasses to choose from. Many are cheap knock-offs. We didn't include them in our review. Instead, we scoured the internet for as much information as we could dig up about sports sunglasses in general, and then narrowed down our choices based on overall decent specs. Then, we checked out customer reviews to see what real people had to say. We built an impressive list of the best mountain bike sunglasses you'll find in 2019.
The Best Mountain Bike Sunglasses
We're confident that you'll be able to find the perfect pair of sunglasses for your mountain biking adventures from among our list. A great thing about our list is that there are men's sunglasses, women's sunglasses, and a lot of unisex sunglasses. Just remember what shape face you have, and then match it to a pair that suits your style. Have fun!
Another thing you should note is that we arranged this list in no particular order.
- Oakley's Plutonite Lenses offer top UV Protection filtering 100% of all UVA, UVB, UVC and harmful blue light up to 400mm.
- Fire Iridium Lenses are designed for everyday use in medium to bright light conditions to enhance color vividness and increase contrast. Light transmission: 16%
- Patented High Definition Optics (HDO) provides superior optical clarity and razor-sharp vision at every angle.
- O Matter stress-resistant frame is lightweight & durable for all-day comfort & protection. Oakley’s injection molded thermoplastic O-Matter frame provides improved strength & flexibility over traditional acetate & is built to withstand shifting or deforming over time.
- Interchangeable lens system designed to optimize performance in any environment. (Extra lenses sold separately).
First up in our list of the best mountain bike sunglasses for 2019 is Oakley's "Men's Radar Shield" sunglasses. You'll love these sunglasses because they're Oakley's tough plastic. The frame is plastic, the lens is plastic, and no tree branch is going to bust these up. The lenses aren't polarized, allowing awesome clarity while offering 100-percent UV protection. As with any good performance sunglasses, the frame stays out of the way, give you great peripheral vision.
Customers raved that these glasses are extremely comfortable and stay anchored to their head through thick and thin. Seriously, people raved that they never fall off or shift. There were no complaints about the sunglasses themselves.
- Experience the clarity and safety of our TAC Semi Polarized Titan's – Colored Lenses for minimal distortion and night use / Black-out lenses for maximum sun exposure. Specifically designed to cut and diffuse harmful light, for a more vivid outdoor experience. Enhance your field & range vision with the most advanced Light-Neutralizing technology. Guard your eyes from harsh environmental elements, glares, bright headlights and the sun's harmful rays with our 100% UV400 Titans.
- Rest assured with the incredibly durable, metal frame construction of your new Titan's. Built to last amidst inevitable drops and dings. Intuitively designed semi-rimless frames for a larger field of sight with minimal distortion + polycarbonate, shatterproof, color-tinted lenses with blue light neutralization, does all the work and lets you keep your eyes on the target at all times.
- The optimal form factor for maximum comfort and wearability, the Titan's were designed to be worn hours on end, effortlessly and with ease. Leave the stress and headaches behind, with our ultra-thin, super-light semi-polarized lenses, complete with integrated nose pads and our rubberized support system for added security. Weighing in at just 26 grams, you'll never want to take these babies off!
- Sleek and stylish, to be worn on or off the field, our timeless, classic Italian design exudes ingenuity and innovation. A fashion statement fit for both men and women, no matter the occasion. Take your shooting, sports, and outdoor adventuring to new heights with your all new TITAN – available in 6 colorways: BLACK + Yellow or Blackout lenses; SILVER + Orange Mirrored, Silver Mirrored, Blue Mirrored, or Yellow lenses.
- In addition to your new TITAN by BLUPOND, you will receive a Complementary Accessory Set, complete with our EVA protective sports case, Screwdriver for minor adjustments, Sunglasses pouch, Microfiber cleaning cloth, Glasses clip for convenient car storage, and Gift box. The total package to keep you active and ready anywhere you go.
Next up is a pair of BLUPOND sports sunglasses that are amazing despite their affordable price tag. Firstly, they have a unique metal frame wrapped in plastic and rubber for durability. Because they're semi-rimless, you don't have to worry about the lenses popping out under duress. Second, the frames are lightweight and comfortably grip your head. You can wear these for hours, and they won't slip off. The lenses themselves are semi-polarized and designed to diffuse bright lights.
Many customers also raved about how sharp and clear they make everything look, and a lot of people loved their low-light capabilities. There were some complaints that at certain angles, the nose piece actually reflects light into people's eyes. Oops.
- Costa's 580 Polycarbonate provides high clarity, impact- and scratch-resistance along with lightweight all day wear-ability.
- Blue Mirror Polarized is best for bright, full-sun situations on the open water and offshore.
- Costa's co-injected bio-based nylon frame material is both tough and durable, while offering a comfortable fit.
- 100% polarization kills reflected glare and reduces eye strain.
- Built by hand and backed for life. Every pair of Costa Sunglasses includes a limited lifetime warranty.
Next are the Costa Del Mar Blackfin sunglasses. You can't get a more subdued, simpler set of sports sunglasses. Costa Del Mar has held back the wow factor and given us a straightforward pair of sunglasses made of highly durable polycarbonate. The frame is a nylon-injected masterpiece. It's practically unbreakable. You'll never worry about glare again thanks to 100-percent polarized lenses. What we love about all Costa Del Mar sunglasses is that each pair gets made by hand. That's just awesome!
People praised the comfortable, lightweight feel of these sunglasses. They don't slip off your head with sweat, and they're quality materials. There were no complaints. One person said he was married to his Oakleys but started cheating with these Costa Del Mars. Well, to each their own.
Under Armour exploded onto the world of sports clothing fairly recently, and their Igniter sunglasses are giving Oakley a run for their money. First, Under Armour infused the plastic frame with titanium for unbreakable strength. The arms curve comfortably around your skull so they don't slip around when you're pedaling. The lenses are non-polarized but have 100-percent UV protection. You can get these in black or white, and honestly, they look cool.
Almost everyone said that they sit well on their face, and they're great at keeping sunlight out of their eyes. However, many people complained that they're just not the same quality as Oakleys, and the sleeves wear out very quickly.
- fine-tunes your vision to the surrounding elements
- allows you to react faster
- compete with confidence
- Oakley Radarlock Prizm Golf Collection Sunglasses for Mens
- Non-Polarized Model. Polarized Lenses or Eyewear sold separately. Polarized Lenses is an optional purchase. Please check for Availability
These Oakleys are easily some of the best mountain bike sunglasses. If Costa Del Mar wows with minimalism, these Oakleys hog the spotlight with dazzle. They are the monster truck of sports sunglasses. The frame and lenses are composite, and big, and stand out in a crowd. Best of all, the lenses completely wrap around the side of your face, giving you an unparalleled view. They're not polarized, so you get to see all the colors and lights, allowing you to react quickly when you need to.
Customers love that they can swap out lenses for different light conditions, but most importantly, they raved about how well these fit on their heads and the amazing all-around view they offer. People loved them so much, that there wasn't a single complaint.
Next, we have the Tifosi Tyrant 2.0 sports sunglasses. You can call these true sports sunglasses, as their frames are completely nylon. They're lightweight and flexible and can stand up to punishment. Because they are smaller sunglasses, they'll appeal more to women than to men. You get a polycarbonate, non-polarized lens which blocks 100-percent of UV rays without taking away from your vision. You'll love that they wrap around your eyes, giving you awesome peripheral vision.
Many people wrote that these are tough sunglasses. They can take a volleyball to the face without falling off, or a tumble from a bike without cracking the lens. A few customers complained that the nose is too tight, but they were guys were bought women's sunglasses.
- Wear these spectacular shades to see a beautiful world without harmful UV rays and annoying sun glare. No eye fatigue, life is better.
- Adjustable nosepieces and anti-slip earsocks ensure a snugger fit. Wraparound frames made from proprietary bioinspired materials with subtle ergonomic design, they become your extension to make you faster, stronger, and unbeatable.
- Scratch-resistant coating provides 5 times longer lifetime. Vented lenses are fog resistant. Great gear for driving, running, biking, mountain hiking, volleyball, racquetball, and shooting for men and women. Also can be used as cycling glasses.
- Impact resistant polycarbonate lenses meet and exceed ANSI Z87 safety standards for sports and outdoor.
- Limited lifetime warranty against any defects in materials and manufacture of every pair of Prolight sunglasses.
The Mikasuki polarized sports sunglasses sport some of the most ergonomic frames you'll find. They've taken nature as their inspiration and created a non-slip, comfortable, durable frame that looks amazing.
The lenses are polycarbonate and highly durable. Plus, they're 100-percent UV proof. Because the nose piece is adjustable, you're going to get a perfect fit no matter what size nose you have. Best of all, they come with a lifetime warranty. We love that!
Almost everyone who bought a pair said that these were their favorite shades to wear. They're extremely comfortable and never break. Several mountain bikers specifically said these were the best for trail riding, as they're not too dark in the forest and not too bright in the fields. A couple of people complained that the sunglasses feel cheap.
Oakley went out of their way to make a pair of sports sunglasses specifically for more fashion-oriented women in mind. The "Distress" sunglasses are one of the only Oakley sets with a metallic frame, which we're not fond of. Metal frames bend, and lenses pop out. Thankfully the lenses are plastic, so you're safe from shatter. Also, they're non-polarized, giving you plenty of clarity.
The lenses have a slight wrap around effect, which is great for blocking out sunlight. Unfortunately, these are full frames so you may experience some interference in your peripheral vision.
Most of them loved the style of these sunglasses, saying they look great. They also raved about how comfortable these sunglasses are. Several women used them for snowboarding and beach volleyball and had no problems, despite the metal frames. There were no complaints.
Plenty of Choices
You have plenty of choices when choosing from among the best mountain bike sunglasses. If you're still slapping on a pair of metal and glass aviators to hit the trails, you'll need to get yourself a pair of real performance shades. It's safer, more practical, and better for your ride. Match your face to a pair of sunglasses, and hit the pedals.
Which is your favorite pair of mountain bike sunglasses? Let us know in the comments!