Cycling glasses aren’t just for posing: they’re crucial to protect your eyes from obvious - and not so obvious - dangers. Here’s how to choose the perfect pair.
Water, grit, salt, insects, dust, wind, the list of potential dangers and irritants that could make their way to your eyes while you ride is almost endless. But there’s a possibly greater and less obvious threat: UV light.
Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the developed world, and UV rays are the probable the culprit. In fact, UV rays also contribute to the development of cataracts and other eye problems, too. So, before we look at the the specific details of different types of glasses, it’s worth knowing that all of our cycling glasses and sunglasses feature UV protection to help safeguard your eyesight.
Although it’s perfectly possible to spend a lot of money on cycling glasses – and some of the more luxury models are fantastic bits of kit - it’s not absolutely necessary. In fact, for essential protection, our entry level ST 100 glasses offer the kind of performance you should expect from every pair of cycling specific glasses.
Firstly there is that all-important UV protection, which is enhanced by a wraparound design and wide coverage that helps to protect your eyes from physical dangers, such as road debris. This lens design also provides a great view of the road with excellent peripheral vision and no blind spots.
Construction is important, so having high-resistance polycarbonate lenses and frames adds an element of durability and shock proofing to what is technical, sporting equipment. Grippy arm tips stop the ST 100s from slipping and the open frame design helps prevent fogging. Then, with a choice of clear, yellow or dark lens versions, you can even buy the right model ST 100 for every condition.
Why is it important to have the right lens for the conditions? Well, just as you wear non-sports sunglasses to shield your eyes from glare on sunny days, so your cycling glasses should help you see everything around you clearly, whatever the lighting.
Of course, as we well know, sadly not every ride can be enjoyed in bright weather so a different lens colours other than dark might be most effective. There are two ways that cycling glasses can perform and help enhance your vision in different or changing light.
Many of our glasses come with the option of interchangeable lenses. For example, the Van Rysel RoadR 900 glasses can be purchased with both a transparent ‘0’ lens for all-day riding, and a dark ‘3’ lens with added high-contrast to make details stand out in sunny weather. You simply swap in whichever lens will suit your ride.
The second method to cope with changing conditions is to use glasses with a photochromic lens, such as our Rockrider Cat 1-3 XC Mountain Bike glasses. This type of lens automatically adjusts according to ambient light to give you the most comfortable vision and light filtration. It’s incredibly clever and very effective.
One of the biggest nuisances that comes with wearing cycling glasses is fogging. This happens when the moist heat from your face hits the inside of the glasses’ lens and condenses into tiny water droplets.
All of our glasses are designed to help to prevent this. The simplest measure is to employ sensible frame and lens design - such as the specially designed shape of the Rockrider Anti-Fogging XC glasses - to help improve airflow and prevent moisture collecting on the inside of the lens.
There’s another, more technical solution, which is to treat the lens with an anti-fogging coating. Our range-topping Van Rysel RoadR 900 Photochromic glasses feature a permanent anti-fogging coating that is exclusive to Decathlon and makes it almost impossible for the glasses to fog up. This treatment doesn’t deteriorate over time and works in all weather and all temperatures.
Frame design and fit
After so much focus on the lens, it’s also important to pick the right frame. Of course, part of your buying decisions will be guided by style preferences – do you want the fully framed look favoured by mountain bikers, or the more subtle shape used in road cycling glasses? That choice is up to you.
But alongside style, comfort and fit is critical. While most glasses will fit universally, some models are particularly suitable for certain riders, such as our B’Twin Kids glasses or our Van Rysel RoadR 500s, which are designed for medium to narrow faces.
Stability is catered for by smaller details, such as tips on the arms and effective nose supports, which help keep the glasses in place. And overall weight is an important factor, too. All of our glasses are made from super light materials.
As with any other product you intend to wear for hours at a time, trying on your intended glasses will help you come to the right choice in terms of comfort.
Pick the right cycling glasses and you’ll have done everything you need to protect your eyes and your eyesight. Remember, cycling glasses aren’t just to make you looking cool - they’re for helping see how cool you look - forever!