Coaches Corner: Sunglasses are not all about style

I’ve addressed fashion in cycling before, but the first time it related to jerseys and this time it relates to eyewear. While appearance is everything in fashion–or so they say–that’s not even close to true in our sport. Fashion is secondary to performance. Need proof? Read more in this article that I wrote for the Versus Coaches Corner (and be sure to check out the videos that correspond at this link, too).

Sunglasses are definitely important to how you look on your bike, but the real value to the performance of the athlete cannot be underestimated. Proper eyewear is absolutely essential in keeping the riders safe and can also help athletes conserve energy by actually helping facial muscles to relax. Sun protection for the eyes is a multi-billion dollar business. The cost for performance glasses can far exceed the $200 mark. Personally, I love sunglasses and have been lucky to have a great sponsor in Oakley keeping me on the cutting edge of eyewear technology.

I have seen sunglasses come a long, long way over the years and the latest models take all sorts of performance and style aspects into account. The newest shades on the market are stronger, more aerodynamic, easier to clean, simpler for changing lenses and better fit to the head. Creators have now integrated the fit with different types of helmets and made the glasses so light it feels like there is nothing on your head at all.

Manufacturers have even built the new glasses with holes in the upper parts of the lenses. This venting prevents fogging and helps keep riders’ foreheads and eyes a bit cooler. Some manufacturers went so far as to spend time in wind tunnels studying and designing the sizing at the tops of the frames, as well as how to create a pair that doesn’t get in the riders’ way while in the aero position. This is not easy since each person’s aero position is different.

The ability to change lenses for all conditions has helped cyclists see better in different conditions. No matter what the light or weather may be, riders can adjust the tint to provide the utmost clarity and light to create the most ideal optics for that day.

Recent advancements also allow the rider to customize the nose piece as a means of spacing the lenses themselves the perfect distance from the face. Riders with small noses might want the lenses closer to the face, while we big-nosed Italians like the lenses a bit further away. Same goes for those with long lashes. Getting bigger or smaller nose pieces helps personalize the glasses even further.

Every rider has different preferences and these seemingly minor options to change more aspects of their glasses allows for the ultimate in customization for comfort.

The last and, to some, most important aspect is the ability to custom-design frame colors, so glasses not only match conditions, but cycling kits as well. So now we’re seeing all the top pros either matching their frames to their kits or making bold fashion statements instead!


Note: italicized text reprinted from


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