Choosing the right aero cycling sunglasses.
Updated: Jun 7, 2022
At the time of writing, Haftner Bouclier does not offer sunglasses. The field is dominated by brands that solely offer sunglasses, and some of the key players have been in the industry for years. In cycling, there are typically two areas of concern; One, does it look good? And two, is it aero? Brands that have solely focused on one or the other have typically created abominations such as sunglasses that look like swimming googles, for aerodynamic purposes. Or designer-like shades that create too much drag and make the rider look like less of a cyclist and more of a hopeful model. Deciding on which cycling sunglasses to choose is a simple process for both men and women, including prescription cycling sunglasses.
An area that is sometimes either overlooked or misunderstood is the aerodynamic properties of sunglasses. Foremost, creating a straight visor-like line does not equate to cutting down on draft. One example comes from one of the biggest sunglasses brands, wherein a new model was spotted at the La Vuelta. The sunglasses were one solid lense which stretched over the nose. However, what designers did not take into consideration is that it creates two new ridges over the nose, especially when it the shades slip down. The rider in question was also wearing a brimmed hat under his helmet, which further negated any arodynamic advantages.
There are two parts to consider when looking at the aerodynamic properties. First is fitment, do the shades stay tight to the face or does to create a gap where wind can seep in and create drag? The second area of concern is the design shape itself. Do the shades have any irregular shapes or patterns that would catch and trap the wind, therefore creating drag? The shape and design should be streamlined, so that air can smoothly pass over the shades. Think of a water droplet. Water is a very formidable substance, and when falling from the air, water creates the most aerodynamic shape. Shades which have irregular shapes cause unnecessary disruption, which adds drag and reduces the rider's speed. The aerodynamic properties of cycling sunglasses are decided by the fitment according to the rider's face, and the shape which allows air to flow over easily or not.
Cycling is an interesting sport where many groups exist just to critique the fashion aspect of just about every garmet and accessory. Spectators lawd over gaudy garmets and oddly shaped accessories. Unsurprisingly, some riders are willing to give up the aerodynamic advantage in order to look better. However, it is possible to look good and keep the aero advantangage. First, stick with the first point by choosing shades which fit well and have a desirable shape. Next, match accent colors with the rider's typical cycling kit colors. If the majority of the rider's kit is red, black, and white, then choose corresponding shades. Most frames are already black, then choose either white or red accents.
Furthermore, in the design aspect there are some technologies to keep an eye out for, such as anti-fog. Some brands only coat the outside with anti-fog materials, which means that sweat seaping in may cause distortion on the inside of the lens. Look for brands that coat both the inside and outside of the lends for anti-fog. The next area is retention, which is typically caused by choosing a frame that is the proper size for the rider, many brands are now offering the same product in multiple sizes. In the past, riders typically had a one size fits all solution, which caused either slippage or the frames to be too tight. Along with the tightness, retention is gained through the grippers on the back of the arms on the frame.
And there you go, two areas to look for when deciding which shades to wear, for both men and women. However, what about prescription lenses?
Three. Prescription wearers.
A few brands have come up with solutions for riders that require sunglasses. Trying to not name specific brands is quite difficult, but here are some of the offerings for riders that require prescription lenses. The most popular brand, at the time of writing, offers high-end sunglasses that come with lenses that are designed to the rider's prescription specifications. The same company also offers certain frames that have an insert which is universally interchangeable between frames. Both considerations aside, the best option for riders that require prescriptions is to order directly through an opthomology-specific website, meaning a website that offers glasses. Many of the most popular glasses websites now offer a sports section which includes cycling sunglasses, that is the best area to browse for riders which require a prescription.