[Updated October 28, 2021]
While not essential a good pair of glasses can make your usual ride a whole lot more comfortable. They'll keep bugs, rain, and muck out of your eyes, and they might even make you a bit quicker down your favourite descent. Here's our pick of the top glasses we've tested.
Need to know: glasses
All glasses are designed to meet five key points, UV protection, comfort, coverage, fog resistance or clearing, and good looks. However, one pair of glasses won't work at their best for everyone with different face shapes and helmet shapes all having an effect.
With coverage and comfort arguably being the most important of the points for riding off-road, look out for big lenses, adjustable nose pieces, and extendable or adjustable arms. These will ensure a great fit and a large lens will keep your vision well covered and the muck out of your eyes.
Another point to look out for is whether or not the frames come with extra lenses. Many on the market come with an extra amber lens for dull days and a clear one mainly for eye protection at any time of the year, these are great for dark woodland. However, there are a few that are designed to run as sunglasses only so be careful before potentially dropping north of £100 on non-interchangeable sunglasses if you're after a pair for year-round use.
14 of the best glasses for mountain biking and gravel riding
Either scroll down to look at the full list or click on a link from the bullet points below to jump straight to that pair of glasses.
The Panda Optics Conquer Sunglasses are a fashionably large-lens option offering good performance and cool looks, but without the 'pro' price. Lens clarity is really good, with no distortion, and probably most importantly they stay clear on sweaty climbs. Unsurprisingly, they're also great at shielding wind on the descents.
Alba Optics Delta glasses feature a unique frame design that delivers on holding them securely to your face, whatever terrain you charge through. The lens has impressive clarity, and even though the price is just below that of some premium designers, you are getting the premium experience.
The Singletrack Glasses from Endura are well designed, comfortable and lightweight. They’re completely fog-resistant and the lenses are simple to swap – the only negative is the lack of clear lenses.
Merida’s RACE sunglasses are the epitome of ‘bang for your buck’. At first glance, they’re pretty basic and feel a little cheap, but use them and they’re really comfortable, give more than enough coverage and cope with fog exceptionally well.
The Smith Optics Wildcat cycling glasses are goggle-like mountain bike glasses that offer huge coverage, a clear lens, cool styling, and unfortunately a sky-high price. We think they are worth it though, look after these and they'll last you a lifetime.
With little to no fogging, good eye coverage and an unobstructed field of vision, Decathlon's Rockrider XC Race Photochromatic mountain bike glasses deliver a strong performance for their low price. The light-sensitive tinting works really well too, which is good – it saves you using the flimsy lens-swapping mechanism.
The Madison Code Breaker Glasses Three-Lens Pack provides a sharp-looking pair of shades with decent coverage, strong performance, and lenses for every occasion – at a wallet-friendly price. They’re not totally fog-free, however, and can be a little finicky to put together when you do swap them.
With the Crit Fototech, Tifosi Optics brings a host of cool tech to a wallet-friendly price point. They’re super comfortable, don’t move around and clear fog really quickly – however, they feel a little cheap and don’t quite provide enough coverage.
The Flywheel from Smith Optics is a retro/modern-looking pair of sunglasses featuring their own tinted ChromaPop lenses. They’re light, comfy and give excellent coverage for riding. Although downsides are few, the lens isn’t interchangeable, meaning they're only really useful for spring and summer.
With excellent coverage and custom lenses, colours and nose rubbers, the Melon Optic Alleycat is a superb pair of riding glasses. They're tough, nearly perfect at shielding you from spray and muck, and comfy – plus the Zeiss lenses are great.
The Smith Optics PivLock Asana Chromapop glasses are a ladies small face specific pair of cycling glasses for any application or discipline be it mountain biking, road riding or gravel adventures. They are extremely versatile and great quality lenses mean they last a long time even with less than careful treatment!
The Smith Optics PivLock Ruckus glasses are part of a new range of Smith mountain bike and road eyewear. They offer wide coverage, the crystal clear ChromaPop lenses and there is minimal fogging. They do come at a cost but you will get a versatile, quality pair of glasses in return.
The Adidas Evil Eye Evo Pro with Vario photochromic lenses are the brand's flagship option of the Evil Eye range. They’re ergonomically superb with large, wrap-around lenses, removable sweat bar, adjustable arms and nosepiece and hydrophobic coating. They're pricey but in my opinion worth every penny.
Looking at the Uvex website, you’d be forgiven for thinking there is a bewildering selection of glasses on offer. The ones on test here have the somewhat indecipherable name of Sportstyle 705 v, though the name belies the utility and versatility of these glasses. With their photochromic lenses, one set is suitable for any conditions.
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