Best sports glasses review 2015
From dreary rain to (occasional) bursts of bright sunlight, flying insects and worse, your peepers must endure a lot over the course of a year’s training and racing.
Step forward the modern sports glasses – light, tough and comfortable, the best ones do an admirable job of protecting your eyes without causing discomfort or breaking the bank, and might even look stylish to boot.
We take a look at four of this year’s best…
Lazer Solid State S1
Price: £49 from www.madison.co.uk
This offering from Lazer is great value for money, as you get three pairs of lenses included inside the hard case all for under 50 quid. It’s worth nothing that the dark lenses are very Star Trek-esque, though, so consider whether the loud colour scheme matches your personality before purchasing!
The frames do look a little crude and cheap at first glance, yet they’re surprisingly comfortable to wear and the fit is as good as any of the more expensive options on the market.
The multicoloured lenses did the job in bright sunlight, while the yellow and clear options didn’t fog and kept the stones and bugs out of our eyes adequately.
Overall, we actually found the fit better than many top-end performance sunglasses… and at half the price.
Verdict: More comfortable than they look and great value, but not for the introverted! 84%
Smith Optics Pivlock V2 Max
Price: £120 from www.saddleback.co.uk
Smith Optics are a US brand specialising in high-end eyewear, and the Pivlock V2 Max sunglasses – complete with three lens options – are certainly at the luxury end of the market. These shades sure do look the part, too, though the design might not be for the shy and nondescript.
One gripe is that the system for changing lenses is a bit fiddly compared to other high-end glasses – you have to grab hold of the lens and yank it out, which can leave marks, and the frame feels a little delicate for so much adjusting.
The nosepiece is also changeable, but this is a much simpler affair, plus it’s very comfortable and well-moulded. Peripheral vision is great, yet the glasses don’t seem to fully wrap around narrow faces. But if you find the fit spot on, then they’re some of the best on the market for lens quality and comfort.
Verdict: Expensive and filly lens changes, but great vision, quality and comfort, 88%
Tifosi Podium XC
Price: £69 from www.zyro.co.uk
Tifosi have been around since 2003 and are major players in the performance optics market. Their latest effort includes their patented ‘Fototec’ lenses, providing protection for between 27-75% light transmission (the lenses change colour according to the light).
In overcast conditions to mild sunshine they perform well, with a welcomed addition of flexible arms to mould them around your head. The problem arises when using in very bright sunlight. We found ourselves squinting a lot, and compared to a different pair of shades with smoke lenses it was no contest in the latter’s favour.
They also feel too far from the face – on our trail running route the occasional bug even made it through underneath the lenses. They’re fine for low light, but you might also want to purchase a spare pair with dark lenses.
Verdict: Fairly priced, but we’re not convinced by the do-it-all lenses, 74%
Price: £44 from www.madison.co.uk
Madison’s Mission shades are also sold with three sets of lenses for £69.99, but we tested the dark lens version (you can buy additional lenses for low light as the lens system is interchangeable).
The Missions come with a soft pouch and no hard case (which is usually standard with performance sunglasses), yet this minor niggle is cancelled out by the excellent fit – they wrap around nicely and feel weightless on your face.
Underneath a helmet there’s no movement or discomfort near the temples, and the very flexible rubber nosepiece is comfortable and well-fitting.
Disappointingly on the run, however, we experienced a fair bit of fogging, so they’re perhaps best suited to cycling. In bright sunlight we weren’t squinting at all, and the overall peeper protection is high quality for the money.
Verdict: No nonsense shades for sunny days – shame about the fogginess though, 79%
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