RW Test: Sunglasses

Sports sunglasses are about more than just looking cool. It’s important to make sure you buy the pair with the right technical specification for you. We gave a thorough testing to some of the best glasses on the market right the way through the price spectrum to come up with a shortlist to suit every taste (and wallet).

TESTING CRITERIA

  • UV protection UVA rays are most common, UVB and UVC are less common but cause more damage to the eyes
  • Weight Anything above 25g is on the heavy side, anything below 20g is extremely light
  • Durability Are they likely to snap or break if dropped?
  • Fit Both on face and on top of head. When the sun goes in you may want to put your glasses on your head without them wobbling round
  • Comfort Do they sit on your face properly?
  • Glare protection Do they perform the most basic function – keeping the sun out of your eyes effectively?
  • Grip Do they stay in place, even when you get sweaty?
  • Design Let’s face it: looking cool is still important!
  • Flexibility Do they move fluidly with your face or do they feel too rigid?
  • Scratch/grease resistance These are a piece of sports equipment – can they handle the battering?

Make Tag Heuer
Model Reflex Curve
Weight 21g
Price £143-234 depending on lens/frame combination

    PROS
  • Stylish wraparound design not only looks great but ensured a snug fit on face and head at all times.
  • Rubber-coated arms gave extra grip around the temples.
  • The adjustable bridge made the fit on the nose extremely comfortable.
  • The lenses are made from Makrolon polycarbonate, which makes them pretty much unbreakable. The anti-glare coating is also impressively effective.
    CONS
  • Unless handled with care (not always possible when on the run) the frame had a tendency to become bent out of shape when being switched between wearing on face and head.
  • Price. These were the most expensive glasses we tested and, brand name notwithstanding, there was not a corresponding difference in quality between these and some of the cheaper models.
Contact www.tagheuer.com/sportvision


Make Blue Fish
Model Artemis
Weight 21g
Price £28

    PROS
  • Original, stylish design that will appeal to those who are not fans of wrap-around sunglasses.
  • Non-slip temple grips and nose pads, which ensured the glasses stayed firmly in place while running.
  • 100 per cent UVA/UVB protection.
  • Cheaper sunglasses sometimes provide inadequate glare protection, but the high-quality polarised lenses ensured that the protection was excellent.
  • Lightweight polycarbonate frame, which is a lot more durable than it looks.
  • Choice of four coloured lenses.
    CONS
  • The join between arm and the frame stuck out a bit too far, making the glasses a bit more bulky than they needed to be.
  • They had a slightly inflexible, pressurised fit on the face, but this was only noticeable on runs of 45 minutes or more.
Contact www.sport-spex.com


Make adidas
Model Adilibria Shield
Weight 21g
Price £110

    PROS
  • These sunglasses offered a really snug but comfortable fit. They come in two different sizes, and the flex zones across the lenses allowed the glasses to stretch and fit to the wearer’s face.
  • The arms are made from a compound called SPX, which made them light and extremely durable.
  • The UV-resistant lenses are shatterproof and scratch resistant.
  • The stylish, original rimless design of these sunglasses ensured an excellent field of vision all the way around the glasses and helped to minimise the risk of tripping on any unseen kerbs.
    CONS
  • They weren’t as close a fit on the head as they were on the face and sometimes fell forward if the head was jerked suddenly.
  • The nose pads felt inflexible and they pinched too much on the nose.

Contact www.adidas.com/eyewear


Make Oakley
Model Radar
Weight 28g
Price £120

    PROS
  • The most impressive thing about these glasses was the hydrophobic coating on them, which prevented rain and sweat from building up on the lens and created a barrier against dirt and liquid. Thanks to this coating, the glasses also repelled skin oils, and were smudge resistant, which meant our tester did not have to worry about stopping to clean them on a long run, even when switching between wearing them on the face and head.
  • Available with a choice of lenses and nose grips so they can be customised according to requirements.
  • The polarised lenses provided excellent anti-glare protection in bright sunlight.
    CONS
  • The rubberised temple grips ensured a secure fit, but they dug into the side of the head a little.
  • The chunky design makes them slightly bulky, and quite heavy..

Contact www.oakley.com


Make Sundog
Model Track
Weight 25g
Price £60

    PROS
  • They come ready supplied with three separate types of lenses for different conditions.
  • The frame is constructed from Rilsan, a lightweight and flexible compound, which makes for a very comfortable, pressure-free experience.
  • These offered the most comprehensive UV protection, providing 100 per cent UVA, UVB and UVC protection.
  • The protective coating on the lenses helps protect against abrasions – and proved itself when these were accidentally dropped at high speed by the tester.
    CONS
  • The nose bridge is a little too wide for the size of the glasses, even with the adjustable grips.
  • The glasses moved around slightly on the face.
  • The lenses smeared up after being worn on the head.

Contact www.sundogeyewear.co.uk


Make Silhouette
Model IQ POL (Model number 81036150)
Weight 10g
Price £140
    PROS
  • 100 per cent UVA protection.
  • They offered better-than-average glare protection.
  • The lightest of all the glasses we tested by some distance, which will appeal to competitive runners looking to lose every possible ounce of weight.
  • The super-thin hyperflex titanium arms and curving design provided a featherlight, wrap-around fit that you can barely feel on your face.
    CONS
  • These sunglasses fogged up rather easily after only about 25 minutes of running.
  • Although they fit well on the face, they were prone to slipping forward when on your head, especially when hit by a gust of wind.
  • Because the arms are so thin, readjusting the glasses on the run required grabbing at the rimless lenses, which can lead to smearing.

Contact www.silhouette.com


Make Infield Sportline
Model Endor Sport
Weight 23g
Price £32

    PROS
  • Choice of 13 lens colours.
  • Minimalist, lightweight design made them very comfortable to wear.
  • Excellent anti-glare capabilities. The tester was able to comfortably look directly into the sun.
  • Superb anti-fog coating, which prevented glasses from misting up even when the tester was really hot and sweaty.
  • Excellent no-pressure grip on face and head.
  • Durable frames and tough anti-scratch lenses, which have been certified to withstand the impact of a ball bearing fired at 85mph.
    CONS
  • The lens marking serial number, normally printed on the arm of glasses, was imprinted at the top of each lens. It was visible at the top of the tester’s vision and became mildly annoying over a period of time.

Contact www.infield-safety.co.uk


Make Sinner
Model Alpha
Weight 22g
Price £35

    PROS
  • They have 100 per cent UVA and UVB protection.
  • They come with a choice of three interchangeable lenses in different colours to suit individual taste.
  • The rubberised anti-slip temple tips held the sunglasses in place without pulling on the hair or gripping too hard.
  • These were extremely easy to push up on to the head without any faffing or readjusting and, once there, they stayed put and didn’t budge.
  • A large lens size and curvature provided great all-round anti-glare protection from the sun, which covered the tester’s whole field of vision.
    CONS
  • The joints between the arms and the frame seemed slightly flimsy.
  • Although the nose pads were anti-slip and adjustable, they were uncomfortable on the nose.

Contact www.sinner.eu (Customer Service: 01886 880 929)