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Cool Shades: Performance Sunglasses

Sunglasses are an integral equipment need for any triathlete.

Sunglasses are an integral equipment need for any triathlete – not just so you’ll look cool out on the race course or training, but to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays and any flying objects or fast-moving bugs you might encounter while biking or running. All sunglasses worth their triathletic salt will provide lots of protection, but will also be comfortable enough to wear through the longest training days. Here’s a selection of some great sunglass choices that will do all that and ensure you look your best this summer, too.

Flange ($40)

Our hot-pink Ryders Flange sunglasses were a hit with our female reviewers. Available also in black and white colour options, the duraflex frame has low-profile, high-strength pinned hinges that will be equally as stylish and comfortable for any men who want to try them out. The lenses are shatterproof, optically-correct, scratch resistant and provide 100 per cent UV protection. Add the anti-slip, hydrophilic nose pads and temple tips that get more tacky as you sweat and you have a great pair of sunglasses for training and racing .

Winner PH ($130)

Thanks to photochromic technology, you won’t have to change lenses if the light conditions change during your bike or run with the Winner PH glasses. The lenses offer anywhere from 17 to 85 per cent light transmission – in other words they work equally as well in overcast or extremely sunny conditions and will change from light brown to dark gray in just eight seconds. The Grilamid nylon frame is durable, flexible and lightweight and has anti-slip rubber inserts on the temples provide a snug, but comfortable fit for virtually any head shape. The metal nose piece is very comfortable and also offers a no-slip fit.

Impel ($220)

Designed for running, the Impel sunglasses proved to be every bit as functional on the bike, too. These super-light glasses use a sport-wrap frame design to provide maximum coverage, while also offering a surprising amount of ventilation. The Square Cut Flying Lenses use Nike Max Optics to provide precise, distortion-free viewing with an impressive amount of peripheral view. The grey lenses provided accurate colour perception and minimal reflection even in the sunniest of conditions. There’s an adjustable, ventilated nose bridge that doesn’t slip at all and allows for a customized fit. An added Nike touch are the temples that feature a waffle pattern for extra grip and comfort, too.

Split Jacket ($250)

Like so many triathletes, we loved Oakley’s new Jawbones last year with their distortion-free cushioned lens suspension system and Switchlock interchangeable lens technology. The Split Jacket is a slightly smaller version of the Jawbone but continues to offer all the features we love in a slightly smaller package. There are all the usual Oakley features that make the company’s glasses so popular for multi-sport training and racing – super-comfortable frames made with O Matter material, lenses made of Plutonite for outstanding impact protection and filter out ultraviolet light. Add to all of that Oakley’s Hydrophobic/ Oleophobic anti-smudge coating on all the lens options of the Split Jackets and you have a winning combination. Options include Transitions SolFx lenses that adapt to different light and Oakley prescription lenses.

Magster ($250 – $320)
Rudy Project

The latest performance frame from Rudy Project, the Magster, not only continues Rudy Project’s 25-year history of stylish sunglasses, but offers many technical features, too. You can use interchangeable lenses in the lightweight Magster frame, but the Impactx Photochromic Clear Lenses we reviewed were a perfect choice for slightly overcast conditions that turned sunny. The lenses darkened incredibly quickly, providing comfortable viewing in a variety of light conditions. The minimalist Crystal frame was extremely comfortable thanks to fully adjustable temple tips and nose pads for an exact, custom fit. The front emblem on the glasses even have air vents to prevent fogging. Rx adapters are available, too.

Road ARC-X Adaptalite ($220)

As the name suggests, these glasses adapt to varying light conditions (39 to 12 per cent light transmission), providing comfortable, precise and optimal viewing in a variety of light conditions. The NXT material used in the lenses is extremely light while also providing lots of protection thanks to its shatterproof qualities. While they’re specifically designed for riding, we found the lightweight stainless steel frame with its molded Megol nosepiece and ear tabs was quite comfortable for running, too.