It’s possible to spend a lot of money on cycling sunglasses if you want to, but as this guide proves, you really don’t need to. We’ve picked out a range of cycling sunglasses priced from just £3.99 up to £45.
While big-name cycling sunglasses come with three-figure price tags, you can get very good glasses for as little as four quid
Look for brands like Tifosi, Lazer, Decathlon's Rockrider, Wiggle's dhb marque, Endura and Northwave for value-for-money eyewear
Sets that include multiple lenses make for versatility to cope with all light conditions
Lenses that react to changing light conditions are rare on cheap cycling sunglasses, but we've found one good example
Not very long ago inexpensive cycling glasses were best avoided, with poor optical quality and designs that made you look like an extra from a bad low-budget sci-fi film.
Those days are gone. Eyewear manufacturers have raised their game for both quality and style, and enforcement of standards means you can rely on even cheap cycling glasses to protect your eyes from potentially damaging ultra-violet.
Madison's Stealth glasses are brilliant riding shades at an exceptional price. The frameless design gives an almost uninterrupted field of view, while the bronze mirror lens is lovely to look through on overcast to bright days.
If you're after a great set of sunglasses that don't cost a fortune, these are an excellent choice. They provide great coverage, stay secure on your face, are comfortable on long rides and have excellent lenses.
The bronze mirror lens is lovely to use (blue or silver mirror options are available too). Vision is good in lightly overcast and bright conditions with the (many) road imperfections easy to pick out from a good distance.
There's also the option to fit Madison's £4.99 RX insert if you need prescription lenses.
The dhb Photochromatic Half Frame Sunglasses offer decent performance in a variety of conditions without looking obviously technical or breaking the bank. I am also pleased to report that I found them very comfortable worn for long periods.
The photochromatic technology works very well for the most part: they react better to subtle changes in light than sudden and extreme changes such as harsh morning/evening sun, and though they're not as quick-reacting as much more expensive models, I wouldn't consider it a deal-breaker considering their price.
Around dusk, they handle the steady, incremental darkness surprisingly well and they've never given a misleading view of surfaces, or conditions ahead – optical clarity has remained consistently good. To date, I've not needed to remove them in very low light.
If they ever come back into stock, Decathlon's Rockrider photochromic glasses are also worth a look.
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.
Swapping the Code Breakers' lenses is simple thanks to its twist lock system. A swiveling lock at the center of the upper frame turns and, with the arms at 45 degree angles, the lens and lower frame falls away. Then it’s just a case of bending the lower section to unclip it from the lens.
Galibier's Surveillance Precision Optics cycling sunglasses provide excellent all-round vision. They're light, very comfortable to wear, and an excellent price for the quality.
We tested two options, with Smoke Plasma Mirror lens and with Gold Plasma Lens. The smoke lens delivers true colour rendition, while the gold lens has a coating to increase contrast and battle glare. Both work superbly with no distortion and really clear optics.
Tifosi's Swick cycling sunglasses work well on the bike, but aren't so bike-specific that they look odd off it. If you want for mixed use, they're a good choice.
They've got that classic look thanks to their large square lenses and they don't really wrap round your face like sportier cycling sunglasses but they're still good for riding in. The lens is dark enough for sunny days and the optics are good.
Tifosi is known for good-quality cycling sunglasses at very sensible prices, and these single-lens glasses fit the bill. Users report the vented lenses of these well-made sunnies do a good job of stopping them from fogging, and they're comfortable too. This version comes with three lenses so they're useful all year.
For a mere four quid, it's hard to see how you can go wrong with these bargain cycling glasses from sports superstore chain Decathlon. And it turns out they're really good: light and comfortable as well as costing less than a coffee and slice of cake. If you can put up with the inevitable 'safety glasses, aren't they?' jibes, you're quids in over the eye-candy brigade.
At just over a tenner, it's hard to see how you can go wrong with these smoke-tinted eye shields, and they're well-regarded by plenty of happy CRC purchasers.
Best known for its helmets, Belgian company Lazer produces a wide range of glasses and these Xenon X1 glasses feature a Grilamid TR-90 full frame design with Ultragrip nosepiece and temples to stop them slipping. They weigh just 28g so you barely notice them, and they look different to most of the other sunglasses in this guide.
A really popular model, the D’Arcs sunglasses have a classic half-frame wraparound design. They're supplied with three lenses to suit different conditions, using a single lens design for maximum protection. The frame is coated with a rubberised material to provide a comfortable non-slip fit.
Scottish clothing company Endura offers a large range of cycling sunglasses, these are very traditional wraparound style glasses. The frame is made is lightweight and the vented nosepiece boosts comfort. Endura includes three UV lenses to suit different light conditions
These lightweight glasses offer good eye protection and you get a choice of clear, orange and darker reflective lenses so they're suitable for a variety of light conditions. They come in a good protective case that is filled with foam to keep your glasses safe when you're not wearing them. You also get a carry bag and two extra sets of lenses.
These Euro-styled glasses are light and offer good three-lens value, but they're possibly just for Bianchi lovers. The frames of the Falcos are made from Grilamid TR90, and the have a narrow wrap-around shape that sits close to the face. All of the lenses offer 100% UV protection and optical quality is good.
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David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.