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Best Cycling Sunglasses: How to Find the Most Functional Shades

  • by: Adelaide City Optometrist
  • January 27, 2022

,,With the Santos Tour Down Under occurring this month, we thought it was the perfect time to discuss Smith’s cycling sunglasses. So what makes certain sunglasses more optimal for riding? Read this blog post to find out!


Ultimately, you don’t want to be uncomfortable with your glasses, no matter what you are wearing them for. If you are wearing them for a sport such as cycling, which can involve strenuous exercise and movement, these glasses need to stay secure to your head without being too tight or causing distraction.

Smith Optics have designed sports performance cycling sunglasses which range from a fully wrapped design to the slight curve of the temples and front, to give the flexibility of choice depending on the riders preference and/or sport level.

There are three Smith models that we would recommend for sport related activities (will depend on sport with which pair you wear)


Smith Pathway

‘Fresh from the bag or splattered with mud, the Smith Pathway is ready to take on unvetted bike routes and gruelling trail runs. These athletic sunglasses keep your look casual but offer performance advantages with color enhancing ChromaPop™ lenses and a lens coating that repels wet weather, grit, and grime. The lightweight frames stay in place and won’t slide forward thanks to anti-slip nose pads and temples.’ – Smith Optics



Smith Ruckus

‘Ready for the trail, road or CX course, our Smith Ruckus sunglasses are made for all-day comfort with thin, no-slip temples that are designed to work with your helmet. The raised-brow design with two interchangeable ChromaPop lenses gives you great peripheral vision in the riding position and adds enhance color and detail to your view.’ – Smith Optics




Smith Parallel Max 2


‘Trail or road. On foot or by bike. The Smith Parallel Max 2 sunglasses serve up a lightweight, minimalist feel with a wraparound fit and maximum airflow for running, hiking, and all types of riding. Easy-to-wear-fit, they come with a second lens, which enhances your vision in low-light conditions. Interchangeable lenses let you match the light conditions.’ – Smith Optics


Unlike a lot of brands, Smith features styles of frames with different base curves. What is a base curve you ask? A base curve is the radius of the sphere measured from the back of the lens. Smith offers 6,8 and 9 base lens curvature. Models that include 6 base tend to sit flat relative to the face, whereas those with a 9 provide the maximum amount of wrap around your face. This would block out the most light and discomfort from changing environments.

Base curve

Select frames also have adjustable nose pads to fit with your nose and to keep the frame where it needs to sit (whilst providing sufficient air flow for fog-free vision)

The Smith frames are durable and made with Grilamid TR90, which is a plastic that will maintain its shape under all temperature conditions. Also, the frames are designed with auto-lock hinges which hold frames open for easy one-hand on and off.


Lenses play a large part in how a pair of sunglasses will work for you. Depending on the material and colour it will enhance your field of vision and ability to play or it will be detrimental.

The eye’s retina has trouble perceiving the difference between blue and green, and red and green light. ChromaPop filters these specific crossovers, allowing greater definition, natural colour, and clarity. If you choose one of the frames mentioned earlier that has a wraparound lens, you will have clarity in your peripheral vision as well which is highly useful in cycling.


ChromaPop lenses


Unfortunately if you require prescription sunglasses, the wrap-around ones lenses don’t have that option. However, the pathway frame is able to have a prescription.

The Ruckus frame not only has different lens options, but the frame is designed to have interchangeable lenses. This means you can have different colours for different sports, terrains, or weather conditions. This is a great option as it is like you have 2 or 3 frames in 1.



Smith Optics strive to reduce the impact of single use plastics by creating ‘durable, repairable and upgradable’ products made from recycled and recyclable materials.

All lenses have UV protection and you there is an option to select photochromic lenses. Photochromic lenses have been proven to be more comfortable and improve performance when playing a variety of sports. The lenses will alter depending on environmental changes (clouds, sun, indoors) which is convenient for the wearer.

If you decide to purchase a pair of cycling sunglasses, it will enhance visual clarity and performance. Check out our range of Smith frames in-store and keep an eye out for some fresh models.