10 Sunglasses to Protect Your Eyes On and Off the Saddle

10 Sunglasses to Protect Your Eyes On and Off the Saddle

Many modern motorcycle helmets come with sun visors, polarized visor coatings, and other features to protect your eyes on the road—but not all of them. With older or open-faced helmets, in particular, a good pair of sunglasses is an indispensable riding accessory.

Stylish as they might be, though, James Dean’s thick-rimmed sunglasses aren’t ideal for motorcycling. You need to choose your glasses carefully to get maximum comfort and protection.

Here are 10 sunglasses to keep the sun from blinding you, both during and after the ride.

How to Pick the Best Sunglasses for Motorcycle Riding?

When you’re off the saddle, choosing sunglasses is easy—just pick whatever style revs your engine. You have to put in more thought when buying glasses to wear during riding, however.

Even open-faced and half helmets can be very tight and make wearing regular sunglasses (or eyeglasses) uncomfortable. If you plan to wear glasses under your helmet, go for models that have:

  • Slim profile
  • Light weight
  • Flexible frame
  • Straight arms
  • Soft, thin nose pads
  • Head strap

These features help the glasses fit well inside your helmet, reduce pressure points, and keep the sunglasses from sliding down your nose while riding.

If you plan to regularly wear sunglasses on your motorcycle, it may also be worth investing in a helmet with a built-in eyeglass/sunglass groove to accommodate the arms.

Bobster Photochromic Roadmaster

If you’re looking for versatility, the Bobmaster Roadmaster sunglasses serve it up in spades. You can detach and replace the arms with a head strap to essentially turn the glasses into goggles.

The biggest flexible element, however, is the claimed photochromic lenses. They lighten and darken based on the prevailing UV light levels, offering the right amount of protection throughout the day.

In practice, though, the photochromic effect is fairly weak and you shouldn’t wear these glasses at night. In fact, even the manufacturer recommends taking the glasses off in the dark.

The final adjustable part is the padding. The foam isn’t the softest in the world but it helps keep the glasses comfortable during long rides. With a modern style and a reasonable price tag, the Roadmasters are a good addition to your saddlebags.

ZANheadgear Florida

Sometimes you have to go back to the basics. ZANheadgear Florida is an affordable pair of basic sunglasses that looks good during and after the ride.

The reasonably flexible plastic frame can sport smoked or yellow shatter-resistant polycarbonate lenses, so you have a couple of color options. There’s very little curve to the arms which helps keep them from digging into your ears under the helmet.

With their slim, sporty profile, the Florida glasses should fit well behind most visors. They might even be a bit too flat if you have particularly luscious lashes.

For their price, the ZANheadgear Florida sunglasses offer a good balance of style and functionality.

509 Riverside

The 509 Riverside sunglasses go well with your retro cafe racer or cruiser. The two available colors include tortoiseshell with orange lenses and clear with purplish lenses. Both versions are polarized.

With straight arms and a light, flexible plastic frame, the Riverside glasses slot well into a helmet with a glass channel. In tighter helmets, though, the fairly wide frame may become tight.

That said, these sunglasses surely don’t lack style. If you’re looking for that classic style, the 590 Riverside glasses are a good option for shielding your eyes after the ride.

ZANheadgear NVS

Many manufacturers make sunglasses in the ever-popular Wayfarer style. If you’re searching for a pair of sunglasses with this classic look and a low price tag, Zanheadgear NVS glasses are right up your alley.

With the Wayfarer look, they are wider than more sporty glasses, such as the Zanheadgear Florida. Yet, the plastic frame is thin enough that wearing the NVS sunglasses under your helmet is surprisingly comfortable.

Although the frame style may be classic, the color options (gloss black with orange lenses, metal gray with blue lenses, and white with gray lenses) are decidedly modern. The shatter-resistant lenses are UV-protected but have no polarization. They won’t reduce glare, but at the same time, they won’t interfere with LCD screen visibility.

ZANheadgear NVS is a stylish and functional choice for riders who want Wayfarer-type glasses that can still fit under their helmets.

Bilt S2

Some riders refuse to compromise with their gear. The Bilt S2 sunglasses—built specifically for motorcycle riders—are tailor-made for such a demanding rider.

The polycarbonate frame is sturdy and durable, but it has just enough flexibility to comfortably slide into your helmet. With straight arms, the glasses won’t press into your ears, further enhancing comfort on long rides.

EVA foam around the lenses keeps the S2 glasses cushioned against your face while simultaneously forming a seal to keep debris and rogue bugs away from your eyes. The clear lenses have a UV-protective coating and they do a decent job at eliminating glare.

As a cherry on top, these sunglasses have an aggressive style that screams speed. Like a good sportbike, the Bilt S2 just looks fast.

Bobster Road Hog II

They’re sunglasses! No, they’re goggles! Actually, the Bobster Road Hog II is both.

With a quick and straightforward snap-fit design, you can easily swap the slightly curving arms for a head strap, like with Bobster’s Roadmaster. Attach the removable foam inserts, and the sunglasses have suddenly turned into close-fitting goggles.

But that’s not where the modularity ends. In the package are also four pairs of swappable UV-protected lenses in anti-fog smoked, amber, clear, and dual-grade reflective styles.

The compact frame fits well inside most helmets. In fact, they’re so compact that riders with larger or wider skulls may find them tight. I also wish the nosepiece was softer than it is.

Nonetheless, the Bobster Road Hog II is a great and versatile sunglasses/goggles combo for narrow-faced riders.

Spy Logan

Spy Logan sounds like the main character of an ‘80s action movie that was never made. If he existed, though, his namesake sunglasses would be a perfect fit for Mr. Logan.

The highlight of these sunglasses is Spy’s Happy Lens technology. The lenses are designed to improve color and contrast when you look through them while blocking harmful rays.

You can wear the glasses comfortably in your helmet due to the slim and durable frame. Despite not having much padding, the Logan sunglasses cause little strain even when worn over longer periods.

Multiple available color options allow you to match the glasses to your bike and riding garb. But whichever color you choose, the unassuming but modern design makes you feel like a moto-riding secret agent.

Bobster Paragon

Bobster makes one more appearance on my list. Unlike the previous sunglass/goggle combos, however, the Paragon is a pair of traditional sunglasses.

Well, purpose-wise at least. When it comes to style, the Paragon represents an ultra-modern, athletic approach with its wide single-lens design. The lens features UV protection and has been treated to intensify the good light rays and enhance color perception.

The polycarbonate frame is rubberized to make it softer and less slippery against your skin. It’s fairly robust, but should still fit well inside a helmet.

With three sporty color options, these sunglasses will attract attention. Just remember to be careful when taking them on or off—the big lens collects scratches more readily than traditional ones.

Oakley RPM Squared Women's

All the glasses on my list suit both male and female riders, but here’s something specifically for the ladies. The Oakley RPM Squared is a pair of lightweight yet durable sunglasses designed to suit slimmer faces.

The frame is fairly snug but not uncomfortably so. It stays put on your face and slips effortlessly into a motorcycle helmet without pressing against your head.

The lenses are polarized and reduce glare effectively (although they may cause some issues with LCD bike displays). They’re also much more reflective than you might think based on online pictures.

If I had to dig for a downside, the nose pads feel somewhat flimsy and I could see them coming off in the long run. Overall, however, the Oakley RPM Squared sunglasses are well worth their price for a riding woman.

100% Speedcraft SL

The 100% Speedcraft SL sunglasses are aptly named. This ultra-modern pair of glasses simply looks like it's ready to take off at 100 mph.

Like the Bobster Paragon glasses, the Speedcraft features a wide, single-less design. It eliminates blind spots caused by the frame, allowing for a wide, unobstructed field of vision through the UV-protective lens.

The nosepiece and straight arms feature an anti-slip Megol rubber coating. Combined with the wrap-around design, you won’t have to worry about these glasses slipping or sliding even when bouncing around on the bumpiest off-road trails.

If you manage to scratch the big lens, don’t worry — separately available replacement lenses allow you to swap it out. 100% also offers alternative lenses for varying lighting conditions. The Speedcraft SL sunglasses are fairly pricey, but if you want to maximize visibility and fit, they’re worth every penny.

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