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Published Sep. 1, 2021

How do you protect your eyes while riding? If you wear a full-face helmet, then your face shield does the work. But what if you don’t wear a helmet that has a protective shield? Then you need a pair of motorcycle sunglasses. 

These aren’t just any sunglasses. They are designed with special frames, UV protection, polarization, and tinting. These features provide increased protection and functionality. So, check out the following sunglasses and choose a pair for your next ride.

Protect your eyes with these polycarbonate plastic lens sunglasses. Choose from either clear or dark smoke lenses. Each lens has closed-cell foam to create a sealed eyeport around each eye. This gives you extra protection from dust, dirt, bugs, and debris. There are rubber temple tips for extra comfort. The lens provides 100 percent UV protection and is shatter-resistant. The slender design of the frame helps to give these lenses universal helmet compatibility.

Unfortunately, you have to buy both pairs if you want eye protection while riding during the day and night. Neither pair is going to be safe to wear during its unintended time of day. The foam can also trap air, causing the lens to fog.

Key Features
  • Polycarbonate lenses
  • Plastic frames
  • Closed-cell foam eyeport surrounds
  • Rubber temple tips
Specifications
  • Brand Zan Headgear
  • Model Hawaii
  • Weight N/A
PROS

100 percent UV protection

Shatter-resistant

Small-sized frame

CONS

Clear lenses don’t block the sun

Dark smoke lens is too dark for night

Eyecups can fog

Slip these slim sunglasses on your face and have eye protection during the day and night. Their frameless design helps them to fit inside any helmet and reduce the amount of bulk on your face. They are made from shatter-resistant polycarbonate. There are several color options to choose from. Choose from amber frames with black accenting or smoke frames with red or blue accenting. The lens is a single wrap-around design and is lined with closed-cell foam. They also provide 100 percent UVA/UVB sun protection.

Unfortunately, the smoked lenses could be darker and may leave some people squinting. The temple tips are tight and can squeeze your head behind your ears. Also, the foam lining doesn’t sit against your face and can leak air at the corners.

Key Features
  • Frameless construction
  • One-piece lenses
  • Shatter-resistant polycarbonate
  • 100 percent UVA/UVB light protection
Specifications
  • Brand Bobster Eyewear
  • Model Shield II
  • Weight N/A
PROS

Wrap-around design

Lined with closed-cell foam

Frame color options

CONS

Don’t fit snug to your eyes

Temple tips squeeze your head

The lens could be darker

These sunglasses feature the iconic Harley-Davidson shield logo on the sides. Both the frame and the lenses are made from plastic, and each pair comes with a hard case for storage and a cleaning cloth.

Harley is known for producing well-made and durable motorcycle products. These glasses are no different. You can depend on these glasses to stick with you and perform to your expectations. If you wear prescription glasses, you can have the plastic lenses taken out and prescription lenses put in. This will enable you to wear them instead of your regular glasses.

Key Features
  • Plastic frame
  • Plastic lens
  • Hard case and cleaning cloth included
  • Black frame
Specifications
  • Brand Harley Davidson
  • Model B00HTT7FG2
  • Weight 1 pound
PROS

Well-made

Prescription lens compatible

From a trusted company

CONS

Non-polarized

Expensive

No obvious UV protection

Enjoy wider peripheral vision with this pair of wrap-around sunglasses. They are made from high impact-resistant and lightweight polycarbonate. The lenses are interchangeable, making it easy to transition from day to night. Feel protected with the 100 percent UV 400 protection. These sunglasses stand out because they have a hydrolio treatment that repels dirt, oil, and water. Another unique feature are the air scoops to increase ventilation and reduce fogging. Thanks to the ultra-grip TPE rubber nose and tips grips, you’ll appreciate how well the sunglasses stay in place.

Unfortunately, the airflow vents are located on the front, allowing dust and micro debris in, which could get in your eyes. There is also no cushioning to seal the top, bottom, or sides of the glasses. The wide design can be incompatible with some helmets.

Key Features
  • Single-lens
  • 100 percent UV protection
  • Hydroilo lens treatment
  • High impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses
Specifications
  • Brand 100%
  • Model Speedtrap
  • Weight N/A
PROS

Increase peripheral vision

Follows the contours of your face

Cooling vents

CONS

Wider width can conflict with some helmets

No eye cup cushioning

Vents on front

Look good and easily see where you’re going while wearing these 1980s-inspired sunglasses. They come in a wide range of colors and designs, letting you express your personal style. Their durability makes them stand out with frames constructed of high-quality propionate, five-barrel hinges, and six-base polycarbonate ARC lenses. The lenses are protective and deliver 100 percent UV protection. Know whether or not they’ll fit with the provided measurements of a 17-millimeter bridge, 145-millimeter temple length, and 57-millimeter lens width. You’ll like that you can wear these sunglasses both on and off the bike. The retro styling and color-contrasting lenses help you to stand out from the crowd.

Unfortunately, these sunglasses may have a bulky fit in some helmets. They also don’t have foam lining or rubberized touchpoints.

Key Features
  • High-quality propionate
  • Sturdy five-barrel hinges
  • Six-base polycarbonate ARC lenses
  • 100 percent UV protection
Specifications
  • Brand Spy Optics
  • Model Discord
  • Weight N/A
PROS

1980s-inspired design

Color contrast lenses

Wear on and off the bike

CONS

No foam lining

No rubberized pieces

Bulky fit

Secure these sunglasses to your head with molded frames and an adjustable head strap, and ride with confidence. You can also wear them without the strap like a regular pair of sunglasses. The frame and lenses are made from shatter-resistant polycarbonate, making them durable and safe. You get three pairs of lenses that are easily interchangeable. The lenses have an anti-fog coating and are 100 percent UV-protective. You’ll appreciate the soft belt case that comes with the sunglasses to prevent damage and scratching when not in use.

Unfortunately, the head strap can be uncomfortable and not compatible with your helmet. Thankfully, you don’t have to use it. The lenses also tend to fog because they are so well-sealed around your eyes. The solid construction of the frame slightly limits your peripheral vision.

Key Features
  • Shatter-resistant polycarbonate
  • Three polycarbonate lenses
  • Anti-fog coating
  • 100 percent UV protection
Specifications
  • Brand Bobster Eyewear
  • Model Spektrax
  • Weight N/A
PROS

Easy to change lenses

Soft belt case

Adjustable strap

CONS

Slightly small size

Lens can fog

Peripheral vision reduced

Best Motorcycle Sunglasses Buying Guide & FAQs

If you wear a full-face helmet, you already have a shield that protects your face from the wind and road debris. But if you don’t, it’s your face that’s cutting through the air as you ride. Or perhaps you have a full-face helmet, but that tinted or mirrored face shield is a nightmare to see through at night. Then there are the days when it’s just too hot to have the face shield down and closed. Having the right pair of sunglasses can make your ride more enjoyable and safer. If you’re struggling to see, you’ll spend more time focused on that and less time paying attention to the road and other vehicles. 

Buying motorcycle sunglasses isn’t the same as buying a fashion pair—you need looks, comfort, and safety. Your sunglasses need to be so comfortable that you forget you’re wearing them. They also need to look good, so that you actually want to wear them. Finally, they need safety features, such as anti-fog, impact or shatter resistance, and UV protection. 

Why You Need Motorcycle Sunglasses

man in black wearing best motorcycle sunglasses
Anti-Fog Coatings make motorcycle sunglasses more functional than regular sunglasses.

The most important reason for wearing motorcycle sunglasses is the protection they provide your eyes. First, UV rays are harmful. Wearing protective sunglasses filters these harmful rays out.

Second, wearing sunglasses specifically designed for motorcycle riding have additional protections. They have foam that seals them around your eyes. This prevents wind, dirt, bugs, and debris from getting into them.

Lastly, many states require that you wear protection over your eyes while riding. You can adhere to this law by wearing a full-face helmet. But what if you don’t find these helmets comfortable? That’s when motorcycle sunglasses come in handy. You can pair them with an open-face helmet and be in compliance with the law. 

Wearing motorcycle sunglasses also lets you express your personal style. You can look mysterious and cool behind your mirror-tinted lenses. Or you could rock a pair of retro-inspired goggles. 

  • Protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.
  • Create a barrier around your eyes from wind and road debris. 
  • Have the freedom to wear the helmet you want. 
  • Create your own cool moto style. 

Types of Motorcycle Sunglasses

When choosing motorcycle sunglasses to wear while you ride, there are a few different types to choose from. You need to think about your personal and riding style. This will help direct you towards a set of frames that you like. 

Once you have a frame style down, you need to focus on the lenses. It’s important to look for lenses that are both protective and safe to wear while riding. 

Goggles

Motorcycle goggles take sunglasses to a whole new level. If you get the right fit, there’s no way air will get in and cause your eyes to water. You can’t say that about sunglasses, even ones with foam. You can achieve a wider field of vision and more face coverage with goggles. 

There are a few different styles of goggles to choose from: regular, over the glasses, vintage, and photochromic. You also should consider whether they have an adjustable strap that goes under or over your helmet. This can affect the fitment to your face and change how your helmet fits on your head. 

Polycarbonate Lenses

Polycarbonate lenses and frames are more protective and 100 times more impact-resistant than plastic or glass. They are more comfortable to wear for long rides as they’re incredibly lightweight. Lenses made out of polycarbonate are not polarized. If you tend to be rougher on your sunglasses, then consider a set of polycarbonate as they’ll easily withstand abuse and are shatterproof. 

For the lightest sunglasses, look for a pair that is entirely polycarbonate. This includes both the frame and lenses. These will be the lightest sunglasses you can find. Though there are polycarbonate lenses paired with a variety of frame materials, such as metal. 

Clear and Colored Lenses 

Some motorcycle sunglasses come with interchangeable lenses or as a set of multiple pairs of glasses. These kits typically include a set of clear, yellow, and tinted lenses. This provides greater functionality. 

Clear lenses work great if you move from a sunny day to a dark or heavily shadowed area. Yellow lenses filter out blue light. This makes them ideal for cloudy and overcast days or riding at night. They reduce glare but maintain clarity.

Sunglasses with brown lenses give you the most contrast. You are able to see the details of the road better. 

Polarized Lenses

Polarized lenses have a special coating to cut down the glare that can occur when light reflects off of flat surfaces. The reduced glare makes them more comfortable when riding and reduces the stress on your eyes. You’ll notice it when looking at the road and other vehicles. You may also notice a bit of color distortion while wearing polarized lenses. 

When looking at sunglasses with polarized lenses, a darker color doesn’t automatically mean more protection for your eyes. Look for sunglasses that say 100-percent UV protection instead. The polarization isn’t what blocks the UV; this is a separate feature. 

What to Consider When Buying Motorcycle Sunglasses

Choosing the right pair of motorcycle sunglasses is about more than just finding a pair that looks cool. While we all want glasses that look great and fit our personal style, they also need to be functional, safe, and protective. Consider the following features when shopping for a pair of sunglasses. 

Frame Style 

As with fashion sunglasses, motorcycle sunglasses come in a wide variety of frame styles. The one that you choose will depend on the fit of your helmet and your personal taste. Full-face helmets are harder to fit because they have limited space. The frame’s arms need to be slim enough to fit on the side of your head. Then the lenses need to fit in the face opening. Look for a pair that has a slim frame and tapered lenses for the best fit. If you don’t wear a half helmet, you have more freedom because you have more space on your face and head. You could wear a pair of goggles that give you more protection.

UV Protection

Exposing your eyes to harsh sunlight for long periods of time can cause damage. It can also cause eye strain and fatigue. These factors hinder your ability to see and make riding more dangerous.

Look for lenses that have a UV rating of at least 400. This means they provide 100-percent protection from harmful ultraviolet rays. The number indicates that the sunglasses will protect you from light waves of that length and below. If you see a number that is lower, then it isn’t protecting you from both UVB and UVA light.

Some sunglasses have a UV 320 rating. This means that they only protect you from UVB rays as they are between 290 and 320. UVA rays are 320 to 400 nanometers long. 

Anti-Fog Coatings

This feature makes motorcycle sunglasses more functional than regular sunglasses. An anti-fogging element prevents your sunglasses from completely fogging up while you’re riding in colder conditions. If you’ve ever experienced fogging, you know that your view of the road can quickly become completely blocked. 

An anti-fog feature isn’t standard on all motorcycle sunglasses. It’s a special coating that you need to look for when comparing different glasses. Keep in mind that this coating is difficult to combine with other coatings, so you may end up having to choose between this and other features. 

Wind Protection

Blocking the wind from hitting your eyes prevents your eyes from watering while you’re riding. Motorcycle sunglasses do this in one of two ways. The first is with closed or open cell foam around the eyecups. This creates a seal and totally blocks the wind. Unfortunately, it also creates a fogging situation. Look for venting or an anti-fog coating to prevent this. The other method for blocking the wind is with a close fit and wrap-around design. These are nice because they tend to give you better peripheral vision. However, you may get the occasional bit of dust behind the lens. 

Tips for Buying and Using Motorcycle Sunglasses

beautiful couple wearing motorcycle sunglasses
Wearing motorcycle sunglasses also lets you express your personal style.

People tend to overlook sizing when buying sunglasses. As a result, they may not fit your face correctly. While you can get away with ill-fitting sunglasses in everyday life, this is a problem with riding sunglasses. If they don’t fit properly, the foam seals on the frames won’t sit flush with your face all of the way around the lenses. Ensure your glasses fit by measuring your face. 

Also, try on your new sunglasses while wearing your helmet. Make sure they are comfortable when paired together. Some helmets create excess pressure at your temples, while others may have a notch to accommodate your glasses. 

Darker and mirrored lenses may give you a cooler look, but it doesn’t automatically mean they’re better. Instead of focusing on the color, look for a label that promises 100-percent UV protection. This will ensure your eyes are shielded from the sun’s harmful rays. 

  • Measure your face before you buy sunglasses. 
  • Try your glasses on with your helmet. 
  • Focus on the protection, not the lens shade.

Best Motorcycle Sunglasses FAQs

If you wear prescription glasses, then you may feel a bit left out. Fortunately, there are several sunglasses that let you replace the lenses with prescription ones. If you purchase the right pair of sunglasses and care for them correctly, they will last for many rides to come. You may be tempted to skip specialized glasses and select a more fashionable pair. This may not be the wisest of moves. See what we mean in the frequently asked questions below.

Q. What if I wear prescription glasses? 

This shouldn’t stop you from wearing motorcycle glasses. There are frames that come ready for prescription lens installation. This lets you have the protection you need and still lets you see properly. 

Q. How do I care for my glasses?

Treat them the same as any other pair of glasses or sunglasses. You should only use cleaning cloths meant for glasses and gentle cleansers that won’t damage the protective coatings. 

Q. Can I wear sunglasses not specifically meant for motorcycles? 

Technically, you can wear whatever you want, but it may not be the smartest choice. Sunglasses not meant for riding may lack protective safety features. They could expose your eyes to injury and damage that you wouldn’t otherwise experience. 

Our Top Pick

Our top pick for the best motorcycle sunglasses are the ZANheadgear Hawaii Sunglasses. They are made from durable yet lightweight polycarbonate, have a closed-cell foam eyeport lining, and comfortable rubber temple tips. In addition, the slender frame styling minimizes potential vision blocking while the 100 percent UV protection prevents eye damage. 

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