The best mountain bike sunglasses will stop your vision being compromised by debris, letting you focus on the trail ahead and just enjoy the ride with clarity

There are a few things to look out for if you’re looking for the best mountain bike glasses: they should be light, ergonomic and well ventilated, so you never feel claustrophobic. Our experienced MBR test team have tried out a whole load of different brands and models, so you know that the ones we recommend here are the best of the best.

Pair these with one of the best mountain bike helmets and your whole head will thank you for it. If you’re looking for more eye protection, check out our buyer’s guide to the best mountain bike goggles.

Madison Enigma glasses

At around £30, the Enigma glasses can’t be beaten on price

1. Madison Enigma 3-lens glasses

Best budget mountain bike glasses

Lens: Cloud Grey, Crystal, Black | Weight: 40g | Rating: 10/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Customisable fit
  • Stable on the face
  • Great optical clarity
  • Bargain price

Reasons to avoid:

  • Not as exclusive a logo as the high-price options

In our review we simply said, “Madison has totally nailed the Enigma. The styling looks great, finish and function are totally sorted and value is exceptional, meaning this is one of the best pound-for-pound eyewear products around”.

Why? Well, they have a broad, expansive lens that gives a great field of vision and loads of protection. The build quality is good, and the nose and arm tips are adjustable to get a comfortable fit. Finally, they stay put even on the roughest trails.

Read the full review of the Madison Enigma 3-Lens glasses

Madison Crypto Glasses

The Madison Crypto glasses are a sure-fire investment, unlike their namesake

2. Madison Crypto glasses

Best value large frame glasses

Lens: Mirror, amber, clear | Weight: 33g | Rating: 10/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Large size offers excellent eye protection
  • Amazing value for money
  • Three interchangeable lenses in the box

Reasons to avoid:

  • Mirror lens isn’t the most durable

Yet another excellent eyewear option from Madison. The Crypto is a little more expensive than the Enigma, but it’s still a crystal clear bargain given it comes with three lenses in the kit. The lenses are all polycarbonate and clip into a TR-90 plastic frame, and you get a mirrored option for bright conditions, amber for increasing contrast in flat light, and a failsafe clear lens. Compared to the Enigma, the Crypto lenses are much bigger, so offer almost goggle-like levels of protection.

Sure, the lenses scratch more easily than some money-no-object rivals, but for the cash, the Crypto is tough to beat.

Read the full review of the Madison Crypto glasses

sungod velans

The Sungod Velans are a lesser known model with plenty of customisation options

3. Sungod Velans FF Glasses

Best for customisation

Lens: 10 to choose from | Weight: 35g | Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Choose your preference from 8 frame colours and 10 lens tints

Reasons to avoid:

  • Pricey

The Velans comes from direct-sales sunglass brand, Velans. You order online, choosing from a myriad of frame and lens options, and the glasses get delivered straight to your door. The fit is superb on these large-framed Velans, with lots of coverage and zero movement, even when your head is bouncing around.

We were also impressed by the excellent clarity, although the lighter frames were a bit too noticeable in our peripheral vision. Pricey considering the sales model, but the quality and comfort is top notch.

Read the full review of the Sungod Veland FF glasses

Smith Optics Shift Mag

Smith Optics Shift Mag has an innovative magnetic frame for lens switches

4. Smith Optics Shift Mag glasses

Best for easy lens swapping

Colours: Loads! | Weight: 30g | Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Superb lens clarity
  • Quick lens changes
  • Flexible frame is less prone to breakage

Reasons to avoid:

  • Hefty investment

Smith has always produced excellent eyewear for mountain biking, with switchable lenses a speciality. These Shift Mag glasses take that one step further with a magnetic frame that makes swapping between lenses quick and easy – a spare clear lens is even included.

When we tested them we remarked that “both lenses are impressively clear and durable considering the inevitably regular cleaning eyewear is subjected to when mountain biking. Vision is unobstructed and every element of the Shift Mag is well made”. Which makes the Smith Shift Mags a premium pair of glasses at a premium price.

Read our full test review of the Smith Optics Shift Mag glasses

100 percent glendale glasses

100% makes some of our favourite eyewear

5. 100% Glendale

Best large lens protection if money is no object

Colours: 8 frame colours, various lens options | Weight: 47g | Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Massive mirror lens with added venting
  • Alternative clear lens and nose piece included in the protective case

Reasons to avoid:

  • Won’t fit smaller faces and nose shapes

If you’re looking for the ultimate wide-screen eyewear experience, offering goggle-like protection, the 100% Glendale is a crystal clear winner. The lens is absolutely vast, and actually comes close to a full downhill goggle in size, so there’s no issues with seeing the top or sides of the frame in your peripheral vision.

At full price, the Glendale is good, rather than stellar, value, but at the sale prices being offered they are an excellent purchase.

Read our full review of the 100% Glendale glasses

Toolfreak Spoggles are safety specs without the science lab styling

6. Toolfreak Spoggles

Wet weather eye protection at a great price

Rating: 8/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Great value for money
  • Decent winter performance

Reasons to avoid:

  • Not the trendiest brand
  • fit won’t suit every face

Although using safety glasses for mountain biking is not quite the thrifty tip for mountain bikers that it once was – options like the Madison Enigma and Crypto have seen to that – it’s still a cheap and effective solution if you’re forever losing your glasses.

The price is impressive, and yet they come in a carry case with an array of accessories and feel nothing like the disposable items you might find down at your local hardware store. While not the most stable-fitting glasses on rough terrain, they save your eyes on winter rides for less than the price of a mudguard.

Read our full test review of the Toolfreak Spoggles

100% speedcraft photochromic

The 100% Speedcraft is the eyewear of choice for several MBR staffers

7. 100% Speedcraft Photochromic

Protection of goggles with the airflow of glasses

Weight: 28g | Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Best of both worlds design
  • Single lens covers both bright and gloomy conditions

Reasons to avoid:

  • On the pricey side
  • Still cuts out some light when in dark woods
  • Photochromic technology is still slow

We love 100%’s Speedcraft. In fact it’s the go to model for some of our test riders for its excellent protection, light weight, great comfort, and superb stability on rough descents.

This photochromic version comes with a lens that adjusts automatically depending on light conditions. It’s not fast, but if you’re in and out of the woods on a semi-regular basis, this clever tech can be a useful feature. There’s also a clear lens included which will cover most UK winter conditions.

Read our full test review of the 100% Speedcraft Photochromic glasses

How we tested the best mountain bike sunglasses

With all our glasses and goggles, we tested them in variety of conditions as well as both wooded and open trails, looking to see how all of these performance criteria measured up against optical clarity and contrast enhancement, so that we could ride faster and more confidently.

Madison AW23 clothing

It’s on rides like this that eyewear is essential. Although, we’d recommend it on ever ride, as you could get hit by a branches or flying debris at any time

What to look out for when buying eyewear for mountain biking

Comfort and clarity are key when it comes to mountain bike glasses, so the frames have to fit well to the face and not move around on rough terrain. They have to fit without fouling against your helmet and offer good protection from debris and insects while also allowing air to circulate for ventilation.

Ideally frames should come with replaceable lenses, so you can adapt them to different light conditions, and the lenses should be easy to switch with excellent optical clarity. Some glasses come with adjustable nose bridges and arms to custom tune to your head shape.

Which type of lens should I use?

Make sure the glasses you use for mountain biking have a polycarbonate lens – you don’t want shattered glass near your eyes in the event of a crash.

Lenses come in a veritable rainbow of colours and tints, but mostly boil down to clear, contrast-enhancing coloured tints and darker/mirrored tints for bright, sunny conditions. Yellow or rose tints can help increase contrast in low-light conditions, but they will cut the amount of light reaching your eyes, so can often make things seem darker when it’s really gloomy – they’re better for bright days in dark woods.

On gloomy winter days we’d recommend a simple clear lens. All you want in these situations is protection from your eyes from debris (and wind, which can cause watering). If you’re riding in wide-open wilderness, such as in the mountains, and there’s little tree cover, choose a dark tinted or mirrored lens (if you want to look flash).

Mirrored lenses can help enhance contrast, but they generally come with a premium price tag.

Finally there are photochromic lenses that ‘automatically’ adjust to the light conditions. These can work well if you’re in the trees for a decent length of time, then in the open for a while, but don’t react quickly enough to cope with trails that rapidly switch from tree-lined to open.

We want you to enjoy the ride, so check out our guide to the best mountain bikes and best budget mountain bikes, to suit your preferences and local terrain. Don’t forget that a great pair of mountain bike shoes will really help you grip those pedals and boost control.