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Best mountain bike (MTB) sunglasses in 2024

Jakub Odcházel, DiS.

Medically reviewed by Jakub Odcházel, DiS., Chief Optician, on 18 Apr 2023. Written by Lentiamo

Table of contents

As any avid mountain biker knows, one small misstep on the trail can make or break your ride. Don't let debris or annoying glare hinder your progress. Enhance your vision and keep your eyes protected with a top-quality pair of off-road cycling sunglasses.

Wondering what sets a great pair of MTB sunglasses apart from an average pair? Check out Lentiamo’s advice on the most important features to look for, and find answers to frequently asked questions below.

What should a good pair of MTB sunglasses offer?

close up image of person wearing bike helmet and sunglasses

Protection against UV rays and debris


Brand pictured above: Smith

Sunglasses with proper UV protection are essential for long days on the trail. The best mountain bike sunglasses should protect your eyes from harmful UV radiation and debris.

A wraparound frame can offer maximum coverage and protection from debris, rogue branches, insects, and more. This design also enhances peripheral vision for a better range of view.

Pro Tip: Lentiamo optometrist Eliška recommends an aerodynamic design for MTB glasses as they reduce wind resistance for increased speed. They also offer better protection from sunlight, wind and debris since the frame shape closely follows the curves of the head.

The right type of lenses

Oakley Sutro Lite OO 9463 03 39

Brand pictured above: Oakley

One lens type doesn't work in all conditions. Changing terrain and weather can affect how your lenses perform as well. When looking for MTB glasses, choose sunglasses that offer the best visual enhancement and the most flexibility for different conditions.

  • Polarised sunglasses provide fantastic glare reduction and improve contrast so it's easier to see your surroundings. 
  • Photochromic sunglasses, also called transition lenses, adjust to changing light conditions to offer greater flexibility for all-day wear. They are useful for navigating shaded areas of the trail or riding in changing weather.
  • Mirrored or polarised lenses are useful if ride in largely uncovered areas or encounter bright sunlight often.

Additionally, sunglasses lens colours also impact what and how well you see.

  • Red lenses – Red lenses increase visual acuity with high colour contrast. They are particularly useful for boosting definition between greens which is great for trail rides through forests.
  • Purple lenses – Purple lenses enhance the contrast, minimise light reflections and suppress bright white colours.
  • Yellow lenses – Yellow lenses offer sharp vision in low-light conditions, increase contrast and brighten your surroundings.
  • Brown lenses – Brown improves contrast, clarity and depth perception while boosting shades of green.
  • Clear lenses – A clear lens offers essential protection from debris when it's too dark or cloudy to wear tinted glasses.


Cébé S´TRACK 2.0 L CBS205

Brand pictured above: Cébé

MTB sunglasses should fit securely and comfortably for bumps, jumps and bails. Look for features like non-slip nose pads and temple tips so your shades stay in place. Lightweight materials like polycarbonate won't weigh down on your nose or ears. Comfort is key so you can stay focussed through every session.

Glasses frames that are too wide might press up against your helmet and cause discomfort. Adjustability ensures your glasses are the right size for comfortable rides.

Still not sure? See what your favourites look like with our sunglasses virtual try on.


Polaroid PLD 7047/S 0Z3 M9 99

Brand pictured above: Polaroid

Whether you're gravel riding or touring on unkempt tracks, off-road cycling can be tough on gear. Durable frames are imperative as they withstand impacts and stay securely on your face for the duration of your ride.

Sport sunglasses should be made from shatter-resistant materials like durable plastics and polycarbonates. Avoid metal frames as they can lead to injury to your eyes or face should they snap or crack.

Pro Tip: Lentiamo optometrist Eliška stresses that sport frames should be lightweight and comfortable. Moreover, they must be made from high-quality, durable materials as you often face bad weather conditions, strong sunlight, sweat, debris, and more.

Closing thoughts from Lentiamo

High-quality MTB sunglasses are the best type of eye protection for your next off-road adventure. Lentiamo optometrists have offered their advice on the best sunglasses to keep you safe and feeling good on the trail.

Now that you know what key features to look for, get ready to enjoy your rides to the fullest!

Frequently asked questions

Should you wear sunglasses when mountain biking?

Wearing sunglasses while mountain biking is highly recommended. MTB sunglasses can protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and debris such as gravel, dirt, insects, mud, and more. They can also enhance your vision by reducing brightness and improving contrast, allowing you to see the trail and obstacles more clearly.

What are the best budget MTB sunglasses?

When it comes to MTB sunglasses, durability and protection often come at a cost. You can still find quality sport sunglasses at affordable prices. Make sure to look for shatter-proof materials, sharp optics and UV protection. Popular brands like Cébé, Nike, and even Oakley offer sport sunglasses with great value for money.

Which photochromic MTB sunglasses are the best?

Some popular photochromic models include Oakley's Jawbreaker and Evzero Blades models that feature Prizm lens technology that enhances contrast and clarity. Athletic brands like Smith, Bollé and Cébé also offer various photochromic sunglasses that work well for mountain biking.

What is the right lens colour for mountain biking?

Mountain biking has specific conditions to contend with so it’s important to pick your lens colour wisely. Many cyclists wear yellow lenses because they increase contrast as well as depth and distance perception in low-light conditions. A universal brown lens enhances contrast in sunny conditions. Red, rose or pink lenses offer terrific colour contrast in green forests.

Which Oakley sunglasses are great for mountain biking?

Oakley Radar continues to be one of the most popular MTB sunglasses on the market. The large frames and quality lenses ensure optimal style and performance. Other popular Oakley sunglasses include Jawbreaker, EVZero and Sutro. Riders love Oakley's Prizm technology for its detail-enhancing qualities that help them see details on the trail.

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Interested in other sports? Check out more sunglasses for running and fishing today.

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