When it comes to sunglasses for cycling, you must have an endless array of options. Different sunglasses with different lens color match with every possible lighting situation. Moreover, the lens color will really affect your performance. I am not an optometrist, but I have worn many a sunglasses and have a pretty good feel as to what and when to wear. Here is a guide covering different lens used for the conditions in which you ride.
Sunglasses with black/gray lenses
Black, gray and smoke lenses are best for bright conditions. They dim the bright sunlight to ease the strain on your eyes. While the lenses do darken your vision, gray does not alter color, so everything remains the same color. Moreover, gray also makes a great lens color for driving sunglasses, which is best especially on sunny days. It is not for mountain biking. The dark lens may be too dark for trail use, especially if you are dealing with shady areas and shadows. Gray won’t improve contrast, clarity, or depth perception.
Sunglasses with brown lenses
Brown is a good “all around” lens color choice. It is dark enough to save your eyes in bright conditions, but brown sunglasses also improves contrast, clarity and depth perception. Moreover, it really enhances shades of green. Brown sunglasses are best for mountain biking in good weather. It is not good for night riding.
Sunglasses with red, rose and vermilion lenses
Red lenses usually referred to as “rose” or “vermilion” will increase contrast and brighten cloudy, dreary days. These lenses will distort colors, so do not wear them in situations where you need to see perfect shades of color. They are best for riding in cloudy and hazy conditions but they are not for bright and sunny days or situation where you must identify poisonous snakes by their color.
Sunglasses with orange lenses
Orange comes in somewhere between red, brown, and yellow lenses, and works well in darker, cloudy weather. They are best for mountain biking on hazy and cloudy days. They are not for bright and sunny days.
Sunglasses with yellow lenses
I have found yellow lenses are my favorite for foggy, hazy conditions. Yellow sunglasses increase clarity so you can actually see where you are going, even if you are in dense fog. They are best for riding in the early morning fog but not for bright, sunny days.