Best budget sunglasses 2022: rated and reviewed

We put low cost, good value sunglasses to the test

Image shows a rider wearing cheap sunglasses.
(Image credit: Future)

Cycling sunglasses can be eye-wateringly expensive, with the price of top-end only ever increasing. The good news is that entry-level sunnies have seen massive improvements in recent years, now able to offer most of the performance that more expensive models deliver but, crucially, at a much more palatable price.

Which is good news for everyone who rides regularly, as cycling sunglasses do much more than simple shading your eyes. They also act as a shield against road debris, rain and errant insects.

As such, cyclists often wear sunglasses all year round - especially as the low sun in winter often meaning that sunlight directly into the eyes can be bigger a problem than the more general brightness of the summer. 

And, of course the very best cycling sunglasses will not only keep your vision clear, your eyes free from debris - but will make you look cool to boot.

The best budget sunglasses

Image shows Van Rysel Category 3 Sunglasses 920

(Image credit: Decathlon)

1. Van Rysel Category 3 Sunglasses 920

A light, good looking pair of glasses that punch above their weight

Specifications

UV Protection : Anti-UV filter in accordance with the ISO 12312-1
Case: Comes with hard protective case
Weight: 25g

Reasons to buy

+
Very light on the face 
+
Secure fit with grippers on the arms 

Reasons to avoid

-
Wind down the top of the lens 
-
Mirror lens scratches easily 

Sunglasses with rose tinted lenses and no frame

(Image credit: Tom Epton)

Recently, I've been impressed with Decathlon’s cycling offerings, so my expectations for these glasses were set quite high. Out of the box they felt light but solid and looked sporty yet had a flattering shape to them. The glasses have a wrap-around, protective feel to them and, once you put them on, they feel as if you’re not wearing anything on your face at all. 

The lens has a red-ish tint to them and resisted fogging well. The design looks good with a range of different helmet options, as well as feeling reassuringly robust. On descents, some wind did manage to find its way over the top of the lenses in a few cases. This lead to a little tearing up, and the subsequent reduction in vision. It wasn’t a major problem, merely an imperfection in an otherwise excellent product. 



Image shows dhb Clark Revo Lens Sunglasses

(Image credit: dhb)

2. dhb Clark Revo Lens Sunglasses

A stylish, low cost option from dhb

Specifications

UV protection: UV400 protection
Case: Come with a soft case
Weight : 24g

Reasons to buy

+
Fashionable style suitable for on and off the bike 
+
Very lightweight 

Reasons to avoid

-
Slight obscuring of peripheral vision 

DHB clark revo glasses, grey square frames

(Image credit: Tom Epton)

These sunnies look as cool on the bike as they do in the cafe, skirting the line between casual shades and sports glasses. Despite their multi-faceted looks, they still perform well at the job they're intended for, staying securely in place when riding.

The slight squareness of the lenses is a minor issue, obscuring my peripheral vision a little but not enough such that any issues were caused out on the bike. The rounded contours gives the glasses a nice protective feel, preventing bugs and gravel from going into your eyes. These glasses don’t suit smaller, rounded faces so well, though,
working better on larger, squarer heads. 



Image shows Endura Gabbro II

(Image credit: Endura)

3. Endura Gabbro II

Stylish, highly protective sunglasses built for cyclists

Specifications

UV Protection: 100% UV protection
Case: Comes with a light, Endura case
Weight: Lightweight TR90 frame and temples, 31g

Reasons to buy

+
Stylish design 
+
Didn't fog once nor let any air in on descents 
+
High quality lenses effective in many light conditions 

Reasons to avoid

-
None

Red lensed sunglasses

(Image credit: Tom Epton)

The Gabbro II sunglasses were the best pair on this list by some margin, outperforming many models that cost significantly more. They were robust, light and had a stylish frame design. On the bike they didn’t fog up and, quite honestly, I forgot I had them on most of the time. 

They look great on a variety of face shapes and the lens size means they’re a good choice for a diverse number of head sizes. From a purely fashionable perspective, I received more compliments on these glasses than the others in this list put together. If they can make my face look good, they must be doing something right!



Image shows dhb Ultralite sunglasses.

(Image credit: dhb)

4. dhb UltraLite Sunglasses

A bit of a throwback design

Specifications

UV Protection: State of the art UV absorbency give total 100% UVA and UVB protection
Case : Come with a soft DHB case
Weight: Ultra lightweight design

Reasons to buy

+
Available in 3-lens versions for all light conditions 
+
Easy to forget that you're wearing them once they're on

Reasons to avoid

-
Dated design, but not necessarily a con if that's your thing
-
Does not suit larger heads. If you posses one, these are best avoided

Black sports sunglasses with grey frames and lenses

(Image credit: Tom Epton)

With somewhat of an 'early 2000s Oakley style', these glasses look as if they should be paired with a Bluetooth earpiece. It’s a call to a very specific style sense, and not one which I happen to have, although I appreciate the effort. 

Looks aside, these glasses actually feel high quality in the hand, with a heavy-duty feeling plastic and rubber grippers to keep them in place behind the ears. 

A word of warning: these glasses probably won't suit those with larger heads. As a wearer of medium helmets, they felt slightly on the small side even for me. With the smaller lens and frameless design, it’s possible these were made with small faces in mind. 



Image shows Halfords Goggle Style Half Frame Sunglasses.

(Image credit: Halfords)

5. Halfords Goggle Style Half Frame Sunglasses

At least they didn't also call them Flight Jackets...

Specifications

UV Protection: 100% UV protection
Case: None
Weight: Plastic arms to keep weight down

Reasons to buy

+
They look like Oakley Flight Jackets

Reasons to avoid

-
They look *exactly* like Oakley Flight Jackets 
-
They don't have a high-quality feel to them

Halfords goggle style sunglasses

(Image credit: Tom Epton)

These look much nicer online than they do in real life. If it's not too much of a tautology, the plastic they're made from feels, well, just really quite plasticky. They don't have a high quality feel to them and manage to be quite heavy too. 

The fit was also difficult. At no angle did they feel secure on my face, being prone to bouncing around when riding offroad and running. 

On the road - and on perfectly smooth tarmac with your head up - they performed adequately. This is not a pair of sunglasses I would recommend. Their one redeeming factor is the polarised lens, which is genuinely quite good. But I found the frame and fit so bad that they negated any redeeming qualities that lens brings to the glasses. 

How we test

The factors that go into a good pair of sunglasses are relatively simple - if you forget you’re wearing them, they’re doing a great job. Your field of view should be the same as if you didn’t have any, they should be light enough that you don’t notice the weight when moving your head around and they should fit well enough such that bumps don’t cause them to be dislodged from their position. 

This is a lot to ask from a pair of cheaper frames but sunglass tech has come on significantly and there are some really solid, low price options. We tested these glasses by simply riding with each pair for a couple of weeks! A simple test but, in this instance, the most effective.

Are cheap cycling sunglasses worth it?

‘Cheap’ means different things to different people and cycling sunglasses can range from a single-figure spend up easily into three. From this, it’s clear that you don’t need to break the bank when looking for a good pair of glasses. 

The Endura and Van Rysel sunglasses we tested were just as good as many pairs that cost twice as much. As usual, DHB have a number of pairs of high quality glasses that will also do the trick! The cheap eyewear market is crowded and there are some really good options on the table - but beware, it's not all gold!