With their excellent performance, simple but effective design, the fact that they’re made in Italy and of course that they have the bold looks of the Oakley Sutro, the Salice 022 sunglasses are a great lower-cost alternative to the premium eyewear brands.
Good quality optics
Simple but effective design
Made in Italy
Lack of adjustability
The Salice 022 sunglasses (opens in new tab) go large with the retro visor look and supply great wraparound lens coverage. They’re also very comfortable thanks to their low weight and, with their forward-angled design, they’re much better at keeping the lenses free of sweat streaks than other glasses that sit closer to the eyebrows.
They come with two lenses – one mirror coated UV400 rated (100 per cent protection against UVA, B and C) and the other clear. They don’t have the adjustability or customisability of some glasses from the premium brands and unlike the Oakley Flight Jackets (opens in new tab) with their anti-fog nosepiece they don’t have any party tricks. However, their design says they have the Oakley Sutro in their sights anyway and they compare well with those. In addition the price is competitive, especially considering they’re made in Italy.
Salice 022 sunglasses: construction
The Salice 022 frame is made from what Salice says is a flexible, shock-absorbent Grilamid TR90. This is a type of plastic commonly used for sports glasses that is light, strong and has good shape integrity – meaning the arms grip the sides of the head securely. There's none of the forward slippage that we found with the Oakley Sutro – though much depends on individual head shape.
At 34g they're light to the point of feeling flimsy – though the Sutro is even lighter at 32g – but having used them regularly for the last month I can confirm that they're as durable as any. Although the Grilamid has a slightly brittle feel it's very springy.
The actual construction is basic – it’s a full frame with no customisable elements, removable bumpers and so on, there's no slotted venting system and the nosepiece is not adjustable. The lens is very easy to change – it just snaps straight into the front of the frame.
The Megol anti-slip rubber ear tips are nowhere near as sticky as Oakley’s Unobtainium, but I found the light grip of the arms held the Salice 022s in place well enough so that no stickiness was required. Incidentally, the Sutros don't use any type of grip on their arms at all.
I’ve been impressed with the optical quality of the mirror lens. Salice doesn’t supply any details about who makes it (some brands like to namedrop a Carl Zeiss or similar) but it says it’s a “high contrast, multi-layer, mirror coated RW lens with wide panoramic vision and IDRO water & dust repellence. UV400 lens rating ensures protection against 100% of UVA, B and C rays.”
The clear lens doesn’t claim to supply any UV protection and is intended to protect against winter road debris, which it does very well being so big.
The 022s come in a good-quality carbon-patterned zip-up case, which is a really nice touch.
If you don’t like this Italian version – if I'm honest, it's not quite me – there are nine more frame/lens colours to choose from.
Build quality is good: the hinges work smoothly and evenly and the Italian tricolore paint is very neatly applied.
The mirror lens is definitely for sunny days and is a bit too dark for an ordinary overcast UK sort of day, but it cuts glare very effectively with a dark blue tint rather than the brown you might expect from the gold mirror coating. Right to the edges it’s consistently crisp with no peripheral distortion at all. Oakley's Prizm lens might have the edge when it comes to overall clarity and contrast, but the Salice lens is good for very bright light.
When you're wearing them you don’t see the central reinforcing section of the frame – also a feature of the Sutro – that runs from the nosepiece to the frame top.
But perhaps what impressed me most about the Salice 022 sunglasses was how they avoided the streaking that can make many glasses unwearable for me when the sweat starts flowing about 30 minutes into a ride. Although there’s no actual venting system, the forward tilt of the frame lets in plenty of air so that not only does the lens stay fog free but it also sits clear of the eyebrows, where sweat gathers and will cascade down the inside of a too-close lens.
I also noticed that when sweat inevitably does hit the lens – whether the mirror one or the clear one – the minimal streak it leaves behind is not a deal breaker. Salice says it’s a hydrophobic coating; it seems to be sweatophobic too.
Apologies if that's a bit TMI, but sweat-streaked glasses do ruin my ride. Now these Salice 022s seem to have solved that and I’ve been wearing them every time I go out.
Durability seems good after a month of wearing the Salices. The lenses seem as scratch resistant as any and the tricolore paint on the frames has not chipped at all.
The Oakley Sutro (opens in new tab) has a RRP of £135, so the Salice 022 undercuts its American rival by a good chunk.
The Oakley Flight Jackets (opens in new tab) cost upwards of £187 (though there are plenty of good deals around on them) and the Rudy Project Defenders from upwards of around £130 (again cheaper if you shop around).
We also reviewed the Rapha Pro Team Full Frame Sunglasses (opens in new tab) glasses recently, which cost £120
Meanwhile there are glasses that cost less, such as the Tifosi Crit (opens in new tab), which we liked a lot.
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Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor following an MA in online journalism.
In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends a bit more time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.
What's in the stable? There's a Colnago Master Olympic, a Hotta TT700, an ex-Castorama lo-pro that was ridden in the 1993 Tour de France, a Pinarello Montello, an Independent Fabrication Club Racer, a Mercian Classic fixed winter bike and a renovated Roberts with a modern Campag groupset.
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