Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Evolving Review: Ryders Eyewear VTX Sunglasses

I think it would be fair to say that I can get stubbornly attached to a pair of sunglasses.  I can recall ordering a pair of sunglasses from J. Crew the summer before I went to college, and wearing them all through college, and several years after college until my wife finally staged an intervention and begged that I get a new pair that had at least been stylish within the current decade.  I complied with the request, as any wise husband would, but rest assured those glasses are in a box in my closet waiting patiently for the day they come back in style.  That assumes that they ever were in style, which is a risky assumption at best.

I’m slightly more stubborn with regards to workout eyewear, since they have high potential to fall off, rub, squeeze, irritate, or fail to properly block the sun, which is not something you want to be dealing with multiple hours into a long run.  I’ve tried several cheaper versions of athletic sunglasses, with poor results, and for the last 2 years or so have been running with a pair of Oakleys that I’ve generally been happy with.  Don’t recall the model name, but thanks to Quicken I do recall the price tag.  Ouch.

My new best friend Devon from Outside PR was kind enough to set me up with a pair of Ryders Eyewear VTX sunglasses to put through my Marathon 2 training cycle, and see if they could unseat the aging Oakleys as my go-to shades for training and races.  Admittedly I was a bit skeptical, but in the interest of continuing the spirit of trying new things during this training cycle, I gave them a go.

My Oakleys are black, with black lenses.  Pretty par for the course in terms of my history of very little color variety in my attire.  When I opened the box for the Ryders I was greeted with metallic red frames with brown lenses.  Not something I would have ordered, but immediately I liked the splash of color in my workout gear.  Baby steps …. Baby steps.  They also come in a gloss black frame color, and a metallic white frame color which I covet in a big way.

Unfortunately I’m not a sunglasses terminology expert, so I’m not sure of the proper terms here, but the things that sit on the bridge of your nose, and the tips of the frames that extend beyond your ears are both adjustable, which allows for a nice custom fit to your particular melon shape.  This is a nice advantage over the Oakleys, where nothing is adjustable, other than a major adjustment in your credit card balance after making the purchase.  They also come with three sets of interchangeable lenses, with the lens colors varying based on the frame color.  These came with the brown lenses, a set of orange lenses, and a set of clear lenses, in case you find yourself needing to operate a table saw after crossing the finish line.  In fairness, I can envision using the clear lenses while running in the winter to shield my eyes from the wind, snow, etc. on early-morning runs before the sun comes up.  Although I may wear my sunglasses at night … so I can …. So I can … keep track of the visions in my eyes, I typically don’t wear them in the morning.  Minor gripe regarding the interchangeable lenses in that they don’t include instructions with the glasses on how to change them out.  A simple search of the website shows the easy 3-step process, but if the product is not by definition associated with computer or internet usage, there shouldn’t be an expectation that the buyer has to go online for further instructions.  As I’ve mentioned before, I’m all about customer service and user experience.

So how do they perform?  In a word …. Great.  Once I adjusted the adjustable parts to fit my face the fit was great, and they really never moved during a run, despite some brutally sweaty affairs in the peak of the summer.  They look great, even getting a compliment from a cyclist in a parking lot at the end of a run, and they do their job well in terms of blocking the sun, wind, etc.  I haven’t been particularly hard on them, but they show no signs of wear on either the lenses or the frames after a few month of use.  Admittedly, much of my training happens before the sun comes up, so most of the wear these have gotten have been on the longer training runs, but that’s really the best testing grounds.  They didn’t feel like they were squeezing my head, and didn’t bounce at all.  In fact, I mostly forgot they were there after a couple of miles, which is exactly what I’m after in sunglasses when I’m running.  One potential downside to the adjustability of the ends of the frames.  My longer runs typically start while it’s still dark, so I’ll usually rest the glasses on the brim of my hat, still wrapped around my head, and then take them off my hat once the sun comes out and wear them the rest of the way.  On one run I did end up inadvertently adjusting the arms when I took them off my hat and put them on my head.  It was a minor tweak, and more a function of me flailing with them while I had a handheld bottle in one hand, but in the interest of full disclosure I thought I’d mention it.  They’re pretty rigid despite being adjustable, and I didn’t have this issue on any of my other runs.

I would definitely recommend these glasses as a stylish, highly functional, well constructed, and MUCH less expensive alternative to the more well known big names in performance eyewear.  These have officially replaced my Oakleys in my marathon gear, and I’ll be wearing these in 3 weeks in the Outer Banks Marathon.  In fact …. I like them so much that I want to spread the love and give some away to my fellow bloggers/runners to enjoy.  Not quite ready for the giveaway yet, but stay tuned …. it’s coming soon and involves some of this:

and a whole lot of this:

Last, but certainly not least, I subjected them to the most important test of all, the Kelsey test.  If it’s something I wear, it has to get the daughter’s seal of approval considering her authority on all things fashionable and/or socially acceptable.  The verdict….

What more can I say?

(Disclaimer:  Outside PR provided these glasses for me to review free of charge.  Muchas Gracias Devon.)


  1. OMG, so funny. So cute. You should hear my 16 year old daughter, "Um, Dad, you're gonna wear THAT"? She's a big help actually.

  2. Great review! Had me laughing!

  3. Good review, I wear clear lenses when I bike in the dark, complete necessity. If you are not quite up yet for a giveaway, just have the glasses and Gu shipped to me, spare yourself a WHOLE lot of hassle.

  4. I think Kovas gets enough freebies...please feel free to ship to me, who doesn't.

    My big problem with sunglasses and running, especially in winter, is they fog up...I'd be curious if you like them come winter and how they perform - so add that question to your like to answer come December :). Your daughter is just adorable in them :) :) :).

  5. I need to try out some. Glad I found a link here.

    the cute kiddo can't be wrong.

  6. nice that sun glasses too..

    -kizzy mountain khaki

  7. that is next on my running wish list...sunglasses! and I'm all about "less expensive!"