Two-Year Test: Best RX Prescription Sunglasses

Filed under: Adventure 

Our managing editor wore the Sport RX glasses for two years — on trips around the world — for a full test.

sport rx sunglasses
Photo after two years hard use

Two years ago, I put on a pair of sunglasses from Sport RX to test custom prescription lenses built for outdoor sports. I have hardly taken them off for sporting use since.

The photo-chromatic glasses adjust to light so well I can wear them day or night — they go from very dark (useable in bright, snowy mountain sunlight) to completely clear, and then back again in minutes.

In low light, the lenses are nearly clear. Note these glasses have been used hard for two years.
In low light, the lenses are nearly clear. Note these glasses have been used hard for two years

The pair I have uses the company’s “digital photocromatic” lenses. They are mounted in Rudy Project frames.

They are the best glasses I have ever owned. They have been brutalized and still look brand new. They’ve been to the top of dozens of mountains in winter and summer, backcountry skiing and peak bagging.

I’ve worn them on multiple ultra-marathons and countless days of training in Colorado, the Midwest, and Europe.

Sport RX: Glasses From Internet

This is an expensive set of glasses, but when compared with glasses from your eye doctor, not ostentatious.

The pair I have cost a bit over $500 because of the high-end frame and the lens upgrades, which included the photo-chromatic glass as well as anti-fog and anti-reflective treatments.

What makes them better than less expensive models? The Rudy Project frames are durable and light. The “digital” lenses from Sport RX are extremely sharp and truly scratch-resistant — they still look new.

Cheaper Options?

You can certainly get less expensive models from the Sport RX. Starting with a pair of Bolle Bounty frames, I built up a pair of basic RX sunglasses on the site for $145.

The expensive model I tested have the noted anti-reflective, anti-fog features and the photo-chromatic upgrade. All that adds to the price, and performance, of the glasses.

In bright sunshine, the glasses get very dark.
In bright sunshine, the glasses get very dark

Tested Mountain To Trail

They work well, always. My vision is crisp, clear, and the glasses get plenty dark enough for even the brightest sunshiny days.

The option to wear them into the night has been great on excursions that start before sunrise or continue after dark. There is no need to worry about lens changes.

The glasses really don’t fog easily. Running in the winter, I have gotten a little fog from time to time when I stop moving, but with steam pouring off my body and cold air, that comes as little surprise.

An added bonus: On late mountain bike rides, you leave them on and still have the benefit of eye protection while non-glasses-wearers squint to avoid flying debris after removing sunglasses.

Online Ordering

Ordering is simple on the Sport RX website. Just select a frame style, lenses and upgrades.

Once ordered, the glasses are made by optometrists in San Diego, Calif. You will have to send them an image of your prescription (the company says it’s required by law). Processing takes about two weeks.

Sport RX

Flaw

Photo-chromatic lenses don’t get dark inside a car as the windshield blocks the UV light needed to change them to dark. They are no good as daytime driving glasses because of this.

Another thing: Clear “sunglasses” can look a little weird and super sporty. My wife calls them my “’90s glasses” because of the overly-athletic styling.

The company does make always-tinted sunglass lenses, too, and I plan to buy a casual pair for driving. They are less expensive, and I’m hoping for the same durable quality.

Great Glasses

Overall, I’ve been very impressed with the glasses from Sport RX. They are a significant investment, but if you must wear a prescription lens, this is a high-end option that will last for years to come.

tagged: review
By
Editor-in-Chief Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.
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