‘Performance Aviators’ Are Made For Sport

For many, aviator sunglasses are a go-to for fashion and great protection from sunlight. But most aviators are too heavy and loose-fitting for sports.

ROKA Phantom performance aviator sunglasses

A new brand called ROKA fills an odd niche with aviator sunglasses you can wear while working out. I tested them for a couple months and they impressed me.

ROKA calls its new Phantom sunglasses “performance aviators.” Jesse Thomas, the brand’s first sponsored athlete, inspired the model by winning his breakthrough triathlon in cheap gas station aviators.

ROKA Phantom Aviator Sunglasses Review

First, the ROKA Phantoms are very light. At 20 grams, they’re lighter than any of the many pairs of sunglasses I own. Dropping pair after pair onto my scale, I was shocked to see these tip the scales less than “sport” sunglasses from several big brands.

ROKA Phantom aviator sunglasses
19 grams on the scale

That’s due to titanium frames and light nylon lenses from Carl Zeiss Vision.

The lenses are also super crisp with exceptional optics. They pack in anti-scratch, anti-fog, anti-reflective, oleophobic, and hydrophobic coatings. The lenses exceed common ANSI impact standards. They filter out 100 percent of UVA, UVB, UVC and harmful blue light.

The lenses I tested are not polarized.

You expect good optics on any high-end sunglasses. And at $300, these bad boys aren’t cheap. But the Phantoms stand apart in fit and weight.

The brand also makes several other models of sunglasses. While still pricey, the other models land under the $200 mark and are also intended for active use.

Running In Aviators

I’m picky when it comes to running eyewear. So it was weird throwing on such a big pair to head out on a training run.

Performance aviators ROKA Phantom sunglasses
ROKA Phantom aviator sunglasses

But the Phantom is made to do just that. Anti-slip “GEKO” pads on the nose and temples keep them in place, even with the jarring action of fast trail running. For most non-contact sports, I don’t think they’d budge off your face in normal use.

ROKA Phantom sports aviator sunglasses
The ear pads are grippy soft plastic

Blasting around my normal training routes, the Phantoms sat firmly on the face and blocked wind and sun. Fog, even in cold weather, hasn’t been a problem.

Performance aviators phantom sunglasses ROKA
Pads keep the glasses in place

Overall, the ROKA Phantom are some really nice sunglasses. They show no signs of wear after about two months of use. They fully mirrored lens makes a very bold statement. For a more understated look, check out other black, copper, or green options, all of which are polarized.

They are obviously very expensive sunglasses. But for those who really like the aviator style, the ability to wear one pair for a serious workout or as casual eyewear adds versatility that may be worth the investment.

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Managing Editor 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 Denver, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.

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