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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.