For most of the year I have been digging and building trail while using my super fancy Specialized photochromic Shifty glasses. They are super sweet riding glasses, and my favorite riding glasses by far to date. However, at $140 retail, they are a bit pricey to abuse while I’m hacking away in the dirt. So it was off to Home Depot for some safety glasses.
According to Rob Sutton at MTB Trail Review, the eye protection available on the cheap at Home Depot (and other hardware stores all over) work well as riding glasses. Even better, I thought. We’ll kill two birds with one stone, and I’ll have a spare pair of glasses I can leave in the car.
Perusing the selection at the hardware store we came across this model, the “AO Safety X-Factor Safety Eyewear with a Light Silver Mirror Lens.” At $9.97 they are a bargain, and after trying them on, we found them to be extremely comfortable- in fact, they were more comfortable than many high end brand name sun glass models. Since they were so inexpensive, I picked up a pair for Inga as well, who was in the market for a lens that would work well in nasty conditions with low light.
After trying them on the trail, they remained comfortable. However, I wasn’t impressed with the optics, especially compared to the Specialized Shiftys with the NXT lens that I have been running. (note, this comes from the perspective of a long time contact lens wearer- it is unlikely that the slight optic distortions will bother a lot of people- and it could simply be this model) However, at $10, they are great to have around, and are a good back up, and work well as eye protection for trail building. As I have been wearing my Shiftys for trail building, it is nice to have eye protection that I’m unconcerned about scratching.
Regarding the aesthetics, they look just as good (or bad, depending on your opinion) as any other riding glasses. They’re adjustable, have UV coating, are impact resistant, and an anti-scratch coating. And they’re ten bucks. At this price, obviously they don’t come with a case, but I’m sure all of us have cases from those Oakley or Smith glasses we lost or misplaced last season.
Inga has been really happy with hers, and now she can save her Von Zipper shades for the post ride chill fest. For riders on a budget, we recommend them. It never hurts to have a back up.