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September 11, 2012 Comments (2) Gear Reviews

Ryders Via Photochromic Eyewear

I’m not Corey Hart so I don’t wear my sunglasses at night but I do wear sunglasses just about all other hours of the day. I’m not a fan of light and shun it like it a vampire. That being said, my scrutiny of sunglasses is very high. Gas station goggles and Foakleys step aside, if it’s going near my face it’s going to be quality.

I started getting tired of paying what I considered insanely high prices for sunglasses. Years ago I was begrudgingly absorbing the cost of $100-$130 sunglasses but soon found myself hiding behind a pair of $220 sunglasses and I finally had to put a stop to the madness. I did some research and found Ryders Eyewear. Having managed bike shops in the past I am no stranger to brands like Ryder, Tifosi, and Optic Nerve.

I was excited to run in the Via glasses since they are frameless. Nothing to block my view as my head starts to drop after long hours on my feet. No thick frame to squeegee sweat from my brows into my eyes. The lens size, glass weight (an astounding 24 grams!) and frameless design make it easy to forget you are wearing glasses. They just “are.”

After 30-seconds of sunlight.

I took off down the trail from the car and instantly the yellow lens turned a dark brown in the full sun of the day. They did not get too dark and that, to me, is a good thing. I could still easily make out the technical trail landscape. I also run with a visor so I don’t need glasses to be ultra dark. I just need them to calm the light and keep branches and dust from irritating my eyes.

I adjusted the placement on my face a few times. I positioned the arms on my ears and then on my visor strap and then under my visor strap. Did I mention I was picky? You see, running a 50 or 100 means anything that is in contact with your body could become annoying. Seams from shirts will rub and ties for shorts will dig (stop putting them inside the waistband!!!!). The same goes for the arms that hold the glasses. Because of that, I wear my glasses over my visor strap. It’s one less thing touching my head. I’ve experimented and this is the hot set-up.

Due to the super light weight of the Via glasses I could not get them to sit still in this mode. They were bobbing a bit and sliding down my nose. I stopped and adjusted the nosepiece (a great feature!). This helped a little but I was still having issues. To make glasses this light the frame is not as rigid as the Ryders Hex that I normally wear (a 10 out of 10 rating in my book). This means the frames can’t hold as well unless they are directly located on top of one’s ears. For most runners this may not be an issue. For me, it was. At the end of the run I was not impressed by the fit. I was impressed by the clarity and the function of the lenses. Now if they would just sit still.

Automatically adjusted to the sunlight!

The next day I took a break from running and wore the glasses on a training ride on my road bike. They fit great with the helmet and again I soon forgot I was wearing them. I never had to fiddle with them and they darkened enough for a cloudless sunny day in Boulder. The large area of lens coverage was great on the descents where the wind will try to blur your vision.

In the end, these are good glasses. For the money ($90) you get a super light glass with great technology while saving a ton of money. The lenses are made in France and Ryders utilizes TR90 (from Switzerland) for the frame material. Other companies will easily charge double or triple for the same Photochromic technology. While I will go back to my Ryders Hex for running I will continue to wear the Via for cycling. For those that wear their glasses on their ears and aren’t as finicky as me (95% of the world) the Ryders Via will serve you well for many activities.


*Super light-24 grams!

*Adjustable nosepiece.

*Photochromic. Adjusts automatically to sunlight. No lenses to change.


*So light they don’t always sit in place.


For more information head over to the Ryders website.

2 Responses to Ryders Via Photochromic Eyewear

  1. Chris says:

    Did you purchase those glasses at a store in Boulder? If so, which store did you go to?

  2. MissingNail says:

    Chris – I purchased the Ryders Hex at Running Warehouse online. Ryders was kind enough to provide the Via’s for comparison. There’s a running store in Boulder that used to carry Ryders and it’s a shame they don’t any longer.

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