oakley sunglasses mountain biking

Oakley Crossrange – Prescription Riding Glasses

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Prism lens prescriptions really narrow down your options for riding glasses, as you can’t have a single wrap around lens. Amanda has found a solution that works for her.

Everyone has an embarrassing ‘I used to believe in…’ or ‘I used to think that…’ story. I have many. I was in my twenties when I realised rabbits don’t lay eggs (thanks, Easter). Less innocent was my belief that if you wanted your eyes to focus on something, you had to force it.

Photoshop of what I see without glasses

My entire life I have had two images that I manually pull together if I need something to be sharp like, oh, I don’t know, the road ahead? The words I’m reading? When tired I would really struggle, and often get lazy and just close one eye to turn off the second image. Well it turns out WOULD YOU BELIEVE, that this isn’t how eyesight works. I was 31 when I made this discovery, at the same time as being told by an optician not to drive, ride a bike, or use machinery until my glasses arrived. He also advised that he had never dealt with such a high prism prescription before and there’s no way contact lenses could ever work for me.

Come in a sleeve and a hardcase, with spare arms and noses

Prescription Sports Glasses Checklist

It took me a while to find some riding glasses that ticked all my requirement boxes:

  • Big lens for the prism to work best
  • Framed, because I don’t like the thought of glass piercing my cheeks if I crash
  • Passable as sunglasses, because I can’t afford day frames, riding frames AND sunnies
  • Available on finance, because this prism lens isn’t cheap
  • Lastly, they needed to suit me!

I chose the Oakley Crossrange with grey photochromic lenses. They’re a really sleek and simple design that offer a big wide lens in frames that could easily pass as standard sunglasses, and they are recommended for small to medium faces.

The arms are changeable. One set are made from the frame material, and the second set have rubber ear socks that react to heat and help keep the glasses on your face when riding. This grip is noticeable compared to the standard arms, and given the cost of the glasses I tend to just use this rubber set all the time to avoid any accidents.

The nose pads are also made from this rubber material, and they are so comfortable. I never feel the glasses pressuring my nose or leaving red blobs where they’ve rested after a long day on the bike. They come with two sets of nose pads, I haven’t ever changed mine, just popped it off to clean every now and again.

You can see how thick the prescription prism lens is here. The larger the lens, the more efficient the prism works.

The lenses are my first ever photochromic ones, so I have no basis for comparison. Without getting technical, I can tell you that when the sun comes out, I don’t find myself squinting as I wait for them to react. I have noticed that when I rinse dried splashes of mud off the lenses I can watch the colour change in a matter of seconds, which is a great way to see how good your photochromic lenses are!

I have worn these glasses for a year, and in that time I’ve tried several different helmets. The only time I’ve not felt comfortable with the fit is in the MET Parachute with the chin bar on. It seems to just push them forward ever so slightly, which is a very small change to the fit but makes a huge difference to comfort. Oddly, without the chin bar the MET Parachute feels fine.

Someone’s enjoying their new eyesight

Other helmets I have worn have all sat perfectly fine with the Oakley Crossrange, which is a relief given that I hadn’t considered that my glasses may not always fit with some helmets.


I was forced into wearing riding glasses, but I’m often grateful when I take them off and see how much mud would have made its way into my eyes. I couldn’t ride in my daily glasses as they wouldn’t stay on my face, and the lenses aren’t as wide as these so my peripheral vision would be limited.

If you’re looking for set of high performance sports glasses then these might be too casual for you. If you want some functional sunglasses that have a great field of vision for riding, I highly recommend the Oakley Crossrange.

Review Info

Brand: Oakley
Product: Crossrange
From: Planit Opticians
Price: £130 before prescription
Tested: by Amanda for 12 months
Author Profile Picture
Amanda Wishart

Art Director

Amanda is our resident pedaller, who loves the climbs as much as the descents. No genre of biking is turned down, though she is happiest when at the top of a mountain with a wild descent ahead of her. If you ever want a chat about concussion recovery, dealing with a Womb of Doom or how best to fuel an endurance XC race, she's the one to email.

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Comments (10)

    If, as you suggest with your comment about glass piercing your cheek, someone has dispensed you a glass lens instead of a much more normal and widely used, far safer and cheaper plastic lens for MTB, please take them back and get them changed at the Opticians expense.
    I’m a Dispensing Optician and I would consider it utter lunacy to dispense a glass lens for MTB.

    Liked the article, what is the total cost with prescription lenses ? I ride in my normal glasses, but have always wondered….


    Do you mean polarised lenses (as stated) or photochromatic lenses? Polarised ones block out a portion of the lights wavelength, do reduce glare from reflection, photochromatic get darker when exposed to sunlight.
    I don’t think you can get polarised photochromatic lenses…

    I’m sure amanda means photochromic.

    Btw.Polarised doesn’t cut out any particular wavelength – it merely cuts out the light that is entering at a different orientation to the orientation of the polarsation of the lenses. (Think of it like a series of slots – the light waves in the same orientation as the slots will pass through..but if the waves are ‘across’ the slots then those don’t pass through).

    Try looking at a car radio LCD display with polarised glasses on – often looking at it one way will be fine but tilt your head enough it will go dark !

    keithb – yes, i’m quite sure amanda means photochromic, not polarised. but she might mean both. you *can* get polarised photochromc prescription lenses, google ‘drivewear’. prices are from insane up. i have a pair (in oakley currency frames) & they’re brilliant, my go-to glasses for all outdoor activities.
    theycallmejerry – as for glass lenses, yes, that would be crazy. i try to spec trivex for my riding glasses (the lenses in the oakley currency frames are trivex). they make aircraft windows out of trivex, nuff said. polycarbonate is also good. anything else, forget it – you don’t want to be otb’ing wearing glasses that can break.
    binman, if you can afford it, special glasses for riding will change your life. do expect to have to provide your children’s souls tho. however, you don’t *have* to have oakley frames, which keeps the cost down a bit. i have a pair of excellent sunnies using rad8 frames (reviewed by st a couple of years ago) with prescription lenses (polycarbonate, mirror finish, sharp!) from my optician (not rad8) & they weren’t quite as crazy expensive as the same thing with oakley frames & lenses would have been (hmmm, £400 instead of £600).
    to put my experience in context, my prescription is fairly fierce, tho not, i suspect, quite as radical as amanda’s (maybe). for me, good glasses aren’t an extravagance. in a straight choice between my glasses & food, i’d keep the glasses.

    I did mean photochromic, I constantly get these words confused and apologise for this not being spotted. I’ve updated it! I’m very new to glasses and lens options, as mentioned in the article this has been forced on me by a very fast deterioration of my eyes.
    (I always get the words white and yellow confused, which as an Art Director is even less ideal than this error!)

    How clear do they / can they go? Can you wear them at night?

    As an side, the endura photochromic glasses I bought have never changed colour 🙂

    I’ve used reglaze glasses direct to put photochromic lenses in Oakley chain links. They are varifocals with quite a strong prescription – too strong to get Oakleys own prescription lenses or contacts. Price was about £300 including frames – you buy the frames yourself and send them off to have the lenses replaced. They go totally clear and I can wear them at night. I’ve used optilabs in the past as well and would recommend either – much better than inserts that I have also used.

    I can also recommend Rad8 glasses as a good value prescription option. They are really good at resisting fogging up too with the coating that they use.

    Amanda, Hannah linked me to your article as I’m struggling and had posted on mtbchix Facebook page about my bonkers eyesight. It seems yours is just as bonkers as mine and so I found your article very useful indeed. I’m now excited about the prospect of specs shopping (a sling as I ignore the price tag of those big fat lenses!!)

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