What is it
SportRx is a San Diego-based maker of prescription sunglasses for running and cycling. They offer a wide variety of brands, styles, models, and colors, and the entire ordering process can be done on-line or over the phone. In either case, you consult with an optician that helps you find the right sunglasses for your needs. Their line-up includes most of the popular brands such as Adidas, Nike, Smith, and Oakley, which is what RoadBikeReview tested here.
SportRx has been around for over two decades and has 21 employees, most of whom are involved in some type of outdoor sport. In 2014, it was named one of Outside Magazine’s best places to work in the U.S. Press play to learn more about the company and its culture.
Before you start your search, you need to have your latest prescription information (including pupil distance) in hand. And as required by law, you’ll also need to furnish a copy of your current prescription via scan, photo, or fax. The SportRx prescription analyzer then provides suggestions on which models will work best for you. There are also loads of customization options, including frame color and style, lens color, mirror finishes, coatings, and anti-fog treatments.
RoadBikeReview worked directly with sales and marketing manager Rob Tavakoli, whose been in the eyewear business for 17 years and recently just got a new Trek Fuel 9.8 EX mountain bike. After discussing my needs, we settled on a pair of Oakley Flak 2.0 XL for road riding and the Oakley Crossrange XL for mountain/casual use.
All SportRx glasses come with a 45-day exchange policy and Tavakoli says they do remakes for free when necessary. “We want everyone to like their glasses,” he added. “So we have an REI-like return policy. You need eyewear for sports and we aim to make sure people get the right lens and lens colors.”
- Finally I can see the scenery
- Easy on-line ordering process
- Both pairs include sturdy carrying case
- Both pairs have clear and sharp optics
- Minimal fogging issues with both pairs
- Both pairs have stood up to abuse
- Crossrange XL do double duty as causal shades
- Crossrange XL come with two sets of temple arms
- Flak 2.0 XL have removable lenses for easier cleaning
- SportRX offers 45-day return policy
- Thicker lens on Flak 2.0 XL gets dirty easier
- Can see Flak 2.0 XL frame out of corner of eye
- Flak 2.0 XL not to be worn off bike
- Crossrange XL lens not as dark as would like
About a decade ago, I tried contacts. It didn’t work out. I just couldn’t get past the whole sticking my finger in my eye thing. Instead I opted for Lasik — and for a while my eyesight was perfect. But over time it’s slowly reverted back to what it once was, and again my distance vision has deteriorated. It’s not awful. More blurry than blind. But anything that’s more than 10-15 feet away is definitely a little soft. Road signs are tough to read, especially at night. If it’s raining, forget about it.
So awhile back I got a pair of standard glasses. Problem solved for the most part. I could read the ticker at the bottom of the TV and know a little further ahead of time what the road sign up ahead said. There was still one problem, though. When doing the activity I love most, riding bikes, the beautiful world around me was still out of focus. It wasn’t a huge deal — and didn’t likely affect performance. But when you live and ride in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, being able to see the grandeur of the great outdoors is integral to the cycling experience.
Enter SportRx, which after an initial consultation about riding habits and face shape, steered me in the direction of the Oakley Flak 2.0 XL in matte black with Prizm Road lenses for skinny tire adventures and Oakley Crossrange XL in matte tort with Prizm Trail for riding dirt. Once I scanned and emailed in my prescription, it took about 3 weeks for the new shades to arrive.
Now my vision problems are really solved. Both pairs delivered on the promise of perfect vision — and I think I’m even riding a little faster, able to make out obstacles a breath quicker than before and then react accordingly.
The Oakley Flak 2.0 XL obviously have a more “aggressive” look, and are only to be worn on the bike, lest you want to be that guy. But they’ve served me well on both road and MTB rides, and stood up to the occasional drop. My only gripes are that the prescription lenses are a tad thicker than a normal pair of shades, which makes it easier for eyebrow contact and sweat build up on the inside.
The frame is also shaped in such a way that when looking far left or right, you see a tiny bit of the temple end. It’s not a deal breaker, but can be a little distracting. Overall, though, they provide a crystal clear and wide field of vision. I’ve also been impressed with the Prizm Road lens technology, which enhances what you see in both light and dark conditions.
Conversely the Prizm Trail lens utilized by the Crossrange XL shades is geared toward the dirt, and is claimed to enhance reds and browns, making it easier to rocks and roots. I can’t say with absolute certainty that it does all that, but these prescription shades have certainly enhanced the overall mountain biking experience — and you can wear them off the bike and not look like that guy. My only gripe is that I wish the lens was a tad darker. On the upside, they work well in both light and dark conditions, making it easier to negotiate trails that dart in and out of the woods.
Finally, there is the issue of cost. Standard versions of these sunglasses are well under $200 each. But when you go all in on a SportRX prescription the hit to the pocket book jumps to nearly $500 per pair. It is worth it? That’s really up to you. But when the cost is compared to other cycling components, it’s really not that out of hand — and I’ve yet to meet a drivetrain, shock, or wheelset that helps me see better.
Rating: 4 out of 5 for Crossrange XL / 3.5 out of 5 for Flak 2.0 XL
Price: Oakley Flak 2.0 XL $487 / Oakley Crossrange XL $477
More Info: www.sportrx.com/oakley-flak-2-0-xl and www.sportrx.com/oakley-crossrange-xl