MSRP: $199 – $249, depending on options
Colors: numerous frame and lens combos
Availability: company website, online, retail
How Obtained: sample from company
RBR Sponsor: no
Tested: 60+ hours
Adidas Eyewear Offers Multiple Options
Adidas cycling product history can be traced back to the 1950s, and the company has been an on-and-off player since. I have a 10+ year old pair of Adidas cycling gloves that are so comfortable I still wear them once in a while. Currently, Adidas apparel is not marketed in the U.S., but you can find it on the U.K. website. The Adidas Sport Eyewear products are marketed worldwide, however, and they offer several cycling options, including the Zonyk Aero Pro, which I’ve been testing for the past several months.
Zonyk Aero Pro – Many Pros, a Couple of Cons
The Zonyk Aero Pro sunglasses are lightweight, half-rim sunglasses with a large, single-piece lens that can be removed. There are many frame and lens options to choose from, ranging from colored to clear polyamide frames and mirrored, photochromic, and polarized polycarbonate lenses. A big plus for a select group of cyclists is the ability to get the Zonyks with prescription lenses. In fact, all Adidas sport frames are available with prescription lenses, and you can find (or order) them at many optical stores where you buy your everyday prescription glasses.
Of note is that only one lens comes with the Zonyks, whereas many sunglasses these days come with multiple lenses. In the case of the matte black frame and Vario photochromic, purple mirrored lens that I tested, there is not much need for other lenses. But if you don’t get a photochromic version, you may want to buy a second lens to make these sunglasses more versatile. Lens swapping is quick and easy: Just throw open two latches and pop the lens out. There is a nice hard case and cleaning cloth/pouch included to protect the sunglasses when not in use.
Create the Perfect Fit
The Zonyks have several great features for dialing in the fit. First, when purchasing the glasses you can choose between two frame sizes to best match your head shape. Once you have picked a frame size there are two main fit adjustments: nose pads and temple arms.
The nose pads are a single-piece bridge and are replaceable. (See photo below.) Included are two different sizes, short and long, that allow fine-tuning the fit on your nose.To change nose pads you simply pop off one pad and snap on the other. Once installed, the nose pads have two positions, wide and narrow, to fit your nose width and adjust how close the glasses sit to your face. The adjustment does make a big difference in fit as in the wide position the bridge hurt the top of my nose, but fit great after clicking them to the narrow position.
There are three positions available for each temple arm of the sunglasses that allow you to control the angle of the glasses on your face. After testing for a while in the standard center position (which I found very comfortable) I decided to drop both arms down, effectively tilting the glasses forward, and found it was an even better fit and offered a great field of view. As a bonus if you happen to have uneven ear levels, you can tweak the fit so the Zonyks sit level on your face.
The Sweat Bar Has Issues
A premium feature of the Zonyk Aero Pro over the Zonyk Aero model is the addition of a removable foam sweat bar along the top of the frame that presses against the forehead to keep sweat out of your eyes. (See the photo above.) As a heavy sweater, I was intrigued by this feature, but unfortunately I came away disappointed.
The first issue is fairly minor and apparent the instant you put on the glasses with the sweat bar installed – it puts the glasses farther away from your face and it just feels weird compared to ‘normal’ glasses. I got used to this odd fit fairly quickly and did not find it uncomfortable at all after a couple rides.
The second issue, far more serious, surprised me on a fast descent after a long, hot climb. The sweat bar is made of open cell foam, not closed cell. This means it is a sponge and absorbs your salty, sunscreen-filled sweat. Squinting my eyes on the descent furrowed my brow enough to compress the sweat bar against my forehead and release a deluge of stinging liquid into my eyes. I was effectively blinded and luckily was able to emergency stop without incident.
While I find the sweat bar to pose a potential safety issue, since it is a removable feature on the Pro model (and does not come with the non-Pro version) I will recommend being very careful about using it and will not dock the overall rating based on this feature.
Interestingly, I searched the web to read some other reviews of the sweat bar to see if there were any similar experiences and found in every article the reviewer had immediately removed the sweat bar and not even tested it due to the previously mentioned odd fit. Based on my results, I find this lack of full testing to be a disservice to their readership.
Excellent Clarity but not Super Dark
On the bike, the Zonyks offered excellent visual clarity. When putting them on, the sensation was of the surroundings getting brighter even though less light was reaching my eyes. Like yellow or orange lenses, the brightness allows great visibility without strain on the eyes. This allowed me to look into shadows somewhat better than with darker glasses.
Similar to orange- or yellow-tinted glasses for low light, the Zonyks were excellent at eliminating glare. The mirror Vario photochromic lenses I tested worked well in low light conditions, but are certainly not for dark conditions as they can’t go completely clear. As the sun intensity increased, I found that the photochromic effect did not get as dark as most sunglasses, but was just enough so that I did not have to squint.
Comfort was excellent with the flexible frames not pressing too hard on my temples and the sticky contact points on my nose and temples holding fast in all conditions. When looking down, the glasses did not budge. The big lens means only the very far periphery of vision is not covered, and there was no discernible distortion at the edge of the lens. Air flow was good, with vents in the top of the frame keeping fog under control and cooling air moving under the glasses.
As a durability test, I never used the included cleaning cloth, but instead only used normal cotton and synthetic towels from around the house. I have yet to detect any scratches on the lens after many washings. The nose and temple adjustments are also still very solid, with no play after numerous changes of position. I would expect, if taken care of, these glasses will last a long time.
Solid Performance with Standout Fit
The Adidas Zonyk Aero Pro sunglasses offer high quality optics and a solid build designed to last. Highlights include a customizable fit, clear optics, and compatibility with prescription lenses. These sunglasses are super comfortable and light, which makes them disappear on your head so you can focus on the road.
I would like to see the photochromic lens get darker in extremely bright situations, and a change to closed-cell foam for the sweat bar to direct sweat away instead of absorbing it. At this price point, it would be nice to see a second lens included, but if fit and/or prescription lenses are high priorities for you, these glasses could fit the bill. If you don’t want the sweat bar and can live with less technical lenses, the Zonyk Aero (non-Pro) may be a good choice for those on a budget, as well as the standard Zonyk, which is a full-rim version.
Brandon Bilyeu is an avid recreational roadie who lives in Portland, Oregon, and enjoys road, track and ‘cross racing. He’s also a year-round bike commuter and is a mechanical design engineer by trade. Click to read Brandon’s full bio.