For those of us with less than perfect vision, prescription sunglasses offer a favorable option over contacts for many reasons. If you do not have a really heavy prescription (like me) then you don't have to wear corrective lenses all day long, especially if many of your daily hours are spent in front of a computer screen. The thought of putting in contacts every morning and removing them every night is not as simple as putting on glasses with a corrective prescription when I need them.
Often times, however, the selection from my optometrist is not that great and even less when you are considering cycling specific eyewear and protection. This is wear SportRx can help. SportRx is a San Diego, CA based company that offers many Rx options from many different brands that customers can order online. If you are in the SoCal area, SportRx also has a retail showroom that also serves as the company's administrative offices, lab and headquarters. They offer performance prescription eyewear for many different categories of sports including: ball and stick sports, racket sports, golfing, hunting, fishing, driving, goggles for ski and snow sports and even eyewear for shooting, skydiving and scuba diving.
SportRx.com Options and Ordering
You can order your custom Rx glasses directly through the SportRx.com website. Be sure you have your latest Rx information including your sphere, cyclinder, axis and pupil distance and you can enter the information into the SportRx prescription analyzer that will give you suggestions on which models will suit your needs and tastes. By law, you will have to upload an image of your Rx that is written by your doctor. You can scan, fax or email the proof of prescription. You can also call their toll-free number and talk directly to one of the 7 opticians they have on site for more information or help.
If you prefer to browse first, you can look through their numerous offerings by sport, by category or by brand as well as styles for men, women or kids. You will find cycling specific brands such as: Adidas, Bolle, Julbo, Oakley, Rudy Project, Smith, Tifosi, Zeal and many more.
After you've selected a particular brand and model, there are plenty of customizable options available. Frame colors and styles, lens features, lens color, mirror finishes, coatings and antifog are just some of the options. If too many choices are overwhelming for you, they have "pre-built" sunglasses with the most common and popular options already selected. And of course, you can order non prescription glasses or fashion style shades as well.
Another feature of the SportRx website is that they have live online customer service and support that is available the same hours that the retail store is open. This is very helpful and works (I know because I tested it during the writing of this review). Store hours are: weekdays 8am to 7pm PST and weekends 8am to 4pm PST. You can even chat directly with an optician, I was helped by SportrxTim.
Once you have pulled the trigger and placed your order, turnaround time is about 2 weeks and all U.S. shipping is free. If you just can't wait, express service is available (for an upcharge, of course).
SportRx Knows Cycling
I first learned about SportRx during the Sea Otter Classic this past spring. I was introduced to Rob Tavakoli who is the Sales and Marketing Manager. SportRx is passionate about sports and they know what they sell. How do I know? While I was lined up for the Sea Otter MTB Gran Fondo, I saw Tavakoli lined up for the Road Gran Fondo.
SportRx also runs a SAG stop for cyclists along the Rose Canyon Bike Path that stocks granola bars, water, and APX Sport Drink to help athletes refuel. They also provide air pumps for your tires and if you are lucky, you may catch them on a day when they have free water bottles to hand out, too. SportRx was featured in a Bike-To-Work day segment from San Diego local news station CBS 8.
This video provides a fun, little glimpse inside SportRx the company, the products and the people.
It is reassuring to know that the company that you are purchasing from understands the needs of cyclists and appreciates the excitement and challenge of our sport. We chatted with Tavakoli about SportRx and he explains, "SportRx started in 1996 with wrap-around Rx eyewear and we are passionate about sports. We have over 80 years of experience with seven opticians on-site. Our return policy is very generous and we pride ourselves on our excellent customer service. Our goal is to help athletes and people who live active lifestyles see better."
About the Oakley Racing Jackets
This review is about SportRx and their Rx service, not the Oakley Racing Jackets that were used. Of course, Oakley is well known in the world of cycling, from top Tour de France riders wearing them to Troy Lee Designs making their own signature series Oakleys. I usually shy away from styles as "radical" as the Racing Jackets, but I'm glad that Rob talked me into these glasses.
First off, they fit great. they are secure on my head, whether I'm wearing them on the bike, off the bike or when I'm riding my motorcycle. The interchangeability of the lenses is awesome. No other system I've used is this easy and secure. I don't have to worry that I'm going to break anything and since it's so easy, I find myself swapping out the lenses more often.
The frames are durable and I like being able to take them off with one hand while riding and being able to put them back on my head without stopping. The Oakley Racing Jackets feature shorter ear pieces than other models which helps facilitate this maneuver. The nose pieces are also easily interchangeable if your facial features require a frame that sits a little farther from your face/cheeks. The vented lenses also helped prevent fogging as long as you are moving. Like most other lenses I've tried, these can fog up if you stop at the top after a long, hard climb on a cold morning. Treating the lenses with antifog solution can help in this situation.
Plus, I'll admit it, Oakley glasses just look cool.
Every step of the online browsing and ordering process was simple and easy. Delivery was quick and most importantly, the prescription lenses were spot-on and were just as good as the ones I get directly from my optometrist. I have actually ordered Rx lenses from another sport optical service and had the lenses turn out slightly off, which resulted in sunglasses that were unusable. There are no such worries with SportRx.
For my order, I received two sets of lenses for multiple lighting conditions. The dark lenses work great in all sunny conditions, whether I'm riding singletrack, driving down the highway or hanging out at the beach. The amber lenses are excellent for shady trails or late after-work rides that fall into dusk. In fact, the clarity and contrast of the amber lenses are so good that it feels like my vision is better than 20/20. Also, using an interchangeable lens system means I can carry my spare lenses in my CamelBak for changing conditions. Transition lenses are also available for certain models.
I have crashed with these glasses and I have gotten face whipped by low hanging branches and the lenses have remained scratch free. I am very cautious to always clean them carefully and with the supplied cloth. I wear many different brands of helmets and fit has not been a concern with any of them. It may not be stylish, but I always wear my glasses with the ear piece on the inside of the straps for a better fit. Many of the newer enduro style helmets have a strap that originates too far from the side of my head for a secure fit otherwise.
The cost varies from brand and model and options selected. If you are on a budget, I would recommend Tifosi glasses. If you can afford it, you really can't go wrong with Oakleys. I have tried prescription Zeals, Rudy Projects and Oakleys and the Oakleys are always my "go-to" shades.
Pricing for my Oakley Racing Jackets and two sets of lenses are as follows:
Oakley Racing Jacket with colored icon: $220
Polarized vr28 Black Iridium lenses: $315
Persimmon (Amber) lenses: $225
5/5 Flamin' Chili Peppers
"SportRx offers an easy way to order performance prescription eyewear online. The ordering process is streamlined and the choices are many. Pricing varies by brand, model and features with lower cost options available (lower than Oakley Racing Jackets, that is). The SportRx lenses we received are top notch and worked flawlessly during the past 2 months of testing in various riding and lighting conditions. We highly recommend SportRx."
SportRx also has a very informative YouTube channel with helpful videos from showcasing new sunglasses to how to install/change nose pieces and interchangeable lenses for certain models.
For more information visit www.SportRx.com.
Showroom and headquarters
5076 Santa Fe Street, Suite A
San Diego, California, 92109