Shimano Aerolite Sunglass Review


Words by Robert Johnston  |  Photos by Dusten Ryen

Shimano’s eyewear lineup continues to grow, refining and adding new models to cover the full spectrum of bike activities. The Aerolite glasses are a more budget-minded option compared with the likes of their S-Phyre, but still pack some tech and performance to satisfy most riders. We’ve been putting them to the test across a wide range of conditions and have come away impressed by the performance of their Ridescape HC lens for the brighter days.


The Aerolite is primarily designed as eyewear for gravel and cyclocross, but given that there’s some crossover with mountain biking, we figured they’d be worth putting to the test and didn’t regret it. There’s a bold frame made from Grilamid® TR 90 flexible and strong plastic, which sits along the bottom of the single lens, ensuring there’s no impairment to your vision when riding. This frame was designed in partnership with RX-CLIP to ensure excellent prescription eyewear insert compatibility. The temple tips are given TPE rubber tips to provide some grip against the head, and the adjustable nose pad allows for the fit of the glasses to be optimized.

The Aerolite glasses can be purchased with a choice of their RIDESCAPE HC (high contrast) tinted lens (tested), or a Photochromic gray lens to give increased adaptability to the conditions. The RIDESCAPE HC lens is designed to block glare and increase the contrast to improve the clarity of the terrain ahead. It has an N3 filter with a VLT of 13%, sitting on the darker end of the spectrum for riding glasses. A hydrophobic coating is applied to the lens to reduce the buildup of moisture on the lens and help to keep them cleaner, and there’s an anti-scratch layer built in with UV400 protection to keep them performing well for longer. Shimano lenses use what they call “decentered optics”, which is touted to eliminate distortion and provide a less fatiguing outlook on the trail ahead. The Shimano Aerolite glasses are offered in a choice of four frame colors, tip the scales at just 26g, and retail for $65 / £69.99.

Shimano Aerolite Sunglass Review


Testing of the Shimano Aerolite glasses spanned our 2023 eMTB Destinations tour and a number of other projects and rides around the west coast of America during a two-month period. This amounted to a great deal of trail time, and for the primarily sunny conditions I saw no reason to opt for any alternatives.

The Aerolite glasses have a nice amount of wrap and coverage, with the lower-only frame ensuring that the upper section of your view remains entirely undisturbed, and only the absolute extremity of your view downwards is impacted. The adjustable nose piece ensured I was able to get the glasses nice and close to my face; the legs are slim enough in the right spots that none of a selection of three different trail helmets presented any issues with fouling; and they stayed put on every ride without any deviation from a comfortable position on my face.

The optics are excellent, and although the RIDESCAPE HC lens is technically targeted at increasing contrast on the road, it also does a great job at boosting the clarity of mountain bike trails in bright light. That said, the contrast-boosting effects were still much appreciated in thick wooded environments, but of course relied upon bright sunlight coming through to give enough illumination to let the 13% VLT lens fly. It won’t be the lens of choice for most riders in heavily wooded or darker areas, but for riders regularly in open terrain or particularly bright woodlands it’s a great option. The photochromic lens option would likely satisfy riders in darker conditions, though without testing the transition speed and tint it’s impossible to confirm it’s a good option for sure.

Through a couple of months of traveling and lots of miles covered, the Shimano Aerolite glasses have held up very well, resisting any notable scratching from tumbles on the van floor or fights against branches. Through a couple of rides in heavy rain storms their fogging resistance was tested to the maximum, and though they didn’t remain totally clear when stopped, they would clear once on the move. They seem to shed water from the lens well and resist streak marks or significant dirt buildup fairly well too. The only major downside is the lack of lens choice – you’re stuck with either the High Contrast lens or the Photochromic and can’t purchase replacements to switch between.

The Wolf’s Last Word

With great optics, a comfortable shape that stays put and a reasonable price tag, the Shimano Aerolite glasses are a solid eyewear offering, so long as you’re happy with the lens you buy.

Price: $65

We Dig

Good contrast boosting lens
Comfortable fit
Solid durability

We Don’t

Fixed lenses
No clear option


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