What's Cool In Road Cycling

Adidas Shades: Gazelle Climacool’s Get “Viewed”

Adidas and the folks at Silhouette Optical gave us a couple of top mark glasses to try in their Shields and Evil Eye sets. Great on their own, and more so when you consider the prescription insert options coming direct from a premier optical shop. It was an easy sell to get us to try out the new Gazelle’s that seem to be the better part of both the others. Who’s a guessed they were originally designed with runners in mind?

The Gazelle Climacool’s primary feature is also the most evident…

A few glasses have played with venting through the lens or frame faзade, so it’s nothing new, and past experience had me thinking the Climacool feature would be more eye-candy that eye-friendly, as the others seemed to have the combined effect of looking overdone and not providing a benefit I could feel.

As to overdone looks, I have a couple tests for glasses in the looks department. (These are also approved for home use. – ed) The first is looking at myself in the mirror and seeing if I resemble either Elton John in his early years or anything in the insect family (sometimes the two are not mutually exclusive). I then ask myself if I would look like an idiot wearing them at a distance of more than 5 feet from a bike. If they pass this test, I simply put them and walk past my wife without saying anything. If she doesn’t laugh under her breath (or out loud in some cases)… they pass.

The Gazelle’s pass the looks tests and have a noticeable ventilating effect. These also have some trickle down features from both the Shields and Evil Eyes that blend in very well.

First is the venting through the lenses. You’ll note on the picture above that the vents have a kind of kidney shape. They are designed that way simply to grab air. They are also shaped inside the lens a bit to regulate the flow and keep you cool but not blast your ‘balls.

See those venting channels? – they work.

The channels sitting behind the holes in the lens also direct the air. The frame also acts as a flow regulator and blocks less of the hole as you get further from the nose bridge. Better venting where you need it, and also where it will be less irritating. The design is functional first and good looking second, which is a direct opposite of some.

Getting Bent
The adjustable arm tilt is the second feature and comes from the Evil Eyes. They will tip up or down, in three clicks, through a range of 8 degrees and that can help you fine tune the wind. For Cyclists it’s nice just to tip them up all the way, as your head is tilted down as you ride, and it’s nice looking through a flatter surface.

The third feature that helps these fit well (and we’re big on fit…) is the adjustable nose bridge also found on the Evil Eyes. The Bridge clicks into two positions for wide or narrow nose and / or for a height adjustment.

And of course, they have Rx inserts for folks like me. As with the Shields, the inserts for the Gazelle are super slick, light weight and maintain the adjustable nose bridge option. Once snapped in place, they fit up snug with the frame and weigh next to nothing.

Of course none of this means squat if the lenses are not proper quality, and this is really Adidas’ home turf. Pairing with Silhouette optical labs to standards for high-end prescription eyeglasses means the vision quality is very good on the inserts AND on their standard lenses. It’s the lenses that really set the top of the line companies in glasses apart from the pop up’s. Companies like Adidas will spend more on a lens that others do making lens, frame and case combined…

The Gazelle’s feature a lens like that of their Shield series that offers a very open view. Of course they are swept and rounded in shape so that you are always looking through as little distortion as possible and the one-piece design also allows for a quick change of lenses.

Our View?
As with the Shields, I like these for what they are as much as for what they are not. They are a top quality piece of eyewear from a company that has been in the game for a very very long time (it’s more about Silhouette Optical than Adidas really). They are well made, from durable goods (like the break proof frame material) and have features that are functional more than farcical… What they are not is overblown “look-at-my-glasses” glasses.

The adjustability allows for good coverage and wind protection, while pushing that little bit of air flow that helps keep the brows from dripping in the summer and the fog down a touch at stop signs as we cool off (to a frigid 56 here in Phoenix…). The fact that they were designed for runners is probably what helps them stay put without being too tight. The gripy rubbery surface runs most of the way up the arms, and I like that. They stay snug on head and also grip fabric if you have them on outside a winter hat.

They come in two sizes and a few colors, and have a good lens selection (note that I can use their LST Trial lens year round, in bright or low light…). Retail is $200 for the glasses themselves (with a second lens, case and bag). Your prescription will vary in cost based on how screwed up your eyes are (they are made to order direct from Silhouette).

Give them a look at Adidas Eyewear and more importantly, get a pair on your head for a try.

Note: If you have other experiences with gear, or something to add, drop us a line. We don’t claim to know everything (we just imply it at times). Give us a pat on the back if you like the reviews, or a slap in the head if you feel the need!

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