What's Cool In Road Cycling

Sports Optical: Custom Lenses for the Pro’s

A while back we ran the article on Adidas top-flight insert set, touting it as the best system available because the rimless RX inserts are so slight, and have no frames to obscure view, that they damn near do a disappearing act. Not too long after that though, I got a ring from a buddy in the Euro-Peloton saying “I think someone has something better here in Colorado”. My (typically arrogant) reply? “Yeah Bull…, These are the Pizzimpinest Shizades anywhere” (yes I just finished watching snoop-dog play Huggy Bear in Starsky and Hutch…).

Forward a couple weeks and I get a call from Bret Hunter from Sports Optical in Lakewood Colorado, and he says “I think I have something better”. But before I could respond, he continued “but I’ll just do a pair and you can see for yourself” and that was pretty much it.

Hmmm. Tough shooting down anything when someone offers to put up and shuts up.

My only job was picking a set from the site and as I scrolled though, I saw the standard inserts available from lots of companies and said “I already have most of these glasses with inserts”. That’s when he drops the Bomb… “I do the standard stuff too, but I also custom mill prescription lenses that are shaped to fit in sports sunglasses, even the half framed, heavily curved kind. I can do Rudy, Smith and even the Adidas glasses you already have. No inserts. I custom mill the lenses.”

“No inserts?” I asked.


OK, I thought… That could be better.

Anyone that has an Rx knows that, unless you want inserts, sunglasses from pretty much any optical shop require lenses without curves and also require full frames. It’s always been that way… If you want full sport glasses, you get the frame in a frame like these…

Nice glasses, but not light, a frame around the script that interrupts vision and, because sports glasses get grimy fast, you get the pain in the ass of taking apart and cleaning two sets of glasses front and back…

Not hard to realize that something like this…

…will be lighter and easier to clean, with both better vision and better safety…

The lenses themselves are little works of art. The custom milling for shape is evident.

Lenses come in a slew of colors. Pretty much anything you would order from stock can come to you in RX form.

Sports Optical also offers different manufacturers and different styles. You can choose a more conservative frame, or bling-out with something I have never seen on any Rx glasses, an Iridium coating.

And if you just want to bring a little funk to the board room, Sports Optical also let you draw down from an extremely nice selection of non sports (but certainly fashionable) glasses…

Bret (Sports Optical’s Lord of the Lens) spent several years perfecting the lens milling process. He’s also spent 27 years racing everything on two wheels (from road to the winter X games) running more than 30 races a year during that time (and not only sponsors one of Colorado’s better teams, but also fabs frames for his Kids!). He realized long before he went to Opticianry school that he didn’t like the glasses available for our sport, as he has grown up needing glasses. It was with Cycling in mind that he created this special niche although his glasses go to lots of athletes in other sports…

You’ll see (or, um… not see) Bret’s work on the heads of Pro’s, World Champs, National Champs and a few pampered industry insiders. Bret even makes them for a cyclist that works at a lense manufacturer that makes as many as 37,000 lenses a day (that’s not a miss print) and are the worlds largest…

I have always wondered why I see so many pro’s wearing glasses in a casual setting, but hardly ever see them with inserts in the peloton (or on the field or fairway or track)… Mystery solved I guess.

Pricing on the glasses ranges from similar to standard insert prices to, well, more than that… The standard, non sport, glasses are probably priced better through Sports Optical than your Eye Doc’s office as well. If you’re looking to lighten up, clean up your view and lose the hassle of inserts period, check Out Sports Optical.

You can call them at 303-237-5750. You can also find em at a modest website at SportsOptical.com. Personally I liked talking to him while browsing through, as he has insights on what will work best for your sport as it relates to lens type, color and shape. Use him for what he knows!

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