I’ve been sporting the Bolle Phoenix sunglasses for a couple months now, and they’ve accompanied me on myriad mountain bike excursions, a few hiking jaunts and while wandering the city streets on a recent trip to Austin, TX. They’ve held up exceptionally well throughout this period, which is no simple feat as I tend to be pretty hard on my gear. That’s because the Phoenix is part of Bolle's Sport Collection, which features a lightweight, premium-grade lens material said to be 20 times more impact resistant than glass, but three times lighter. Bolle also uses the finest grade nylon in the frames to create lightweight, extremely durable yet flexible frames. What’s more, pinless hinges do away with mechanisms that can ultimately breakdown. These sturdy shades feature an armor shell on both sides of the lens as well to offer protection from scratches.
Have you ever worn a pair of sunglasses that have a tendency to slip down your nose once you break a sweat? It’s not only annoying, it’s a hazard to try and adjust them on the go. The Bolle Phoenix addresses this problem with its ThermoGrip technology on the nose pads and temple tips. These slide-prone areas have a different type of material that absorbs moisture and keeps the sunglasses in place over rough terrain. Even down the gnarliest of descents and the rockiest of rock gardens. I found myself repeatedly using my index finger to push up the middle of my Phoenix sunglasses, only to find that they hadn’t slid down my nose. Old habits die hard, I suppose. I think it’s also crucial to note that I’ve worn other sunglasses that claimed a similar technology. However, over time these areas became a sticky mess, leaving behind residue after they left my face. So far, after numerous uses in sweaty conditions, these areas remain “grippy” rather than “melty.”
Benefits of Polarized Lenses
The version of the Phoenix that I tested featured polarized lenses. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that these are the first pair of polarized lenses I’ve worn. For those of you who may not know what all the hype is about, let me explain. Popular with fishermen, skiers and other outdoor enthusiasts who recreate around reflected sunlight, Polarized lenses are basically lenses that have been treated to eliminate glare. I wore the Phoenix sunglasses on a recent mountain bike ride when the sun was going down. While my riding buddies complained of poor vision in sections where the sun shone through the trees, my view remained clear. If the $99 price tag seems a bit too steep, you can forgo the polarized lenses; non-polarized versions are priced at $69.99. The Phoenix also offers 100% UV protection.
Every time I’ve worn sunglasses to mountain bike, I’ve had fogging issues, and this was no exception. The Phoenix remained clear as day while I was moving, but whenever I’d come to a stop, the lenses fogged up. However, unlike any other glasses I’ve worn, the fog was minimal and disappeared the instant I started turning the pedals again. I’ve never used any anti-fogging products, but I assume that might eliminate this problem.
Size & Style
The Phoenix is made to fit small to medium sized heads. Their similar-looking Copperhead sunglasses are made to fit medium to small sized heads. While the Phoenix fit my smaller sized head just fine, I’d suggest those of you with medium sized heads reach for the Copperheads. I fear that the Phoenix would be just a tad too snug on your head, resulting in pinching and possible headaches.
If you’ve looked into buying a pair of peeper protectors, you probably know that they come in all different styles. Since style of sunglasses is subjective, I’m not going to say much about that aspect of these sunglasses aside from the fact that I feel comfortable wearing them both on and off the trail. They certainly aren’t too sporty looking to wear around town, and don’t look out of place underneath a helmet. Good job, Bolle.
One last thing to note: the color of the lenses on these sunglasses isn’t too dark to wear in the woods. I typically ride frame-free for this very reason. However, the amber color of the Phoenix makes things appear clearer and more colorful. Overall, I felt the sunglasses provided quality protection and vision enhancement at a very reasonable price.