In today’s retail environment, many consumers deeply care about the ethos of the companies they buy from. Voting with your wallet is an opportunity we all have in our retail environment. Luckily, many companies are making impactful environmental gains while simultaneously improving product quality. Founded during the pandemic, Vinco Performance is shaking up the sunglasses market as their first foray into building sustainable, repairable and high-quality performance eyewear. The Vinco Sola is squarely aimed at the road cycling crowd — with optimal lens shape, light transmission and clarity for fast-moving tarmac.
Vinco Performance Sola Sunglasses Features:
- Optimized lenses for road cycling
- Base 7 curve for wraparound performance
- Optically-correct in all angles
- Infinitely-adjustable temple tips
- Rebuildable design with stainless hardware
- Utilizes Lignatura bio resin instead of plastics
- 2-year guarantee (replace or rebuild)
- Weight: 27 grams (small) and 29 grams (large)
- Available in two sizes and a handful of classic colors
- MSRP: $249
Large, wide shields with a purpose
Riders today demand extreme eye coverage. Not only is this for aesthetics, but, primarily, for coverage. Personally, I demand a wide range of vision for road, gravel and mountain biking and hate it when frame material blocks my vision. Semi-rimless designs tend to be my go-to, unless the lenses are large enough to negate that. It’s fortuitous that Vinco Performance shares some of those same design principles with their Sola and Terra sunglasses. Both models are identical in shape and design, but differ in lens color. I’ve ridden both models across a wide variety of terrain and disciplines and will focus on the Sola’s in this review, with a Terra-specific review coming later.
At first glance, it’s hard not to notice the industrial-inspired design and materials. Stainless hardware and large, squared-off upper lenses look like the shields of yesteryear. But, not only is this aesthetic intentional, everything about the Vinco Sola sunglasses is intentional. Throughout the life of the product, Vinco can easily take care of any repairs needed — because they were built with that in mind. No more tossing an entire pair of sunglasses in the trash if you sit on them and bend a hinge. And, if the temple tips get worn out, you can unscrew the endcaps and replace them. This intentionality really sets these unique sunglasses apart from the crowd and makes the high price tag easier to swallow.
Yes, the Sola is made for road cycling, but you know me, I’m not just going to use them on the road. I spent a healthy amount of miles on gravel and singletrack too. And, I also used them for trail running. I can confirm that the lens tint and light transmission are absolutely road-optimized. Colors on the road pop and remain clear — even in lower (not dark) light conditions. In those low-light conditions, the shadows and lighting typically found on singletrack or gravel roads did feel less optimal. On the darkest mornings, I did grab either photochromic or lighter lenses, but only because I have those at my disposal. This particular lens color and tint is certainly road-optimized, but you can use them elsewhere — just know that there are better lenses for those uses (including from Vinco).
The mirroring on the Sola’s lenses may seem really strong in their studio photos, but it’s not as mirrored as you might think (and that’s a good thing). When lenses are overly-mirrored, the sun’s glare becomes more amplified; particularly at high speeds. And, high speeds on the road are the most critical time for optical clarity. The combination of subtle mirroring and the proper light transmission and tint allow my eyes to relax and focus on riding comfortably and safely. And, the little vents provide just an added touch of airflow to prevent fogging. On that note, I only noticed a minimal amount of fogging on cool, humid mornings after a long ascent.
The Polyamide lenses have been durable and easily-cleaned throughout many months of abusive testing. A little rinse, a quick dry and then buffing with the included sleeve is all I have needed. There is an included hard case for travel and long-term care.
Fitting the sunglasses to my head did take a little bit of time and effort, but it’s worth it. At first, I didn’t realize just how flexible the temple tips are. It took a call with Ian Hamilton, founder of Vinco Performance, to realize that you can pretty much mold the temple tips into whatever shape you wish. I initially curved them downward and around my ears. They stayed put, but I felt pressure behind my ears and it required a lot of finagling to get them on with a helmet. I have fiddled with curving them more around the back of my head using a straighter temple shape as well. In the end, I’ve gone with a mix of the two and when I notice them slipping at all, I just make a slight adjustment.
That adjustability is both good and bad. Ultimately, it does allow you to customize them for your head shape, but that same benefit can come with it some challenges as you endlessly tinker with the shape. But, I’ll take that over a pair of classes that never fit properly. I will note that the rebuildable and modular design does present some challenges when it comes to overall product cohesiveness. The rubber temple tips do twist around a little and the stainless frame brow bridge has a little bit of movement to it over time. None of these issues detract from the overall performance and are only noticeable with close inspection and never during use.
Currently, Vinco only offers a single nose bridge, which provides decent grip and comfort. In the future, they will look into Asian fit, but it’s not currently available. I’ve tested these with a wide variety of helmets with no interference whatsoever.
Fit: I wear a size medium helmet, so I went with the size small Sola and I think they fit just right.
- Love the renewable and rebuildable aspects of the Sola
- Optically-correct shield design with a unique curve
- Adjustable fit for personalized performance
- Great lens tint that’s optimized for the road
- Compatible with all helmets tested
- Small lens vents do help provide just the right airflow to prevent fogging
- Infinitely-adjustable temple tips can be an endless cycle of tweaking
- Industrial look may not be for everyone
The Bottom Line: Vinco Sola Sunglasses
With their “Runnable. Rideable. Renewable.” mission, Vinco Performance is on the right track and the Sola Sunglasses exemplify that approach. With a road-specific lens formulation, these are at home on the tarmac — providing clarity and protection for high-speed pursuits. With a wide, base 7 curve, you’ll find the cylindrical shape to be unique in the market and the optical clarity it provides is among the best I’ve tested. They remain comfortable on even the longest days in the saddle and my eyes always feel refreshed.
Buy Now: Visit VincoPerformance.com