The big question about sports sunglasses is whether or not the really pricey ones are worth the outlay. While a brand like the big ‘O’, with its huge international marketing budget, may lead the way in mainstream awareness, there are many less obvious brands of similar technical calibre, such as the Italian Rudy Project.
Long a favourite amongst a select group of cyclists and golfers, the brand trades in highly technical eyewear that focuses more on functionality than clever merchandising gimmicks. The Propulse frame is the latest of its range that is designed specifically for runners, and we were offered up a pair to use.
The bronze frame is a limited launch edition, while the multilaser orange lens is a regular option. There are many other frame and lens colour combinations you can get at retail, including black and red lenses.
As I normally wear prescription glasses, I had to get RX inserts for the Rudy Project Propulse as well. These simply clip into place inside the main frame, and are so light that they add no discernible weight to the whole unit.
What’s odd though are the two small, clear silicone bumpers that were stuck on the RX insert. Supposedly added to prevent scratching of the lens, they might not really be need, but were added as a precaution. They lie outside the immediate field of vision though, so I don’t really notice them in use.
While there are frames and lens combos that can have prescriptions built directly into the lens, this clip-in option leaves the sunglasses with the option to change out with different tints. There are plenty of configuration options with sunglasses even if you need sight correction, and this is just one of them.
Rudy Project’s literature claim that the frame is designed to deliver a natural compression fit without any annoying pressure, and it works as advertised. What is cool about the Propulse is that the rubber nose piece is easily adjustable and feels practically unbreakable, which means that you can really adjust the fit to your face.
Some sports sunglasses continue to have fixed nosepieces, and they do not always work for Asian faces because we tend to have flatter nose bridges that put the lenses too close to the face. In some cases, your eyelashes will end up wiping the back of the lens. Not so with the Rudy Project Propulse however, and the high level of adjustability is appreciated.
The frame is practically just a top arm with detachable lenses clipped in securely. Highly vented, they really help prevent fogging on long runs during hot or humid times. They are light enough to not really feel like they are there, but also do not bounce around. The multilaser orange lens tint delivers on the contrast, though might feel too heavily tinted for overcast days.
As far as comfort goes however, they pass one major test: these do not slowly slide down the nose, ever. The Propulse sits very well-balanced, even with the RX insert in place. There was no need to adjust them as I ran, which with other poorly balanced sunglasses can become a serious annoyance.
The rubber grips around the arms apply even pressure across a wide space so there are no high pressure spots on the sides of my head for day-long comfort. At minor critique is that they may feel a little fragile, but that’s all it is, a feeling. In use they are lightweight, well-balanced, look good and dependable.
Find out more at https://www.rudyproject.com/
Rudy Project is distributed in Singapore by Mandarin Opto-Medic Co Pte Ltd.