Panda Optics Multi Sport sunglasses review
Panda Optics Multi Sport sunglasses
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By Simon von Bromley
Published: July 30, 2023 at 9:00 am
The Multi Sport is, as the name suggests, an all-rounder set of sports sunglasses made by UK-based Panda Optics.
Combining a large (but not enormous) shield lens with a half frame design, the Panda Optics Multi Sport sunglasses don’t push the boundaries of cycling glasses design.
Nevertheless, they deliver good performance at a decent price, and don’t suffer any obvious faults.
The Multi Sport frames are made from a thermoplastic called TR90. This is both lightweight and flexible, allowing the frames to conform easily to your head.
The tips of each arm are rubberised for added grip, and the nose piece is also adjustable.
The primary lens is a category 3 mirrored lens with a VLT (Visible Light Transmission) rating of 12.91 per cent, which is colour-matched to the frames.
In my case, this is cobalt blue and frosted white, although a red and black variant is also available.
With this lens in place, the Multi Sport sunglasses weigh 29g.
Two spare lenses are also included in the package – a category 2 amber lens with a VLT rating of 20.29 per cent and a category 0 clear lens with a VLT rating of 91.47 per cent.
Panda Optics says these polycarbonate lenses offer “ten times more impact resistance than traditional lens resin”.
Given most cycling-specific sunglasses use polycarbonate lenses these days, this is perhaps something of a moot point, but Panda Optics certainly isn’t the only sunglasses brand to make such claims.
In use, the Multi Sports do a good job of not getting in the way of your ride.
The lens is big enough to provide plenty of coverage, and the half-frame design means there’s nothing to block your peripheral vision. Lens clarity is good too, with no noticeable distortion.
I did see some flare lines on the lens with the sun directly in my eyeline, which I couldn’t replicate with a set of 100% Speedcraft sunglasses, for example.
However, given looking directly at the sun isn’t something most people spend much time doing, it doesn’t feel like a deal-breaker.
A photochromic lens option would be nice to have, considering how changeable the weather can be in the UK.
Although the nosepiece can be adjusted to fit, the frame is fixed. Regardless, I found the large rubber grippers offered a comfortable and stable fit no matter the road quality.
The six ventilation holes along the top edge of the lens also did a good job of preventing sweat from building up in my eyebrows and dirtying it on hot days.
Style is subjective, but in this instance, I’m not the biggest fan.
The Multi Sport’s look a bit derivative of other brand’s designs and lack originality.
The logos and fonts used for branding the frames don’t feel particularly modern or premium, either, though these are at least subtle.
Given the two bright colour options make matching them to the rest of your kit tricky (unless all of your kit is cobalt blue or black/red, or you just don’t mind the clash, of course), a wider choice in this area would be nice to have, too.
Overall, the Panda Optics Multi Sport sunglasses offer good performance in most areas and – personal feelings about design aside – don’t have any major flaws.
At £109 they represent decent value for money, though they’re not affordable enough to make it onto our list of cheap cycling sunglasses.
It’s equally possible to spend much more on options from more recognisable brands, of course, but the Multi Sports arguably lack the distinctive design and additional features that many of those offer in return.
Senior technical writer
Simon von Bromley is a senior technical writer for BikeRadar.com. Simon joined BikeRadar in 2020, but has been riding bikes all his life, and racing road and time trial bikes for over a decade. As a person of little physical talent, he has a keen interest in any tech which can help him ride faster and is obsessed with the tiniest details. Simon writes reviews and features on power meters, smart trainers, aerodynamic bikes and kit, and nerdy topics like chain lubricants, tyres and pro bike tech. Simon also makes regular appearances on the BikeRadar Podcast and BikeRadar’s YouTube channel. Before joining BikeRadar, Simon was a freelance writer and photographer, with work published on BikeRadar.com, Cyclingnews.com and in CyclingPlus magazine. You can follow Simon on Twitter or Instagram.❚