Fitovers Eyewear Aviator
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
Summary: Not your
Grandma's sunglasses...or maybe they are, but who
Designed to fit over most prescription
eyeglasses, Fitovers sunglasses come in an array of
sizes and styles.
They're much less expensive than a
separate pair of prescription sunglasses and they do an
excellent job of reducing glare.
I have to admit, I was pretty skeptical
about these Fitovers sunglasses at first.
I never considered myself to be so much
of an Old Timer that I'd start wearing a pair of these.
After all, "fitover" sunglasses are worn mostly by the
Bingo set, no?
My Dad lives in a retirement home in
South Florida (a very nice one), and I often travel
there to see him. Fitover-type sunglasses are
de rigueur for the blue-haired types down there.
So let's face it -- you're not going to see Victoria
Beckham wearing a pair anytime soon.
Well, don't tell it to Fitovers Eyewear,
who is apparently out to change all that. Their
marketing brochures and photographs actually show young,
active, alive -- dare I say hip? -- people wearing them!
Can you imagine?
Whether or not Fitovers sunglasses will
soon be worn by hungover clubbers sleeping it off on the
beaches of Ibiza is yet to be determined. It's
going to be the responsibility of eyeglass-wearing
motorcyclists to bring yet one more product into the
fashion consciousness of the world.
Or maybe not... Slipping a pair of
these on over your regular eyeglasses may take some
getting used to, and they may not fit over all styles of
eyeglasses, like those with thicker plastic frames.
But if they fit (more on that in a sec), you may just
find that they block more sunlight than any "normal"
pair of sunglasses.
In the end, that's the bottom line.
Blocking all those nasty ultraviolet A and B rays and
glare is what counts, and the Fitovers do that in
Ophthalmologists and other eye care
specialists recommend wearing sunglasses with UVA and
UVB protection, and many are now also recommending full
coverage sunglasses like the Fitovers design, which can
help block more of the harmful rays.
Fitovers claims that the design
provides 100% UVA and UVB protection. There's
no way for us to validate that, but the Fitovers
design with its large side plates and eyebrow cover
does indeed block much more than other types of
sunglasses, especially the dinky little magnetic
clip-ons I normally use.
This is especially true in the "Aviator"
(Note: Corrected from "Rhombus"; both styles
are very similar)
design shown here, which is one of the largest Fitovers
models, designed for large-sized noggins like mine.
Fitovers has a downloadable .pdf sizing guide that shows
all the different styles with recommendations on fit.
The sizing is listed as the eyeglass
measurements; that is, the suggested maximum size of
eyeglasses that each Fitovers design will accommodate.
The sizes run from the small 128 mm x 40 mm "Small
Glides" to the large 143 mm x 53 mm "Aviator".
The "Aviator" version shown here is at
the upper end of the range, measuring 140 mm x 45 mm.
Again, this number indicates the maximum size of the
eyeglasses that can fit underneath, so in this case, the
Aviator is designed to fit over eyeglasses not exceeding
140 mm wide by 45 mm tall.
Interested customers may want to try on
a pair or two before buying; I tried on three different
models at the Indy show before settling on the Aviator
I'm not sure about the other styles, but
the "temples", or "arms" of this style do not have
grooves or any special feature to cover the eyeglass
temples. The Fitovers sunglasses simply look like
a large pair of sunglasses that are placed over the
existing eyeglass frames.
I would have thought that having
been designed to fit over normal eyeglasses, the
plastic frames would be molded for various sized
eyeglass frames, but apparently you're just supposed
to buy a large enough size to do the job. And
by the way, they can also be worn alone, without
The comfort can range from not
bothersome at all if worn over thin wire-framed
eyeglasses to a bit clumsy when worn over thick plastic
frames. Since the modern trend in eyeglasses is
for smaller wire-framed styles, there shouldn't be much
of a problem for most.
It may seem from the Fitovers marketing
literature and the variety of sunglass designs that the
Fitovers sunglasses are designed with open-faced helmets
and cruising in mind. I was concerned about this
and didn't think they would fit comfortably over my
eyeglasses inside the tight confines of a full-faced
helmet, but figured I'd give it a go.
I'm happy to report that on most of the
full-face helmets I normally wear, the flexibility of
the temples makes the Fitovers sunglasses a fairly easy
fit. This may not always be the case, and
squeezing the Fitovers over a thicker eyeglass frame
doesn't always work, so potential customers may want to
bring along a favorite helmet to try when they're also
trying on a pair of Fitovers.
This may or may not be an issue with
other Fitovers designs, I'm not sure if the collection
also includes sunglasses with flatter or slimmer
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The very ends of the temples that go
over the ears are bowed; they bend inwards, then out at
the tips (as you can see in the photos), and this may
cause problems with tight-fitting helmets.
like to see a Fitovers style that is specifically
designed for full-face helmet wearers, with straight
temples and no hooks for the ears and maybe some type of
groove molded in, which I think would fit more eyeglass
frame types and possibly would offer a slimmer profile
to wear under more types of helmets.
The plastic frame is molded and not
adjustable, and I wonder if it could be modified
somewhat by heating the plastic first in hot water.
The frame does not feel like an expensive high-quality
plastic eyeglass frame, but it is functional and the
relatively low cost means that it won't be too much of
an issue if the sunglasses get damaged or lost.
The Aviator design shown here, with its
45 mm tall front, feels big, especially behind a helmet
eye port. The idea of this design is to block as
much sunlight as possible, and the thick brow, large
front tinted lenses and the side plates naturally result
in a big pair of sunglasses.
They feel slightly heavy in front,
somewhat analogous to those big, glass-lens eyeglasses
that were stylish in the 1980's. I used to have
red marks on my upper cheeks where the thick and heavy
lenses rested against my face.
The lens quality seems excellent; very
even with no distortion in my pair, with perfectly even
tinting and excellent clarity and optical qualities in
all respects. The lenses on the Aviator and most
of the other Fitovers styles are polarized, which may
affect some riders more than others when wearing the
Fitovers under a motorcycle helmet visor.
I've been wearing polarized sunglasses
for many years when riding however, and it doesn't
bother me at all. Also, the large polarized lenses
with the excellent glare coverage makes the Fitovers
perfect for the beach or fishing.
ADDENDUM: Fitovers offers a
21-year warranty "against breakage due to defects in the
material and workmanship" but apparently the owner must
pay $9.95 for a warranty service, which probably covers
the manufacturing cost of the sunglasses and my guess is
that they'd simply send you a new pair.
Replacement lenses can also be purchased.
Fitovers sunglasses come with a corded
neck holder, a cleaning cloth and a fabric carrying
The sunglasses are labeled as meeting
ANSI.Z80.3-2001; EN 1836:2005 and Australian Standard
for sunglasses, Category 3: Sunglasses, high glare
reduction, maximum UV protection and suitable for
I am definitely concerned about UVA and UVB
protection and, of course, glare from sunlight.
My eyes have always been very sensitive to light,
and since much of my youth was spent on the beach
and out in the water, sitting on a surfboard staring
at the horizon, I'm also concerned about eye
problems as I get older.
The Fitovers sunglasses
definitely block more light than any other type
of sunglasses I've tried, and this has been
important to me when riding with a full-face
helmet because my clip-ons just haven't been
doing it for me recently.
Granted, the look may not be for
everyone. But if you can get over that and
think of their usefulness and safety aspects,
and if the Fitovers design works with your
eyeglasses and helmet combination -- the
Fitovers sunglasses do make motorcycle riding
safer and more enjoyable.
One other thought: the price is
very reasonable and Fitovers can be found at
discounts from the list price.
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From "S.B." (4/09): "I don't expect
we'll see a straight-templed version for motorcyclists,
because I don't think they are manufactured for
motorcyclists. These have been around for about 25
years that I know of, and maybe longer.
I think what's new is that they are being marketed to
motorcyclists, but actually produced in China in huge
quantities for the general fashion market and
packaged/marketed by the importer. Hence, to get a
feature desired by motorcyclists at the $20 price point
would probably require that the feature have already
been incorporated into the mold for the wide market."
From "Scott" (4/09): "You gotta be
kiddin' me. I can use my FitOver fishing glasses
for riding on sunny days? Give me a minute to try
them on with my helmet......Well I'll be darned.
Surprisingly comfy. Nice.
I've used these for fishing for awhile now, and can
attest to there quality and clarity. The only
problem I can think of is that I live in the Rockie
Mountains of Canada, which means that while riding I
transition from bright light to very dark shadow.
And these shades stop a lot of light. We all know
that when riding, bad things can hide in the dark!
So it mite be a good idea to try these babies out while
driving your car first, and find out if you like what
you see (pun intended). As far as how they look
on, inside my Shoei RF 1000 Strife, they create a black
hole where my face used to be with just a small part of
the bridge of my nose showing....kinda cool.
I'm not sure about the light-to-dark thing; everybody's
eye's adjust differently and we all have different
comfort levels with shadows and the things that may lurk
there, but I'll definitely try the FitOvers on the more
open roads. Thanks from Scott of The Great White
From "J.A.H." (4/09): "I have been
using Fitovers for about 5 years for fishing. I
have experienced a bunch of ribbing about looking like
Ray Charles but I think they're great and prefer them to
clip-ons. I never thought of using them under a
helmet. Tomorrow the clear shield goes on and I
will give them a try."
From "J.W." (4/09): "I found the
Outfitter brand also works well. They are more
flexible and have foam padding around the lenses.
I live in (South Carolina) so I can go without a helmet
if I choose and the Outfitters keep the wind and debris
out from under my scrip glasses. A little large
but all in all they work pretty well. I have the
smoked and the gold for nighttime. Would like to
see you review these. I really enjoy your site.