by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
The Fitovers sunglasses are not your Grandma's sunglasses...or are they?
Actually, who cares, as long as they work?!
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 spades.
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 design.
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 and that's where the problem lies.
It's hard enough sometimes to squeeze regular eyeglass frames into a helmet, so wearing Fitovers on top of regular frames can make it even more problematic, no? Read on...
I would have thought that having been designed to fit over normal eyeglasses, the plastic frames would be molded for various sized eyeglass frames.
Bbut 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 eyeglasses underneath.
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 may not be much of a problem for some.
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 designs.
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.
I'd 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 it would have 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 case.
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 driving.
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.
Master Listing of All wBW Motorcycle Product Reviews
|wBW Review: Fitovers Motorcycle Sunglasses|
|Manufacturer: Fitovers Eyewear||List Price (2009): $19.95-$49.95|
|Colors: Varied||Made In: China|
|Review Date: April 2009|
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 Rocky 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 North."
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. Thanks."