Friday, June 15, 2018

adidas Zonyk Aero Midcut Pro Sunglasses Review

by Jeff Valliere

The adidas Zonyk Aero Midcut Pro is a half frame version of the Zonyk, which with its lighter design and greater sense of unobstructed vision is being marketed toward running as well as cycling, being well represented in the pro peleton by the Movistar team.

The Zonyk Aero Midcut Pro, at 32 grams is not the lightest pair of shades we have tested, but on the face they feel light and secure.

We tested the Zonyk Aero Midcut Pro in the Cargo color with Shiny Chrome lens option.  The Shiny Chrome lens is rated at 12% VLT (visual light transmission), which makes it excellent in bright, sunny conditions. It works well for me when I am running out in the open in brilliant blinding snow, or above treeline.  I did however struggle running in even moderately dim shade, as the combination of the darker and grey tint does little to bring out contrast and detail.

The temples are on the thick side, but are sturdy and high quality, with sticky rubber to adequately hold the glasses securely, even when sweating heavily. 
The Zonyk Aero Midcut Pro features a removable brow pad, but as has been the case since first using the Oakley Factory Pilot glasses back in the 80's, the brow pad in my opinion simply adds to the sweat drip problem and I removed it right away.  At least it is easily removable. The nose bridge is grippy rubber and fits me well, though is not as malleable for a custom fit with the Julbos we have tested.
We were also fortunate enough to test a Vario lens version of the Zonyk Aero Midcut Pro in the Crystal Matt from color option with the Glow Vario lens, which cover a wide spectrum of lighting conditions from 89% VLT (nearly clear) to 14% VLT for more sunny condition.  However I am convinced the the 14% end of the spectrum has to be a mistake.  On even moderately sunny days, I find that my eyes strain and on fully sunny days, they are completely inadequate.  I have several pairs of glasses in the 14% to 20% VLT range and they are all much darker than the Glow Vario lens at it's darkest.
Sunny conditions aside the Glow Vario lens however is an ideal choice for early morning, or late evening activities, cloudy days or days spent mostly in deep tree cover.  As they go nearly clear, visual acuity and clarity is excellent in low light conditions and if you find yourself in brighter conditions, the lens darkens very quickly to accommodate (you can literally see it changing, vs. the slower, more imperceptible change of the Julbo Zebra or Bolle Modulator lens).
Editor's Note: I also briefly tested the Glow Vario and concur with both of Jeff's conclusions. In bright light they clearly didn't seem to darken as far as their rating would indicate. In low light, they are superb, almost completely clear and rapidly darkening as needed. 
The photos below are of the Vario fully darkened next to the Shiny Chrome lens, hard to accurately convey the difference, but this gives a good idea.


In this photo below, the Vario is at 89% VLT, near clear.

89% VLT below

14% VLT below (athough they seem more like 30% VLT to me)
Overall I find the Zonyk Aero Midcut Pro to be really nice glasses.  Quality is excellent, as well as fit, comfort, coverage, unobstructed vision, venting, security and lens quality/clarity.  I do find the VLT ratings to be a touch subjective, but they do offer several lens versions, including an other Vario lens with a mirrored shield that would be more versatile in medium to brighter conditions.  The Chrome lens is excellent for very bright conditions, but visual acuity on shady trails suffers.  The Glow Vario lens is amazing in very low light conditions, ideal for very early and late runs, cloudy days and deep shade.

Comparisons (RTR full reviews of each at the links)


Oakley EVZero Path with Prizm Road - Best for lightest weight and near imperceptible on face, top notch optical clarity, definition and unobstructed visibility.  Prizm Road lens ideal for moderately brighter conditions and also do well in/out of shade/sun

Oakley EVZero Path with Prizm Trail - Best for lightest weight and near imperceptible on face, top notch optical clarity, definition and unobstructed visibility.  Prizm Trail lens ideal for cloudy days, sharp contrast on snow, and shady trails.

Zeal Optics Sable with Ellume Copper lens - Best for versatility, blending in style for every day use and sports performance.  Polarized lens brings out excellent contrast on wet, snowy, icy trails.  Good for moderately sunny conditions and lighter shaded trails.

Bolle 6th Sense with Modulator Brown Emerald Oleo AF lens - Best for changing light conditions, from moderately shaded trails, cloudy days, early morning, late evenings all the way up to the brightest sunny conditions.  Great definition, optical clarity, very light and unobstructed field of vision and very custom fit with malleable ear stems and nose bridge.  

Julbo Aerospeed with Zebra Light Fire lens - Large lens for maximal coverage and frameless design for a wide field of unobstructed vision.  Very light for their size, the Aerospeed is hardly noticeable when wearing and the infinitely adjustable nose piece helps give a custom fit.  The Zebra Light Fire lens is about the best photochromic lens on the market that covers you from dim light to bright sun.

adidas Zonyk Aero Pro with Chrome Mirror lens - Best for maximal coverage on the brightest, sunny days with optional brow pad.  Chrome lens struggles to bring out definition on shaded trails.  Not the lightest of the bunch, but secure and high quality.  The Glow Vario lens is a top pick for dark or cloudy conditions, but unsuited for sunny days.

Reviewer Bio
Jeff Valliere is a former pro cyclist who now runs and climbs the mountains of Colorado. He has been top 5 Masters, top 25 overall, at the Pike's Peak Marathon several times, finishing 2d Masters in 2015. Jeff loves vertical accumulating more than 500,000 vertical feet per year, has climbed all the Colorado 14's and 200 of the 13's and has held FKT on several. 
The Zonyk  products were provided at no cost. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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