Thursday, March 21, 2024

Koo Alibi Sunglasses Review

By Jeff Valliere and John Tribbia

Koo Alibi Sunglasses 

$235 as tested (Dark Matte Blue with Red PhotoChromic Lens)

21 grams. Available now

Introduction:  The Alibi are the latest in the line of high quality, multisport glasses from Italian brand Koo.  All Koo eyewear are designed and crafted in Italy using the highest quality Zeiss lenses for premium optical definition, clarity and protection. While Koo has only been around for 8 years, Zeiss lenses have been around since 1846!  While listed as cycling sunglasses, the Alibi are legitimately great for multisport use, equally appropriate for cycling, running, mountaineering, backcountry/xc skiing, snowshoeing, etc….


The Koo Alibi is exceptionally light at 21 grams and minimal with a half frame design for maximum visibility.  As mentioned above, the Alibi are best suited for cycling, but are also versatile enough for running, backcountry/XC skiing, mountaineering, snowshoeing, etc….  The half frame design not only provides a minimal, lightweight feel, but also offers an unobstructed field of vision.  The earstems are secure, durable and have a very positive open/close action.  While the ear stems do not have rubber tips, the glasses are snug enough with some ridges to help provide grip.

The nose bridge is made of a flexible hydrophobic rubber that is comfortable and well vented. 

The Photochromic Zeiss lens provides exceptionally premium optical definition, clarity and protection.  The 87% to 15% VLT of the red lens (as tested) covers a wide range of lighting conditions, from early morning pre-sunrise running, all the way to bright sunny days.  The photochromic lens performed really well on shady, mixed lighting trails, out in the open and on semi cloudy days, providing very good clarity and trail definition.  Lens transition between different lighting conditions is not instant, changes a little more gradual, so subtle it is hardly noticeable.  The half frame lens is a great size, large enough to provide plenty of protection from the wind and sun, yet not overwhelmingly massive.

At 87% VLT, I find that I can easily run in very low light conditions or even in the dark with good visibility.  15% VLT is sufficient for most sunny conditions, but I would prefer a little darker on the most blinding, high altitude snowy day conditions.

While the lenses are full coverage, I find them to be very well vented when cycling, running or skiing, with no fogging issues.  For cycling, they fit well under or over your helmet straps and stay put even when the trails get bumpy or when trail running, no matter how fast I am running downhill, I get no bounce.  I have a small face and the glasses look a little big, but they do not feel large and I appreciate the added protection, plus, they are so incredibly light.

In conclusion, I would highly recommend the Alibi for cycling, running or just about any other outdoor endurance sports, as they are exceptionally light, protective, fit well and are secure, but most of all the lens quality and versatility is unmatched.

John: Like many runners, I’m on a relentless pursuit of the ideal sunglasses: a featherweight design, an unobstructed view of the path, and adequate protection from the elements - oh, and comfortable. The Koo Alibi sunglasses recently emerged as a contender in this quest, and after putting them through the paces on various runs and a few bike rides, I'm here to tell you that they are a solid pair of eyewear.


The Alibi sunglasses are incredibly lightweight, weighing only 21 grams, making them feel practically invisible on my face. This is a significant advantage for runners aiming to maximize their efficiency during runs. The half-frame design further enhances this by providing an extensive and clear view of the path ahead, eliminating the need for awkward head movements. The Alibi sunglasses are a perfect choice for runners looking for a combination of comfort, performance, and style.


Aside from its weight and appearance, the Alibi offers a secure and comfortable fit. The ear stems are sturdily built, avoiding the common problem of flimsiness, ensuring they remain firmly in place during strenuous workouts and on rough trails. The well-designed nose bridge, a frequently overlooked detail, effectively prevents fogging and maintains a sweat-free experience. Additionally, the glasses can be securely placed atop the brim of a hat or the front holes of a helmet, providing a convenient option when you need a break from wearing them.


The true star of the Alibi show lies in their photochromic lenses. These intelligent lenses adapt to varying light conditions, seamlessly transitioning from clear to darker shades as the sun rises and sets. This adaptability proved invaluable during my early morning runs. In the pre-dawn twilight, the lenses remained remarkably clear, allowing for excellent visibility on dimly lit paths. As the sun rose and the light intensified, the lenses gradually darkened, providing a comfortable level of shade without compromising clarity.

However, it's important to note that the transition speed of the photochromic lenses isn't instantaneous. While the change is subtle and hardly noticeable during most activities, it's something to keep in mind for situations with rapidly changing light conditions. For instance, transitioning from a brightly lit forest path into a deeply shaded tunnel might require a few seconds for the lenses to adjust completely.

As Jeff mentioned, the 87% VLT (Visible Light Transmission) of the lenses are pretty good for very low-light conditions or night runs. By contrast, while the 15% VLT offered sufficient protection for most sunny days in my experience, some runners, particularly those venturing into extremely bright, high-altitude areas with snowy reflection, might find them lacking in terms of sun protection. 

Albi Sunglasses are available from Koo HERE

Tester Profiles

Jeff Valliere loves to run and explore the mountains of Colorado, the steeper and more technical the better. He has summited all of the 14ers in the state and can be found on mountain trails daily, no matter the weather, season, conditions or whether there is daylight or not.  On the side he loves to ski (all forms) bike and hike, often with his family, as he introduces his 12 year old daughters to the outdoors. Jeff was born and raised in New Hampshire, but has called Colorado home for over 25 years. He is 5’9” and 145 lbs.

John Tribbia (5' 6", 130lbs) is a former sponsored mountain/trail runner who has run with La Sportiva, Brooks/Fleet Feet, Pearl Izumi, and Salomon. Even though he competes less frequently these days, you can still find John enjoying the daily grind of running on any surface, though his favorite terrain is 30-40% grade climbs. He has won races such as America's Uphill, Imogene Pass Run, and the US Skyrunner Vertical Kilometer Series; and he's held several FKTs on several iconic mountains in Boulder, Colorado and Salt Lake City, Utah. If you follow him on Strava, you'll notice he runs at varying paces between 5 minutes/mile to 12 minutes/mile before the break of dawn almost every day.

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Comments and Questions Welcome Below! Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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