ROKA was formed in a garage in Austin, Texas by two former Stanford All-American swimmers on a mission to build the world’s fastest wetsuit.
If you’re on the hunt for the best running sunglasses that money can buy, and you’re partial to looking fashionable when running or cycling, then these are for you, read on to find out why in this detailed ROKA sunglasses review.
Back to the ROKA story then… Creating that first wetsuit ignited a fire in them to find more opportunities to innovate. As luck would have it, one of the athletes who helped them build that first wetsuit had a knack for winning very hard races in very cheap gas station aviators.
And so the drive to design the Phantom aviators was born, and shortly after they were built.
ROKA went one step further with their flagship Aviators and created the Phantom Titanium, running sunglasses made out of Titanium!
It doesn’t get any more high-end for sports sunglasses than ROKA.
ROKA Sunglasses Review | Let’s start with design
The Phantom Titanium sunglasses are handcrafted in Japan and it’s easy to see the craftsmanship and care that has gone into making them.
Aviators, by design, are quite delicate looking, with their slim and intricate frames but the Phantoms are far from fragile due to their Titanium construction.
UPDATE: As far as I can tell, the Phantom Titanium Aviators are now handbuilt in Austin, TX, USA – not Japan, or China.
Lens Colors & Quality
There are seven lens colors/filters available too, take a look at the Phantom Titanium product page to see the effect each lens has when viewed through them.
I have the Thermo Polar Arctic Mirror lenses which perform really well in intensely bright and sunny conditions due to 94% reduction in infrared and elimination of high glare.
They are suggested for outdoor activities where high color contrast is important, like hiking and trail running in environments with green and brown colors like fields, mountains, and trails. It’s quite fun that no one can see your eyes behind these lenses too. Stealthy!
The Phantom Titanium frames are made from Titanium which provides an exceptional strength-to-weight ratio that you just won’t see on a standard pair of aviators.
Titanium also offers corrosion resistance and retains tensile strength at half the weight of traditional alloys.
Durability is important for any sunglasses that you plan to run with because at some point you’re likely to accidentally drop them while on the trails.
During long runs, I’m constantly shifting my sunglasses from in front of my eyes to the top of my head, as and when I dip into forests or shaded areas.
If it starts raining, I’ll probably even want to stash the shades away into my race vest for safe storage. This rearranging usually takes place while I’m on the move, so it’s nice knowing that If I drop these expensive sunglasses they should survive the knock.
This saves my heart from skipping a beat when I’m trying to keep it calm and consistent during a race, haha.
If this is something that may still be a worry for you then have a read of our review of Sunski sunglasses which are less expensive, so you can be more carefree with how you use them.
Fit & Comfort
ROKA have its own patented fit and retention system called GEKO and this is a unique selling point for the brand.
Inspired by the soft but amazingly sticky feet of the Gecko, the GEKO™ fit and retention system features a proprietary elastomer for nose and temple pads that are hydrophilic, chemical resistant, and supports multi-directional traction with comfort.
In other words, they stay where you put them and won’t come off during intense exercise. And in order for them to stay in place, they don’t need to be extra tight on your head, which may cause discomfort over time.
Instead, the hydrophilic material used for the nose and temple pads means that they go even more grippy when in contact with water or sweat.
So, no matter how sweaty you get, and which way you move, bounce, or shake, you’ll never have to worry about slippery frames falling off your face while running or doing any other exercise for that matter.
Two Size Options
I like it when I see frames with multiple size options as I have a medium/small sized head, so large frames just don’t look as good on me as someone with a larger frame.
I know I’m not alone in this and I think a lot of people will enjoy having two size options to choose from.
I’m wearing the regular 57mm frames in the photos of this ROKA sunglasses review. See below for frame size diagrams.
Regular – 57mm Width
Large – 59mm Width
At just 20 grams with the C3™ lenses, the Phantom’s titanium frames are remarkably lightweight adding to their overall comfort. Being so lightweight, I don’t get that annoying ‘digging-in’ feeling that some sunglasses with similar nose pads give. At times, I even forget I’ve got them on.
100% Satisfaction Guarantee
If you are not 100% satisfied with your purchase, you can return it within 30 days of receipt and in new, unused condition for a refund or like-for-like exchange.
Where to buy ROKA Sunglasses
We recommend buying ROKA running sunglasses from roka.com, for the best inventory and delivery times. They also sell ROKA prescription sunglasses at their store which is awesome to see.
ROKA Phantom Titanium aviator sunglasses for running and cycling are also available at the stores below:
1 new from $290.00
ROKA Sunglasses review summary
The ROKA Phantom Titanium sunglasses are a true work of art, built to the highest standard of quality. Then there’s ROKA’s GEKO fit and retention system, which holds the glasses in place, even during the most intense workouts.
This is an excellent feature-set that helps these ultra-lightweight Titanium Aviators stand out from their competition. I really haven’t encountered any sunglasses that are this light before, and that’s another differentiator for ROKA.
The Phantom Titanium are unrivaled in quality, design, and function and so it’s not surprising that they’re also quite pricey.
If money is no object and you want the best sports sunglasses for running, cycling or triathlon, then the Phantom Titanium is a solid choice that you won’t regret.
While they may seem expensive to have just as cycling, or running sunglasses, they are also great as lifestyle sunglasses, meaning you won’t need to buy two pairs, one for sports and one for everyday use.
Thanks for reading this ROKA sunglasses review and as always, let me know if you have a question in the comments below.