On the job, I have to wear impact-rated safety glasses. While I like the protection I get from my Milwaukee lenses, I prefer something much different for life’s other adventures. I’m used to wearing Costas and Oakleys, and I’ve been hiding my eyes behind Dragon Alliance sunglasses for the last several weeks to see how they compare.
Dragon Alliance Sunglasses Target User
Dragon Alliance is dialed in specifically for sports sunglasses. They have ranges appropriate for fishing and boating, cycling, snowboarding/skiing, and more. They even carry frames you can have your prescription put into and upcycled frames that keep plastic out of landfills.
Considering two of my favorite activities off the clock are road biking and inshore fishing, it seems like a match made in heaven… if they can hold up to the quality I expect from my eyewear. After carefully researching my options, I chose the Dragon Alliance Tidal X LL Polar for fishing and the Ridge X LL for cycling.
Dragon Alliance Tidal X LL Polar Sunglasses
I’m looking for a few key things in quality fishing eyewear. First of all, it has to be polarized. Protecting your eyes from the sun is one thing, but I need to see what’s going on under the water, and polarization cuts through the glare.
Second, I need clarity and contrast. I want to be able to tell if I’m looking at a piece of log or a trophy redfish.
For this review, I chose the LumaLens Red Ion Polar on the Tidal X LL and the clarity is simply outstanding. It’s as good or better than my Costas with plastic lenses. I really like the contrast the base color adds as well. It does a nice job of helping differentiate shapes in the water without destroying my color recognition. Thanks to the polarization, I get the glare reduction I’m looking for.
Finally, I need them to stay attached to when I’m not wearing them over my eyes and, if they happen to fall in the water, there has to be something that keeps them afloat so I can get them back.
One of the things I’m really impressed by is how well the frame avoids slipping without adding extra pressure behind my ears or on my nose thanks to the temple and nose tips. When the sun gets low, I can flip them up on the brim of my visor and they don’t try to flip off if I look up too high.
I also love that these come with a set of chokers. It’s not the type that wraps around the frame—these snap onto holes at the back and aren’t in danger of popping loose.
Wrapping it all up, they float.
- Outstanding clarity
- Excellent contrast and color
- Excellent eye coverage
- Comfortable non-slip fit
- Snap-on chokers included
- Floating design
- Frame folds securely (great if you like to clip your glasses on your shirt)
- I’d like some extra color on the frame
Dragon Alliance Ridge X LL Sunglasses
My cycling priorities start with eye coverage and the Ridge X LL does a great job of protecting my eyes from dirt and dust with its Flak Jacket-style rectangular lens shape. With somewhat taller lenses, they have better coverage than similar designs I’ve worn in the past.
I’m also looking for non-slip comfort. I don’t want to be thinking about pressure points or constantly pushing my glasses back up while I ride. Similar to the Tidal X LL, these have a nice, snug fit without creating too much pressure. The nose fit out of the box was kind of meh, but the design allows you to bend them to the shape you want and I found a perfect fit in very little time.
While I ride for exercise, it’s nice to be able to see what’s around when you’re cycling in scenic areas and the Orange Ion Lumalens has fantastic clarity. These don’t have polarization, but it was nice to find two extra sets of the lenses in the case—clear and gray. While I prefer the color and look of the orange lenses, I really like having the clear set for when I’m riding after dark.
For the past several years, I’ve stayed away from replaceable lenses. I had a couple of bad experiences with fittings that loosened over time and allowed the lenses to come out way too easily. Dragon has made me rethink having multi-lens versatility thanks to a release tab that ensures the lenses are secure when you need them to be.
Finally, the frames fold securely so I can clip them on the back of my jersey when I don’t want to stick them on my helmet.
- Excellent eye coverage
- Adjustable nose piece
- Comfortable fit
- Outstanding clarity
- Excellent color and contrast
- Secure folding
- No significant drawbacks
Dragon Alliance sunglasses compete in the premium space and the price is appropriate for their quality. Both the Tidal X LL Polar and Ridge X LL in this review are $239.
Looking over the entire line, there are options that start at $99 and run as high as $239.
The Bottom Line
I was a little skeptical about moving away from the Luxottica group (Costa, Oakley, Ray-Ban, etc) for my premium sunglasses. However, I’m very impressed with the comfort, quality, and clarity of Dragon Alliance. I have other options available, but I keep reaching for my Dragon Alliance sunglasses for my outdoor activities or even just the daily drive.