Cyclists love Oakley sunglasses. They’ve been a fixture in the pro peloton ever since Greg LeMond rocked their extra-large shades in the 1980s. That love affair continues with the Oakley Sutro glasses. Originally launched as an urban style, their big and bold shape was quickly taken on by the pros. Egan Bernal wore them throughout his race-winning Tour de France campaign in 2019, rolling into Paris in a yellow pair.
But Italian brand Rudy Project also has a strong presence in the WorldTour and this year the Bahrain Victorious team is wearing its Cutline glasses. They’re another bold style with big lenses for loads of protection from sun, wind, rain and anything else flung the way of the riders.
So if you plan to buy a premium pair of cycling sunglasses and want to sport the pro look on your summer rides, should you be looking at the Oakley Sutro or Rudy Project Cutline shades? Check out our guide to the best cycling sunglasses for more inspiration.
3 reasons to choose Oakley Sutro over Rudy Project Cutline glasses
Reason 1. Distinctive looks
The Oakley Sutro glasses cut a dash, with the very wide bottom edge to the lens. That’s not just for style though; it means that there’s good peripheral vision at the outer bottom edges of the lens, where it’s useful to help pick up road edges and imperfections. There’s huge coverage all over, in fact, and the angular shape is a bit different from the majority of performance glasses, so the Sutros will stand out from the crowd.
Reason 2. Oakley's Prizm Lenses
Oakley’s lens tech has always been top notch, although it’s now matched by many other brands, including Rudy Project. Prizm really helps improve contrast, so you can more easily distinguish road obstacles and avoid them. It works well both in bright sunlight and in murky overcast conditions. There’s a range of 11 lens options to choose from for the Sutro, with different light transmission, although unlike the Rudy Project Cutline there’s no photochromatic option.
Reason 3. Loads of options
Oakley makes the Sutro in a huge number of frame/lens combinations, with 16 different standard frame/lens combinations, plus special editions like the Tour de France collection. It also offers the Sutro Lite, with a frame with an open bottom edge and the Sutro S, designed to fit smaller faces better.
3 reasons to choose the Rudy Project Cutline over Oakley Sutro
1. More versatility
The Cutline’s design features removable components at the top and bottom of the lens, which is actually only attached to the sidearms at its edges. That means that you can change from a full frame look to a half frame look just by removing the lower bumpers, or go fully frameless by taking off the top bumper too. You end up with a few more slots in the lens than a fully frameless design, but it’s a good way to change your look and up airflow on hot days without needing a second pair of sunnies.
2. More adjustability
The Cutline’s nosepiece can be clicked between two different widths and bent in and out further, so you can adjust it to fit you comfortably, whereas the Sutro nosepiece is fixed in place and can’t be adjusted.
You can also adjust the fit of the sidearms to hold the glasses firmly in place without being too tight. In contrast, the Sutro’s sidearms, although they fold in and out with a substantial-feeling click are less adjustable and the thin design and quite hard-feeling plastic means that they’re more likely to feel uncomfortable on extended wear.
Reason 3. Interchangeable lenses
The killer for the Cutline is that you can swap lenses quickly and easily, whereas the lens in the Sutro is not interchangeable. There are six different lens options, including a clear lens and three photochromatic lenses, giving you versatile coverage to match the weather.
You change lenses by pressing a button on the inside of the sidearm, which lets you pull it away from the lens. All you need to do then is to swap the top and bottom bumpers and you’ve got a new look and a new lens for rides in different weather. The button fixing means that the sidearms are held in place securely, but you don’t need to be aggressive to remove them.
Oakley Sutro vs Rudy Project Cutline cycling sunglasses: verdict
The Oakley Sutro gives you a Tour de France winning pro look, with an on-trend large lens and a distinctive design that stands out from other performance sunglasses. There’s loads of coverage from the wide, deep lens and a ton of options to suit your style. The fit is less versatile than the Cutline, although you can choose the smaller size or the open bottom frame if they would work better for you.
The Rudy Project Cutline glasses too give you wide coverage and plenty of options, although not quite as many as the Sutro. But the easy change lens means that you can quickly change them to suit the conditions on the day, something that you can’t do with the Sutro. The photochromatic lenses are a great option for changeable days too.
Neither design is prone to misting, although with its slot vents in the top of the lens and in the lower bumper, the Cutline has a slight edge here over the Sutro’s unvented design. Finally, both brands offer you custom design options so you can choose a one-of-a-kind pair.
Oakley Sutro vs Rudy Project Cutline: alternatives
There’s no shortage of alternative styles both from Oakley and Rudy Project. That includes both Oakley’s older designs like the Jawbreaker and Rudy Project's Defender model, both still popular with the pros.
Look beyond these two brands and you’ll see options from a wide range of makes sported by pro riders. POC’s glasses have a distinctive and functional look, while 100%’s large lens glasses count Peter Sagan amongst their wearers and Rapha has upped its sunglasses game recently with three new models.