Seeing things differently with KOO's Alibi sunglasses

Sunglasses for Grand Tour champions, influencers, and the rest of us

This article was produced in association with KOO

Nowhere is the cyclist’s relationship with the sights and colours of the world more complex and nuanced than in their choice of sunglasses. From the outside looking in, a pair of sunglasses adds a splash of colour to the rider’s ensemble – in the case of KOO’s Alibi shades, a palette of eight different and subtle but striking combinations, of which more later. And from the inside looking out, sunglasses mediate the relationship between what is there and what we perceive. They can darken or brighten, tint the view, make an overcast day lighter, or mitigate the glare of the sun. If eyes are the window to the soul, then you could say that KOO’s Alibi shades are its stained glass windows.

KOO, short for Kask Optics in reference to their parent company, are a relative newcomer, having been set up in 2016. Kask make helmets, and their diversification to eyewear is part of a strategy to protect riders from the neck up. However, they are not focused on newness and novelty for the sake of it – their lenses are made by Zeiss, who have been specialising in optics since 1846, making them closer to 200 years old than 100.

The company’s sunglasses have been seen decorating the faces of Grand Tour champs-turned influencers Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali in recent years, and the Alibi model will suit any cyclist – grand champion, influencer, or the rest of us. On a practical level, they tick every box. The Zeiss lenses protect the eyes from dust, wind and UV rays, and it’s possible to opt for photochromic lenses for those who need the adaptability in changing conditions. The clean design, with half-frame construction and oversized lenses, maximises visibility, and the frames, made from Grilamid polymer, are strong and very lightweight.

Well-placed and discreet gaps maintain ventilation and avoid fogging, and the nose touch pads ensure a stable fit and zero ‘wobble’. The most important thing, however, is that this functionality all comes with the perception that the Alibi are barely there when worn, because they are so comfortable and lightweight. Aesthetically, the Alibi walk the line between elegant and futuristic – the straight lines and slightly softened angles of the lenses, reminiscent of an irregular honeycomb, are offset by their gentle lateral curve. And they come in eight colour combinations – we photographed the persian green matt/orange pair, but riders can also choose from black matt/gold, dark blue matt/red, grey matt/turquoise, harbor blue matt/copper, orange matt/ green, sand matt/gold and white matt/fuschia. The red and fuschia lenses offer the photochromatic option.

The colour combinations lean towards the subtle, a visual reminder of the lightweight comfort of wearing the KOO Alibi. Add these to your riding ensemble and your perception of the world will be positively altered, and perhaps the world’s perception of you will also be enhanced.

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