Pursuit of Happiness—Long-Term Review of Spy Optics Cutter Sunglasses with Happy Lenses

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Get happy with the special lenses from Spy Optics. © Cyclocross Magazine

Get happy with the special lenses from Spy Optics. © Cyclocross Magazine

After seeing The Cutter frames from Spy Optic back at Interbike this year, we knew we wanted to get our hands on them to test them out. They may not look like the sportiest set of sunglasses around, but the Happy Lenses intrigued us, and frankly, the glasses looked as cool as the reviewed-in-Issue-24 casual urban riding DZR shoes. They may not be our go-to for race frames, but for a group ride on the trails with the promise of a coffee stop after? Perfect.

First of all, a set of lenses that can make you happy? Spy Optics has you covered with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) covered with their latest innovation, the Happy Lens. Sales Director Jim Miller explains, “If you’re familiar with people in the Northwest who suffer from SAD because they don’t get enough exposure to sunlight, what happens is their bodies aren’t triggered to produce serotonin because they don’t get enough long wave blue light rays. We have been able to make a lens that filters in more of the long wave blue light and less of the low wave blue light, triggering the production of serotonin in your brain, allowing you to feel better. So our pitch is see better, feel better. We’re very excited about it.” For cyclocrossers up in Portland and Seattle, this might come as exciting news.

They may not be super racy, but they make your ride to coffee transition flawless. © Cyclocross Magazine

They may not be super racy, but they make your ride to coffee transition flawless. © Cyclocross Magazine

The model we tested with the Happy Lens is The Cutter, and Miller explains, “The Cutter is the ultimate crossover in fashion and performance. It’s got some cool style, with the fast-track lens changing system.” The plastic at the top flips up to allow the new lenses to be inserted, and it comes with a dark lens and a low light lens. The MSRP is $160, but it might save you on your Prozac bill!

We tested them extensively throughout the winter in the grayest of weather, even braving -30 degree temperatures in Canada to really put them through the paces. While it’s almost impossible for me to feel sad on any ride, I will say that on grayer days, comparing with and without the glasses, the sky seemed a little less foreboding with them on, making for a slightly more pleasant experience.

Then, a jaunt to sunny SoCal made it impossible to put the Happy Lenses to the test, but did allow me the chance to test out the cool factor in a house full of cyclists. While they were mildly unimpressed by the big lenses, I felt much better heading out on casual rides and stopping at the beach to cool off afterwards. If you’re looking for a set of glasses that feels at home on the bike and in regular life, this may be the right choice for you, especially if you really hate how sporty frames look on you.

As far as wear-and-tear goes, these babies have traveled across the country three times at this point, and I’m not easy on my gear. Half the time, they’re left in the back of the truck (Sorry, Spy Optic!) post-ride instead of put in their nice hard case. That said, the lenses don’t have a single scratch on them, and the frames are still perfectly intact: a major testament to the durability of the shades.

Happier on a ride? Hard to say, since any time riding is a good time. But they do make the gloom less gloomy, and feel far more laid-back than a standard pair. A great second set of glasses, to be used for riding and training, though maybe not on the race course.

Spy Optic Cutter Specs:



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Clint Williams
Clint Williams

Spending $220 on sunglasses would most certainly make me not happy

Adam Austin
Adam Austin

Good review. Raced in them all season for CX and loved them. So much rad!

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