Eco-Friendly Performance Eyewear? Review of Rudy Project Kelion

A female triathlete smiling while wearing cool sunglasses

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A few weeks ago, Rudy Project sent me their new Kelion performance sunglasses. I live in Florida, and it’s sunny all the time, so I was excited to test these out on our bike rides and runs.

Besides looking pretty awesome, there are two features that make these glasses unlike anything else on the market.

First, the photochromic lens adjusts tint based on lighting conditions. You’ve probably seen that before. But you’ve never seen an eco-friendly, bio-plastic frame that was made from castor oil grown in India… Seriously. 

Read on to discover my impressions of Rudy Project’s Kelion. 

Rudy Project sunglasses
The Kelion in Rudy Project's new recycled and recyclable case.

Rudy Project has been making high performance eyewear in Italy since 1985 (since I was born…). They have a variety of different models all with superhero-worthy names like the Astral, Spinshield, Cutline, and Defender. 

The Kelion is one of their newest models that comes in 10 different frame colors. I chose the White Gloss with Impact X Photochromic 2 Laser Purple lens. That’s a mouthful, but I’ll explain what everything means. 

Impact X– These “unbreakable” lenses are made from a family of polyurethane polymers that were originally developed for the military and aerospace industry. They’re made of a molecular semi-rigid material, which means they can flex without breaking. That makes them resilient to the elements and excellent for eye protection. 

Photochromic– The Impact X lenses are made from photochromic particles that block 100% of the sun’s damaging UV rays. You might’ve heard these called “transition lens,” because they go from being completely clear to tinted within seconds depending on lighting conditions.

Laser Purple- This lens tint has a LTV (light transmission value) of 8%-48%. Low values are great for sunny conditions, and high values are good when there’s less sun. Lenses with a range can change based on light conditions. Also, the lens enhances contrast, especially with green and white hues, so the purple tint I chose is great for road riding as well as off-road adventures. 

I’m not a big fan of dark sunglasses, because they affect my depth perception when I’m riding my bike. I like to be able to see any bumps or debris in the road. This level of tint was perfect because it protected my eyes from the sun, but didn’t affect lens clarity.

You can see how light the tint is indoors.

Fit and Weight

I was surprised at how lightweight the Kelion were. They certainly aren’t small profile glasses, so I was pleased to discover that they didn’t feel heavy on my face. They’re 16% lighter than CR-39 (a resin material many sunglasses are made from) and only weigh 1.27 ounces. 

This style is recommended for medium to large faces. However, I’d consider myself to have a smaller frame face, and the size didn’t bother me. It does take a bit of getting used to if you’re not accustomed to wearing full frame glasses. 

The Kelion has a sleek, wrap around design with a 5.2 base curve. That means it provides a completely unobstructed field of vision, which is my favorite part!

It has truly panoramic viewing with no obstruction from the frame. This is really important to me, because I’m a triathlete. When I’m in the aero position on my bike, the last thing I want is something that blocks my view of the road. I don’t really want to lift my head either, because that defeats the purpose of being aerodynamic. I found that these glasses sit perfectly underneath my helmet and don’t obstruct my vision at all. 

Rudy Project sunglasses
It was very sunny outside, so the lens looks almost black. In reality, it's a vibrant purple.


One cool feature of these glasses is the Powerflow ventilation system. The frame has small cutouts along the top and bottom that allow for increased airflow, which prevents lens fogging. 

Also, they have adjustable anti-slip notepads and adjustable temple tips, so you can really dial in the fit. 

If you did ever want to change the lens, there’s a quick-change system in the frame.

Also, the Kelion is compatible with prescription inserts. You can order replacement lenses, extra temple tips, and more nosepads, so practically every piece of the glasses can be replaced, with the exception of the frame itself. 

The glasses come with a Tech Protector black case and a microfiber pouch. While I appreciate a hard-sided case for glasses of this price, I’d prefer something a bit more robust. The case material has a bit of flex to it, and I just worry about it getting dented when I throw it in my cycling bag along with all my other gear. However, it is a recycled and recyclable case, so I appreciate the focus on the environment. 

Eco-friendly performance eyewear

Speaking of the environment, that brings me to one of the coolest features of these glasses. They have a Rilsan Clear frame, which is created from a bio-plastic material. The product is derived from 45% castor oil that’s grown by certified farmers in Gujarat, India!

I didn’t even know such a thing existed, so that’s pretty incredible. As a triathlete, I love to swim in the ocean, ride on beautiful canopy roads, and run trails. Anything we can do to preserve these glorious outdoor spaces is worthwhile. 

Rudy Project’s focus on using environmentally conscious materials is part of their Ride to Zero initiative to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. The goal is to source sustainable and responsible manufacturing and to create extremely durable products that are long-lasting and eco-friendly. 

That’s one of the reasons for the new recycled packing. They’ve also eliminated plastic lamination on paper products in an effort to preserve a greener future for our planet.  

Rudy Project sunglasses

Pricing and warranties 

The base price of the Kelion is $239.99, but the photochromic lenses bump the price up to $269.99. For me, the photochromic lenses are 100% worth it and my far my favorite feature of the glasses. I like being able to have one pair of glasses that I can start the day out with, whether it’s sunny, foggy, or rainy, and they will adapt through a full day of riding my bike. 

Rudy Project has a 90-day, money-back guarantee and free shipping for orders over $200 (in the lower 48 US). They also have a two-year warranty on sunglasses, eyeglasses, and helmets. In addition, there’s a one-year scratch replacement policy for prescription lenses and a lens replacement program at discounted prices. 

Rudy Project is also known for their great crash replacement policy on helmets. If you sustain a crash up to three years after the date of purchase, you can receive a discount on a new helmet. 

And I know, I’m not wearing a Rudy Project helmet in these photos, but if they’d like to send me one, I’d be more than happy to review it for the blog… 😉 

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