“The right frames can give you a game face”
Professional ultrarunner, former Team GB triathlete and Bollé ambassador, Alice Hector, talks to OT about what is most important to her in her eyewear
10 June 2021
How many pairs of sunglasses do you own?Approximately 12 pairs, all of which are Bollé, who I am an ambassador for.
Can you describe your favourite pair?I love the ‘Lightshifter’ and ‘Shifter’ frames. It’s a difficult choice but my favourite pair is the bright pink ‘Shifter’ which fits me perfectly. It has a dynamic shape, performs brilliantly, doesn’t fog up and makes me feel good.
What frame shapes, colours or styles do you usually go for?The vast majority of frames I have are sports sunglasses for running and cycling – but my lifestyle collection is growing rapidly. Regarding colourways, the brighter the better. It helps to uplift me during training and racing. Outside of sport, I live in my ‘Merit’ sunglasses that have a very flattering design.
How might the right eyewear support you in your races or training?The most important things for me are sun and fly protection. It’s amazing how many bugs hit the lenses, and how much grit and wind the lenses also protect me from. The right frames can give you a ‘game face’ too. My competitors can’t see my eyes and when you are suffering in a race that poker face is an advantage.
Who would you pick as your style icon of sunglasses wearers and why?Brigitte Bardot for her sunglasses – boy did she wear them well. Also, Bollé created a collection with her in the 80s.
I find wearing the right colours elevates my mood, especially when having a tough patch in a race. It’s the little touches, such as my sunglasses, that can add to that
How important is eyewear to reflecting your personality?I prefer bright and colourful frames, which I guess match my occasional desire to stand out from the crowd. I find wearing the right colours elevates my mood, especially when having a tough patch in a race. It’s the little touches, such as my sunglasses, that can add to that.
What is important to you in the eyewear you choose, either for leisure or for training and competing?A great fit where I barely feel I am wearing them is important. For cycling and running there can be a fair amount of head movement, so a strong but comfortable fit is key to ensure they don’t slip. Plus, the lens has to be right for the various conditions, which is why the light-reactive Phantom works so well for me as I can be out for very long hours in really mixed weather.
My competitors can’t see my eyes and when you are suffering in a race that poker face is an advantage
With lockdown leading many to spend more time outdoors; walking, running and cycling, would you have any tips for those new to the sports about protecting their eyes while exercising?If you’re running on a bright day, extended time in the sun won’t do your eyes and surrounding skin any good, so it’s a good thing to cover up, especially with wraparounds. A key thing is insect protection. When on the bike for 160km at high speeds you don’t want a fly in your eyes on a fast descent.
What are your top tips for others in selecting the perfect pair of spectacles?
Check they fit well. Tilt your face back and forth and simulate the movement associated with your sport. They must hold onto your face without slipping, but also be comfortable for extended periods of time. What feels comfortable after one minute may differ compared to how they feel after two hours. Comfort is key.
Consider your lens choice for your sport very carefully. There is a plethora of different lenses associated with every weather, light condition or sport you could ever imagine. As I mentioned, the light reactive Phantom lens is a winner for me.
Build quality is paramount. In my sport, my sunglasses get a tough time, and they must remain reliable and robust to be able to perform in a fast-paced and physical environment.