There is much debate around the subject of belay glasses. Some rave about how belay glasses save their neck during long belay sessions, while others insist they’re an unnecessary purchase that just makes you look like a bit of a nerd. Whatever your stance on the matter, there’s no denying the level of comfort that a quality pair of belay glasses can provide.
We’ve all been there. A friend is working on their project and you’re on belay. After a session of craning your neck to offer a good belay, it hits you. An excruciating pain at the base of your neck; a pain so sharp that you can barely move. A pair of belay glasses could make sure that never happens again.
I’ve always been a fan of products that make life easier, and belay glasses one such product. It’s surprising how few people use them! There are, of course, a few things to watch out for when deciding which pair to buy. Since belay glasses are a relatively new concept (invented in 2007 by German climber Albi Schneider), there isn’t a huge variety to choose from, yet prices vary widely. We’ve provided a handy list of features to consider when shopping for belay glasses, as well as our definitive list of the 5 best belay glasses on the market today.
If you don't have time for the details, here are our picks for the best rated belay glasses:
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Table of Contents
- Belay Glasses Buyer’s Guide
- 5 Best Belay Glasses on the Market Review
Belay Glasses Buyer’s Guide
Belay Glasses really are an item that will change your life. Once you slip on the specs, you can easily watch your partner send without craning your neck. You’ll be able to give them your full attention, and won’t have to glance away periodically to give your neck a break.
But you don’t want to create any new problems by using a pair of faulty belay glasses. Just like you research your cams, harness, or shoes, you should dedicate some time to figure out what to look for in a pair of belay glasses, and find the perfect pair for you. We’ve done the research for you so you can quickly find the right pair.
How Do They Work?
Belay glasses enable the belayer to watch their climber while keeping their neck in a relaxed position. This is made possible with prismatic lenses that are fashioned on a pair of eyeglasses to reflect the light from above, which allows the belayer to watch their climber without craning their neck.
The glasses are designed in such a way as to provide a split field of vision for the belayer. This means you can effectively watch your climber above through the lenses and keep aware of your surroundings using your peripheral vision.
Why Wear Them?
There are three main benefits to wearing belay glasses: comfort, safety, and style! Okay, maybe not style. But there are a range of color options for you to add some individual flair to your gear. Now, onto the important stuff.
Things to Consider
Tips for Success
As with any other piece of gear in your kit, you want to make sure you know how to use your belay glasses before you head to the gym or crag with them. For the most part, it’s self-explanatory; however, there are a few tips to get the most out of your fresh pair of specs.
5 Best Belay Glasses on the Market Review
Now that you know what to look for in belay glasses, let’s dive into the reviews! Here are the top 5 belay glasses on the market today.
1. Best overall: Y&Y Belay Glasses Classic
Y&Y dominates the belay glasses market, and the Classics are their most popular product. The Classics are sleek, simple, and fully adjustable. Their metal frames offer a streamlined look, improve visibility, and make it easy to bend the glasses to perfectly fit your face. The nosepiece is made of flexible plastic that comfortably shapes to your nose.
To top it all off, the Classics come with an anti-shock case, glasses cord, microfiber cloth, and replacement pieces. These replacement pieces will extend the life of your glasses and come in handy when accidents happen.
2. Y&Y Clip Up Belay Glasses - Best for People Who Wear Glasses
Designed specifically for glasses-wearers, the Clip Up can be clipped on most eyeglasses and sunglasses. The prisms are shaped like wide-angle trapezoids, which guarantees a clear and broad field of vision. These are a really cool option for glasses-wearers because you can easily flip the belay glasses up or down to switch from “on” and “off” positions while belaying, depending on where your partner is on the wall. They work for those of us that need glasses or for anyone who wears sunglasses while they climb.
Some common problems with these glasses involve the way in which they clip onto your normal glasses. Sometimes, they can cause your glasses to slip down your nose from the added weight. Others mentioned they can be difficult to clip on correctly.
3. Sleekest Design: CU Belay Glasses
These belay glasses are the most expensive on the list by far, but they made the list because of their sleek design and the fact that they’re assembled personally by belay glasses inventor Albi Schneider. These original belay glasses are made from high quality stainless steel frames and scratch resistant glass prisms. Since the frames are made of stainless steel, they are more flexible than plastic models and can be worn over regular glasses and fit a variety of head sizes.
The classic glasses are silver frames with two color options for the temples. For an extra about $15, you can choose from black, green, blue, or snow white colored frames. Regardless of which color you chose, these glasses will definitely turn heads when you wear them at the gym or crag!
4. Best Value: Y&Y Plasfun Belay Glasses
These glasses are a #1 best seller on Amazon, and for good reason. These belay glasses are similar in design and functionality as top of the line belay glasses at a fraction of the price. The slim profile of the frames increases your field of vision, so there aren’t any obstructions. They’re high-quality and come in several color options. They even come with a carrying case and rope retainer.
5. Cheapest: Epic Peak
If you’re on a tight budget and just want to see what all the hype about belay glasses is about, these are the pair for you. The Epic Peak belay glasses design is a copy of Y&Y’s. Although they look similar, the field of vision is much narrower. They’re quite rigid and don’t allow for much flexibility to fit different head sizes. They do come with a case and neck strap for easy storage.
Do these glasses work? Yes. But do they come with the functionality, quality, and bells and whistles of more expensive options? Definitely not.
Belay glasses offer so much more than the credit people often give them. They enable you to be a more attentive belayer by keeping your eyes on the climber the entire time. Some people don’t like belay glasses because they require some getting used to, but once you get over the initial awkwardness it can be hard to stop using them.
Now that we’ve covered the types of belay glasses and our top picks, you are ready to get out there and start shopping! Remember that even though there aren’t a ton of options out there for belay glasses, options still exist. It’s important to take the time to research and test your options when looking for the perfect pair of belay glasses. Remember that what works for one person may not work the same for you.
There’s no denying that a good pair of belay glasses can make you a safer, more competent belayer. One without neck pain! It’s definitely worth giving the best belay glasses a try to step up your game.