Bliz Matrix Sunglasses Review | EOY ThrillGear Roundup
The EOY Thrill Roundup reviews standout gear—whether terrible or great—from the past year. Each review includes a "Bias-o-Meter" to gauge any potentially biases I may have toward the product which may or may not influence my objective take on that specific thing in the world. Wow, infotainment!
I'm fussy about glasses. You'll never see me in Oakleys or 100%s for a few reasons:
1) Everyone has them. Oakley Sutros sunglasses are the veritable geode that must be acknowledge of the cycling world.
2) For what they are, they're ridiculously expensive and overpriced, which relates to point 3;
3) I'm hard on my stuff. Sunglasses for the price of blood diamonds just ain't worth it for me, because I know these will get stuffed into jersey pockets, rock tumblers, the dash of my car, and god knows what else. In short, I have no desire to treat my everyday sunglasses like it's the world's largest cubic zirconia.
Enter Bliz. A Swedish-borne optics company with firm roots in the competitive realm of XC skiing. A somewhat newcomer to North America, Bliz undercuts the likes of Oakley and 100% sunglasses by a pretty big chunk, with the bulk of their goggles-that-do-something in the $120-140 CAD range.
For this review, we're tackling the Bliz Matrix Nano with Nordic Light lens.
High Level Details
Price: $139.99 CAD
Lens Details: Nordic Light lens. Ideal for flat light conditions.
How Long I Wore Them: Received in May 2021. Used daily since.
Bias-O-Meter: Medium to High Possibility of Bias. Bliz sent these glasses to me for review and long-term use. I do not have a code or any affiliate links with Bliz, ongoing.
Overall Rating: 9/10
The Bliz Matrix is a nice looking pair of goggles. I'm a big fan of the HOT pink frame and purple-cotton-candy-house like sheen to the lens. In terms of shape and style they don't stray wildly from current trends in cycling sunglasses, but that's fine by me. The pink adds a nice bit of "let's have lunch but you're paying" flare, while the just-barely-oversized nature of the glasses cover up my withered-old-catchers-mitt of a face. I got my fair share of compliments with these grizzly bears, so nothing bad for me to say here.
+ On-Trend Look
+ HOT Pink Colour Scheme
+ Neat Looking Lens
- On-Trend Look
Overall, very good. I live and ride in the land of wind and ghosts (Vancouver), so flat conditions are pretty common here (overcast, rain, etc). With plenty of rainforests and yadayada up this way, too, good contrast is a bit of a must with dappled light. I've been bit in the rump, before, riding with too dark of a lens.
The Nordic Light option fit the bill nicely. Riding in bright conditions, the lens cut just enough glare to keep things comfy and clear. If I was doing a long trip to a sunnier locale, I might fire in a lens for high-light conditions (the Matrix has interchangeable lenses).
Issues? Not much, really. No distortion to speak of, and they seem to be resisting scratches and damage well (unlike my Sweet Protection Ronin's from 2020, also sent to me by the manufacturer for review, which easily scratched and developed a nasty and strange permanent "stain" on them of some kind).
At dusk or in very low light conditions, there's some minor flaring from car headlights, the SUN, and street lights. It's never distracting or severe enough to be truly annoying or to cause issue, but is—so far—maybe the only way that that sub $200 CAD price reveals itself.
Fogging has never truly been an issue, but at rest after a big honk it'll happen. Once back up to speed it disappears pretty quick and, truth be told, I've found this with every pair of glasses ever.
+ Good contrast and clarity
+ Healthy pink glow!
+ Neat looking sheen
+ Versatile lens for a big range of conditions
- Some flaring in low light conditions
- Minor fogging when stopped after thick honks
Fit and Comfort
The adjustable nose bridge and bendy arms is a nice touch. Unlike some other bendy arms on the market, these don't feel like they're going to snap in half. The rubber-what-have-yous on the arms and nose keep things pretty snug, and I haven't had any issues with slipping or irritation.
The top of the lens can make slightly contact with my forehead. I don't know if this is intentional or not, but it's not enough to be irritating, but I mention it just... because? I've had no issues with my eyelashes hitting the lens, or feeling like I'm "too close" to the lens.
I often have issues with "pressure points" from sunglass arms, and haven't had that with these at all. The arms distribute pressure nicely, so no headaches here (which has been a thing for me in the past with Smith and Sweet Protection sunglasses). They fit helmets nicely, too (I'm running an Abus Airbreaker), and I haven't had any issues with the frame knocking against the helmet. They feel secure when stashed in my helmet, too.
I've used these for cycling, running, driving, and drinking six beers, and I've been pretty comfy doing it across the board.
+ Good adjustability
+ No pressure points
- Top of frame can rest on forehead
This is a big one. Sunglasses that undercut the Nuclear Power Plants of cycling optics are great, but if the quality isn't there, it ain't worth it. Thankfully, these do a pretty damn good job.
The materials and construction is, overall, good. The plastic feels fine—neither cheap nor expensive feeling. The rubber bits have held up to use nicely (no chunks missing), and after a big season of use, these are holding up nicely.
A couple of exceptions. At some point, the rubber arms (which cover a big portion of the arm) came loose. The result is that they can slip off, exposing (the admittedly well-made feeling) adjustable metal arms. This has been a non-issue 95% of the time, but on a couple of runs the rubber arms did slip off when removing the classes quickly and stashing them on my head. A touch of glue or tape would fix the issue—but something to keep an eye on, Bliz!
+ Nice feel and finish
+ Don't feel cheap
+ Mostly good durability
- Rubber arms can become loose.
I didn't pay a cent for these glasses, so keep that in mind—but, I will say that these may be one of better cycling sunglasses I've ever used. They're comfortable, they look good, they're affordable, and—this is a big one—they're something a bit different. I've put these through the wringer over the last year, and I'm hard on my stuff as it is. So, naturally there's some wear and tear, but that's a given. I'll likely be ordering another set of lenses for these, which are also nicely affordable (ranging from about $45 CAD to $90 CAD).
Bliz can't quite match the aggressive price point of something like Ryders, but that's not necessarily a bad thing (Ryders had struggled with a "bargain bin basement" branding problem for awhile now). With quality this strong and Bliz options starting around the $120 mark and maxing out around $250, these are worth taking a look at.