As an athlete, it’s important to find the right sports equipment that suits your performance and comfort needs. You don’t necessarily need what looks best—it’s all about what works best.
From proper footwear to thermal undergarments, serious athletes need a wide range of gear specialized for their specific sport or hobby. For almost all outdoor sports, sunglasses (or even more protective eyewear) are a necessity.
You’ll want to find a pair of sunglasses that’s suitable for the conditions of your sport. For example, golfers often look for sunglasses that enhance color and preserve depth perception, whereas bicyclists tend to prioritize protection from debris. But whatever sport you play, you’ll want to find a pair made with the highest-quality materials and construction that won’t distract you from the game or the track ahead of you. When shopping for your next pair of sports sunglasses, be sure to factor in the following elements.
- Impact and Scratch Resistance– During any physical activity, keeping your eyes safe should be a number-one priority. Especially if you play a high-contact sport or spend time out in the unpredictable wilderness, you’ll need glasses that protect your eyes from impact and resist scratches. Today, premium sports sunglasses typically use polycarbonate or Trivex lenses with built-in coatings for scratch resistance.
- UV Protection– Protecting your eyes from UV rays is paramount for anyone who spends extended time outdoors. Direct exposure to sunlight (including light reflected off water or snow) can cause cancer, cataracts, and degeneration to the eye, so it’s crucial to find a pair of sunglasses that offer the highest UV protection. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, you should opt for sunglasses that protect at least 99 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation.
- Polarization– Athletes and hobbyists who spend time near reflective surfaces (for example, out on open water) can benefit from polarized lenses. These lenses prevent glare by blocking horizontal light rays while permitting light that comes in at a vertical angle.
- The Right Tint– Tinted sunglass lenses most commonly come in gray, amber, green, yellow, blue, and red hues. Each of these tint shades has a unique purpose. For example, a blue tint can improve color perception, while a yellow tint may distort color but can provide more clarity in foggy or hazy conditions. The ideal sunglass tint depends on what activity you need them for, which you can learn more about here.
- Frame Material– Sports performance sunglasses need to combine durability and flexibility. Many premium sports sunglass makers now use nylon-based frames because of the material’s resistance to temperature fluctuation, flexibility, strength, and moldability.
- Adjustable Nose Piece– Sports sunglasses should also be adjustable and customizable, especially in the nose piece. This feature allows you to adjust the sunglasses to fit your nose, meaning you can move them closer or further away from your face before or during your exercise.
- Lightweight Feel– While engaging in sports or hobbies that require speed and agility, people typically want comfortable and lightweight clothing and accessories that don’t distract from the game or task at hand. When it comes to eyewear, lightweight sports sunglasses should weigh around 30 grams, and ultra-lightweight pairs should weigh around 26 grams.
Other Design Elements
- Wide Lenses or Wraparound Design– Many sports sunglasses offer wide lenses or a wraparound design to provide optimum protection from debris and harmful UV rays. Wraparound sunglasses not only block UV rays coming in from the sides but also protect your eyes from drying out in windy conditions.
- Extendable Arms– This feature allows you to adjust the sunglasses to your head, which will stop the sunglasses from moving around too much while you exercise. Many sports sunglasses also have textured grips on the inside of the glasses’ arms to prevent them from sliding no matter how sweaty you get.
Better Quality, Better Performance
Whether you’re an athlete who mountain bikes, runs, or fishes, investing in a good pair of sports sunglasses is a priority for protection, performance, and focus. If you’re looking for a pair of sports sunglasses that ticks every box, start by shopping the big-name sports brands with a reputation for quality. You can click here to shop Oakley sunglasses and other premium sports and designer brands. While browsing, be sure to consider all of the qualities described above and how they can affect performance in your specific sport or hobby.
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