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FramesDirect.com loves our athletes! We carry a large variety of sports sunglasses in designer brands like Costa, Oakley, and Wiley X so you can protect your eyes on and off the field. Exposure to the sun’s UV rays can cause macular degeneration, cataracts, corneal sunburn, and temporary or permanent vision loss. Sunglasses with 100% UV protection block the sun’s harsh rays and help keep your eyes healthy. When it comes to picking sunglasses, we know that the selection can be overwhelming—so we created this handy guide to help you choose the best sunglasses for your sport!

sports sunglasses infographic

Why are Sunglasses Important for Athletes?

In any sport, protecting athletes’ eyes from the sun is essential. Not only do sports sunglasses protect vision, they can improve performance. Tinted lenses boost can enhance optical clarity and block harsh light, which is especially helpful for athletes with sensitive eyes. Sports eyewear is not all the same. Different sports shades each provide their own advantages—and frame grip, fit, shape, and style all play a role.

Glasses Recommendations by Sport

If your preferred sport involves a small white ball or projectiles flying at your face, you’ll want impact-resistant sunglasses to protect your eyes and surrounding area from harm. Pitchers, catchers, and batters may benefit from the visual contrast provided by the lightweight Oakley Flak Jacket sunglasses, while golfers get a boost from glare-resistant polarized Maui Jim Twin Falls sunglasses.

Shooting requires visual focus, as well as high-velocity impact protection. You want shatterproof sunglasses that not only meet—but exceed—the ANSI Z87.1 standard for impact resistance. Sunglasses with a ballistics rating will protect your eyes while at the range. Rugged Wiley X Saint sunglasses are made for the shooting enthusiast—in fact, Wiley X sunglasses have been standard issue for the FBI, DEA, and Special Forces troops. Interchangeable lenses protect your eyes from projectiles and UV rays, and you can change the tint at any time to match the light conditions.

Running, cycling, skiing, and fishing may not require you keep your eye on the ball, but choosing the right sunglasses for your sport can significantly increase your performance. Sunglasses that fit around helmets and that vent so they don’t fog-up keep you safer on a bike, and no-slip frames that resist sweat and oil keep going while you’re running a marathon—or just around the block.

Polarized lenses are recommended for use on the water—most anglers swear by their lightweight, rugged Costa sunglasses—but you’ll want to grab a different pair if you hit the slopes. Polarized lenses are a no-go if you ski or ride because the anti-glare properties may make it difficult to see hazardous icy spots. Anti-fog goggles like Von Zipper’s Cleaver Snow will stay put while you’re tackling the fresh pow pow.

Which Lens Tint is Best for Sports?

Lens tint plays an important role in choosing sunglasses for sports, and each color provides an advantage.

Green lenses are for general purpose and in low-light conditions. They provide even color perception, dim glare, and brighten shadows. Green lenses are ideal for cycling, fishing, water sports, golf, mountain biking, outdoor leisure, skiing, and tennis.

Brown or Amber lenses are good for variable everyday conditions. They enhance contrast, and the red element can help to improve depth perception. Brown or amber lenses are ideal for fishing and water sports, golf, outdoor sports, shooting, and tennis.

Yellow lenses provide greater clarity in fog, haze, and other low-light conditions. They filter out blue light from computer screens and other electronic devices that can cause eye fatigue and headaches. Yellow lenses are ideal for mountain biking, shooting, skiing, and tennis.

Blue or purple lenses are trendy and aesthetically pleasing. They reduce glare, help define contours, and enhance color perception. Blue or purple lenses are ideal for fishing and water sports, golf, outdoor leisure, and skiing.

Pink or Red lenses improve visual depth, reduce eye strain, provide good road visibility, and offer the greatest amount of contrast. Pink or red lenses are ideal for skiing.

Gray or Black lenses are good for general purpose use. They reduce eye fatigue, provide true color perception, and minimize glare—especially glare off water. Grey or black lenses are the darkest tint with the highest available light reduction.

When choosing the best athletic sunglasses for your sport, check off these four basic ‘must-have’ qualities. The lenses in your sports sunglasses should provide 100% UV protection. Choose sturdy, shatterproof lenses and frames. Select lens tint and polarization based on what sport you participate in—interchangeable lenses are fantastic for multi-sport enthusiasts. Your frame should grip properly—no slipping allowed—and shouldn’t obstruct your view,  Sunglasses aren’t just for athletes, spectators need UV protective eyewear as well. If you’d rather spend your summer in the stands than on the field, you should be prepared with a pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes while you eat hot dogs and root for the home team.

Sports and Sunglasses: Infographic Quick Facts

  • In 2012, standard sunglass retail sales throughout the United States generated approximately $3.49 billion.

  • An increasing number of reports have made a connection between exposing eyes to sunlight and degenerative eye disease like cataracts.

  • Light eyes such as blue, green, or grey are more sensitive in sunlight, while studies show people with dark brown eyes are subject to greater risk for developing cataracts. Protecting your eyes from direct sunlight can lower this risk.

    • Texas Rangers’ Left Fielder Josh Hamilton has blue eyes and a career batting average that is almost 100 points lower in the day than at night due to added light sensitivity for blue eyes.
  • The first Olympic Games in 1892 featured cycling as one of its main sports.

  • The Wiley X Saint was worn by Bradley Cooper in American Sniper.

  • Many former tennis pros suffer from pterygium, which is a benign growth in the eye that can be caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light.

  • Snow reflects up to 80% of the UV light from the sun.

  • UV radiation exposure increases 4 to 5 percent with every 1,000 feet above sea level.

    • At an altitude of 9,000 to 10,000 feet, UV radiation may be 35 to 45 percent more intense than sea level.
  • Wearing sunglasses during a marathon will keep your face relaxed and will aid in conserving energy.

  • More than 55 million Americans took at least one fishing trip in 2013. Only running and biking activities had more participants.

  • Get your sunnies made to measure with your prescription (Rx). FramesDirect.com offers hundreds of prescription sports sunglasses.

    • 143 million adults wear prescription eyewear.

    • That’s 64% of the adult population

    • 3% of adults use prescription sunglasses only

Best Sunglasses for Every Sport

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