Proper sunglasses are essential for success in baseball, and will give you an incontestable advantage at games and practices. Players know all too well how easy it is to lose a ball in the sun while you are playing defense. An outfielder can lose a ball in a second, and you can't waste precious moments trying to shield your eyes with glove, hat, or hand. Using eye black is great, but on its own it's not enough. The small white ball can't compete against the glare of the sun.
Winning is not the only reason to invest in sport-specific lenses for baseball. It's important not only for your vision, but also to protect your eyes from potential impact. If you are wearing regular sunglasses that aren't labeled for sports-use, the impact from a baseball could easily pop out or break your lens - causing injury to the eye. Sports sunglasses should always come equipped with polycarbonate lenses and nylon frames. Polycarbonate lenses provide the highest level of protection from impact and are virtually shatterproof – even for balls traveling at 90 miles an hour. All protective eyewear should meet American Standards for Testing and Materials' (ASTM) impact standards.
There are a lot of choices out there when it comes to sport-specific sunglasses for baseball, so before you choose, consider what your requirements are for finding the perfect pair. The frames should be lightweight, preferably made from a material in the nylon family for its strength, durability, and flexibility. And they should fit like a glove. There are a few ways to achieve the perfect non-slip fit that eliminates distracting movements and vibrations. You can try full coverage wrap shades, silicone gripping nose pads, cable temples that wrap fully around the back of the ear, or some shades even come equipped with a band that goes around the back of your head. Wrap shapes have the added benefit of expanding the scope of protected area into your peripheral vision. You can also find frames that are vented to allow air to circulate around the eyes.
You will also find a range of lens tints and coatings to choose from. Look for coatings that repel water and oil to keep your lenses smudge free. As for tints; amber (yellow), brown, green, and gray tints will help you judge distance. The more yellow/orange tints will brighten your vision on cloudy days. Choosing the right tint can make a big difference on picking up the ball visually against different colored surfaces – and the sky can be any number of colors depending on the weather and time of day! Polarization is kind of a contentious topic in baseball; some professional players feel that polarized lenses can distort their view of the ball. However, many people like polarization because it considerably reduces glare.
As for brands, Oakley and Under Armour both make great baseball sunglasses. A couple of styles that come highly recommended by players are the Oakley Radar Path and the Under Armour Core. The Flip-up style Under Armour Thief is also really popular for baseball. Oakley has a whole series of baseball glasses in their Major League catalog that feature the colors of your favorite professional teams. Gargoyle is also a well-loved brand in baseball.
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