How to Shop for Sports Sunglasses
Nothing tops an outdoor workout. The variation, scenery, and sunshine make the time fly by. For all my clients, I recommend they wear a great pair of athletic sunglasses for outdoor activity. They ensure the obvious— you can SEE—but also prevent you from tripping over something in your path, straining your eyes, or squinting (hello, crow’s feet).
Sunglasses are a non-negotiable piece of gear for your outdoor workouts and I’ll give you three reasons why:
Squinting from the sun can cause athletes to tense up from their shoulders all the way up through their face. This habit can cut down on your overall performance, increase chances of fatigue or headaches, and of course make your workout less enjoyable overall. Sunglasses counteract this by helping you see clearly, through open eyes. Polarized lenses are even more effective for this.
- Protection for Your Eyes
Most sports sunglasses are built to stay put on your face so they’ll protect your eyes from the harmful UVA/UVB rays that can lead to cataracts. It’ll also help prevent eye strain in the short term and macular degeneration in the long term. An additional benefit is that the lenses shield your eyes from kicked-up dust or dirt.
- Protection for Your Skin
While hats are helpful for protecting your face from the sun, sports sunglasses provide additional coverage and keep any annoying glare at bay. So, no more squinting… because… #crowsfeetsuck. But that’s another topic altogether.
So now that you know how important sports sunglasses are, I’ll fill you in on what you should look for when you shop. Here’s my roundup of some of the most important attributes, as well as some fun styles to browse.
- Frame Material
Nylon is great because it’s lightweight, extremely durable, and often impact-resistant. The Dragon H2O collection includes nylon sunglasses that actually float in water.
Metal is easy to customize for fit, and often less obstructive to your field of vision, but sometimes less durable. If you’re going to take these frames on your toughest workouts, you’ll want them to be flexible, durable, and lightweight, like the Nike Avid Wire.
Modern lens technology does a lot more than just block sunlight and UVA/UVB rays from your eyes. Polarization filters and reduces horizontal glare, particularly reflections from shiny surfaces like the water on a lake. Photochromic lenses like sunsync® will adjust tint in response to the intensity of sunlight.
Lens tint is especially important for sports sunglasses. Different colors are suited for different uses, so you can customize to fit your athletic needs. Gray, green, and brown are great for general outdoor use and bright conditions, because they reduce eye fatigue and dim glare. Red, rose, and amber heighten contrast in partly cloudy and sunny conditions, which is especially great on the slopes. They also make objects more visible against green backdrops, ideal for mountain biking and trail running in the woods. Yellow or orange are also good for contrast, but they offer the least protection from sunlight. It’s important to note that lens color doesn’t affect the ability to filter-out ultraviolet rays. No matter what tint you go for, make sure your lenses block 100% of UV rays.
Most sports sunglasses are equipped with textured, grippy nose and temple pads. This’ll ensure that your sunglasses won’t slip off your face, even during the most intense workouts. Some nose pads even have hydrophilic qualities—they soak up liquid—that cause them to better grip your face when you sweat.
So, next time you go outside for a workout, don’t forget to grab your shades.
Nan Luma is a Wellness Coach in San Francisco, CA. You can learn more about her or sign up for personal training at nanluma.com.