Sept 12, 2021
The best pair of sunglasses for any sport!
Whether you are an enthusiast, elite athlete, or just enjoy being active outside, you know that sports require the right equipment. From boards to bikes, to shorts and harnesses, athletes spend hours and hours picking gear that fits “just right”. But, when it comes to eye protection, how much time do you really spend thinking about it? Do you just grab whatever sunglasses you have in the car before hitting the trail or lake? We can tell you, there are a LOT of important things to consider when selecting shades for your sport of choice. In this month’s blog post, we are going to break down 10 popular sports and our best styles specifically for each of them!
As a bit of an introduction, here are a couple of broad concepts to think about:
Plastic vs. Metal frames: If you are weighing plastic frames vs. metal frames for your sunglasses, there are two things to think about: will you be wearing them for a long time, and are you close to water? If you answered YES to one or both of these questions, we would recommend plastic frames. Why? Many people find that a solid molded nosepiece is more comfortable than nose pads for a prolonged period of time. As they are required because of their construction, all of our metal aviator frames have nose pads. Lastly, while our metal frames are made out of high quality materials, prolonged exposure to water is not recommended. .
Polarization: We’ve touched on this topic in a previous blog article; but we wanted to remind people what polarization is all about as several style recommendations below specifically mention it. Our polarization is injected into our lenses, and eliminates all glare. So, if you are going to be somewhere with a lot of reflectivity (think water, snow, ice), we strongly recommend a polarized lens! There are almost no cons to polarization.
Grips: If your sport has lots of motion, consider a pair of sunglasses with rubber tips and nosepads, this will ensure they move less during your activities. This is simply because rubber adds more friction against the skin than molded plastic will; this will help your sunglasses slide around less with side to side (think skiing) and up and down (think mountain biking) motions.
Lens color: Certain lens colors let in more light than others, so you may want to think about that based on your activity, and where you live. For example certain latitudes will have different sun angles than others, or, you may enjoy a sport that takes place in a more shady environment. Obviously your style preference is important too, but definitely keep functionality in mind!
So, now that you have the basics, let's jump into the recommendations by sport! We have divided the sports into 4 main categories: cycling, snow sports, water sports, and miscellaneous.
Other options: Aspen, Oak
Road biking is all about SPEED--so we selected the Pine for its aerodynamic shape, and small vents to ensure your lenses don’t fog up even if your body temperature is high and you are sweating. As a full frame, full coverage lens it will also protect your eyes from little bits of grit and dust from the road.
Other options: Pine Photochromatic, Spruce
Like our road biking recommendation, we selected the Oak as it offers a lot of surface area protection for your face. This can be even more important if you are dodging branches, splashing through mud, or throwing gravel. When things get rough, the rubber nose pads and tips help keep the Oak on your face as well. The real diamond in this pick is the photochromatic lenses--meaning if you go from a bright opening to a dark wooded patch, your lenses will adjust accordingly to ensure you still have great visibility!
Downhill or Cross Country Skiing
Other Options: Spruce Polarized, Maple Polarized
Our Aspen frame does a great job of providing a lot of protection in a sleek, aerodynamic package that will fit nicely under most helmets. In addition to having a lightweight, TR90 plastic frame, that makes them comfortable enough to wear all day. Polarized lenses ensure you can see your runs clearly on bluebird days as well!
Other Options: Aspen Polarized, Willow Polarized
As we all know, snowboarding was THE sport that brought style to the slopes. So while we kept the must-have polarization of skiing to help reduce snow glare, our Spruce style is a bit bigger and bolder! With a more rectangular shape, and color injected pads and tips, these are the perfect match from the slalom over to the park.
Other Options: Birch, Aspen Polarized
If you are boating and fishing, you want something that provides protection from the wind and sun, in a comfortable all-day package. The Willow is one of our favorite “go-anywhere” styles, and offers a classic shape with rubber tips and optional polarization to reduce glare. If you go with Icy Blue Mirror or True Blue lenses, the fish may not even know you are there!
Other Options: Alder Polarized
SUP?! Our new Maple style is perfect for those of you who enjoy one of the fastest growing recreation sports in the country. Like all of our water sport recommendations, the Maple offers polarization to help with glare from the water. As there isn’t a tremendous amount of motion involved, we thought that the rubber pads were not needed for this recommendation. Furthermore, as people often go paddleboarding with others on bodies of water close to or within city centers, the Maple is a great style to wear every day as well.
Other Options: Aspen Polarized, Pine
If you are out on the coasts zipping around thanks to wind power from the ocean, you will want to make sure to go for a frame that sticks with you. We went with the Spruce again because like snowboarding, there is a lot of motion involved in kite surfing. The rubber tips and pads are a must for keeping them steady, and the coverage and polarization will also help you with glare and wind coming from the side. We would definitely recommend wearing a cord with these just in case you splash down after a fall!
Other Options: Cypress, Willow
The nice part about a hike is that you are just going for a nice long walk--so you don’t need to go too crazy with sunglass features. That being said, something that is comfortable and flexible is still important. The Birch offers slick curved lens, a light PC frame, and great visibility. It’s one of our most popular all-rounder styles, and comes in at a great price point of just $45 a pair.
Other Options: Cottonwood Smoke Gradient/ Light Mirror Lenses
When you are rock climbing outdoors at certain times during the day, it may be important to see changes in definition of the rock face. Why? Those different bumps and cracks may be the holds necessary to keep you moving up the wall! A gradient lens offers the best of both worlds: a solid reduction of sun when looking straight ahead or up, and a little bit LESS tint if you look down over the bridge of your nose. So, with a slight tilt of the head, you will let more light in and see that next hand or foothold that looks like a shadow!
Other Options: Juniper, Cottonwood
If it has an engine, aviators are the go to sunglass style for motorsports. From pilots to vintage car racers, they have been a part of motoring history for decades--and sometimes you shouldn’t rework a classic combination. We selected the Hemlock style for motorsports because in addition to being a cool twist on aviators with their muscular, squared lenses, they also come polarized for bright days, or with a driving colored lens for overcast days. Whether you are autocrossing, track racing, or just taking the convertible out for a Sunday drive, the Hemlock perfectly protects your eyes in the coolest way possible.