It’s fair to say that sports eyewear seems to get bigger and bigger every season. Some people are even being nicknamed by insect names as the lenses threaten to swallow the entire face. In choosing equipment, I like to remind people that a decision is not just a fashion but the answer to a need. And those throughout the year, whatever the sport and the weather.
Through this article, I will tell you what are my essential criteria for choosing a pair of sports eyewear.
What Is Sun Protection?
Why do we wear glasses in our sports activities? The first answer is to have physical protection from the outside.
The first concern is to make sure that your glasses are CE stamped. Yes, since 1995, European regulations require manufacturers to guarantee the filtering power of the lenses.
Don’t throw yourself headlong into online sites that may sell fake products at low prices. Favour opticians, brand sites, or verified e-commerce sites.
The U.V. protection index is classified in 4 categories ranging from 0 to 4
- Class 0: clear or very lightly tinted glass. These are glasses of “aesthetic comfort” which only provides very slight protection against UV rays.
- Class 1: Lightly tinted glass. This type of sun protection is recommended for situations of reduced sunlight, such as in winter or in very gray weather.
- Class 2: Moderately tinted glass. This type of sun protection will be effective in situations of medium sunlight.
- Class 3: Dark glass. This sun protection is the one to have when practicing sports. It is effective in situations of strong luminosity. The index 3 blocks 100 % of ultraviolet UVA UVB.
- Class 4: Very dark glass. It is indicated in case of extreme solar luminosity as for mountaineering or in high mountains because the luminosity is increased tenfold by the reverberation on ice and snow. This protection is prohibited for driving because you will not see anything if you pass under a tunnel.
At this stage, all brands are subject to this regulation. They will have higher prices due to patents for innovations in visual comfort, surface treatment of lenses, wear, and use of special materials.
Do not confuse lens tinting with the protection index.
The tinting of lenses is not synonymous with a UV protection index. The tinting of the lenses provides a different visual comfort, by amplifying more or less the contrasts in perception, as well as the relief. It is essential to choose the color of your lenses according to the environment in which you move, day and night, on the plains and in the mountains. The best is to have the possibility to change them.
Why Our Glasses Are so Big?
In introduction, I quoted the size of the glasses. It is not simply a fashion effect. If the lenses cover the face more, it’s good to be protected from UV rays that can pass through the side and allow a wider field of vision. They provide a barrier against snow or rain, or even just wind and insects.
Are the Glasses Suitable for All Sports?
Globally, yes. But the brands offer different models more specific to a sport. It is interesting to have versatile glasses depending on the sport and the weather conditions. It is conditioned by several vectors.
1 The Hold and The Lightness
Who has never had their glasses slip off during an activity? In running, cycling, we are on the move. The ideal is to have a frame that is light, sturdy and adaptable to your head circumference. In a cycling practice, adaptability is appreciated and to other supports when you want to fix them on your helmet.
2 the Composition and Surface Treatment of The Lenses
Anti-fog, hydrophobic, anti-scratch, anti-fouling… there are as many considerations to take into account. It’s a pity to have your lenses fogged during an effort, or traces of perspiration on the lenses or fragile to impacts.
Photochromic lenses should be preferred. These lenses are initially clear but they lighten automatically when it is darker and darken immediately when the luminosity is more intense. Thanks to this technology, you will no longer be bothered by changes in brightness. Convenient!
Have the Right Head!
We do not escape the will to have the latest pair of glasses that will give us style. Most brands offer the possibility to customize your glasses and others offer the possibility to easily change the frame and the lens.
At What Cost?
Price is probably the last factor that will motivate your purchase. The price is justified by brand awareness and lens technology. But beware of shattered prices that can be synonymous with counterfeits.
To Sum Up
What are the essential criteria for sports eyewear? In order to guide your choice, I propose you these 6 criteria:
- Sun protection
- Specific lens treatments
- The outfit on the face, the head, and on the helmet
- The design
- The price
The sports eyewear market is large and all brands are strong arguments. The choice of a brand is a very personal choice.
Try to find the best quality/price ratio that meets its criteria, independently of the brand name.
The saying goes: “you have to find the right shoe for your feet”. For glasses, it is the same principle. In all transparency, I have worn 4 different brands to date. Oakley, Julbo, 100% and finally Bliz.
I’ve come to wear Bliz. It’s my experience, the brand that offers one of the best choices of functional and comfortable eyewear, distinguished by its excellent value for money! In a future article, I will tell you why I prefer Bliz.