How to Choose
Key criteria when choosing sports sunglasses & eyewear:
– A wrap around style for plenty of eye protection and to keep out wind, glare, rain and harmful UVR
– Lightweight frames for extended wear comfort
– To prevent sports related eye injuries, polycarbonate impact resistant, shatterproof lenses will be required
– The option to choose different lens colours
It’s worth noting that the vast majority of ‘designer’ and leisure style sunglasses have grey lenses. Grey only dulls light, it doesn’t add contrast. With sports style sunglasses other lens colours will be available such as brown, amber, rose, yellow and orange all of which provide contrast enhancement; a desired feature for most sports like fishing, tennis, skiing, shooting, golf and skiing.
Sports style sunglasses use polycarbonate or Trivex as these lens materials have 20 times the impact resistance of glass and up to 10 times the impact resistance of normal plastic.
Other things to think about are:
– Lens colours & density of tint
– Style of frame
– Use in high glare conditions/environments
Lens colour choice will depend on light, background colour and the sport they will be used for e.g. clay target shooters use different lens colours to help see different target colours. Style is very much a personal preference. A high-glare environment means polarised or Category 4 lenses should be considered.
Men’s, Women’s and Unisex styles
As part of the description for each model we have indicated whether the style is aimed mainly at men, women or is unisex. Most sports sunglasses with their wrap around styling are closer fitting (than fashion / leisure styles) and therefore unisex. For each brand / model the frame and lens colour can be seen in the picture shown but in most cases we also give the frame colour in the description and in all cases we describe the lens colour(s).
See the section on Eyewear Information for more detail about polarised / polarized lenses and their benefits. Discover our range of Polarised Sunglasses. To make it easier to quickly identify a model with a polarised lens look for the ‘Polarised’ symbol shown in the image or ‘Polarised’ in the headline description.
Lens colours and their uses
GREY & ‘BLACK’ – The most popular lens colour. It reduces all light equally, does not increase contrast or alter the colour of objects and is best used in bright and sunny weather. Some manufacturers use the lens colour black instead of grey as this sounds more ‘contemporary’ but it is misleading (a true black lens would not be of much use).
SMOKE – ‘Smoke’ is used as the lens base colour when a mirror finish is applied to the lens. It is similar to grey but usually has a brown or blue hue.
AMBER, VERMILLION & BROWN – Popular colours that increase contrast (everything in the field of vision will appear sharper), they provide a warm appearance and work well where judging distance is important (like golf). Good all-round colours suited to most weather / light conditions.
YELLOW – A light enhancing colour: good for low visibility, dark, hazy and cloudy conditions. Provides exceptional contrast and enhanced depth perception. Not suitable in strong sun or high glare conditions.
CLEAR – For protecting eyes from impact, dust, dirt or abrasion. Shop our range of safety eyewear.
GREEN / G15 – The Green / G15 lens was first popularised by Ray-Ban and used in their classic aviator sunglasses. It provides a soothing tone to colours, helps cut glare and enhances contrast. Sometimes described as grey-green, it’s a good alternative to plain grey for bright sun conditions.
RED, ROSE and ORANGE – These lens colours filter out blue light which causes eye strain. They are high definition and high contrast colours that will make objects appear in much sharper focus. Suitable for most light and especially suited to overcast conditions. Popular with golfers, cyclists, skiers and shooting enthusiasts.
BLUE – A fashion colour but also helps to emphasise the colour yellow so useful for tennis players (yellow ball) and archers (yellow / gold bull).
PURPLE – Purple is now a popular colour amongst clay target shooting enthusiasts. It dulls a green background (such as trees or a grass bank) and helps the user see a black, white, orange or pink clay target better against a darker background. It provides a soothing tone that makes it ideal for extended wear comfort; a good all-round colour for variable light conditions. Golfers will also benefit from wearing purple lenses.
MIRROR and ‘REVO’ lenses – Mirror and mirror-revo are coatings applied to the front of the lens (usually applied to a base ‘smoke’ lens – see above). Mirror coatings can come in a wide variety of colours. The term ‘revo’ usually applies when the mirror has more than one colour e.g. red-orange or blue-green. Whilst mirror coatings are often chosen for their cosmetic effect they also limit glare and increase the filtering power – this can block an additional 10 – 60 % of visible light for greater comfort in intense, full-sun conditions. As they limit light exposure that could cause photokeratitis (snow blindness) on bright, sunny days they are often chosen for snow sports, high altitude hiking and mountain climbing.
FLASH mirror lenses – A flash mirror finish (to the base lens colour) is not a full mirror effect but gives a slight reflection.
Photochromic Lenses – Photochromic lenses are lenses that change tint, depending on light conditions. Typically they start from a light 20-30% tint and darken to 60-80% (in strong sunlight). View our selection of Photochromic Sunglasses. More and more sports eyewear manufacturers are introducing models with photochromic lenses and all Serengeti sunglasses have photochromic lenses.
Interchangeable (Multi) Lens Sets
Interchangeable eyewear sets have become increasingly popular because they give a choice of different lens colours fitting the same frame. They will typically come with at least 3 different lenses. Look out for the Multi Lens symbol in the main picture which indicates that the model is a multi-lens set.
We don’t always provide the density of tint number (Cat. 0 to Cat. 4) in our product descriptions because some brands we sell do not provide this information. The Category number equates to a percentage of the VLT (Visible Light Transmission); how much light the lens lets through, as follows:
Category 0: 80-100% VLT
Category 1: 43-80% VLT
Category 2: 18-43% VLT
Category 3: 8-18% VLT
Category 4: 3-8% VLT
The following is a general guide to the lens categories that apply to different lens colours:
Category 0 – Clear, Light Yellow, Pale Orange and Yellow
Category 1 – Orange, Rose & Vermilion
Category 2 – Purple, Red, Amber & Light brown
Category 3 – ‘Standard’ Grey & Brown
Category 4 – Dark Grey & Dark Brown
Almost all the grey and brown lens sunglasses we sell are Category 3 and suitable for use in strong sun conditions.
Category 4 sunglasses / lenses should not be used for driving as they are too dark and therefore potentially dangerous.