Sunglasses for Outdoor Sports
Less than 50 years ago, it was uncommon to see athletes wearing sunglasses. Today, the indispensible incorporation of technologically advanced sunglasses has permeated a wide variety of sports. Frame styles have even crossed over from the sporting world as a general fashion accessory for the mainstream consumer markets.
The sunglasses in sports like motocross and skiing were originally designed to offer protection against debris and ballistic eye injury. Early designs were heavy and limited the field of vision, which is why athletes only wore them if they absolutely had to. When Oakley first introduced a lighter and more aerodynamic design option, other athletes from a variety of sports began to take notice. In 1986, Greg LeMond became the first American to win the Tour de France and the first famous cyclist to wear sunglasses. The simple advantage of less eye strain and reduced wind irritation soon caught the attention of cyclist and other athletes looking for a competitive edge.
The early contribution of LeMond to the popularity of sunglasses on athletes was significant, but he was not the first. Paul Hines, in 1882 while playing for the Providence Grays, was the first Major League Baseball player to ever wear sunglasses on the field. Since then, flip-up sunglasses have become a standard uniform accessory for most outfielders who often contend with the sun when tracking high flying balls. Today, the Gargoyle Gamer Baseball Flip sunglasses are better made and have become a common sight during games.
Sunglasses are now produced specifically for particular sports to provide needed protection and advantages to a variety of athletes. Boating and water sport athletes, for example, typically contend with the sun and irritating water reflections for hours at a time. Polarized lens technology and lightweight plastic frames provide very critical protection against harmful levels of sunlight exposure while also giving the advantage of being able to see a glare-free water surface.
Numerous athletes utilize sunglasses for the shielding of their eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays and from their opponents like in cricket. There are primarily two styles of sunglasses chosen by athletes: wide plastic framed and curved eye shields. The market for both of these types of sunglasses offers a wide selection, but some manufacturers have tried to make it easier for multi-sport athletes to get more use out of a single pair of glasses. Options like the CEBE Cougar allow wearers to choose between the possible ear pieces or an elastic band. Other manufacturers, like Bolle, offer interchangeable lenses on their popular styles like the Warrant to allow for varying levels of tint.
The latest advancement in performance sunglasses comes from multi-industry collaboration between Motorola and Oakley called the O Rokr Pro. These sunglasses are designed to provide eye protection to the most active of athletes needing aerodynamic lightweight eyewear. However, the O Rokr also includes state of the art Bluetooth technology and interchangeable lenses. This technology allows performance athletes to stay in real-time contact with their support crews via their sunglasses.
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