Why Sports Sunglasses Come in Different Shades and Why It Matters

If you’ve ever bought sports sunglasses for running, cycling, hiking, or whatever, you know that there are many different colored lenses to choose from. From copper to pink and yellow, they change what you see a little. Wirecutter figures out when and why it might matter.

The shade of the sunglasses is called the base shade, which is what you see from the inside of the lens. Gray and green are the most common shades because they provide the most neutral look, but some colors can provide more contrast, which is key in certain sports. Nippers explain:

Other base shade options provide stronger contrast: copper, brown, orange, amber, pink, and yellow. When you put on these shades, you feel dazzled and at first you might think that the whole world looks a little pink or coppery. But you will still be able to recognize colors as they are, and you will definitely notice the increased contrast.

So which shades are best for outdoor activities? “Contrast, contrast, contrast,” said Rob Tavacoli, an optician and athlete who is vice president of SportRx, a prescription lens company for a number of manufacturers. “More popularity, fewer stops,” added Tavakoli. “Don’t be afraid of non-neutrals. Choose copper, orange, amber, or yellow. You need as much contrast as possible. “

It doesn’t matter which of these high contrast lenses you choose. Copper, orange, amber, and yellow are best for active athletes who tend to move quickly because they provide more contrast on rocky trails, dirt paths, and highways. Neutral shades like green and gray are suitable for anyone exercising on predictable surfaces like a bike path or sidewalk.

I’ve always thought it was one of those silly marketing aesthetic choices, but I can tell you that high contrast lenses go a long way in cycling, especially on muddy paths. I’m not sure how important this is if you are in the city, but if you tend to go off-road, it will be worth it.

Best Sports Sunglasses | Nippers

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