When you are playing tennis out in the sun, it is important to protect your eyes from damage and glare.
Wearing an appropriate pair of good quality sunglasses will help shield your eyes from the sun, helping you to see better, puts less strain on your eyes and protects them from unnecessary damage.
However, not all sunglasses are built for tennis. If you wear a pair of fashion sunglasses that do not fit properly or have the appropriate lenses, you could risk these falling off and breaking as you play.
Not only is this inconvenient and expensive, but these sunglasses are unlikely to provide the protection or performance you need if you want to play tennis and see properly!
Therefore, much like other tennis equipment, it is important to do your research and buy a long lasting product.
Although it may be more expensive in the short term, you can’t put a price on health, especially the health of your eyes.
That’s why we have put together this guide to shed some light on exactly what you should look out for when buying a pair of sunglasses that you intend to wear whilst playing tennis.
It’s not necessarily as straightforward as you might think!
What to Look Out For
Whilst buying a pair of glasses is definitely an individual experience, there are a few pointers we can give that should lead you in the right direction.
Sport sunglasses differ from traditional, casual wear sunglasses in their construction, lens type, fit, finish and design.
So, if you are used to buying a pair of sunglasses to go with your jacket and jeans, you may be a bit unsure of what to go for when it comes to tennis sunglasses.
We have broken down exactly what you need to consider below.
Follow this guide to narrow down your search for the perfect pair of sunglasses for tennis, but be sure to consult an eye care professional if you need further advice.
Any pair of sports sunglasses should provide ample protection from UV and blue light damage that can occur from being out in the sun too long.
Younger athlete’s eyes are also more at risk than adult eyes, so getting into good habits at an early age is the key to avoiding problems later in life.
Although these types of glasses tend to be more expensive, they are well worth it.
Make sure the glasses you choose have UV and blue light protection, as these cause eye damage without you even knowing it.
Damage from these sources also builds up over time, so it is important to buy a pair of tennis sunglasses that you will be comfortable wearing consistently, as this is important to minimize the risks.
Different colour lenses may look appealing to athletes, but their purpose is more than just cosmetic.
Different lens colours actually reduce different colour exposure, so you can tailor your lens colours to suit your environment.
For example, red lenses tend to increase the contrast between objects, which makes it easier for wearers to distinguish objects in front of them.
These are ideal for runners or cyclists that need to see obstacles clearly so to avoid them.
However, for tennis (and golf for that matter), green lenses seem to work best.
This is because green lenses actually offer greater contrast, increase how vividly you see colour and allow for more natural light transmission.
These attributes allow you to distinguish the logout of the ball against the backdrop more easily, allowing you to see the ball more clearly even when the glaring sun is beating down.
Green lenses also preserve the balance of colours in your vision, making the background in your peripheral vision to be more neutral.
This, in turn allows you to pick out the brightly coloured tennis ball more clearly.
So, if you are using your new sunglasses exclusively for tennis, we would recommend a green lens colour.
However, you may want to purchase reperate red lenses if you also intend to use your sunglasses for running or cycling, or simply buy an extra pair.
A high tapered wrap around frame is the best suited to tennis.
These frames offer the most physical protection and allow for lenses that can protect the side of your eyes as well as the front.
These frames are often flexible in their construction, yet are robust enough to stay on the face whilst changing direction rapidly.
High wrap designs help protect your eyes from both wind and debris.
This is a necessity in sports such as running and cycling, but less so with tennis.
Really, it depends on your climate and playing environment as to whether you will need a very high wrapped frame or not.
If you are likely to be playing on dusty surfaces in high winds, then a high wrap is definitely favourable.
Finally, the fit of the glasses on your nose is clearly a major point to be considered.
You may want to opt for an adjustable nose piece that can grip to the bridge of your nose more effectively, minimizing the risk of your sunglasses falling off.
Cost is of course another major factor to consider when buying a pair of sunglasses for tennis.
Consider what your requirements actually are, how often you will be playing and whether you have a habit of breaking or losing sunglasses!
Determining what specifications you need and more importantly, those you don’t need is an important step towards setting a realistic budget and sticking to it.
Polarized lenses are worth considering when you are at significant risk of being exposed to excessive glare.
Polarized lenses help you to see through glare, reducing damage to your eyes and allowing you to see more clearly.
Photochromic lenses are another option worth considering if you are playing at different times throughout the day.
Coaches that may be on the tennis court outside all day, from dawn until dusk, will experience different levels of sunlight exposure.
Photochromic lenses actually adjust their darkness according to the natural light outside.
These glasses will have a lighter tint to them early in the morning and in the evening, but will have a fully dark tint at midday.
Therefore, you can leave sunglasses with these lenses on all day, meaning you will still be protected from UV and blue rays, even when the sun is not at its brightest.
Buying a pair of sunglasses with an anti-glare coating is a very effective way to further increase the clarity of your vision.
These coatings are generally used on the backs of the lenses and help to reduce glare exposure.
If you need a prescription in your tennis sunglasses, having a high wrap design can be problematic.
The extended design can warp your prescription and cause sight issues, impairing your performance.
You will need a skilled option to employ specific fine grinding techniques to adjust your prescription to the high wrap design, so be sure to consult an eye specialist if this is needed.
The Best Sunglasses For Tennis
Picking the perfect pair of sunglasses for tennis is by no means an exact science.
Different players require different specifications, and when dealing with something as personal as glasses, we cannot provide an exact ranking of which glasses are by far and away the best.
However, we have put together a selection of some of the best pairs of sunglasses for tennis below, as a good starting point to get you on your way!
The Bolle Bolt tennis sunglasses are a fantastic lightweight option for any tennis player.
They feature large, photochromic lenses that adjust to the ambient light throughout the day.
You will get complete UV light protection from these sunglasses, along with superior clarity and contrast.
These elements will help you see the tennis ball more clearly.
The Bolt glasses also come with anti-fog treatment and an adjustable nose piece, meaning you will be able to play without these sunglasses getting steamed up when you perspire.
Oakley Half Jacket
The Half Jacket sport sunglasses by world famous brand Oakley are one of the most reliable options on the market.
These glasses sport a twist resistant frame, so you can most around freely and not worry about the frame becoming warped.
These sunglasses are also available with different colour lenses, so you can interchange these based on your playing conditions.
If you are looking for a long lasting, comfortable and resilient pair of tennis sunglasses, look no further than the Oakley Half Jackets!
Rivbos Polarized Sport
These unisex sunglasses are designed specifically for athletes! They feature a wraparound frame design that provides maximum protection from harmful rays.
The Rivbos glasses are an affordable option, best suited to a new sunglasses wearer that needs a low entry point to the market.
These also come in 10 different colour tints, so you can certainly personalize them to fit your needs!
Bolle Competition Vigilante
The Bolle Competition Vigilante sunglasses are a great option for the tennis purist.
They come equipped with green tinted lenses to help the ball stand out from the background, which aids with contrast and vision.
They are lightweight, durable and offer a good level of protection from harmful sunlight.
These glasses also come standard with a dark lens, so you can interchange between on court and off court activities easily.
Nike Trainer Sunglasses
The Nike Trainer sunglasses are a great affordable option from one of the world’s largest sporting brands.
They offered a lightweight, contoured design that covers your eyes to the max.
The arms of these glasses are flexible and have great ventilation, so you won’t risk having them fall off when you sweat.
The adjustable nose pads mean you can mould these sunglasses to fit your nose perfectly.
The Bolle Lightshifters are a great choice for players looking for a wrap around design that ticks all the boxes.
The adjustable nose pads help you customize the glasses to fit your nose, stopping the glasses from potentially falling and breaking.
They sport oversized, photochromic lenses that really ramp up the contrast, helping you to see the bright tennis ball more clearly.
These glasses are specifically designed for larger faces, so be sure to try them on before you buy to make sure they fit you perfectly!
When buying a pair of tennis sunglasses it is important to consider exactly what features you will and won’t need, based on your tennis playing frequency.
If you are a player or coach that spends a lot of time out in the sun, then it is really worth investing in a top quality pair of sunglasses for tennis.
These tend to come with tinted lenses, wrap around or high wrap frame design and even photochromic lens technology.
These features, combined with adjustable nose pads and appropriate ventilation can increase the clarity of your vision, whilst protecting your eyes from harmful rays from the sun.
Try to find additional features such as anti-glare coatings and polarized lenses that help further increase your clarity, contrast and reduce eye strain.