Along with a bat and glove, sunglasses are considered one of the most important pieces of equipment to enhance on-field performance. Baseball sunglasses offer protection from the sun or stadium lights while also making the ball easier to spot. Not all sunglasses are created equally and we are here to tell you what frames are the best suited for baseball. In this guide we will cover what you need to look for and give you examples of high-quality sunglasses that can improve your play.
We also have a guide to the Best Baseball Sunglasses of 2019 if you want a complete rundown of the top frames.
Table of Contents
Lenses for Day Games vs. Night Games
-Baseball During the Day
-Baseball at Night
Are Polarized Lenses Good for Baseball?
Top Baseball Sunglasses
Keeping the sunglasses in place while you are hustling to field a ground ball or concentrating on a pitch is essential. The two primary spots where grip is needed are the nosepads and temples since they are the main contact points with your head. Many grip technologies contain hydrophobic elements so when you do break a sweat, the grip gets sticker and tackier to keep them in place.
You may have noticed that all baseball specific sunglasses are curved to better fit the shape of the face. This is preferred in baseball for a few reasons. The wraparound style offers added protection from the elements and keeps sun from peeking in on the side of the frame. You also don't have to sacrifice your peripheral view since the lenses are curved around the edges of the frame. In some cases, the wrap may even help to better secure the sunglasses to your head.
Even a well built pair of glasses won't work well if the fit is off. Finding a lightweight frame is essential because it will be more comfortable on your face, especially when your game goes to extra innings. Another thing to consider is hat compatibility. Some frames stick out too far and make contact with a curved brim hat. Look for a sunglass with decent wrap so it follows the shape of your face and doesn't interfere with the hat. Having temple arms that can be tucked underneath the hat is ideal but they can also be worn with temples sitting on the outside. If the temples are going to be tucked just be sure to factor in the length so they won't extend past of where your head ends.
Many brands have contrast enhancing lens technology to help you pick up on the differences in textures on the field and to track fly balls easier. Having a boost in contrast will help you to better perceive an incoming pitch and judge the speed of ground balls. This will elevate your performance because baseball is a game that relies heavily on split second reactions.
Now you may be wondering what color lens to choose. This can be tricky because the environment and time of day you play may vary. Generally speaking, a more neutral color like a brown or rose lens will give you better contrast. A darker tint lens will let less light through and a lighter tint lens will let more light through to your eyes. However, if you are a pitcher you will be required to wear a clear lens.
Baseball During the Day
Daytime baseball games are the most common time for baseball players to be wearing sunglasses. If you are playing a day game the sun will most likely be out and you will need a lens to protect your eyes from bright light. In this case, having a darker lens is preferred. However, a super dark tint is not always recommended since it may make the ball harder to see. Instead, something that will take the edge off while enhancing contrast is better. The best and most common color lenses for daytime baseball games have a brown or rose base.
Baseball at Night
Playing under insanely bright lights at night does not make it any easier to spot a towering baseball. Therefore, many pitchers and infielders actually wear glasses with clear lenses, even if they do not require a prescription. Wearing clear lens glasses with a light amber tint will help enhance the depth perception of baseball and the contrast as well making it clear for players to see the ball. We recommend lenses with an anti-reflective coating which also helps to reflect any interfering light away from the lens.
Specialty sunglasses can be expensive and if you can't afford to buy two separate pairs of baseball glasses, there is a solution. Transition lenses are very commonly worn by athletes at all levels. The lens color starts out as a lighter tint but get darker as they are exposed to UV light. Another name for this type of lens is photochromic. These lenses also come with anti-reflective coating to block more UV rays. Another alternative solution is to get a baseball frame that has interchangeable lenses so you can swap lenses out based on what conditions you will be playing in.
Like transition lenses, interchangeable lenses allow you to use the same sunglass frame. Many of the sport style sunglasses that are half rim have an interchangeable lens option. This way you can swap out tinted lenses for clear or nearly clear lenses if you have a night game. Check out the Oakley Flak 2.0 XL if this is sounds like the right way to go for you.
Polarized lenses are not ideal for baseball because some studies indicate that polarized lenses affect depth perception. Hand-eye coordination is a big part of baseball so anything that will interfere with that is not something that we would recommend.
Each one of the sunglasses below is recommended for a different reason. This list is intended to help you get some ideas of what you need to look for when buying baseball. We also have a review of the Best Baseball Sunglasses of 2019 you are looking for more recommendations.
Oakley Flak 2.0 XL
The design of the Oakley Flak 2.0 XL is an ideal baseball sunglass for more reasons than one. The semi-rimless design makes tracking ground balls easier because there is no bottom frame to get in your way. The lightweight and durable O Matter frame is complimented with Unobtanium no-slip grip on the temples and nosepad to keep the frames in place. PRIZM Field lenses boost contrast so you can see every detail on the field and react faster. This sunglass is available with prescription Oakley authentic lenses!
Oakley Radar EV Path
The Oakley Radar EV Path showcases a full shield baseball sunglass. Many baseball players favor this type of lens for the expansive coverage it provides. Similar to the Flak 2.0 XL, this frame has Unobtanium on the temples and nosepad. O Matter frame construction makes the Radar EV Path lightweight and strong enough to meet any of your on-field demands.
Oakley Mainlink XL
As you can see, there are a few key differences in design between the Oakley Mainlink XL, Flak 2.0 XL, and Radar EV Path. The flat front and full frame construction make the Mainlink XL a very prescription friendly sunglass. You will miss out on having the wrap but high strength prescriptions won't always work with wraparound sunglasses because the curve of the lenses lead to distortion. The Mainlink XL still has Unobtanium grip where you need it and is a great option if you have a high rx and don't want that to keep you off the field.
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