Wondering if your favorite sport really needs eye protection, or if it's just another gimmick to get you into more gear? Our Sports Opticians are here to settle the debate once and for all. We've curated lists of sports that absolutely require eye protection, sports that don't need it at all, and others that fall somewhere in between. Join SportRx as we share everything you need to know about protective sports glasses for every athlete!

Table of Contents

A. What Are the Safety Standards for Sports?
B. ASTM vs. ANSI: What's the Difference?
C. Sports That Need Protective Eyewear
D. Up to You: Sports That Could Benefit from Protective Eyewear
E. Activities That Do Not Require Safety Glasses
F. Frame Recommendations
1. Wiley X Gamer
2. Oakley Flak 2.0 XL
G. Additional FAQs
H. Shop Prescription Protective Sports Glasses Online at SportRx

What Are the Safety Standards for Sports?

The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) sets forth the safety standard tests and regulations for protective sports glasses. When tested, both the frame and lenses must withstand projectiles sized from 40mm to 65.1mm fired at a rate of 90mph. If the sportswear glasses pass, the eyewear earns ASTM F803-certification.

ASTM vs. ANSI: What's the Difference?

An ASTM-rated spectacle or goggle is tested against potential impacts that often occur in sports. Meanwhile, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is responsible for creating the standards for workplace safety eyewear. For a complete breakdown of how sportswear glasses and traditional safety glasses differ, visit our ANSI and ASTM Guide.

Before we jump into our list, it's important to note that not all sports need safety-rated glasses. For activities such as cycling or mountain biking, having an impact-resistant lens is enough to protect your eyes.

Sports That Need Protective Eyewear

Child playing soccer while wearing protective sports glasses featuring the Wiley X Crush sunglasses.

ASTM F803-Certified Sunglasses featuring the Wiley X Crush

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These sports are high-speed, high-impact activities that are unsafe for your everyday glasses or sunglasses. You'll want to wear protective sports glasses if your athletic endeavors fall in any of the following sports:

  • Soccer: ASTM-approved eyewear (such as a pair of sports goggles) is your best bet here.
  • Lacrosse: Lacrosse is especially unsafe for your regular glasses considering the risk of head and eye injury. As with soccer, prescription sports goggles are your best solution, but lacrosse standards tend to be stricter than with soccer.
  • Children's Sports: Regardless of which sport your child plays, Sports Opticians recommend ASTM F803-certified glasses to safeguard the integrity of their vision. Children are also rougher on their eyewear, and ASTM-approved sportswear glasses can handle the occasional tumble or mishandling.

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Up to You: Sports That Could Benefit from Protective Eyewear

Baseball player pitching while wearing Oakley Flak 2.0 XL protective sports sunglasses.

Impact-Resistant Sunglasses Featuring the Oakley Flak 2.0 XL

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These high-speed sports don't require sports eye protection, but Sports Opticians encourage their use:

  • Football
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Racquetball
  • Tennis
  • Pickleball
  • Archery
  • Motorcycling

While these sports may not require ASTM-certified frames, we recommend opting for eyewear made of impact-resistant materials. For example, Oakley uses proprietary O Matter™ for their frames and Plutonite™ for their lenses, both of which are extremely durable. Another example is Wiley X with their shatterproof Selenite™ lenses and ultra-resilient Triloid™ nylon frames.

Activities That Do Not Require Safety Glasses

The following activities and sports do not require, nor gain any particular benefit, from safety-rated eyewear:

  • Fishing
  • Sailing
  • Golf
  • Running
  • Hiking

Even though you may not need safety glasses on your next fishing trip, there's no harm in wearing safety-rated frames for non-contact activities. In fact, today, safety glasses are more stylish than ever. So much so, that you want a pair simply for their design!

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Frame Recommendations

Whether you want sports-specific ASTM protection or are happy with impact-resistant materials from top performance brands, SportRx has a frame for every athlete. Discover a couple of our most popular protective sports glasses and get ready to take your game to the next level.

Wiley X Gamer

With a name like the Wiley X Gamer, you know you're going to get serious performance out on the court, track, field — you name it. These 6-base sportswear glasses are ASTM F803-certified to keep up with anything the competition throws your way. They're part of the Wiley X Youth Force Collection, which includes an easy glasses-to-goggles conversion in every design. With just a few maneuvers, you can detach the temples and pop on the included elastic strap to convert these glasses into sports goggles. If you don't need quite that much frame retention, not to worry. You can always wear the Gamer as traditional glasses or attach the included leash cord.

As for sizing, even though the Gamer is part of the Youth Force line, it works really well on adults looking for a smaller performance frame. Our Sports Opticians often recommend it to athletes who struggle with slipping frames due to an oversized, improper fit.

Wiley X Gamer sports glasses in black and blue with clear lenses.

Wiley X Gamer in Gloss Black / Metallic Blue with Clear Lenses

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Wiley X Gamer Key Features:

  • ASTM F803-certified for sports safety
  • 6-base frame handles a range of prescriptions with ease
  • Glasses-to-goggles conversion system with included accessories
  • Rx-able
  • SportRx Frame Width: 131 (What is SFW?)

Oakley Flak 2.0 XL

Our next frame recommendation for protective sports glasses is the ever popular and wildly versatile Oakley Flak 2.0 XL. These 8-base wrap around sunglasses can handle virtually any sport under the sun and do it with killer style and superior performance. They're packed with Oakley tech, like impact-resistant O Matter™, durable Plutonite™ lenses, and Unobtainium® rubber grip that gets tackier the more you sweat. The Flak 2.0 XL also features contrast-enhancing PRIZM™ lens technology and has an interchangeable lens system, so you always have the perfect tint.

If you have prescription needs, the Flak 2.0 XL can take them on with ease. We love this frame for its Rx-ability, and it even made it into our lineup of the Best Sports Prescription Glasses!

Oakley Flak 2.0 XL sports sunglasses in black with PRIZM™ Field rose copper lenses.

Oakley Flak 2.0 XL in Polished Black with PRIZM™ Field Lenses

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Oakley Flak 2.0 XL Key Features:

  • Impact-resistant materials keep you safe while you play
  • 8-base wrap around design offers maximum coverage
  • Unobtainium® rubber grip gets tackier when wet
  • Rx-able
  • SFW: 135

Additional FAQs

Still have questions about sports eye protection? We've got more answers!

Are sports glasses the same as safety glasses?

The answer depends on the safety rating. All ASTM F803 sports glasses are considered safety glasses; but not all safety glasses are considered ASTM F803 sports glasses. For example, ANSI-certification is the most common safety rating for protective eyewear in the workplace. This ANSI rating, however, does not undergo the same sports testing and regulations as ASTM F803 frames. To learn more, visit our blog on sports glasses vs. safety glasses.

Can I get ASTM F803 sports glasses in prescription?

Absolutely. At SportRx, we strive to help athletes enjoy the sports they love with the clear vision they deserve. All ASTM F803 sports glasses we offer are available with prescription lenses online at sportrx.com.

What are sports safety glasses used for?

Sports are responsible for more than 40,000 eye injuries each year, 90% of which are preventable. Sport safety glasses are used to protect against potential eye injuries and safeguard the integrity of your vision.

Shop Prescription Protective Sports Glasses Online at SportRx

Need prescription sport safety glasses? Done. When you shop with us, you’ll find video guides and tool tips throughout the build process as you customize the perfect pair. An answer to all your questions is at your fingertips, and if you want to chat with an expert, contact us. We’ll put you in touch with one of our friendly in-house Sports Opticians who can help you build your sportswear glasses with prescription.

Ditch risky online shopping with our See Better Guarantee™. If you're not 100% satisfied with your protective sport glasses, let us know and we'll make it right. Get a full refund, exchange, or credit towards a better pair. And return shipping? Covered. Go for the win with protective sport glasses online at SportRx today!

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