Things You Need to Know Before Buying Sport Sunglasses

Don’t let the sun come between you and your favorite sport. Whether you’re an avid triathlete, a die hard cyclist, or a weekend team sport player, the right pair of prescription sunglasses make a huge difference in both the level of your enjoyment and your performance ability. Not sure where to start your prescription sport sunglass search? Fear not. Keep reading for an in-depth how-to guide. We will be covering some key features, such as color contrast enhancement lens technology, when a polarized lens is desirable and finding the perfect frame fit. If you already know what you are looking for, check out the Best Sport Sunglasses of 2019 blog where you will find a more extensive list of the best selection around.

Table of Contents

1. Frame Technology
1.1 Fit
1.2 Grip
1.3 Coverage
2. Lens Technology
2.1 Contrast Enhancement
2.2 Transition Lens
2.3 Polarized vs. Non-polarized lenses
3. Top Sport Sunglass Picks

Frame Technology

Frames have one purpose: to support the lens and thus you through thoughtful and intentional design. There are three main components to a great pair of frames: fit, grip and coverage. Each part plays a crucial role in providing you with ultimate performance and protection all with one goal in mind: functioning so perfectly they disappear during your event.


First, let’s talk about fit. Finding a pair of frames that work well with your other equipment is vital to athletic performance and focus. If you are a cyclist, for example, choosing a pair of sunglasses with straight temples allows a seamless fit between helmet and sunglasses. However, if you are hiking, running, fishing, or competing in triathlons, a bent temple could provide better fit. Bent temples are the most common type of temple. Finally, the last type of temple we will be covering are adjustable temples. These flexible temples will easily go over any hats or straps and are geared toward climbers and mountaineers. Along with temple shape, specialized bridge design will help airflow circulating so your sunglasses don’t fog up.

Temple styles

Asian Fit

You may be asking yourself, what does the Asian Fit feature in sunglasses do? Well long answer short, it is an adjustment of the frame and lenses to accommodate for high cheekbones, wider face shape and nose bridge size. Frames will be wider, with a thicker nose bridge pad, and narrower lenses. Watch the video below to learn more about Asian Fit in prescription sunglasses.

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Grip is all about keeping your sunglasses in place so you can focus on the game/activity at hand. In sport prescription sunglass this is even more true, as a shift in glasses is also a shift in vision. Rubber nose pieces and rubber temples help keep frames in place throughout every play, bump or tousle. High impact is not a problem. With hydrophilic rubber on the nose bride and temples, the frames’ grip will increase as your intensity and perspiration increases. Also, the overall shape of the frames plays a part in a snug fit without the headache. Curved rubber straight temples provide grip while not being so tight, a pressure headache follows.

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Last but not least, let’s talk about coverage. Why is coverage so important? Keep any debris and the elements out. There are two main deciding factors on the level of coverage for your prescription glasses: overall shape/rim style and lens height. First, let’s explore frame shape. There are many different frame shapes and each serves a different function. For prescription sport sunglasses, our opticians suggest beginning with semi-rimless, shield or square frames. These styles of frames have a tall enough lens to accommodate a wide variety of prescriptions. To break it down further:

Frame style

  • Semi-rimless frames only have a top rim allowing for unobstructed vision, and not feeling where the edge of the lens is. Also, since the bottom is rimless there is good venting thus keeping the lens from fogging up without sacrificing coverage.
  • Shield frames are some of the tallest frames out there. They aim to keep maximum support no matter the position you are in, for instance during a triathlon race, when you drop down into a tuck the frames will be high enough that you will not be seeing over the tops of them but rather have uninterrupted coverage and vision. Another feature of the shield frame is a snug fit between the glasses and your face. This is desirable because it keeps all of the elements out allowing maximum coverage.
  • Square frames are the more versatile of the three, because of the casual style of the design you can go straight from adventure to lifestyle. Square frames are a hybrid of the casual lifestyle frame and the functionality of a sports frame.
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Lens Technology

With support from good frame technology, the protection from the lens can truly shine. In this section we will be covering the primary lens features to consider such as contrast enhancement, transition lenses, and the pros and cons of polarization. Ultimately, it all comes down to one goal: pristine enhanced vision without compromising eyes protection. We have put together a prebuilt lens guide of different combinations optimized for different light conditions. Choose from a variety of features such as mirror finishes, transition lens, polarization, anti-reflective coating, and anti-fog coatings.

Contrast Enhancement

First, let’s talk about contrast and its purpose. Contrast gives greater depth to both the shadows and the brightest areas. The details in the shadows are not lost so you can make those quick decisions with ease. Choosing a colored lens as opposed to a grey lens, is one of the ways to gain contrast enhancement. For example, if you are cycling on a paved road, potholes, debris on the side of the road, cracks all have the potential to send you over the handlebars. By choosing a lighter rose copper tinted lens, you can spot the uneven road conditions and avoid them. Contrast enhancement is your friend.

Brands have developed their own contrast enhancement lenses. If you are looking for a well rounded lens Start to Finish, a SportRx prebuilt lens, is an unpolarized lens with a Dark Rose Copper base tint that functions well thought the day. SportRx lenses are hyper-customizable and give you the control for fine tuning your look and performance.

Also, we will be hightlighting Oakley Prizm and SMITH ChromoPop, which are brand specific contrast enhancement lens. They both work by filtering out undesirable wavelengths that muddy vision. Oakley Prizm is designed to fine tune your vision for specific sports and environments. There are 11 different Prizm lens configurations depending on the functionality you are going for. Smith ChromaPop has a 3 different levels of protection, ChromaPop, ChromaPop Polarized, and ChromaPop Polarized PLUS that has extra coatings for glare reduction, and mirror finishes.

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Transition Lens

Let’s explore transition lens next. True to their name, transition lens darken as they are exposed to UV rays. As the intensity of the UV rays increase so does the darkness of the lens thus making it easier to deal with the changing light conditions. Transition lenses typically come in grey for maximum reduction, however, they also come in copper to help deliver a desirable more increased contrast. The SportRx Sunset lens provides a rose copper based transition lens with a red mirror coating, which changes from a light to medium rose copper, creating a lens that works well throughout most lighting conditions.

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Polarized vs. Non-polarized lens

To polarize or not to polarize, that is the question. The answer? Well, it really depends on the environment and activity you are pursuing. First things first, let’s learn what polarization is and why it can be a problem for your eyes. Light is typically scattered in all directions, when it hits a flat surface the reflective light then travels in more or less the same direction, ie water or snow. When this happens, a glare is created. So, a polarized lens reduced this type of glare by filtering out these horizontal wavelengths.

In sports where there is a high amount of glare, such as fishing or mountaineering, it is best to choose a lens that is polarized to help protect your eyes. If, however, you are mountain biking or playing in a field, polarization can make it harder to see some details, thus hindering you from your best performance. The decision to polarize is ultimately dependent on the desired versatility of your prescription sunglasses.

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Top Sport Sunglass Picks

Below are a selection of our top prescription sport sunglasses. For a more complete list, check out our Best Sport Sunglasses of 2019 blog post.

Oakley Flak 2.0 XL

Oakley Flak 2.0 XL Oakley Flak 2.0 XL in Silver with Prizm Field Lenses

The Oakley Flak 2.0 XL is by far the most popular sport sunglass, and for good reason. Constructed with Oakley’s proprietary O-Matter for amazing durability and ultra-lightweight comfort, the Flak 2.0 XL gives the strength you need. Unobtainium earsocks and nose pads combined with the curved straight temples keep the sunglasses in place throughout your event no matter how much you sweat.

Shop Oakley Flak 2.0 XL

Julbo Renegade

Julbo Renegade in Black/Red with Zebra Light Lens Julbo Renegade in Black/Red with Zebra Light Lens

Julo’s Renegade frames are the perfect hybrid sunglass for those who both thirst for adventure and want to look good while doing it. This cool urban look is married with uncompromised performance. Also, the square frame allows a wide amount of coverage. Julbo Renegade’s feature a curved front wrap around lens, and wide temples which, when combined, give the best face grip when making repeated sudden movements.

Shop Julbo Renegade

100% S2

100% S2 100% S2 in Chromium Red with HiPER Red Multilayer Mirror Lenses

Inspired by Original Speedcraft cycling glasses, 100% S2 are designed with everyday sports performance in mind. The rimless cylindrical shield lens provides a clear view for 360-degree visibility. HYDROILO lens coating help resist oil and water and provides clear vision. These aggressive shaped lens will bring your game to the next level. SIDE NOTE: Unfortunately, this frame is currently unavailable in prescription.

Shop 100% S2

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Get Prescription Sport Sunglasses at SportRx!

Need prescription Sport Sunglasses? Done. When you shop with us, you’ll find video guides and tooltips 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 opticians who can help you build your prescription Sport Sunglasses.

Ditch risky online shopping with the See Better Guarantee. Try your Sport Sunglasses for 45 days. If you’re not satisfied, send them back. Get a full refund, exchange, or credit towards a better pair. And return shipping? Covered. Get your pair of prescription Sport Sunglasses at SportRx today!