Oakley Flak 2.0 XL Prizm Field

Sports Sunglasses for Women

Let’s start with this little nugget: Sunglasses are NOT an optional piece of gear. When you’re playing in the great outdoors—whether you’re a runner, a skier, a cyclist, a climber or a paddler—consider your shades the most important piece of gear you own. You navigate with your eyes, after all, which means they’re almost always exposed; exposed to harmful UV rays, dust and dirt, not to mention exposed to snow, wind and blowing sand. Getting crud in your eyes can, at the least, hurt your performance and make you uncomfortable and, at worst, end your day.

There are a million sports sunglasses out there and, for a first-timer, it can be difficult to figure out exactly what attributes matter for his or her given sport. Some important factors to weigh when choosing sunglasses are:

Frame Material: Nylon is inexpensive, lightweight, durable and often impact-resistant. Metal is easy to customize for fit, less obstructive to your field of vision, more expensive than Nylon, but less durable. Harder plastics like Acetate and Zyl are more expensive and less durable than Nylon, but are prettier. If you’re going hard, you’ll want flexible, durable, lightweight frames. Some frames actually float.

Sweat-Proofing: Most sports sunglasses worth their salt have some sort of textured, grippy nose and temple pads that keep them from sliding off your face during intense activities and rigorous workouts. Some of those pads now have hydrophilic qualities—they soak up liquid—that cause them to better grip your face when you sweat.

Lens Materials: What your lenses are made of affects your sunglasses’ durability, clarity, weight and cost. Polycarbonate is the most common among sports sunglasses. It’s lightweight, impact-resistant, has good clarity and is cheap. Glass has the best clarity of any lens material (no shocker there), but it’s pricey, relatively heavy and definitely not impact-resistant. NXT polyurethane is the toughest material, has better clarity than polycarbonate and is also lightweight, but it’s also costly.

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