Many items come to mind when it comes to equipment that is necessary to play baseball. Players need cleats, bats, and gloves, among other things. A piece of equipment that may not be so obvious is sunglasses. While not mandatory, they are definitely recommended; keep reading to find out why.
Benefits of Baseball Sunglasses
Baseball sunglasses are protective eyewear meant specifically for baseball players. Baseball is typically practiced and played outdoors. This means that players spend much of their time in the harsh sun. Baseball is also a sport that causes players to look up at the sky frequently since they are constantly trying to track the ball. In order to better locate the ball while reducing the chance of suffering sun damage to the eyes, many players have adopted sunglasses.
Baseball sunglasses also darken vision and emphasize colors on the baseball diamond. This can improve a player’s game by making it easier for them to see their surroundings while causing certain objects, like a baseball, to stick out. A professional athlete can bat and send the baseball flying at over 100 miles per hour. With such fast-moving projectiles around, the sun’s direct light and its effects can be a dangerous impediment to a player’s safety without the aid of sunglasses.
Things to Consider
When looking for baseball sunglasses, you'll want to consider the following:
- Do you want your glasses to be polarized?
- Do you need prescription glasses for baseball?
- What size sunglasses do you need?
- How much are you looking to spend on sunglasses?
What Are You Looking for in Baseball Sunglasses?
A few qualities to look for in baseball sunglasses include:
- Glare protection
- Secure fit
If you watch baseball, you may have noticed that none of your favorite players seem to be wearing the same pair of sunglasses. This is likely because there are a few different types to choose from.
Polarized lenses are great for baseball, because they get rid of glare. They filter out horizontal or polarized waves that result from wavelengths hitting shiny surfaces and being reflected at a 90-degree angle. Polarized sunglasses can strengthen contrasts in color and textures, and the lenses can be bought in various shades.
- Reduces glare
- Enhance contrast
- Lenses come in different colors
- Can affect depth perception
- May not be as effective against direct sunlight
- Direct sunlight may be a bigger problem than glare in a baseball diamond
Flip-up sunglasses have the ability to lift the lenses out of the line of sight and off of the face. This style of sunglasses is great for players who don’t want to commit to wearing sunglasses over their eyes for the entire game. Like polarized sunglasses, they can limit the amount of light that gets through and protect from harmful UV rays.
- Protect from UV rays
- Filter light
- Can quickly move lenses without removing the glasses
- Lenses may interfere with hats when flipped up
- Not very effective against glare
- Flipping the lenses may become a hassle
Goggles or Strapped Frames
Goggles or strapped frames have most of the benefits of the other baseball sunglasses with added security. They protect a player’s eyes from sun damage as well as impact in the event of a collision with another player, wall, or baseball. The strap ensures that the sunglasses don’t fall off, making them ideal for prescription lenses.
- More secure fit than regular sunglasses
- Effective against sun damage
- Prevents dirt and debris from getting in the eyes
- Takes more effort to remove and clean them
- Can limit peripheral vision
- Not as effective against glare
Given the popularity of baseball sunglasses, it makes sense that so many brands sell them. Below are just a few of the most popular brands, including Nike, Oakley, and Rawlings.
Nike has a very large selection of baseball sunglasses ranging in price from $79-$199. The frames and lenses come in a plethora of colors, all boasting clarity, lightweight comfort, and anti-fogging ventilation. The sunglasses can be bought with prescription lenses; however, the brand does not seem to sell any goggle-style sunglasses.
Oakley’s sizable collection of baseball sunglasses features different models made with impact-absorbing materials to protect an athlete’s eye area. Sunglasses are also made with Prizm, Oakley’s exclusive lens technology that’s supposed to emphasize color and contrast. A pair of sunglasses from this brand can cost upwards of $200.
The most affordable option of the three, Rawlings sunglasses are usually between $25 and $35. Their sunglasses are impact-resistant, durable, and lightweight with lenses that repel dirt, water, and oil. The brand claims to make sunglasses with 100% UVA/UVB protection, allowing players a distortion-free view.
How much do baseball sunglasses cost?
More affordable baseball sunglasses can be found for around $25. However, this is without most customizations. Adding things such as prescription or transition lenses (transition lenses go from clear to a darker tint in the sunlight) or straps for the frames can drive up the cost. Some brands, like Nike or Oakley, can even cost hundreds of dollars. Brand recognition and patented technology can account for some of the differences in prices.
How do you clean baseball sunglasses?
Baseball sunglasses can pretty much be cleaned like any other pair of sunglasses. Try not to touch the lenses, and do not use your shirt or any abrasive materials (like paper towels) to clean them. Instead, you can rinse the sunglasses under lukewarm water and use a mild soap to wash away any dirt with your fingers. A microfiber towel is best for drying since it doesn’t contain the oil of your fingers or the abrasive texture of regular towels.
What color lenses are best for baseball?
Generally speaking, neutral-colored brown or rose lenses are best for baseball. They can be worn day or night and are known for giving better contrast, allowing players to see the textures of the field and spot fly balls. Someone who is more sensitive to light or prefers sunglasses that let through less light for daytime games may choose a darker tint. A lighter lens may be better for night games or for players who want to see more light through their sunglasses.