Best Sunglasses for Tennis
For tennis players to perform their best and protect their eyes, sunglasses need to fulfill some specific criteria. An active sport, tennis keeps players constantly on the move, often under the bright sun, and a clear view of the ball at all times is key. This means the best sunglasses for tennis will offer excellent UV protection and enhance the right colors without shifting position on the player’s face.
You may have noticed that the lenses on sunglasses come in a range of different colors. In fashion shades, these tend to be for aesthetic reasons, but for sports each tint has a purpose — tints can enhance particular colors and dim others to keep athletes focused. For tennis players, the most important color is the yellow of the ball, which needs to stand out against the backdrop of the green court and blue sky. Bearing this in mind, the best tints are:
- Amber: Make all colors other than yellow appear darker, helping the tennis ball to appear dominant in its surroundings.
- Smoke: Reduce brightness in intense sunlight.
- Yellow: Improve contrast in haze.
- Gray: Avoide visual fatigue.
- Roadster: Reduce eye strain and improving contrast.
Although most sunglasses prevent bright light from bothering your eyes, not all filter UV rays. UV Protection in tennis sunglasses is essential, especially if you are playing outdoors in full sunlight for many hours. Without a UV filter, you could be at risk for photokeratitis (sunburn of the eye).
Even if you suffer no consequences in the short term, continued exposure to UV light can lead to permanent eye damage. For this reason, sunglasses for tennis players should offer at least 98 percent UV Protection. Better still are those that filter 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays.
A single scratch on your lens will obscure your vision and distract you from your game. The best sunglasses for tennis players come with lenses made from materials like polycarbonate, a very strong plastic that never scratches. Polycarbonate is also available for prescription lenses — a far better option than wearing your regular glasses when playing tennis.
Polycarbonate is also a top choice due to its overall durability. The plastic is shatter resistant, meaning should a tennis ball come into contact with your face, the lenses and frames of your sunglasses will remain intact, preventing an eye injury. Polycarbonate frames can also bend without breaking. This means you can throw your sunglasses into your bag at the end of the game and pull them out unscathed the next time you play.
The best tennis sunglasses for you will be ones that feel comfortable. You want to be able to forget you’re wearing them. This means the sunglasses should have a snug fit without being too tight. There should be no risk that they’ll fall off while you’re playing. Silicon nose grips and padded temples will help your sunglasses stay in place even as you sweat. You may also like to find a pair with an elastic sports band, but you can always attach your own. Polycarbonate lenses and frames also contribute to greater comfort, as polycarbonate is a strong but light plastic, adding no weight to hinder your game.
A wraparound style is best for tennis sunglasses, as there are no gaps where light can leak around the edges and make seeing the ball difficult. This means you will be able to see in every direction at all times without needing to move your head.
Polarization is not essential, but you may find it improves your visual clarity, depending on where you play. Polarized lenses reduce glare from shiny surfaces, including light-colored tennis courts. If you often play at night under bright lights, consider anti-reflective (AR) coated sunglasses.
Another option to consider is photochromic lenses. These adjust to light levels on their own, meaning you can keep the sunglasses on throughout the game, even as the sun begins to go down. This is particularly ideal for that difficult period when light levels are too dim for sunglasses but still too bright for you to go without.
Although the best sunglasses for tennis tend to cost more than regular sunglasses, this is no place to try to save. If you want to enjoy comfortable, safe games and play your best, it is necessary to spend a little extra...just think of your sunglasses as another part of your tennis equipment.