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If you watch enough tennis or play it yourself on bright sunny days, a thought might start to dawn on you…
Why don’t more tennis players wear sunglasses?
They’re relatively common in other outdoor sports played in summer sun.
Watch a baseball game in the summer and chances are half of the players on either side will be sporting traditional or flip-down sunglasses.
So, why aren’t there more of them in tennis, and should you buck that trend and get some?
Why do you need sunglasses for playing tennis?
To take the second question first, sunglasses cut down on glare and can give you a competitive advantage over those refusing to bow to common sense and wear sunglasses on the court already.
Tennis is a tradition-laden sport, and that’s one reason you don’t see it as much as you should.
It is fair to say that professional tennis stadiums are tightly enclosed, and so the hot and humid climate could potentially cause sunglasses to fog up.
Nevertheless, for recreational players as well as aspiring pros playing in open courts, sunglasses offer a real tangible advantage. For one thing, they cut down on the glare and brightness that could otherwise seriously interfere with your ability to see the ball clearly on a bright sunny day.
In addition, they can protect your eyes from harmful UV radiation. What’s more, the dark lens color shades offer can provide useful contrast against the bright yellow of the tennis ball, helping you see it more clearly.
What should you consider when buying tennis sunglasses?
With their importance and place on the court established, there are a few things you’ll want to look for when evaluating different sunglasses for tennis, including:
- The frame size: On the one hand, you don’t want the frames to be so obtrusive or allow for steam to build up behind them, causing them to fog up in the heat of a set. That said, you want to make sure they are large enough so the light doesn’t spill into your eyes.
- UV Protection: As stated above, one of the most important advantages sunglasses can offer tennis players is protection from UV light. You want to make sure any sunglasses you consider actually offer UV protection.
- The frame material: When looking into frame styles, the sturdier the materials, the better.
- The lens type: For pickleball, both mirror coatings as well as anti-reflective coatings are preferred. These qualities can be beneficial in sunglasses for tennis as well.
- The lens color: Not all lens colors are created equal. Green, brown, amber, and yellow sunglasses are among the best sunglass lens colors for tennis due to their ability to provide shade and contrast.
- Polarized or not polarized: Polarized lenses feature a special layer of film which can help reduce glare even more than traditional lenses. As a result, polarized options sometimes offer clearer vision than their nonpolarized counterparts, especially if you’re playing in bright, sunny conditions. However, wearing them can make it harder to track the ball and read the depth on your opponent’s shots, particularly if it’s a bit cloudy or a bit dark on the court.
With those factors in mind, let’s take a look at some of best tennis sunglasses on the market today.
Best Maui Jim Tennis Sunglasses
Maui Jim Sunglasses Ho’okipa B407 Polarized Plus 2
These sunglasses come with a whole host of useful features for the budding tennis player.
The polarized lenses are anti-reflective, which will help combat any glare you have on court. Furthermore, the PolarizedPlus2 technology will enhance the colours around you, which can help your vision when tracking the tennis ball.
A problem with some polarized lenses is that they don’t work so well in low-light levels. However, this isn’t the case with these sunglasses, as there are some different lens options.
- The HCL Bronze lens will enhance your vision playing in the early hours of the evening, whilst functioning well in sunlight.
- The Maui Rose lens will work better for overcast days and works well for fast paced sports like tennis.
- If you don’t like to play when it’s a bit darker, the Neutral Gray is an all round option, for good contrast and it’s the best option against glare.
In terms of the frame, it’s very lightweight, durable and should last you a very long time.
Moreover, a 2 year warranty ensures you know you’re buying a product which will stand the test of time and see you through many long tennis matches.
Maui Jim Haleakala Sunglasses
If you want a a different design, try the Maui Jim Haleakala which comes with all the same options as the above mentioned Ho’okipa.
Best Oakley Tennis Sunglasses
Oakley Men’s OO9290 Jawbreaker Shield Sunglasses
The biggest selling point of these sunglasses is that they are large enough to completely cover the player’s eyes, which, as demonstrated above, is an important point.
Not only are these sunglasses large, but they feature a nice wrap around design. This helps ensure that your eyes are completely covered from corner to corner, ensuring light doesn’t spill in.
That wraparound design is incredibly important to these glasses’ ability to keep light out. One of the fundamental differences between glasses on this list is whether they feature a wraparound or more open design.
Those with the latter tend to be better at allowing breathability. With the exception of sunglasses that feature ventilated bridges, these are your best bet for keeping the bridge of your nose cool and your lenses free of fog when playing.
On the flip side, wraparound glasses such as these do a great job of providing extra protection.
They also come with a nice hard case to keep them safe between games.
One thing to keep in mind with these glasses is that the bridge is set, meaning that it is not possible to adjust or remove the lenses. What you see is what you get.
That said, these remain solid choices as wraparound sunglasses.
Oakley Flak 2.0 XL OO9188 Sunglasses For Men
These sunglasses offer a slim, sleek fit. If you’re looking for glasses that don’t feature the large oval-shape of the Jawbreaker Shield design, but rather something sleeker and more akin to traditional sunglasses, these might be a good choice,.
Both their frame and lens are made from solid sturdy plastic, and the lenses come in a variety of colors.
They are nonpolarized, however. While they offer a good deal of shade on their own, if you are looking for the extra protection against glare that a polarized pair of sunglasses can provide, you might want to consider other options on this list.
Oakley Half Jacket 2.0 Xl Polarized Sunglasses Black
These sunglasses are polarized and, therefore offer extra protection against glare. They offer a good deal of corner to corner protection, ensuring that your eyes are completely shaded.
In addition, they boast a three-point fit which helps keep the glasses firmly in place no matter how sweaty your face and nose may get.
It is possible that some wearers might find the fit a bit too snug in the nose area. Of course, this will vary from person to person. If you tend to prefer a snugger fit, these may be a good choice. If you prefer glasses on the looser side, you may want to consider other options.
For the vast majority of wearers so far, however, these sunglasses seem to have struck a perfect balance, being just snug enough to sit on the bridge of the nose properly while not being so tight as to cause discomfort.
Oakley Women’s OO4079 Feedback Aviator Metal Sunglasses
The nose pads on these Aviators combined with their three-point fit do a great job of keeping the sunglasses firmly in place without pinching your nose.
The Plutonite lenses themselves offer 100% UV protection. It can filter out harmful light of as much as 400 mm on the electromagnetic spectrum.
They’re certainly one of the most stylish options on this list, with their sleek Aviator frames paired with a dazzling array of potential lens colors. These sunglasses make use of PRIZM technology to enhance the color. That’s not just an aesthetic upside – it also provides better color contrast as well.
There have been some reports of some pairs’ ears shipping as warped, or glue leaking from them. On the whole, however, these appear to be very sporadic and minor compared with the overall degree of quality on display.
Bolle Performance Parole Sunglasses
These sunglasses are on the slimmer side, measuring in at 11 mm in terms of bridge width and 69 mm in terms of lens width. That makes these an attractive choice for anyone looking for sunglasses on the slimmer side.
They boast a sturdy plastic frame and come with vermillion plastic lenses.
That said, it should be noted that these are another pair of nonpolarized sunglasses. In addition, while their slim fit is a plus, some have reported them to be too narrow for their face.
NIKE Skylon Ace Sunglasses – EV0525
One of the best things about these offerings from Nike is the fact that they boast a ventilated nose bridge. This helps keep the shades from fogging up when you’re in the middle of an intense set.
The glasses themselves offer a good, snug fit, staying in place without pinching.
One thing to keep in mind about these glasses is that some users have reported them to be less than sturdy when changing lenses. In addition, these are not polarized. They can be expensive to upgrade as well, so if you have your heart set on polarized glasses, you’ll want to look at other options listed here.
Tifosi Tyrant 2.0 Polarized Sunglasses
These options from Tifosi offer an incredibly sleek design that provides corner to corner protection. What’s more, the glasses are quite lightweight, polarized and do a great job of staying on your face.
That being said, some wearers have reported that these lenses are prone to scratching. Still, they should be fine as long as you store them in the bag provided.
These glasses can also get a bit slick and fog up due to a lack of airflow ventilation.
All in all, these are solid glasses as long as you are careful with them and don’t mind glasses that sacrifice breathability for greater eye coverage.
Under Armour Ignitor 2.0 Multiflection Sunglasses – Men39s
These shades feature nice bright shades, with a grey-orange lens design that can help with color contrast. The lenses themselves are polycarbonate in nature while the frame is plastic, both of which make for a sturdy product.
The lenses themselves are a mixed bag. On the one hand, they are not polarized. On the other hand, however, they do offer 100% UV protection.
The shades themselves are about middle of the road when it comes to size, with the lenses measuring 62 mm in width with the bridge measuring 19 mm.
Native Eyewear Hardtop Ultra Polarized Sunglasses
One of the biggest selling points that these sunglasses have going for them is the fact that they are polarized, so if you’ve been holding out for a pair with that feature, these may be the selection for you.
They feature a sturdy plastic frame and lenses, and feature various asphalt, charcoal, and maple for lens color, of which the latter is likely best for color contrast.
The lenses themselves measure in at 61 x 41 mm, making them large enough to protect against light spillage without feeling enormous.
In addition to the polarized nature of these glasses, they do a great job of providing a good deal of color contrast. This is one feature too many people overlook when looking at glasses, which is a shame. The best tennis players are pros at picking up the ball.
Sunglasses such as these can offer a huge advantage in helping amateur and developing players pick up the ball and play them with ease.
It should be noted that the frames themselves tend to be toward the smaller, slimmer side of the spectrum. If you have a slender face, these may be a good fit. If not, you may want to consider other options.
SMITH Survey Carbonic Polarized Sunglasses
One of the best things about these is the fact that their lenses are just big enough to provide a good deal of shaded protection while being slim enough to allow the frames to fit over them for a sturdy wraparound design.
This really lets you have the best of both worlds. One problem that can sometimes occur with sunglasses which avoid top or bottom frames is a lack of long-term durability. It isn’t as though frames like those are simply falling apart, but they’re often more delicate.
By contrast, the sturdy build of these frames can help the sunglasses take more punishment and, thus, last longer, making them a solid long-term investment.
The glasses themselves measure 61 mm in terms of lens width set against 16 mm for nose width. That’s just enough to provide a comfortable fit while still being snug enough to fit over your face and stay there during a heated rally.
Speaking of heat, these shades may get a bit slick or foggy due to their closed design, but this is rare, and overall these glasses do a good job of balancing comfort and performance.
What’s more, this offering from SMITH features polarized lenses, meaning that they are able to fight glare even more effectively than many contemporary sunglasses options which lack that feature.
Spy Optic Unisex Dirty Mo 2
This is yet another pair of sunglasses that can boast being polarized. As such, they do a great job of cutting down on glare. If that is a serious problem for you when you play, these lenses may prove an effective solution.
In terms of the sunglasses themselves, they feature sturdy polycarbonate frames. That’s great news for anyone looking for a pair of sunglasses that aren’t liable to break any time soon.
The lenses themselves are slightly smaller than some of the others on this list, measuring 58 mm in width. The sunglasses themselves feature a wraparound design.
That said, while these glasses do a great job of staying in place, those slightly smaller lenses combined with the wraparound design means these sunglasses are a tighter fit than others. For some wearers, they have proven to be too tight.
If your face is on the slender side, however, and you’re looking for a sturdy, dependable pair of wraparounds that are polarized and court-ready, these might be just the shades you’ve been waiting for.
SPY Optic Kash Sport Sunglasses
These are another great choice for those looking for a pair of sunglasses which have been polarized.
In addition, these glasses do a great job of combining sturdy lenses with thick frames. Some users have mentioned that the interior of the glasses can start to peel after a few months.
These sunglasses boast darker lenses, which can be a bit too dark for some, but which nevertheless do a great job of combatting light spillage.
On the whole, however, these are sturdy glasses that have a good shot at lasting a while.
Sunglasses for youth tennis players
Oakley Boy’s OJ9006 Frogskins XS Round Sunglasses
It should be noted from the outset that, as the product title implies, these are intended as a boy’s fit. If you buy them expecting them to fit an adult face, you are likely to be sorely disappointed.
With that in mind, there’s a lot to like about these shades. For one thing, they are available in a variety of different shade colors, allowing you to choose those you feel most fashionable.
As stated above, when selecting sunglasses shades, some colors are better than others. These options from Oakley are available with a range of yellowish-orange and blueish-purple hues. In terms of performance on the court and glare reduction, the former outshines the latter.
As such, if your primary concern when buying these shades is to find a pair that can cut down on glare for a game of youth tennis, you are better off with the orangeish, Arctic Surf lens shade, which provides the best color contrast.
These sunglasses make use of Oakley’s iconic Frogskin silhouette design, and feature a three-point fit, which can help ensure that they will stay on your child’s face as they play out a set.
In terms of comfort, these sunglasses score highly as well. They do a great job of staying in place without pinching one’s nose or temples. As long as you heed that point about these being intended for children (and possibly very slim adult faces), you should be pleased with their overall fit.
Babiators Blue Series Polarized UV Protection Children’s Sunglasses
These fun looking sunglasses are a great choice for boys and girls. The polarized lenses will ensure glare won’t be a factor and they offer UV protection for the eyes. Furthermore, you get a choice of 7 colours for the frames so you can find something suitable for any child.
The frames are made from rubber, so they won’t break if they are bent or twisted. And the sunglasses come with a 1 year guarantee which can give you some piece of mind if they are damaged in some way.
For further eye protection, the lenses are shatter proof just in case a wayward tennis ball ends up flying in your child’s direction!
Which tennis sunglasses are best for small faces?
For younger tennis players, try the Babiators Blue Series or Oakley Frogskins, which both have a stylish and fun look, while ensuring your child is safe from UV light.
For adult players and teenagers, the Spy Optic Unisex Dirty Mo 2 and the Native Eyewear Hardtop Ultra Polarized Sunglasses are good options if you have a smaller face.
Which is the most popular brand of tennis glasses?
This chart shows which manufacturer is the most popular for tennis sunglasses based on monthly searches online. Please note these figures are based on people looking for sunglasses specifically for tennis e.g. “oakley tennis sunglasses”, which is why the numbers are quite low.
Graham runs the place around here. He likes making a “little noise” about all things to do with tennis and parenting. Check out his about page to learn more.