The right lens color can improve contrast, ease eyestrain, and generally improve your vision. As you select a lens color, you should also decide on whether you want a polarized lens or not. The newest polarization technologies have the greatest impact on glare, regardless of color. Find your activity below to see which color lenses are the best for that situation.
Polarized lenses have the greatest impact on glare, regardless of color. The reflection that you see on top of water is cause by glare. A polarized lens allows you to see through this glare and into the water.
This site features several manufacturers that offer polarized lenses exclusively. These include Maui Jim, Kaenon, Revo, Costa Del Mar and Native. The Native eyewear is designed more for runners than boaters, but the other four manufacturers produce lenses specifically designed for use on the water. Oakley also offers some impressive polarized options for water sports. Their Deep Blue Polarized lens has a grey base and a blue Iridium coating that blocks blue light and provides all-day comfort on the water. The Revo Water Lens and the Costa Blue Mirror lens offer the same advantages. In shallow water (lakes are considered shallow water) contrast colors are more useful. Our most popular shallow water lenses are the Kaenon Copper-12 lens, Costa Copper 580P, Maui Jim HC Bronze, and Oakley Shallow Blue Iridium.
There are several polarized options for low-light conditions as well. These lenses are designed to provide the maximum amount of contrast, let in more light that standard lenses, and cut the glare that is naturally on top of the water. The Maui Jim Rose lens is in this category, but you can also wear this lens in brighter conditions as well. The Kaenon Yellow-50 and Copper-50 are both polarized lenses that are very specifically for low light conditions. We prefer the Copper-50 because of the added contrast, but some people prefer the impression of brightness that you get from a yellow lens.
Running and Bicycling
For runners and bicyclists selecting a good contrast lens is as important as getting a lightweight, comfortable frame. Versatility is also helpful because these activities often put people in variable light conditions, sunup to sundown.
We routinely see professional runners wearing no sunglasses at all, and professional cyclists wearing grey lenses. These is rarely good ideas. Damaging UV light is the leading cause of cataracts. Running without glasses will not only produce unnecessary stain on your eyes that causes eventual fatigue, it can cause permanent damage. And Grey lenses are a good choice only if the wearer is unusually light sensitive. Grey provides zero contrast. It just makes everything darker. It is much easier to judge road textures and identify hazards with a good contrast lens.
Both Oakley and Native have great options for athletes looking for versatility. The Native semi-rimless glass, like the Hardtop XP, come with a polarized lens, as well as a lightly tinted “reflex” lens for low-light conditions. The Oakley Racing Jacket just replaced the Oakley Jaw Bone. (Exact same lens shape) These Oakley lenses are easily interchangeable, and Oakley has some great lens color options for cyclists that are also available in a polarized option. These include Polarized Bronze, Polarized VR28 Black Iridium, Polarized G30 Iridium and Polarized OO Black Iridium.
Other favorite lens choices for bicycling include the Nike Max Speed Tint, Kaenon Copper-12 and Adidas LST Contrast lens.
We go into lots more detail about selecting motorcycle glasses in our Motorcycle Sunglasses Buyer's Guide. Proper vision is a function of managing the air that could swirl around your eyes and selecting a tint that allows you to relax and see clearly. Tints that work best for motorcyclists are the same tints that work best for bicyclists and runners.
Choose a golf lens that wraps around your head, or protects your eyes from all angles. Those tiny flat frames that are so popular for street eye wear do not belong on a golf course. If light is reflecting off the back of the glasses and into your eye, your sunglasses are not protecting your eyesight.
Oakley offers several awesome choices for golfers. The G-30 lens is copper color that is fine-tuned just for colors on a golf course. (The "G" stands for Golf) The VR-28 is also a great choice for golfers.
Nike has a golf tint that looks a bit purple. We hear lots of good things about this lens.
Bolle has a goldish-brown tint called EagleVision that is designed specifically for golfers. Gold shades also improve depth perception.
According to industry estimates, 18-20 thousand car accidents a day are attributed to glare. Polarized lenses have the greatest impact on glare, regardless of color.
Hiking, Hunting, and Wilderness
Red provides the best contrast when looking at any green background.
Amber or brown provides excellent depth perception against a green grass or blue sky background.
Yellow lenses block harmful blue light, and enhance an orange target for shooters.
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