25 May 2016

5 problems you will have if you choose the wrong sport sunglasses

Most athletes are positive people. Exercise makes you that way. They don't want to think of what could go wrong.

However, there is a saying that you should "expect the best but plan for the worst". What does this mean for an athlete and the sports equipment you need in your training and races?

In this blog, I will talk about an essential part of an athlete's equipment, the sports sunglasses, and what could go wrong if you get this item of equipment wrong. 

Here is my list of top 5 problems you will have if you choose the wrong sport sunglasses。

1. The problem of chaffing and irritation

When you do your exercise you want to be as comfortable as possible. This means comfortable shoes, clothes and of course eyewear.

Most athletes at some time have experienced rubbing, chaffing and their kit irritating their skin during exercise. This may not have stopped them exercising but it would have certainly reduced their enjoyment of the exercise.

Rubbing irritations can be caused by poorly designed sports sunglasses. You want sports sunglasses that will not rub. This is achieved by:

  1.  Having soft rubber nose pieces and soft rubber temple arms which reduce skin irritation.
  2.  Having adjustable nose pieces and temple arms which make the sport sunglasses stickier and less likely to move on your face.

These two features should be standard for really good sports sunglasses.

2. The problem of equipment failure

Most athletes hate to fail. But what happens if your equipment fails? This could make months and maybe years of training obsolete.

If your sports sunglasses fail the chances ,you may be able to continue but it could seriously affect the quality of the exercise and your performance.

Sports sunglasses could fail if they are not designed for athletes and have not been tested in the rigours of extreme environments.

AMO sunglasses being tested in the MDS in the Sahara Desert in 2016AMO sunglasses being tested in the MDS in the Sahara Desert in 2016

What makes sports sunglasses less likely to fail are the materials they are made from and their design. 

The best sports sunglasses material is Grilamid TR90, which is special plastic composite used for the sunglasses frame. Grilamid TR90 is super strong, yet flexible, resistant to chemicals (like suntan lotion and sweat) and the suns UV Rays. 

 The best sport sunglasses lenses are made from Polycarbonate or Trivex NXT. This lens material has superb impact resistance and great optical clarity. Trivex NXT is slightly better than even the best Polycarbonate.

 These frame and lens materials mean your sport sunglasses are less likely to fail

So, if you don't want your sport sunglasses to fail then get sunglasses made from the right materials.

3. The problems of eye damage

At the simplest level the function of sunglasses is to block the sun rays. This means that your eyes are more comfortable. 

In fact a very important function is that sunglasses should also  block the suns harmful UV rays.

The harmful effects of extended exposure to the suns UV rays have been linked to eye damage, including cataracts and mascular degeneration. 

Also, damage from the sun is cumulative, which means it continues to grow with the more time we spend outside without protection. A lot of the UV eye damage starts from an early age. 

Athletes are outside for extended periods of time and need to take special care of their eyes to avoid the long term effect of eye damage. 

Therefore when considering sports sunglasses there are a number of factors to consider if you want to avoid the problem of eye damage. These are:

  1. Choose  sports sunglasses from a reputable sports sunglasses company. Bear in mind that cheaper sunglasses may not give you 100 percent UV protection.
  2. Choose a sunglass with a close-fitting "wraparound" style as this style offers the best UV protection. This design keeps the UV rays from coming in from the side of your sports sunglasses, reflecting off your nose and going into your eyes.

4. The problem of impact damage 

This is a serious issue and athletes should be aware of this. The second most common reason for eye damage is during exercise (the first being industrial accidents). 

Athletes need to have sports sunglasses that have good impact protection and should be concerned with objects ,flicking up from the road when riding the bike or lenses shattering if they hit a tree branch or crash smashing their sunglasses. Shattered lenses and objects in the eyes can cause serious eye damage.


While all sunglasses must meet minimum FDA standards regarding impact resistance this is a very low standard and certain lens materials are much more likely to shatter. 

Sports sunglasses with 2mm thick polycarbonate and NXT lenses are less likely to shatter upon impact than other types of plastic and glass lenses. Therefore any serious sport sunglasses will have 2mm thick polycarbonate or NXT lenses. Sport sunglasses should, as a minimum, comply with ANSI87.1 and if they do not or the shop does not know what you are talking about then "do not buy". 

Fashion, cheap or sport casual sunglasses may look strong but have thin lenses and do not have the impact protection that athletes need.

5. The problem of replacement if the sunglasses fail

If for any of the above reasons you have a problem with your sport sunglasses you should consider how easy it could be to replace them. A reputable sport sunglasses company will stand by its products and provide a decent warranty.

What the sports sunglasses are warranted for and how long the warranty lasts is a good indicator of how good they are. 

For example, AMO Sunglasses offers a lifetime guarantee for is sports sunglasses. For further information see this link at

A lifetime warranty will be a real benefit to athletes when buying sport sunglasses because if they have problems that are covered under the warranty they can be replaced.


So, if you are an athlete, please hope for the best, but plan for the worst by minimising the problems you could have by choosing the right sport sunglasses.

These are my views. If you have any comments on this blog then please let me know your views in the remark column below.

As a reward for reading this far, AMO sunglasses are offering you an additional 10% discount if you purchase a new pair of AMO sports sunglasses. Just enter discount code "BLOG1072" at the AMO Shop.


Tim Hallworth is a triathlete, adventure racer and ultra marathon runner and with his wife Fenny is co-founder of AMO sunglasses.

There are also similar blogs and artless about sports sunglasses and multi-sports on the AMO Webpage at


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The AMO range...

Thunderstorm series

Protection and clarity for cyclists, mountain bikers and triathletes

Firestorm (red) - pictured with mirror-finish medium-dark lens. Also available in Snowstorm (white), Twister (green)


Typhoon series

Lightweight and comfort for ultra runners, marathon runners, cyclists and triathletes

Nimbus (white) - pictured with optional NXT polarised dark lens. Also available in Cirrus (yellow), Gale (pink)


Transformer series

Strong and lightweight for multisports athletes including ultra runners, marathon runners, cyclists, mountain bikers and triathletes

Ironcatcher (black) - pictured with Revo blue lens. Also available in Prowler (white)


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