Why Sports Sunglasses Have Different Coloured Tints And Why That Matters

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If you've ever shopped for sports sunglasses for running, cycling, hiking, or whatever else, you know there are tons of different coloured lenses to choose from. From copper to rose to yellow, these do make a little bit of a difference in what you see. The Wirecutter digs into when and why this might matter.

Tint on sunglasses is are referred to as base tint, which is what you see from the inside of the lens. Grey and green are the most common tints because they offer the most neutral view, but certain colours can provide more contrast, which is key for certain sports. The Wirecutter explains:

Other base-tint choices deliver stronger contrast: copper, brown, orange, amber, rose, and yellow. You get a sense of dazzle when you don these tints, and at first you might think the whole world looks a bit rose-hued, or coppery. But you'll still recognise colours for what they are, and you'll definitely notice the enhanced contrast.

So which tints are best for outdoor activities? "Contrast, contrast, contrast," said Rob Tavakoli, an optician and athlete who is a vice president at SportRx, a company that produces prescription lenses for a number of manufacturers. "More pop, less stop," Tavakoli added. "Don't be afraid of non-neutral. Go for copper, orange, amber, or yellow. You want as much contrast as you can get."

Of those high contrast lenses, it doesn't really matter which you choose. Copper, orange, amber, and yellow are best for active athletes who tend to move fast because it provides more contrast on rocky trails, dirt paths, and highways. Neutral tints, like green and grey are fine for anyone who exercises on predictable surfaces, like a bike path or footpath.

I always thought this was one of those silly marketing things that tied back to an aesthetics choice, but I can say that the high contrast lenses make a huge difference for cycling, especially on dirt paths. I'm not sure how much it matters if you're in a city, but if you tend to venture off road, it's well worth the investment.

The Best Sports Sunglasses [The Wirecutter]


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