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HomemifashionEdging out the Competition: Sports and Action Eyewear Feature

Edging out the Competition: Sports and Action Eyewear Feature

The sports and action eyewear sector is highly competitive and very sophisticated in terms technological advancement and innovative design.

For sports eyewear to be effective, it needs to offer comfort, reduce glare and distortion and be suitable for various light conditions. It also needs to be shatter-proof, adjustable, flexible, be lightweight and look great!

As well as frames, lenses play a major role in sports eyewear with latest innovations including ‘flying lenses’ and direct interchangeable lenses. The latest photochromic, polarised and hydrophobic lens materials have been designed to protect against fogging, water damage and glare, whilst being able to adjust to changing light conditions.

Sports frames continue to be dynamic and futuristic with exaggerated curves and wraps. Some of the newer frames look very ‘street’ and are available in choc or tort, but in general, white, silver and black dominate the performance eyewear market. Both professional and weekend athletes now expect these features and benefits in sports eyewear. They must be happy to wear their sunglasses on the field as well as to a post event celebration.

They also offer ventilation to eliminate perspiration and are easy to adjust while wearing gloves

Even for the less extreme sports, sporting eyewear is far more than a sporty looking wrap, and naturally with the technological breakthroughs at the pinnacle of sporting eyewear design, the average jogger benefits from these advancements, with a more refined version in a fashionable package. All the features of the hi-tech frames within a more trendy, less intimidating looking frame.

It is clear why top athletes who measure their performance by the millisecond rely on specialty eyewear to attain a visual edge. Because of this, even not so elite athletes can benefit from sports sunglasses, as they reduce the concentrated horizontal light reflected off surfaces like sand, motorways and the sea, that cause glare and make it difficult to see. Glare is responsible for causing eye fatigue, squinting and headaches. Polarised lenses are highly effective for the beach, driving the car or even simply watching the kids play outdoors. Following is a selection of some of the leading sports and adventure brands on the market:

Nike Vision

Nike is confident that due to the innovation within each component, its new models Impel and Tailwind will revolutionise the sports eyewear industry. The lens design provides runners with enhanced clarity of vision, due to Nike Max Optics, a patented lens technology that provides enhanced clarity and precise vision at all angles (ahead, over your shoulder and to the sides – the widest visual angle available in a lens).

Additionally, Nike’s patented Max Speed Tint provides a red tint to the lens, specifically designed for endurance running. The tint relaxes runners’ eyes (reducing the need to squint) by filtering out reflected glare from asphalt and increases the transmission of red which in turn maximises visual clarity in these conditions. Nike has also incorporated ‘flying lenses’ in both Impel and Tailwind’s designs. They only attach at the nose so that even when the lenses flex, they remain in position. The design also reduces fogging, while the adjustable and ventilated lens and nose bridge improves air flow.

The striking gold Impel offers a customised fit with square cut flying lens reducing fogging, while the adjustable, ventilated lens and nose bridge improves air flow. The secure-wrap temples, made of magnesium, are hyper-light, and the waffle tread pattern (a nod to Nike’s original sneaker tread) gives wearers a better grip.

Tailwind also offers a flying lens, an adjustable, ventilated nose bridge and secure-wrap temples with a waffle tread pattern. The lightweight, nylon frame gives runners enhanced comfort and durability.

And another thing … now Nike aficionados can enjoy all the benefits from their sunglasses within their optical frames with the introduction of their optical Sports Culture 7040 range. This collection offers integrated cam hinges, rubberised nose and bridge for comfort, grip and ventilation, integrated double action spring hinges, adjustable rubber temple tips, within a lightweight moulded nylon frame.

(Distributor: General Optical (AUS) 02 9697 8020)


Oakley’s Radar features an interchangeable lens design that enables athletes to optimise their vision in any environment. A revolutionary hydrophobic lens coating repels water, skin oils and debris, keeping the optics crystal clear and the frame features an interchangeable nosepiece for a custom fit. Oakley hydrophobic is a permanent lens coating that prevents water from leaving streaks and sheens, which can compromise vision. Even skin oils, fingerprints and lotions are easily wiped away without leaving a residue, eliminating the blurry haze that makes ordinary lenses a nightmare to keep clean. It is even anti-static so it won’t attract dust and dirt like ordinary lenses.

Oakley’s high definition optics makes it possible to see clearly at all angles, including the sides of lens. The contours have been designed to open peripheral view and optimise protection against sun, wind and side impact. You can even get lenses with vents for a cool air flow. The semi-rimless design ensures that there isn’t a frame rim to block downward view, which makes them perfect for cyclists.

Oakley lens colours have been created to optimise depth perception, and their neutral transmission colours offer truer colour perception. The iridium lens coatings reduce glare for the best vision in bright sun. Oakley’s Radar comes with an interchangeable nosepiece, so you can pick the size that gives you a comfortable and precise fit. Unlike ordinary frames that hook the ears, Radar offers a three point fit with balanced pressure points.

(Distributor: Oakley South Pacific (AUS) 1800 034 217)


The Julbo outdoor range includes lenses with dual photochromic and polarising technology with anti-fog treatments to suit the mountains and the waterways. The lenses reproduce contours and adapt to lighting conditions for maximum visual comfort. The frames are light and tough (for storage in a rucksack) and adjustable with ergonomic adjustable temples. They also offer ventilation to eliminate perspiration and are easy to adjust while wearing gloves.

The Julbo Explorer has been developed as a specialist alpine sunglass, designed with help from the Chamonix Mountain guides in France. This model is ideal for alpine sports, including skiing and mountaineering, as it offers a high level of protection from the intense light of altitude and UV reflection. The frame features a full wrap-around style with removable side shields and ventilation slots integrated into the frame. The temples are adjustable and made from a soft comfort material that won’t get caught in the hair.

(Distributor: Mont Adventure (AUS) 02 6162 0900)


Often thought of as a sporty, street-wear brand, Converse has entered the sporting eyewear arena as serious contenders, with their carbon hybrid range of sunglasses. These offer great sporting specific features including a sun visor feature, polarised lenses, rubber temple tips, stop hinges which prevent temples from hitting lenses, vulcanised rubber which adheres to the carbon hybrid frame providing increased comfort and an injected carbon and a nylon frame for strength, durability and extreme lightness.

(Distributor: General Optical (AUS) 02 9697 8020)

Dirty Dog

Brand new Dirty Dog Wet Glass has been specifically designed for sporting use on or around the water as it features a special hydrophobic lens coating which makes water bead away to prevent blurred vision. The lenses are ‘decentreised’ which means that it is mounted so that “the visual axis does not pass through the axis of the lens”. ‘Decentred’ lens technology enables eyewear to utilise highly curved lenses while still providing distortion free vision, that being paramount to perfect optical quality.

The lenses are polycarbonate for strength and impact resistance. The Wet Glass lenses are housed within lightweight frames moulded from TR90, providing strength and flexibility and are lightweight.

Dirty Dog offers two kinds of sports-specific lenses. The non-polarised ones are constructed from lightweight polycarbonate, while Dirty Dog’s polarised lenses are 1mm with the polarising filter laminated, to prevent the annoying de-lamination common with cheaper polarised lenses, while their scratch resistant coating ensures a longer lens life. Along with lenses that enhance visual clarity whilst remaining shatterproof, a snug fit and light weight are essential for sports eyewear.

Dirty Dog’s plastic frames are made from a nylon compound known as TR90, which is both lightweight, resistant to cracking and provides 100 per cent memory to ensure the frame always maintains the same shape.

(Distributor: VMD (AUS) 07 5594 9845)

Rudy Project

Italian sports eyewear specialist Rudy Project continue to pride themselves on being an independent eyewear company with the motto to ‘Reach Higher. Play Harder!’. Their latest specialty four lens system has taken over 20 years to develop and has been designed to suit most atmospheric conditions. Their photochromic technology enhances sharpness and visual clarity along with reduced glare and light transmission management for all climatic conditions. The four lenses featuring this new technology are; ImpactRX Pure Grey, ImpactRX Photochromic Red, ImpactRX Photochromic Clear and ImpactRX Photochromic Golf and Tennis.

ImpactRX lenses are cutting edge due to their manufacturing process; they are made by casting, a process which ensures lower internal stress, higher optical homogeneity and mechanical stability compared to traditional polycarbonate lenses. ImpactRX is 16 per cent lighter than CR-39 and 10 per cent lighter than traditional polycarbonate.

ImpactRX offers a customised solution for each wearer’s prescription. For most eight-base wrap eyewear Rudy Project’s lab optimises the wearer’s prescription using a mathematical formula. They are able to calculate the pantoscopic tilt and vertex distance for the ultimate in accurate Rx vision. With this new technology, Rudy Project is even able to Rx their semi rimless frames, Rydon and Rydon II directly into the frame – this allows the wearer to have two or three Rx lenses in different tints for different activities – the lenses simply interchange!

Rydon ImpactRX offers the trademarked Quick Change Interchangeable lens system, an adjustable nosepiece to prevent slipping and fogging, trademarked Safety Project hidden hinges and side protection, adjustable temples and the special RP-D-Centred system which provides advanced visual acuity and performance vision. Zyon is a very attractive frame – it comes in graphite red and even a brown streaked version for a more street-wear look while the frame also comes with peripheral shields and all the benefits of Rydon. For a more relaxed look, I recommend Mastermind ImpactRX and Suncreek ImpactRX – attractive and sleek wraps with heavy temples and striking badging – whilst also offering Safety Project hidden hinges and side protection and the RP-D-Centred system for optimum vision.

(Distributor: Continental Oceania (AUS) 02 9318 5300)

Euro Optics

Rather than relying on interchangeable lenses, the Minder has a photochromatic lens that senses the UV light conditions and adapts the tint level accordingly. Light transmission varies from 20 to 80 per cent making the Minder suitable for a broad range of light conditions without the need to stop and change lenses. The wrap-around semi-rimless frame has been designed to enhance peripheral vision.

(Distributor: Gibson Eyewear (AUS) 03 9581 3666)


Polaroid has a mandate to provide ‘the maximum protection for Aussie conditions, within an attractive frame’. Their shatterproof lenses allow you to see colours in their natural hues with clear, sharp contrasts. Polaroid has remained popular because they understand the need to keep on trend with their frame design and also recognise that it is everyone’s right to protect their eyes. Their sunglasses are excellent value for general outdoor/sporting activities.

(Distributor: Hagemeyer Lifestyle Brands (AUS) 1300 652 525)

Wiley X

Wiley X is an American company that has been manufacturing military and tactical eyewear for over 20 years and is standard issue to the Australian armed forces. The ‘climate control series’ has a removable and patented gasket for protection from wind, dust, sea spray, insects and other airborne irritants. The gasket is vented and made with air permeable foam for fog resistance. Most Wiley X frames are RX-able and are manufactured from light and durable TR90. The lenses offer 100 per cent UVA and UVB protection and are manufactured from a military grade, shatterproof, layered polycarbonate called selenite. The lenses have scratch resistant, hydrophobic, anti-reflective and anti-fog coatings and polarized and photochromatic lenses are available for most models.

(Distributor: Topace (AUS) 1300 782 990)


The Quattro collection features a diverse range of frame styles in various sizes and shapes to achieve the perfect fit for the outdoor and sports enthusiast. All Quattro frames are designed to be extremely lightweight for maximum comfort during extended wear and feature scratch resistant polarised lenses that provide sharp, crystal clear viewing. Quattro feature the Polaré high impact polycarbonate lenses which filter out 100 per cent of damaging UV light, eliminating blinding glare and providing maximum eye protection from airborne projectiles and other hazards.

[Distributor: Aviva Optical (AUS) 1300 850 882]