The right pair of sunglasses can protect your eyes while you enjoy the summer sun.

How to Choose the Best Sunglasses to Protect Your Eyes

It’s summer, and chances are you’re spending every moment you can outdoors. And whether your plans involve hiking, running, fishing, mountain biking, or just relaxing at the beach, you are most likely planning your activities around the sun. Unfortunately,  overexposure to the sun can result in skin and eye damage. In addition to sunscreen, a good pair of sunglasses is important, especially in the summer months.

So what is a good pair of sunglasses? 

For optimal eye protection, you’ll want to choose sunglasses that block at least 99% of UVA and UVB rays. Be cautious about sunglasses that do not provide a UV protection rating or are labeled as cosmetic eyewear.

Lens shape is also important for optimal protection. Try on several pairs from different brands to see what fits your face the best. Pick something that will be comfortable to wear all day, and keep in mind that wider-reaching lenses that wrap around your face will provide more complete protection from all directions.

If you’re wearing sunglasses while exercising, fit will be even more important. Look for a pair that won’t slip off when you’re running or doing a sport that involves your hands, such as kayaking. When planning a bike ride, you’ll want to find a pair that fits well with your bike helmet. 

Learn about lenses

It’s important when choosing sunglasses to understand the different types of lenses.

  • Polarized lenses reduce glare and light reflected off of water, snow, metal and other reflective surfaces. Polarized sunglasses are great for driving, fishing and any activity in which you’re on or near the water.
  • Photochromic lenses become darker in bright light and lighter in shade in low light, so they are versatile in changing light conditions. Photochromic lenses are great for cruising through Bay Area microclimates. 
  • Polycarbonate lenses are lightweight and can be fairly flexible.
  • Glass lenses are heavier but more scratch resistant.

There are different types and qualities of both glass and polycarbonate lenses, and quality sunglass brands offer their own proprietary lens materials.

One of the best selections of quality sunglasses in the San Francisco Bay Area is available at your local Bay Area Sports Basement store. They offer high-quality lenses of all different shapes and types from Oakley, Ray-Ban, Spy, Tifosi, SunSki, Native and more. Your local store also has some of the industry’s most knowledgeable staff to help you choose your best fit. 

Sports Basement staff members Ian Ballentine and Brittany Garrett bring you expert information on the best gear available to train in comfort and style. Ian manages the, triathlon, swim, and run channels for Sports Basement. She swam for San Jose State University and currently competes in Ironman competitions and races for the Oakland Tri Club. Brittany, who holds a bachelor of science in kinesiology with an emphasis on exercise science, manages the footwear department at Sports Basement in the Presidio. She has been running competitively for 15 years and coaches collegiate cross country at San Francisco State University.