Professional baseball players recommend the sunglasses they like to use on the field, plus an overview of some good options for pro-quality sports sunglasses.
Sunglasses protect your most important piece of baseball equipment – your eyes – both from long term damage and by blocking out the suns rays so you can see the ball better and not lose any baseballs in the sun.shield
Of course, using shades isn’t a guarantee that you’ll never lose a ball in the sun. However, if you do lose a ball in the sun, MAKE SURE that you are wearing sunglasses. Don’t have them on your hat, or not have them with you when you are playing defense. That is the quickest way to get pulled from a game or at least be on the receiving end of an angry coaches tirade.
- Baseball Lens FAQ
What are the different colored lens for?
Yes, there are a LOT of color options out there in sunglass lenses, so let me simplify it.
- Yellow and Orange. Yellow or Orange lenses are meant for cloudy days (The exception is the awesome Prizm lenses, which I talk about in Oakley below, because they also work in bright sunlight). These lenses can actually brighten up your vision and help you see things more clearly on a dark day. Plus, they’ll still protect your eyes from glare, wind, dust, and harmful rays without making everything dark like regular lenses.
- Green – Green lenses for baseball are supposed to increase contrast and make it easier to see in any conditions. They are meant to be good for both sunny and cloudy days.
- Blue, red or other. These colors are just for looks. The color should only be on the outside and won’t actually tint your vision. So basically, these are just regular lenses.
- Clear. Sometimes you’ll see clear lenses. They protect the eyes from wind and dirt without darkening or brightening your vision.
What do polarized lenses do and should I use polarized lenses for baseball?
Polarized lenses eliminate glare. Normal sunglasses decrease the intensity of all light by the same amount. Polarized sunglasses can selectively eliminate the reflection from light coming from other reflective surfaces which can interfere with clear vision. Source: Polarization.com
As a baseball player, polarized lenses could help by eliminating some glare. However, there is an issue with distortion. Makers of high performance sunglasses claim to make powerful polarizing lenses without compromising clarity, but many of the players I’ve spoken with (and myself included) still feel that polarized lenses distort their vision and opt to use regular ones instead.
Are photochromatic sunglasses good for baseball?
Photochromatic lenses get darker in bright light and clears in reduced light. Are photochromatic sunglasses good for baseball? As a baseball player, this sounds great until you find yourself in bright sunlight having to look into a shadow for some reason. For example, if you are in bright sunlight in the field but the hitter is in shadow, then you don’t want super dark shades on.
Do mirrored lenses do anything?
Not really. They’re just for looks.
Can I get prescription baseball sunglasses?
As far as we know, only Oakley offers prescription lenses for baseball sunglasses.
Are shield lenses or individual lenses better for baseball?
As of right now, we’re going to call this one personal preference. Some of my fellow pro players prefer a shield style (1 wrap-around lens, like Oakley Radar Path Sunglasses) while others go for the individual lenses (Eg. Oakley Fast Jacket).
- Choosing the Right Sunglasses
- If the sun is overhead, you need something to block out the bright sun. There are many types and styles of sunglasses that players are wearing during a game. Some variations are a matter of personal preference, while others are strongly recommended when choosing the best sunglasses for baseball.
1. Fit. You want to look for sunglasses that will stay on your head and not bounce when running. Some nose pieces are adjustable, others come with several size nose pieces so you can use the one that fits you, and others are not adjustable at all. Oakley offers a couple of their models in Asian fit (see below), and some Nike and Under Armour models are also adjustable at the temples.
2. Tint. The lenses can’t be so dark where you have a hard time seeing the hitter, especially if he is hitting out of a shadow. Also, you’ll need to think about how you will deal with different lighting conditions. On cloudy days, popping in an orange lens brightens everything up making seeing the baseball a little easier, while sunny days call for a darker lens. So will you have two pairs of glasses? Or one frame with interchangeable lenses?
3. Polarized or not. Polarized lenses can cut down the glare from the sun, but many of the guys I play with (and myself included) feel that polarized lenses also mess with your depth perception just a little. The next section Baseball sunglass FAQ has a bit more detail on polarized lenses.
4. Flip up sunglasses or regular. Some pro baseball players prefer flip sunglasses. Since they are easier to get on and off, you can use lenses that are a little darker than normal sunglasses.
Flip sunglasses aren’t as popular as they used to be. In fact, most players now prefer regular sunglasses over flips. This is because there are now so many made specifically for sports, so baseball players now have more options than before. I may be the exception, but I still like to use flips because I don’t want to have sunglasses on for the whole game.
I feel like the lenses mess with my depth perception, and can be a detriment when the baseball is coming out of the shadows. With flips, my eyes are free of obstruction, but I can still get to the shades if a fly ball goes up into the sun. If you are wearing regular sunglasses, then you cannot take them off or put them on in the middle of a play.
5. Look. Finally, it helps to like how your sunglasses look.
6. The extras. Here are a few other features you can find in the best baseball sunglasses and may want to consider – usually in convenience vs price tag trade-off.
- Lens coating – Special treatment can make a lens repel dust, scratches, or water. Each company has their own spin on this, but not all baseball sunglasses will include this type of treatment
- Interchangable lenses – change out light and dark lenses in the same frame; or scratched lenses
- Cap Grabber grips – If you like to wear your shades upside down on top of your hat, these are extra rubber grips to keep them from sliding.
- Frame durability and weight – Depends on the materials the frames are made of. Plus some flexibility in the frames should help them handle a beating on the field.
Like anything else in baseball, you must find what works for you. I highly recommend you check out the next section of FAQ’s.
What Brands / Models do the pros use?
There are a few quality sunglass companies that stand out from the crowd and have the features a baseball player wants. These are the sunglasses that I see most often on the baseball field and that guys tell me they like. I’ve compiled the info I felt would help you choose the best baseball sunglasses for you.
To cut through the hype, all of these 4 companies’ baseball sunglasses have some things in common. (1) They all have the 3 point grip that grips at the nose and temples so they don’t slide around. (2) They are all rimless on the bottom so their’s no rim getting in your vision when fielding the ball.
- Oakley Baseball Sunglasses
Oakley Baseball Sunglasses
Many of the guys I play with wear Oakley sunglasses. They look good, they’re comfortable, and they’re constantly improving and creating top-of-the-line sunglasses. These have been the standard for baseball sunglasses for many years.
The most common models for baseball include: Flak jacket, Half jacket, Fast Jacket, M-frames, and Radar. Radar, Flak Jacket, and Fast Jackets have better lenses, customizable nose pieces, and come with better protective cases. I’ve also heard people say they fit better than the half jacket sunglasses. UPDATE – The newest model of Oakley is the RadarLock
*** UPDATE – I seriously considered deleting this whole page and just putting this: “Oakley PRIZM lenses are the best baseball lenses I have ever used.”
I just started using these at the beginning of the baseball season this year, and personally, I am a fan for life. I don’t plan on switching again… ever (except I still use my flip-ups sometimes, see below).
Usually with sunglasses on I feel like I don’t see quite as well. But these lenses actually make everything crisper (is that a word?) and it’s easier to see the baseball.
And the best part is, they work in changing light conditions, and under one of the most difficult of baseball circumstances, which is being in sunlight and looking into the shadows, trying to see the baseball.
You can get Prizm lenses with several different Oakley models (there’s even some that are specific to infield). You can also get replacement lenses if you want Prizm and already have Oakley frames. ****
These models all offer interchangeable lenses. This is nice if you want to get lenses for different lighting conditions, or if you scratch a pair. Also, you can get most of their sunglasses with prescription lenses.
For baseball, I like that the Flak jacket and Radar lenses are Hydrophobic. It’s a special coating that repels water, oil and dust. This is nice on the baseball field where water streaks, sunscreen and finger prints, or dust in the air can quickly cloud your sunglasses and make it so that you don’t have clear vision on critical plays.
If the model you want doesn’t have the hydrophobic lenses, Oakley sells a kit for cleaning the lenses and it leaves a hydrophobic coating behind. Finally, Oakley offers iridium coated lenses to reduce glare and customize the lens for certain lighting conditions. As a baseball player, it would be nice to have several lens options… such as one for a cloudy day and one for a bright sunny day.
You can get replacement iridium lenses without having to buy new glasses for most Oakley sun glasses.
Fans of Oakley sunglasses say iridium “increases contrast and has a cooling effect on the eye on a hot sunny day by reflecting the Sun’s heat,” while others say that iridium is mostly cosmetic and scratches easily. I’m guessing there is some truth in both claims.
Fit. The Half and Flak Jacket models come in an “Asian fit,” which is for you if you find that regular sunglasses tend to sit too low on your face or slide down your nose, or feel too narrow at the sides of your head. Flak Jacket and Radar frames come with two sizes for the nose piece so you can choose the best one for your face.
- Radar – $160 – $200; Semi-rimless, shield style lens (so the rim doesn’t interfere with downward vision); interchangeable lenses; hydrophobic lenses; prescription lenses available; comes with hard cover; models include Radar Path, Radar Pitch, Radar XL Blades and Radar Range. The frame is always the same, only the lens shape is different. If you have high cheekbones, you may be more comfortable with the Path model, while the others will give more coverage; All frames come with two sizes for the nose piece so you can choose the best one for your face.
- RadarLock – $255; The fit and performance of RadarLock is similar to Radar, but the major difference is the Switchlock technology which makes it much easier to change your lenses in a hurry (The lenses are also slightly more wrap-around, so they don’t interchange with the regular Radar frame). Another difference is it comes with 2 lenses- one for bright days and one for cloudy days.
There are several variations of the RadarLock model, most of which have to do with lens size. The only frame difference available is the Straight Stem, where the frame is made to fit with batting helmets. Can buy the frames with prescription lens or buy prescription lens inserts separately.
- Half Jacket – $120; Frames are smaller and more narrow than the other Jacket models interchangeable lenses; prescription, Asian fit, and extra large lens (XLJ) variations available, comes with soft cover
- Flak Jacket 2.0 -$150; interchangeable lenses; hydrophobic lenses; prescription, Asian fit, and extra large lens (XLJ) variations available; comes with hard cover
- Fast Jacket – $169.99-260; Made to easily interchange lenses (unlocks, versus the other models where you have to use force to pull out the lenses), and these come with an extra set of lenses for low light (cloudy days); prescription lenses available; comes with hard cover and all frames come with two sizes for the nose piece so you can choose the best one for your face; Variations include one or any of the following: XL lenses, Asian fit, polarized, prescription and transition lenses. Note – Oakley doesn’t list these as baseball sunglasses, but I know pro baseball guys that use them and really like them
- M2 frames – $120; The M frames are certified safety glasses. In other words, they are legit, industrial strength protective eyewear.
- Canteen – Here’s a pro tip for you. If you want to be able to wear these sunglasses on the field and also looking normal OFF the baseball field, these might be what you’re looking for.
- MLB colors – Just for fun, you can some of these models in the colors of your favorite MLB team, like these RadarPath.
- Under Armour Baseball Sunglasses
Under Armour Baseball Sunglasses
“I like the Under Armour Igniter II because they’re light and I don’t feel them on my face. I see through the lenses really well. They’re comfortable, and don’t mess with my depth perception. There are times when they are definitely needed, since a fly ball in the sun can quickly get lost in the glare.” – Kevin Russo, NY Yankees
Under Armour makes good sunglasses. They look good, feel good, and most are very good quality. Their baseball sunglasses models are: Core, Clutch, Igniter, Zone II and Reign was released this spring 2013. Under Armour also makes Thief sunglasses, which are flip sunglasses (These are what I like to use during day games).
Multiflection is a coating on the lenses that repels water, smudges and scratches. ArmourSight lenses are a wrap-around style that gives 20% more peripheral vision. Also, these lenses are supposedly 10X stronger than ordinary polycarbonate lenses. The players I know who use these sunglasses would probably agree with that claim.
Most Under Armour lenses are not interchangeable, except… The exception is the now discontinued Core S model (Core Switch), which has quick-change, magnetic lenses. UA describes it as “SWITCH patented magnetic interchange lens system—high-energy magnets embedded in the lenses and frame that let you swap lenses quickly and easily as light conditions and activities change.” They were discontinued in 2014, but can still be found many places around the web. All UA sports lenses will block 100% of UVA, UVB, and UVC rays.
Can I get Under Armour baseball sunglasses with my prescription lenses? The answer is not directly from Under Armour. You can talk to your Optometrist to see if they can treat the lenses to the specifications of your prescription.
My understanding is it depends on the prescription that is needed. As far as we know, only Oakley baseball sunglasses can be ordered with specific prescription lenses.
All frames have the 3 point grip so they aren’t slipping around on your face. With some models, nose can be adjusted for a custom fit, and cushioned hinges absorb shock. The Core models can be adjusted at the temples, and the Rivals’s flexible frame self-adjusts at the temples.
Most Under Armour baseball frames are ArmourFusion, which means they’re made of a blend of titanium and Grilamid, which is supposed to be ultra-light, ultra-strong and flexible. The only one that’s not is the Thief flip sunglasses. The Phenoms are ultra flexible too, which is meant to take the durability to another level.
Some models have a rubber “cap gripper” on top of the frame to keep them secure when you put them upside down on your baseball cap, and built-in air flow to keep you cool.
See below for a summary comparison of Under Armour’s best baseball sunglasses. This list should help you decide which will work best for you.
- Reign – $99.99; Released in 2013, this model has Multiflection (repels water and scratches), adjustable nosepad; and cap gripper, and ArmourSight lenses, which are stronger and have 20% more peripheral vision
- Rival– $139.99; These are unique because they have a flexible frame and have more peripheral vision. UA calls that feature ArmourSight (stronger lenses with more peripheral vision). Is made to grip the face, and also has added grip to the arms and top of the frame to be worn on a hat upside down.
- Fire – $99 – This is a new 2014 model. Basically its a hybrid between sports and causal eyewear. The lens are stronger and have the 20% better peripheral vision, but the frames look more like casual sunglasses and don’t have the extra rubber grips that Reign, Phenom and some of the others have.
- Igniter 2.0 – $89.99 – $104.99; Available features include Multiflection, polarized, and orange lenses
- Core 2.0 Multiflection – $114.99; Available features include Multiflection, polarized, adjustable nose pad and temples and cap gripper.
- Thief – $99 -Lightweight flip sunglasses with an anti-bounce nose piece
We recommend to buy baseball sunglasses from Under Armour (free shipping over $49), FramesDirect.com (free shipping and price matching) or Baseball Express (free shipping over $99). These online stores have some of the better selections of Under Armour sunglasses.
- Nike Baseball Sunglasses
Nike Baseball Sunglasses
You know what you are getting with Nike baseball sunglasses. They are light-weight and look good. The lenses are impact and scratch resistant, and the nose bridge is ventilated to prevent fogging. Of course they have 100% UVA and UVB protection (all of our Best Baseball Sunglasses do. If you find otherwise, please let us know).
Nike Show X1 and X2
The most common baseball model sunglasses are the Nike Show models. These have interchangeable lenses and should be sold with at least one replacement set.
The lenses are rimless and wider, for more peripheral vision.
What is the difference between Nike Show X 1 and X2? Nike Show X1 is a wrap-around or shield-style lens, while the X2 has individual lenses. What is the Show X2 Pro? – “Pro” means the lenses are shaped differently (see the picture).
- Show X1 – Shield lense style
- Show X1 Pro
- Show X2 – Individual lenses (i.e. not a a single wrap-around shield lense like the X1)
- Show X2 Pro
Nike Sparq vapor strobe sunglassesUpdate: The Nike strobe glasses have been discontinued. We will keep you updated on any changes (rumors are that another company may acquire the rights). Subscribe or follow us on Facebook to stay informed.
These are training glasses not intended for use in the sun or in games. They are intended for use in hitting or fielding drills to help improve seeing the baseball – which is very important. You can’t hit what you can’t see.
These training glasses strobe at different speeds making your eyes really work hard to see the baseball when doing hitting or fielding drills. You can control the strobe speed making it as easy or as difficult as you need to improve. Some ideas are soft toss, tee work, or any glove work drills – anything where the ball isn’t coming extremely fast or from very far away.
- Gargoyle Flip Sunglasses
Gargoyle Flip Sunglasses
These are flip sunglasses. I might be in the minority, but I really like flip glasses for several reasons. As an infielder, I feel like glasses can interfere my depth perception and I won’t see the ball off the bat as well for ground balls and line drives.
However, if there is a fly ball and I need to see in the sun, flip glasses are really handy. I like that Gargoyles have the best lens size that looks good but also is large enough to easily flip them down without stressing out or fighting with the bill of your hat.
Or another option for flip-ups is Under Armour’s Thief sunglasses, which I mentioned earlier. A plastic node sticks out of the bottom corners of the lenses that helps give you easy access to flip the lenses up and down. Gargoyles are one size fits all and they are comfortable.
For buying the Gargoyle Flip sunglasses, which can be a little harder to find, we recommend Amazon. They have 30 day return policy and Free two day shipping if you use Prime. For Under Armour, Oakley and Nike baseball sunglasses, we like our affiliate Baseball Monkey since they have price matching, free shipping and 90 day returns.
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