Can we all agree that sometimes people wear sunglasses in situations that do not call for protection against the sun? By the same token, there are other situations in which sunglasses are a necessity – even if it is not apparent to other people. A good example is professional sports. There are plenty of athletes who wear sunglasses during competition even though fans don’t get why.
Below is a list of sports for which sunglasses are an absolute necessity. Some of them may seem obvious to you; others will not be so obvious.
1. Snow Skiing
Skiers do not wear the same kinds of sunglasses you and I wear while driving. Instead, they wear skiing goggles. But note that their goggles are made with the same kinds of lenses as traditional sunglasses. They are just bigger and more resistant to impact.
Sunglasses are a necessity for skiers due to the serious risk of snow blindness. Direct sunlight and UV rays reflecting off the snow can be a disaster over many years on the slopes. Skiing without eye protection is not a wise idea, even on cloudy and overcast days.
2. Auto Racing
Like skiers, race car drivers wear helmets with protective visors built-in. Those visors are, in effect, oversized sunglasses that protect drivers from glare. As for necessity, you try driving a race car at hundreds of miles per hour on a sunny day. You cannot afford anything to interfere with your vision – especially the sun.
3. Short Track and Speed Skating
If you watched the Winter Olympics this past February, you probably noticed the short track and speed skaters all wearing sunglasses on the ice. Sunglasses are a necessity for them due to how fast they are traveling. On-ice speeds are high enough to dry out skaters’ eyes, which could lead to all sorts of problems. And of course, there are chips of ice flying around all the time. Skaters wear sunglasses to protect their eyes from both.
4. Competitive Fishing
Light reflecting off the water is just as harmful as light reflecting off the snow. That’s why sunglasses are a necessity for competitive anglers. Beyond eye protection, Utah-based Olympic Eyewear explains that a good pair of polarized sunglasses helps anglers see their prey more easily in the water.
For the record, recreational anglers would do well to wear sunglasses on the water as well. Just a couple of hours of fishing could result in significant damage to eyes left unprotected. Besides which, you just don’t look as cool on the water without them.
5. Skeet Shooting
Skeet shooting, a sport that involves shooting clay pigeons with a shotgun, requires protective eyewear for safety reasons. Pro shooters wear specially designed sunglasses that protect them both from flying debris and sunlight. You can observe shooters wearing their sunglasses even on overcast days because polarized lenses help them see the targets more easily.
6. Competitive Cycling
Competitive cyclists are a lot like race car drivers in the sense that they cannot afford to have their vision obstructed by anything. Pro cyclists almost always wear off-the-shelf sunglasses or specially designed goggles to both protect their eyes from debris and filter out sunlight. It is not unusual for cyclists to own several pairs of sunglasses so that they are prepared for any conditions.
While you and I buy sunglasses for occasional use, some pro athletes buy them because their sports require them. From skiers to skaters and anglers, athletes wear sunglasses to protect their eyes and maximize competitive performance. They do not care so much about designer brands or celebrity endorsements.