Tinted lens sunglasses: Which colour is right?
The best tint for sport sunglasses depends on the lighting conditions, environment and other factors related to your preferred sport.
For example, the best sunglass tint for volleyball on a sunny day at the beach likely will be too dark for golfing on an overcast or partly cloudy day.
While this guide describes sports sunglass tints recommended by many opticians, don't be afraid to experiment with lens colours and densities. Sometimes, the best sports lens tints for optimising performance are a matter of personal preference.
Sports sunglass lens tint guide
Yellow or orange
These tints heighten contrast in overcast, hazy, low-light conditions outdoors or for indoor sports. They also filter blue light for sharper focus. Sports: Cycling, shooting, skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, indoor basketball, handball, squash, tennis.
Amber, rose or red
Heighten contrast in partly cloudy and sunny conditions, but may cause significant colour imbalances.
Sports: Cycling, fishing (amber lenses for sandy lake or stream beds), shooting, skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, water sports.
Dark amber, copper or brown (includes melanin lenses)
Block high amounts of blue light to heighten contrast and visual acuity. Particularly useful to improve contrast on grass and against blue skies. Sports: Cricket, cycling, fishing (especially in waters with grassy bottoms), golf, hunting, skiing, water sports.
Heightens contrast while preserving colour balance. Sports: Cricket, golf
Reduces overall brightness while preserving 100 percent normal colour perception. Sports: All outdoor sports in bright light conditions
Most opticians practices have tint samples you can use to help you decide which lens tints are best for you.
Try to evaluate the lenses in lighting conditions that match those you will experience most often during your sport.
If you participate in several sports or in a variety of lighting conditions, consider purchasing more than one pair of sport sunglasses, with different lens tints in each pair. Some sport sunglass frames have interchangeable lenses so you can customise your tint for different activities and conditions.
Another option is sport frames with photochromic lenses. These light-sensitive lenses darken automatically in response to sunlight and are available in a variety of tint colours, including grey, brown and green.
No matter which type of sport sunglass lens tint or photochromic lenses you choose, consider having anti-reflective coating applied to the back surface of your lenses. This eliminates glare from light reflecting off the back surface of your lenses when you're facing away from the sun.
Page updated April 2020