One overarching goal—improve the athlete—drives every product innovation at Under Armour, from the 4D foam sock liners in its footwear to UA Record, the game-changing fitness platform it rolled out earlier this spring. Now Under Armour is taking that same philosophy to eyewear. Whether you’re a serious runner wanting more comfortable frames for the long haul or an obstacle racer who needs lenses that repel oils and mud, the following ten tips will enhance your vision and boost performance.
1. High-Quality Lenses Are Worth the Money
If you’re serious about your sport, you need polycarbonate lenses, like those found in the UA Storm collection of sunglasses. They’re lighter than glass lenses while still providing excellent optical clarity. As with most lenses from reputable sunglass makers, all Under Armour lenses block 100 percent of UVA, UVB, and UVC rays.
2. All Polycarbonate Lenses Are Not Created Equal
Every pair of sunglasses in the UA Storm collection incorporates top-shelf Carl Zeiss lenses. Founded in Germany in 1846, Zeiss still makes some of the highest-performance lenses on the planet. Many models, like the UA Igniter 2.0 ($90, below), feature UA’s top-of-the-line ArmourSight lenses, which enhance peripheral vision (up to 20 percent better edge to edge) for a distortion-free view. They’re also up to 10 times stronger than standard polycarbonate lenses.
3. Special Coatings Can Be a Life Saver
If a lens has a really good hydro- and oliophobic coating, like UA’s Captain Storm Polarized ($160, below), everything—water, oil, mud, even blood—just slides right off. These lenses are also saltwater resistant and won’t bubble or delaminate, making them ideal for any sports on or near the ocean. Like all sunglasses with UA Storm technology, they have additional coatings that guard against scratches and smudges, helping improve lens durability and preserving clear vision.
4. Size Matters
Frame dimensions are, of course, critical for style. But form follows function, and so-called blades (frames that hold lenses only from the top), like the UA Zone 2.0 Storm ($145), allow for an unobstructed field of vision and better side coverage—perfect for cycling and running. Thicker temple pieces, like those found on the UA Rumble Storm ($160, below), block more incoming light, making them ideal for the brightest conditions, like boating, fishing, or other watersports.
5. So Does Shape
Frames should fit snugly on your nose and ears without pinching or rubbing. Your eyelashes shouldn’t contact any part of the frame or lenses, and the sunglasses’ weight should be evenly distributed between your ears and nose. If you plan to wear them with a hat or bike helmet, make sure the pair you buy won’t interfere with fit. While it’s certainly possible to buy sunglasses that perfectly fit your face, frames with some degree of adjustability are often the best bet for optimal fit in all conditions (see the next tip).
6. Good Grip Is Essential
Most high-end sports frames are made from light and durable plastic that will maintain its shape under all temperatures and conditions. The best, like the UA Ranger Storm Polarized ($145, below), have adjustable and grippy nose pads and flexible temples to keep them secure, a critical feature when you’re doing a dynamic sport like running or mountain biking. That’s not all: Like many sunglasses in UA’s Storm line, the UA Rangers have ultralight ArmourFusion frames, a combination of titanium and Grilamid that provides superior strength and flexibility. The frames actively auto-adjust to an athlete’s head, alleviating unwanted pressure on the occipital lobe and allowing you to focus on performance, not what’s on your face.
7. Choose the Right Tint
Color preference is subjective, but certain light conditions and sports call for specific lenses. Lighter tints (yellow, gold, amber, rose, and vermillion) enhance contrast in flat lighting conditions and are typically good for snow sports. Darker tints (brown, gray, and green) ensure minimal color distortion, reduce eyestrain, and increase depth perception—usually the best choice for watersports like fishing. Can’t decide, or play a lot of different sports? Gray or brown lenses are the best all-purpose tints.
8. Consider the Impact
All UA Storm lenses meet and exceed Ansi Z87.1 ratings. Translation? They’re extremely impact resistant yet lightweight and strong, making them ideal for ball sports or high-speed activities like road or mountain biking.
9. Know When to Go Polarized
While some polarized lenses can react with windshield tints (creating blind spots) and diminish the visibility of LCD readouts (like on your watch), they’re absolutely essential when boating and fishing for their ability to cut glare on the water or other reflective surfaces. Many of UA’s sunglasses, like the UA Captain, come in both Storm polarized and nonpolarized options.
10. Treat ’em Right
Investing in high-quality sunglasses is just the first step—you also have to take care of them. Never use a cotton T-shirt, merino wool base layer, or any paper product to clean the lenses—all can scratch lenses. There’s a reason your new shades came with a microfiber cloth. Use it!