A rack of designer sunglasses in a mall boutique may not mean much to you as you pass by on your way to jewelry. But to eyewear designers, that rack is everything. It represents a market that is expected to grow to some $17 billion by 2025. A big part of that growth will be the sports eyewear market.
If you follow designer sunglasses and those who make them, you probably know that there are dozens of different models targeting pro and amateur athletes alike. There are purpose-designed sports sunglasses for golfers, skaters, cyclists, anglers, baseball players, and on and on. Yet you might not know why such specific sunglasses are even necessary.
In days past, specialized sunglasses for sports did not exist. They do today, and there are five things that explain why. All five contribute to a sports eyewear market with seemingly no upper limit.
1. Sports Models Are More Durable
Browse the Olympic Eyewear website and you will find plenty of sunglasses designed for athletes. Olympic designers say that one of the things that sets sports models apart is their durability. Sunglasses for athletes are made with heavy-duty plastics that make for impact-resistant lenses and stronger frames.
Athletes want tougher sunglasses capable of withstanding any punishment thrown at them. A pair of cheaply made shades that bend or break on the slightest impact are just not worth the athlete’s time or money.
2. Sports Models Offer More Protection
Hand-in-hand with durability is eye protection. For example, sunglasses made for cyclists tend to be impact resistant. In the event of a crash, lenses are less likely to shatter or splinter. The lenses are also resistant to impact from pebbles and other road debris that might kick up in the cyclist’s face. These are all properties that athletes look for when they buy sunglasses with safety in mind.
3. Certain Lenses Help You See Better
Olympic designers say that some sunglasses are fitted with lenses that help athletes see better. For example, golfers are preferential to amber and brown lenses. Why? Because these provide better contrast. Amber and brown lenses make it easier for golfers to distinguish between ball, fairway, green, and sky.
4. Sports Sunglasses Look Cool
The first three things listed in this post relate to the actual benefits of sports eyewear that athletes want. But leave it to modern consumers to purchase sports models even if they don’t engage in athletic activity. There is a certain segment of the buying public unafraid to drop a ton of money on sports eyewear simply because it looks cool.
You have to admit that a sleek pair of wraparounds with reflective lenses look as cool on you as they do on any cyclist. Even if you have never ridden a bike in your life, you will look the part with the right pair of shades hanging off your face.
5. Marketing Can Sell Anything
Last but not least, consider the reality that good marketing can sell just about anything. If you need evidence, look no further than processed cheese spread in an aerosol can. American marketing geniuses have made it possible to sell everything from pet rocks to gum that temporarily stains your tongue when you chew it. Marketing can certainly sell sports eyewear without much effort.
The truth is that athletes would continue doing what they do even without sunglasses tailor-made for them. The market is what it is because creative minds have created the perception of a need among consumers. In the end, the sports eyewear market exists because we want it. That is good enough.