Frames that give athletes a leg up on the competition

By David Goldberg


Many Canadians embraced the outdoors during the pandemic, picking up new sports and activities as well as the gear to go along with them.

Eyecare professionals are uniquely positioned to suggest the perfect eyewear for each athlete and help them boost their performance and enhance safety. 

Dr. Curtis Akerman at Milton Vision & Sports Vision Training Centre says the use of protective eyewear is crucial in reducing the risk of serious injuries that can lead to permanent vision loss, such as corneal abrasions and retinal detachments.

The use of properly fitted performance eyewear, such as swim/ski goggles and sunglasses, is also key to protecting the eyes from harmful UV rays. 

“When we think about protecting our eyes while playing sports it’s important to remember that we need to protect both the structure and the function of our visual systems,” says Akerman. 

Optical Prism spoke with industry leaders who make athletic eyewear for every athlete, from amateurs to professionals.



Ideal for 18 holes under the sun, the Under Armour UA Instinct (UA 0007/G/S) sunglasses by Safilo are unisex aviator shades with a stainless steel front and temples.

These shades are also perfect for running and training.

The metal alloy frame is strong and rigid yet lightweight, making it a favourite for athletes. The frames also feature fully adjustable rubber nose pads for added comfort and grip as well as rubber-tipped temples for extra grip.

These sunglasses are RX-able as well and also feature a laser-etched logo on the lenses. 

Meanwhile, at Zeal Optics, the polarized Windsor packs light for long days on the links. 

These frames boast ProFlex rubber on the nose and temple tips, giving this timeless style the slip-free pedigree Zeal is known for, making it perfect for long putts. 

Polarized Ellume lenses provide unrivalled colour, clarity and protection, highlighting reds, greens and blues and adding contrast to read the greens and make it easier to find a ball in the rough.




The Shift MAG from SMITH gives cyclists and runners every performance advantage possible when it comes to speed.

These sunglasses feature interchangeable lens technology, enabling quick, fingerprint-free lens changes.

“The Shift MAG is offered in three ChromaPop non-polarized performance lens options that reveal natural colour, enhanced visual clarity and greater definition of objects,” says Kate Gaeir, global PR manager for Smith.  

“Each pair also includes a secondary clear lens for riding or running in low-light or rain. A photochromic clear-to-grey option that darkens with sun exposure is also available for addressing varied light conditions within one lens.”

Mountain bike enthusiasts will also enjoy the Divide sports sunnies from Zeal, available in black grain, or Ellume Polarized dark grey. 

These specs bridge the gap between fashion, function and sustainability with a frame made from recycled plastics and grass fibres.




If your patient likes spending long days on the water, there are a few key factors to consider, like choosing eyewear with UV protection, moisture resistance and a secure fit to prevent losing frames in the waves.

Water-ready, the new Deckboss sunglasses from Smith, with the large fit and 8-base wrap design, provides anglers, boaters and aquatic adventure-seekers with ample coverage for long days offshore.

“The addition of smudge and moisture-resistant coatings support easy cleaning and clear optics, while the anti-reflective coating improves clarity and reduces eye strain,” says Gaeir. “The temples are also pre-drilled at the tips for leash integration for added security.”

Surfers should check out Ridgway from Zeal Optics, which also touts superior contrast and clarity. There are three styles to choose from, including black, khaki and tortoise. 

If fishing is more your patient’s style, the Caddis by Zeal are a solid choice.

“Caddis lives for long days on the water and in the field, and this polarized sunglass is an essential part of your fly fishing gear,” says Mike Lewis, director of marketing at Zeal Optics. “With its full wrap, triple-injection frame, Caddis offers complete protection from the sun’s harsh rays and our Ellume Polarized lens cuts through the water to let you hone in on the biggest fish.”



Zeal Optics has united it patented Rail Lock System with its award-winning Observation Deck Technology to elevate what a goggle can be.

The Rail Lock System allows the wearer to easily and quickly change their lenses anywhere on the mountain, while Observation Deck Technology increases their vertical peripheral by 20 per cent.

Pair the nifty prescription insert with popular goggles from Zeal including the Portal and Portal XL.

Also, for the ski bum, The Smith Squad MAG goggles include two interchangeable lenses. Six magnetic contact points and two simple levers let you change lenses anywhere, anytime. 

The cylindrical lens design offers a wide field of view and the contrast-enhancing, colour-boosting ChromaPop technology gives you elevated clarity and detail for alpine runs and tree stashes alike.


Featured image: Windsor by Zeal Optics