By David Goldberg
Canadians love their sports.
A recent Statistics Canada general social survey on Canadians at work and home found that just over one in four Canadians, about 27 per cent, over the age of 14 regularly participated in sports.
Some participate in sports sporadically, while others do so on a regular basis, the survey says.
The five most popular sports in Canada were ice hockey, followed by golf, soccer, running and basketball.
Among children, about 84 per cent of Canadians aged three to 17 participate in sports of some kind, with 60 per cent doing so on an organized basis, according to a Canadian Youth Sports Report by the Toronto-based Solutions Research Group.
About 1.1 million kids participate in swimming, while 767,000 play soccer. About 330,000 kids participate in track and field or run.
With this level of sports participation, it’s clear why eyewear companies are continuing to develop new, innovative products for Canadian athletes.
Many new products are available for Canadian eyecare professionals to offer for sale in their businesses.
Bollé Brands’ global vice-president of marketing Louis Cisti says while the look of eyewear products is still a very important aspect in the buying process, the company’s customers are looking for more technical frames.
“With all the technical applications available, performance is now tracked and scanned and athletes are ready to invest more money in a product that is innovative and can boost their performance,” he says.
Bollé’s latest cycling sunglasses, Lightshifter, are totally in line with this demand.
The technical features meet the rigorous standards for professional athletes, while remaining comfortable to wear.
The Lightshifter’s frames are available in black, white, pink and crystal navy with matte finishes.
They can be paired with a number of Bollé’s cutting edge lenses, including the Phantom series in brown red and clear green or the popular TNS in gun or ice.
Cisti says Bollé Brands is also excited to showcase its Chronoshield frames to both cycling and ski enthusiasts.
“This iconic trendsetter is a throwback from a style Bollé created in the ‘80s. The new Chronoshield has a redesigned profile that has been updated with modern material and technologies, but still remains true to the original design, which made headlines in its heyday and was worn by world-renowned athletes and celebrities,” he says.
The revamped Chronoshield comes in matte black or shiny white frames with a choice of Phantom green, Phantom brown red, brown blue or TNS gun lenses.
Bollé has sunglasses for virtually every activity, with features and lenses that align with that activity and with a prescription program to match.
The new Phantom Court lens is geared towards tennis players and has been specifically engineered to enhance the yellow colour of a tennis ball.
“I’m sure tennis enthusiasts will find this pretty useful, especially when balls can reach a speed of more than 130 miles per hour and reactivity is key,” says Cisti.
When it comes to the biggest trends in sports frames for 2020, Mark McCann, Smith’s eyewear category manager, says he sees a lot of inspiration from the slopes.
“We’re seeing a lot of influence from ski/snow trends with cylindrical lenses and retro styling in the sport eyewear market and continued expansion of colour-enhancing lenses,” says McCann.
Smith’s Wildcat provides goggle-inspired coverage with sunglass-inspired performance.
It’s equipped with two-position nose pads and megol temples for a no-slip fit. The lenses are available in red mirror or black. The frames can be picked up in citron, moss, iron and black and more, all in a matte finish.
“There is quite a bit of energy behind our Wildcat style at the moment,” says McCann.
“Its cylindrical lens, retro style and colour options are a favourite with our team athletes. It’s also landed on the covers of several European fashion publications due to the trend in shield style sporty eyewear.”
Smith’s PivLock Ruckus is a performance sunglass built with re-engineered PivLock lens change technology, thin megol temples for helmet compatibility and no-slip comfort for the longest road rides and gnarliest trails. It’s available in a wide array of matte colours including black, white, red rock and mystic green.
“Sport customers tend to be a bit more function before fashion, so lightweight and comfortable are big on the ‘must-have’ lists, in addition to providing proper protection. Our customers also love our colour-enhancing ChromaPop lenses and the fact that many of our sport sunglasses come with interchangeable lenses that cover the spectrum from bright sunny days to very low light conditions.”
The PivLock Reverb is built with unisex fit and size. It weighs just 27 grams. It’s the lightest weight shield in Smith’s sport sunglass collection. It’s available in many classic colours but some funky hues as well including powder blue, jade and sunburst.
Centennial Optical, which has a distribution agreement with L’Amy America to distribute Champion eyewear in Canada, recently launched a Champion Tri-Flex Performance Series that will appeal to connected consumers, according to Centennial’s director of product development Linda Mulford-Hum.
“The inventive functionality of accessories within the athleisure trend is leading the way for further domination in the market for sport frames in the new decade. Connected consumers are looking for products that balance comfort, style and performance,” she says.
Perfectly suited for active lifestyles, Champion’s new Tri-Flex collection offers a three-point, self-adjusting temple tip system, which provides custom fit, secure grip and on-face stability.
The tip, which adjusts from one to 90 degrees downward, gently but securely fits over the mastoidal bend, allowing the frame to fit snugly and comfortably over the ear.
An easy click and the system is engaged – the wearer can perform any task from basketball and golf to yardwork and boating without worry of frames slipping, bouncing or moving around during wear.
“Touting brand power from America’s original athletic-wear innovator, this series authentically shows off a classically sporty colour palette and traditional, easy to-wear shapes,” says Mulford-Hum.
For sunglasses, the L’Amy America Champion collection includes the ADAPT Tri-Flex Champion with lenses that come in classic polarized, silver flash or dark brown. The frames are offered in basic grey, grey horn and olive horn.
A good choice for indoor wear is the TRIL Tri-Flex Champion in black/grey, brown or navy.
Zeal is focusing on giving customers the colours they want.
“As an outdoor-focused brand, we take the inspiration for our colour palette from the environment around us,” says Zeal’s marketing director Mike Lewis.
“This year, look for numerous new earth tones, focused on the changing hues of each season.”
Cleo is a chic frame featuring Zeal’s Z-Lite, thin-injection technology that keeps it ultra-light and big on style. This larger six-base curvature frame provides extra coverage while allowing the wearing to look their best, whether they’re hitting the trail or city streets.
Cleo comes in four unique colour schemes including rose all day, ocean, matte tortoise and matte black.
“We don’t think you should have to have a different pair of sunglasses for running, another for cycling and a third for golf. Zeals are truly quiver killers,” explains Lewis.
The Rampart is a full-wrap frame with Proflex rubber that keeps them on the face during any adventure. They come in gloss red tortoise, gloss torched woodgrain and gloss black.
“We believe sunglasses should be built for the rigors of the wild and all of our glasses, even the more fashion-forward, can take a licking,” says Lewis.
Boone is another light and airy style that can keep up no matter where the day has in store. This four-base curvature frame is equipped with ProFlex Rubber, providing a soft and comfortable hold. Designed for a person’s inner wild side, the Z-Lite frames and Ellume Polarized lenses are 100 per cent plant-based. Boone is available in smoke, maple, matte tortoise and matte black.
Speaking of plant-based, Lewis says Zeal’s sustainable frames are durable enough for the impacts of sports.
“We are very excited about our new See Grass Collection launching in Spring 2020. This will further reduce the environmental footprint of our glasses by constructing frames from 50 per cent post-consumer recycled plastics and 50 per cent from ‘true grasses’, which are agricultural waste fiber including hemp, flax, rice and straw.”