by Kelly Waterhouse & Matt Harris

It’s game on for sports eyewear in 2014, from the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi to the ski slopes at home, eyewear for the active wearer is much more than an accessory: it’s a necessity. In the heart of another frozen Canadian winter, we predict a hot year ahead for this growing consumer market.

“A big trend in sports eyewear this year is colour, colour, and colour!” said Stephen Tripi, Marketing Director for Nike Vision. “If you look to Nike and their footwear design, it is driving the trend and demand to have explosive colour and Nike Vision will sync up perfectly with footwear and apparel to complete the look and the feeling you have when you’re wearing it.”

Tripi adds, “Then of course, it’s technology, which has been developed in conjunction with the best athletes in the world. Run x2 is a perfect example—plenty of colour, syncing up with Nike’s running collection as well as the all technological features and benefits designed by athletes for athletes.”

Run x2 is the ultimate eyewear that keeps pace with avid all-season running enthusiasts.

“The Run x2 is for the pinnacle runner and has all of the bells and whistles as well as features and benefits that a runner would need, but is done in the way only Nike can do it,” Tripi said.

With Nike Max Optics, Run x2 eyewear features an adjustable ventilated nose bridge and temples for a perfect fit, with interchangeable lenses and silicone grip zones for a secure fit. Whether you are driving to the hockey arena or hiking the trails, sunglasses are an essential aspect of eye health all year round. People with active lifestyles understand the investment in quality eyewear that offers sun protection.

“Most summer days call for a dark lens with UV protection for bright sun, but in the wintertime there is a wider array of conditions that warrant eyewear,” said Beverly Suliteanu, Vice President of Product Development for WestGroupe. “You’ll still have bright and sunny days, but if clouds roll in creating glare and reflection, medium and lighter lens tints such as bronze or green are more visually pleasing compared to a dark or high light lens.”

WestGroupe’s Crosstown Collection features a wide variety of eyewear for every month in the calendar, but for colder months, Suliteanu has these suggestions.

“The new Bleecker style includes hi-light lenses such as Grey Green, and low-light lenses like Rose to work in a multitude of light conditions,” she said. “The collection stands out because it features the innovative SPY Happy Lens—a colour contrast enhancing lens that lets in the ‘good’ rays that science suggests create an uplift in mood and awareness, while still blocking all the bad rays. Not only are you protecting your eyes to see better, but allowing in specific wavelengths to make you feel better — especially when those good rays are at a premium in the winter months.”

With SPY sunglasses, Suliteanu is confident consumers will find that the design matches the needs of the wearer.

“If it’s someone who likes to cycle early morning until the afternoon, then the Cutter would be a great fit for them, as it features the SPY Fast Track lens changing system—the easiest way to adjust for changes in light,” Suliteanu explains. “By simply pressing a release button behind the nose bridge, the top bar of the frame swings up for quick and easy lens swapping, allowing you to adapt to variable light conditions. As an added bonus, the Cutter is available with the SPY Happy Lens.”

“Our incredible product allows you to see clearer, look cooler, perform better and be more comfortable while doing the things that make you feel most alive,” Suliteanu said. “We do offer a large selection of sunglasses for active and outdoorsy people that feature our strong Grilamid frames, anti-fog Scoop ventilation ports, and Hytrel rubber nose bridge and temple tips to keep them fixed firmly to your face during any activity.”

Everything is coming up gold for Oakley Canada in 2014, as they’ve been named the Official High Performance Eyewear Supplier for the Canadian Olympic Team, spanning the Sochi 2014 Winter Games, the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Ryan Joergensen, Eyewear and Goggle Product Manager for Oakley Canada, says the unique eyewear collection features the same advanced technologies that many Olympic competitors depend on for the most important performances of their careers.

The obsession behind Oakley’s performance-driven innovations reflects the values and passions of Canada’s outstanding athletes.

Riding that wave of excitement, this year the company is also celebrating an important anniversary.

“In 2014, we are going to be celebrating 30 years in sport,” said Joergensen. “We are releasing an update to the original Eyeshade, along with Razorblades and Frogskins. Together, the products tell our Heritage story and, [with the exception of the Frogskins] will come with a second pair of curved Fuel Cell stems for the consumer to switch in and out, along with a guitar pick, a collectors pin and sticker, and a custom microbag.”

Joergensen insists, “Re-releasing vintage product to support our current sports line-up only further exemplifies where we’ve come from and our DNA in sports eyewear. Styles and colours may have changed over the previous 30 years but our eyewear not only offers the same dependable benefits as it did back then, but new features that further evolve the category so our athletes can focus on the task at hand and know they have the best optics in the world protecting them.”

It’s also the best technology tracking these athletes on the slopes, he explains.

“Airwave takes Oakley goggle design and technology to the next level with a built-in heads up display that integrates GPS, Bluetooth® and more. Onboard sensors give you instant access to jump analytics that show distance, height and airtime. But there’s so much more: preloaded maps, music playlist control, buddy tracking and so on. Airwave isn’t merely a goggle; it’s a mobile dashboard.”

Improving last year’s design, the latest generation of Airwave can now support more slope maps, has an increased battery life and a remote control strapped to a skier’s arm for easy scrolling.

“Delivering crisp, clear and widescreen graphics through innovative prism technology allows the head’s up display (HUD) to appear as though it’s a 14 inch display from five feet, so there’s no need to refocus your eye as you blister down the hill. This is one badass goggle,” Joergensen said.

Sports eyewear may be a competitive playing field, but for the Canadian consumer, the wealth of technology and selection means whatever the sport, whatever the product, crossing the finish line just got that much easier.