By Kelly Waterhouse

The sports eyewear market is a competitive marketplace where cutting-edge lens technology, practical design and versatility are as important as the cool-factor of the brands themselves. Athletes, whether professional or amateur, expect quality eyewear that enhances both their safety and performance. Looking ahead in 2014,we’re leveling the playing field with a few of the key players in the sports eyewear industry.

Bollé is on the ball

When it comes to technology in sports gear, Bollé has athletes covered, supporting sports as diverse as mountain biking and cycling to the basketball and beach volley ball courts to the ski slopes and the fairway.

“Bollé uses both polycarbonate lenses which are high performance quality lenses made from premium grade resin, resulting in a lens that is 20 times more impact resistant than glass and three times lighter, with unrivaled precision and clarity,” explains René Gerber, Marketing Manager, at Bushnell Outdoor Products—Canada.
“The B-Clear technology, which is available in the competitor sunglasses, is the ultimate ultra-light trivex lenses that offer unrivaled optical quality that can help improve hand-eye coordination,” Gerber said. “Lighter than polycarbonate these lenses allow for larger designs and fuller coverage, giving you enhanced protection from the elements.”

For the spring/summer season, Bollé will focus on new sports frames, including targeting the growing cycling and golf sports market. The success of lines like the Photo V3 Golf which features optical superiority and light-weight characteristics of B-Clear precision optics, includes hydrophobic outside and anti-fog
inside optics with a finely tuned brown lens that highlights the subtleties of the golf course environment.

“For cycling, besides having a quality lens that protects eyes against the elements, the technology of the new cycling sunglasses has been designed exclusively with the cyclist in mind,” Gerber said. “The unique feature in the two new models; 6th Sense and Breakaway includes an aerodynamic design of air flows and
a frame shaped to maximize breadth of vision – horizontal and particularly the vertical field for checking road conditions.”

The Appeal of Zeal

While designed for speed performance, Gerber says the quality of these two cycling frames are functional and comfortable for any active individual who wants a quality product that will protect their eyes. Bollé is designed to perform without compromise.The appeal of ZealPerformance driven and renowned for their lens technology, Zeal Optics will focus on expanding the lens technology the brand is known for to match its signature sports lines.

“We have a lot of new lenses launching in our sunglasses and goggles this season,” confirms Jamie Normandin, Marketing and Event Coordinator for Zeal Optics.
“We will be launching a High Transmission Polarized Bluebird Lens. This will be a low light lens with very high transmission,” he explains.
He adds that his company will also launch several new lenses, including a gold mirror and Phoenix mirror.

“The Phoenix mirror can be seen in our goggles, but this is the first time it will be seen in our sunglasses,” Normandin said. “We are also
releasing a polarized Phoenix mirror lens which will be our first polarized mirrored lens.”

Normandin hopes two new frames will capture their fair share of the sunglass market.

“We will be launching the Rival Team Edition, which is our first stab at the Shield design in a performance sunglass,” said Normandin. “We will also be launching its brother frame, the Rival, and a full frame performance piece called Range.”

RXO is a dream team

The RXO system is a game-changer in the market of prescription sports eyewear. It comes through the partnership of a dream team: Shamir, a world leader in the development of optical solutions for sports lenses, and adidas eyewear (the sports division of Silhouette International) creators of Light Stabilizing Technology (LST).

The RXO system offers an innovative solution mounted on a highly technical wraparound frame, compatible with most prescriptions for single vision or progressive
prescription requirements. Developed with athletes in mind, the RXO features direct inframe glazing that offers a wider field of view than adapter lenses. Using a revolutionary system of cutting and shaping lenses, Shamir has developed the ability to ensure maximum versatility and accuracy for cutting and finishing the
lens, ensuring an accurate fit for a series of adidas eyewear sports frames.When teamed up with the adidas eyewear LST technology, the RXO
cuts down visual distractions and offers athletes a visual field without compromise.

Nike is on track

An iconic brand, Nike does not rest on its laurels, but continues to push ahead with innovative technology to
support their sports eyewear brands.

“Nike’s vision products are designed for athletes by athletes,” said Steven Tripi, Marketing Director, Marchon Eyewear. “Nike designs its product with insights from the most elite in their sport.”

From the patented Nike Max Optics, to Nike’s engineered tinted lenses, which are scientifically tuned to specific sport environments, their products are engineered to produce a quality frame design with tech features such as adjustability, stability and ventilation.

“Our lifestyle collection will be an important story in 2014,” he said. “For performance eyewear, Running Run X2 will be key. Show X2/ Show X1 will continue to be our story for baseball, while Show X1 and Mercurial will be a focus for Golf.”

Coppertone Polarized Lenses score with protection

Coppertone Polarized Lenses are committed to creating leading technology in sports eyewear designed to be four times more scratch-resistant and 10 times more
impact-resistant than plastic lenses, making them ideal for outdoor sports. Protection from the elements is key.

“Most polarized lenses block 100 per cent of UVA and UVB rays, but Coppertone Polarized Lenses go beyond this standard to filter HEV, or high-energy visible light,” explains Kristina Engelking, Marketing Communications Specialist for Vision-Ease Lens.

Polarized lenses enhance clarity and sharpness of vision, but Engelking notes that the colour of the lenses can help determine the quality of that visibility in specific sports.

“Choosing a lens color that either enhances the colour spectrum or filters out specific colours can give sports enthusiasts a better view of the landscape and enhance their performance,” said Engelking.

Whatever the game, lens technology and performance design is changing the way athletes look at their sport and industry leaders in the field of sports eyewear have made it their goal to ensure they offer a competitive edge.