Sunglasses are multi-functional; they can keep your eyes safe from the sun and act as protective glasses for workers at risk in their job. They can be a fashion accessory and even help you gain a sporting advantage.

We’ve all seen them on the ski slopes, we love them in water activities such as kite surfing and can generally understand their benefits, but what are the unlikely professional sports that sunglasses can be part of?

We asked Bomber Eyewear, a family-owned business, if they can share some interesting stories about sunglasses and sports. You can read their reply below:

That’s right; some top-level sports allow you to wear sunglasses. You won’t see them on the football fields of the US, but you might see some top-level athletes wearing shades when competing. Usually, athletes will wear polarizing sunglasses, which we covered in our article ‘How Do Polarized Lenses Work?’ They reduce glare, improve definition and enhance contrast, which can help keep visibility good whilst reacting to certain sporting situations.

Unusually, a soccer player was at the forefront of sunglasses in sports. Usually, you don’t see players in shades on a soccer pitch, but as Oh My Football reveals, Dutch midfielder Edgar Davids wore them after suffering an eye injury and undergoing an operation. David was very much the exception to the rule, as soccer doesn’t typically allow such accessories, but some top-level sports do, as we explore here.


Tennis officials allow players to wear sunglasses, but it is extremely rare. The issue is the slightly reduced visibility, which is helped by polarizing lenses, but also they are a distraction of having something on the face. Some players, such as Chung Hyeon, do wear glasses, although he’s not likely to feature on court anytime soon. Despite reaching the Australian Open semifinal in 2018, the South Korean is not currently priced in Ladbrokes tennis odds for the upcoming US Open. He is still active and would be the only player likely to wear glasses or sunglasses at the competition. Sam Stosur certainly did; she was a French Open finalist in 2010 but retired this winter with one Grand Slam to her name, the 2011 US Open.


Golf is another sport that allows sunglasses to be worn, and you see top stars sporting them now and again. Like tennis, visual perception is key to golfing success, and sunglasses can slightly distort that, so some players avoid them, but Phil Mickelson does not. He wears mirrored-lens aviators, which he first tried as part of treatment for sensitive skin following the use of Carac cream, a skin cancer chemo treatment, which left his skin feeling vulnerable. He told Sporting News they didn’t move around on his face when he swung, so he kept them. The six-time Major winner won’t be seen wearing them at an upcoming PGA event; he’s currently suspended after joining the controversial Saudi-backed LIV series.


Sunglasses can be a vital part of a baseball player’s kit and have been popular throughout history. Oakleys tend to be popular in Major League Baseball, although many other brands have received a boost from a top player wearing their product. It all started in 1882 with a player called Paul Hines of the Providence Grays; he was affected by the sun’s glare and made 27 errors in 82 games before switching to shades. Since then, many huge stars have worn sunglasses, including five-times World Series winner Reggie Jackson and ten-times All-Star Rickey Henderson. Ken Griffey Jr, a thirteen-time All-Star, even had manufacturer Gargoyle create a pair of flip-up shades designed specifically for him, the F-8.


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