SPORTS ARE THE MOST functional we ever expect our bodies to be. Only fair, then, to provide it with the right gear to achieve peak performance levels. From shoes to clothes to every other possible accessory today, the choice is vast and very function-specific. To arrive at a cycling event in running gear will get you just as many quizzical looks as going swimming in surfing shorts — even when the products or the sports seem closely related, the expectations we harbour from our gear can be entirely different.
Consequently, this makes sports a fairly expensive indulgence. I recently calculated that I possibly spend an equal amount of money on my fitness gear as I do on my business attire. Sure, my Goodyear-welted wingtips are exponentially more expensive than the priciest running shoe I have ever donned, but my brogues will last me decades while I will need to switch my sneakers every few months. But, that is no incentive to embrace an unhealthy lifestyle. You can diet your way into your jeans but it won’t give you a healthier ticker. So, to continue our run, pun intended, today, I thought of talking about sunglasses for sports. The sun is bright across the country. Even morning rides/ runs can turn sunny by6 AM,and, then, the light only gets glaringly bright till the evening when the setting sun brings some respite. Safe to say that in summers the darker shades would serve us well. Lighter shades such as yellow and orange may reduce the intensity, but over a long stretch of a workout, they can still lead to some squinting. They are more suited for the grey wintry days or for when the sun is soft or dipped in clouds.
Photochromic lenses don’t seem too popular in the market, but for any trail or endurance event lasting over a good few hours, they are perfect. Trouble is, on bright days but with the sun hidden, they don’t turn any darker and that renders them a bit useless. The Prizm series by Oakley is a great go-to pair to combat all sorts of lighting conditions. It cuts glare and renders colours better, and its true versatility is on display when running on a sunny day, you pass through an area of extreme shade, like say under a flyover. With these lenses you don’t go from bright to blind. Being adaptive, the lenses allow for enough light to enter and not mar visibility. This single unique feature makes them utterly desirable for runners, and even more so for bikers. In fact, for bikers the new frame called the Jawbreaker (a trustworthy Mark Cavendish collaboration with a not-so-reassuring name) has a higher top-frame so it doesn’t impede field of vision when down on the drops. Apart from a road and a trail version, Prizm lenses also have a golf variant, and I wonder why, since I consider golf as much of a sport as chess.
Polarised lenses are always a good buy as they cut o glare especially when road running on a hot day or near water bodies. And, hydro-repellant is a great advantage when you have sweat trickling down, which just trails o without smudging or spreading (but these coatings thin over usage, so find a proper lens care wash or do like I do — smear with baby shampoo and wash o. Spit and shine also works especially in the middle of an event.) Scratch resistance is another sought after feature, given how easily all these plastic lenses can get marked, thereby reducing clarity of vision, not to mention the scued appearance. Other top choices include the multi-sport Rudy Project Magster ImpactX-2, the super-light Smith Pivlock, the photochromic Julbo Ultra, the eco-friendly Zeal Equinox, the VFM Tifosi Podium and the fingerprint-and-sweat repelling Bolle Tempest. As with the rest of my gear, I can’t just have one, so don’t let guilt stop a good collection from growing. In the end, it is always better to look sharp when crossing that finish line. Sunglasses on the run When looking (and seeing) sharp matters on the go.