Are All Sports Goggles the Same?

We recently had a discussion with a customer about why our sports goggles products are more expensive than somewhere like Zenni Optical.  These are a few things you know when you see a big price gap in sports eyewear.

First, we only recommend that any eyewear used for ball sports be rated with the ASTM F803 standard. This is the US safety standard for impact.  Basically glasses that meet this requirement are tested on a dummy head with high velocity small balls being shot at it from various angles to make sure that the frames hold up.  Lenses are also required to be a made of a high impact material (polycarbonate or trivex) AND be a minimum thickness over other eyeglasses made with these materials. This again is to make sure they can hold up not just for everyday use but for high velocity balls being shot at them.

If you order from any of these discount places online where the glasses are being shipped from overseas, they will most likely not meet any of the US safety standards.  You want to make sure the eyewear you are ordering for sports have the ASTM safety standard stamped on that frame and that lenses meet the US guidelines for impact/safety for sports use.  Many leagues now are also requiring glasses meet the ASTM safety standard. Thus, if you got the discount route, you might not be saving any money when you find out your league will not allow you to wear the eyewear you purchased because they do not meet the US safety standards for sports.

Also having your prescription 100% accurate is another issue with these discount eyewear places.  A recent survey by American Optometric Association (AOA) showed out of 200 eyeglass orders placed at the top 10 discount online stores, only 154 actually showed up. This means you run the risk of never receiving an order when placed with these kind of online eyewear stores.   Of those 154, nearly half (44.8%) had the incorrect prescriptions.  While your eyes may adjust to this in a regular pair of glasses, not having sharp vision in a pair of sports glasses can hurt your game.  Precise vision is imperative in most sports.  For fast moving ball sports, having your prescription off one degree could mean the difference in you hitting the ball and missing the ball. If you can see the ball a fraction of a second sooner, your reaction time on the ball will be better, and thus your performance will be better. This is why it is important for the prescription to be 100% accurate.

Even with the US standards,  the prescription can still be off a certain percentage and still be within “tolerance”  (meaning they eye can “tolerate” the difference).  With glasses made overseas, there will be no standard at all and the prescription doesn’t have to be even close.  But just because the glasses are made in the US, doesn’t necessarily mean it will be accurate either.  The US standard does say it can be a little off.  This is why you will still see inaccuracies in prescriptions made with US based eyewear companies especially in the places that turn over eyewear in 24 hours or less.  They can make them so fast because they take what is close to the prescription and not custom make the glasses for you. Again, having the prescription slightly off will reduce your reaction time, and thus reduce your overall sports performance.

We have a zero tolerance policy on our prescriptions. We don’t go with the government tolerance.  If a prescription is not 100% accurate, we reject it and don’t ship it to you.  This is why it may take a little longer sometimes. If the prescription is not exact, they have to start all over again resetting the timeline for fabrication.

Warranties are another thing to consider. Most of the sports eyewear we sell have lifetime warranties on the frame. They can do this because they know that the frames will hold up over time.  With low end glasses, you may have to replace them yearly because the quality is not there.  So over time, they can cost you more.  We have been in business for 22 years. We have customers who still have the frames they purchased from us 20 years ago and just send them back over and over to the the prescription updated in them.  Buying a quality frame means it will last you a lifetime.

Some brands like Liberty Sport also extend their lifetime warranty to the lenses (against scratching, coatings peeling, etc.) . Their warranty also include theft and loss!  This is a great thing for younger kids who tend to lose their sports goggles. If they lose them, they will replace them for you, frame and lenses complete.

All in all you are paying a little bit more, but you are getting a high quality product that you know is safe to use and will allow you to perform at your best.

If you have any questions, as always, feel free to reach out to us.  888-223-2669 or at



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