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Baseball is an outdoor sport, and except for the very highest levels it is played under sunshine, making sunglasses often-required equipment. Yet, many players are quite rough on their shades, in storage or during play. That noted, what are the best budget baseball sunglasses — that work well, offer plenty of protection, and still look good?
- Check out the unbreakable frame and other excellent features for a very nice price with the RIVBOS Polarized Sports Sunglasses.
- For “starter” or “back-up” pairs, check out affordable models like MLB Deluxe Flip-Up Sunglasses by Franklin Sports, or the Rawlings Flip-Up Sunglasses.
- Players graduating to higher-level baseball play should look at the mid-priced Changeup Sunglasses by Under Armour.
Who Should Get Budget Baseball Sunglasses?
Any baseball or fastpitch softball player should have at least a “toss-away” pair of shades available, or have access to them should super-bright playing conditions be present. Very young baseball players don’t need the super-high-end sunglasses with their triple-digit price tags. Parents might be surprised at the array of choices available for kids nowadays.
Older players, especially those who play almost every day, should consider a pair of budget baseball sunglasses — or 2 or 3 pairs — as the lenses can get scratched or break during storage and transport. And, who hasn’t lost a pair of sunglasses in their lifetime? Baseball gear has a tendency to disappear, and the shades certainly are no exception.
What to Consider When Choosing Sunglasses for Baseball Play
Probably the first consideration is, will the sunglasses stay in place during full sprints (like in the outfield), or on dives or slides? The rounded, wrap-around style is preferred by some players for the snug fit around the face and eyes. Others like those with either large lenses, or thick bases on the arms near the front frame, to better block as much sunlight as possible.
A baseball player’s most-important physical feature is the eyes. Choosing to wear sunglasses on the field might be to improve play, by reducing glare or preventing losing a fly ball in the sun, or it could be just to look cool. However, players should consider wearing them any time they can see their shadow — as the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) and infra-red (IR) rays can damage eyes long-term. Why chance it? Many new sunglasses have stickers on them denoting the level of UV protection; look for something SPF 15 or higher.
Aside from sun-ray protection, think about reducing glare to boost visual clarity and help improve play. Polarized lenses are designed to reduce glare.
Top Baseball Sunglasses on a Budget: Our Choices
We reviewed a number of baseball sunglasses based on several factors including UV protection, fit, look, and general popularity. Here are our recommendations for the best baseball sunglasses for those on a budget — or for players who just know they will destroy or lose their shades often!:
1. Best Budget Baseball Sunglasses Overall: RIVBOS Polarized Sports Sunglasses
This model by RIVBOS is known by thousands of young baseball players across the United States, and beyond. For a very affordable price, players appreciate the unbreakable frame and other qualities that only true players appreciate. That it ranks No. 1 in Men’s Outdoor Recreation Sunglasses on Amazon says much about its popularity.
Its wraparound style is preferred for many sports and fitness enthusiasts, for comfort and slip resistance during strenuous activity. The focus on the 100% polarized lenses mean the manufacturer understands how important it is to prevent glare, a huge deal in baseball for pop-ups or high fly balls, as well as general bright sunlight from the sides.
It’s worth noting the case it comes in, with a buckle to attach to belts or backpacks, a cleaning cloth, and even a polarize test card — all nice touches. It’s amazing all that RIVBOS offers with its Polarized Sports Sunglasses.
What We Like:
- Bendable TR90 frame material, for durability.
- Wraparound style.
- Good lens clarity in fully polarized lenses.
- Lightweight and stylish.
Not So Much:
- A lot of focus on the polarized element, not much marketing talk about UV protection.
2. Best Budget Baseball Sunglasses for a Back-Up: Franklin Sports MLB Deluxe Flip-Up Sunglasses
That Franklin includes in its marketing text that this model is excellent as a “starter” or “back-up” pair indicates the manufacturer is fully aware of how rough baseball players are on their shades. That it was rated higher overall than the RIVBOS model noted above on Amazon shows that users appreciate it very much.
The flip-up style is recognizable because a considerable number of MLB players wear this product on the field — which makes them even more attractive to young players. The flip-up style allows players to quickly adjust for shifting weather conditions in-game, such as when clouds quickly cover the sun.
The polycarbonate plastic lenses provide plenty of protection from the types of ultraviolet rays (UVA and UVB) that damage the skin and sun. Face protection also is a factor when considering sunglasses for baseball play, as the upper cheeks can get burned easily.
What We Like:
- Flip-up style.
- Blue-mirrored polycarbonate lenses.
- Comes in carrying pouch with a headband strap.
- Lowest pricing for the quality.
Not So Much:
- Frames and lenses are “impact-resistant,” but not unbreakable.
3. Best Budget Baseball Sunglasses in the Mid-Price Range: Under Armour Changeup Sunglasses
As baseball players move up in age and skill, they might demand more of their gear including sunglasses. That’s where the Changeup Sunglasses model from Under Armour comes in.
As with other sports products by this manufacturer, it seems Under Armour did its research with players when considering features for this model. The small vents near the lenses help prevent fogging up while sweating — and some users even appreciate the option of looking up through the slits for better visual clarity on fly balls.
The adjustable nosepad and gripping near the temples make for comfortable and secure fits; while the lenses are tuned to help boost depth perception and let players see moving objects more clearly. The shaded, polycarbonate lenses help prevent eye fatigue in daytime play.
What We Like:
- Very stylish.
- Light at 3.4 oz.
- Small vents to help prevent fogging up while sweating.
- Nicely priced for the quality.
- UA Polarized
Not So Much:
- May be a tad high-priced for very young baseball players.
4. Best Budget Baseball Sunglasses for Scratch Prevention: Rawlings Flip-Up Sunglasses
As the manufacturer of MLB’s baseballs, Rawlings was not to be undone providing protective equipment for players of any age. Hence, its Flip-Up Sunglasses with a lot of desirable features for the low price. As with the Franklin model noted above, Rawlings understands the market for “starter” or “back-up” shades.
This is a very low-priced model, and the difference here is Rawlings focused on lenses to prevent scratches and damage from oil, sweat and dirt, and not on preventing glare. These lenses are not polarized.
They do, however, feature a hydrophobic lens coating for scratch prevention and easy cleaning, along with full protection from UVA and UVB rays. Ease of cleaning the lenses could be very important in baseball where dirt and glove oil can make things sticky fast.
What We Like:
- Stylish half-rim lenses coated to protect from scratching.
- Very light at 1.27 oz.
- Budget pricing.
Not So Much:
- Lenses not designed to deter glare.
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