Eyewear manufacturers would love nothing more than for athletes to buy three or four different pairs of sunglasses, each one with a different purpose. But if you are like most athletes, you would prefer a single pair that serve as all-purpose eye protection.

The challenge is finding that all-purpose pair that does everything you want them to do. Moreover, finding a pair that will stand up to the punishment of an active life could make searching for the holy grail easy by comparison.

Okay, that is a bit of an exaggeration, especially since the holy grail doesn’t really exist. Nonetheless, a quality pair of all-purpose sunglasses for athletes should meet some minimum specifications. Here are five tests you can put shades through. If they pass all five, you have a good pair.

1. The Slip Test

Athletes have to deal with sunglasses that slip down the nose. Some even fall off the face. The problem is perspiration. During a workout, the athlete begins to sweat. You can bet some of that perspiration accumulates underneath the bridge of his/her sunglasses. If a pair doesn’t fit well or has been poorly designed, the sweat will cause slippage.

It may not be possible to eliminate all perspiration-related slippage, but athletes should be able to wear their sunglasses during workouts without having to use some sort of strap. The sunglasses should stay relatively secure on their own.

2. The Drop Test

Dropping your sunglasses is inevitable if you are an athlete. So a good pair of all-purpose shades is durable enough to withstand moderate drops. Olympic Eyewear, a designer of budget friendly sunglasses based in Utah, says most plastic frames should do fine drop after drop. What you are really concerned about are the lenses, hinges, and metal bridges and nose pieces.

3. The Child Test

Your sunglasses passing the drop test does not necessarily mean they are durable. They also have to withstand that curious child you hold in your arms. You know the one. She’s that child who cannot resist the temptation to reach out, grab your sunglasses, and send them straight to her mouth. Meanwhile, the frames are twisted and contorted while you try to wrestle them away from the little thief.

4. The Public Test

Next up is the public test. This test is not about quality as much as looks. The idea is to wear your sports sunglasses to public events that have nothing to do with sports. Wear them to the grocery store. Wear them to the art show. Wear them when you are hanging out with friends in the backyard. If they don’t look good on you, someone is either going to say something or give you a concerned look. You will know either way.

5. The Spouse Test

Last but not least is the spouse test. If you’re not married, the test works equally well with your partner or best friend. Whoever this person is, he or she is closest to you. This is a person who knows you better than anyone else.

The point of the spouse test is to elicit an honest reaction. So don’t beat around the bush. Put on your sunglasses and then ask your spouse or partner for an honest assessment. If you get two thumbs up, you’re good to go. One thumb up is a cause for concern; two thumbs down means it’s time to buy a new pair.

Now that you know how to test your sunglasses, go out and do it. Let’s find out if those all-purpose sunglasses for athletes are really up to snuff.

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