Sunday, October 12, 2008

Venting on Sunglasses and Goggles

Almost all sunglasses designed for sporting have a venting system on at least a few models.  Fashion sunglasses; not so much.   

The first and most obvious reason for this is drag.  Drag is reduction in speed caused by air pressure at high speeds.  Drag is why Indy cars are shaped the way they are and are tested in wind tunnels.  Sunglasses have been tested in wind tunnels (I’ve seen a few videos of this), and the application is the same.  Having venting on sunglasses will make you faster.  The effect on your overall speed is not much, but swimmers shave their legs to give themselves a one-hundredth of a second, so it’s not unreasonable.  Also, depending on the design and shape, the nose piece of will be pushing against your face at high speeds, and this may become uncomfortable. 

I'm a photoshop wizard

When buying a pair of sunglasses for high-speed sports, think about getting something with vents on them.  However, take note of the direction the vents will cause the air to flow, as some sunglasses and goggles from cheaper brands (who put no research into the actual usage of their products) will actually direct air onto your eyes, which is very uncomfortable.  I’ve experienced this more with goggles while snowboarding, because the air is not only moving quickly, but is also cold.  Moreover, some venting systems look like they are actually designed to bother your eyes.  This problem is not so big with sunglasses, but I’ve seen some pairs which look like it could be one.  Let the buyer beware.   

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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