Go to your favorite sporting goods store and ask to see the sunglasses. You will see one brand after another designed to appeal to athletes. But don’t stop there. Go to your favorite big-box department store and compare the sunglasses in the fashion and jewelry department with those found in the sporting goods department. You will notice some significant differences. Functionally speaking though, they are all about the same.
So if sunglasses are functionally similar across all styles and brands, how do you sell sports sunglasses to athletes? By appealing to what makes them tick. It is no different than selling designer sunglasses to fashionistas and busy soccer moms. Give them what they want, and athletes will buy them.
Give Them Color
There are those athletes who are all about the sport and nothing else. They don’t care what they look like during their workouts and competitions as long as they perform well. Those kinds of athletes are not the ones being targeted. Rather, designers and distributors target athletes who care about their image. And what’s better for an athlete’s image than standing out in a crowd?
It’s pretty easy to make sports sunglasses that stand out. Just add color. For example, who would expect a rough-and-tumble football player to wear a pair of hot pink sunglasses with stainless steel hinges? It is the perfect design for someone who wants to be seen.
Bright colors tend to be very attractive to athletes for this very reason. That’s good because there are some athletes who just won’t wear hot pink. They will happily wear something in a neon green or hunter’s orange. Bright yellows, purples, and reds are also popular options.
Give Them Form
Another thing that athletes appreciate is good form. Athletes tend to be very conscious about their own physiques, so they are more likely to look for sunglasses that complement their facial features. They also want sunglasses that look the part. In other words, rugged and dependable.
Designers focus on form, or the lack thereof, when creating new models for athletes. A good example are frameless sunglasses. Frameless glasses are essentially one-peace lenses with arms and nose pieces attached with stainless steel screws. Having no frame presents a unique kind of form that plays well to the athlete’s no-nonsense nature. There is no fluff to get in the way. Just a great pair of lenses that protect against sunlight.
Give Them Function
When it actually comes to performance and competition, athletes cannot afford sunglasses that could prove to be a hindrance. That’s why cyclists look for aerodynamic sunglasses. It’s why baseball players want polarized lenses that help them see the ball more easily in flight.
Designing for function sometimes means sacrificing form and color. As such, it is not unusual for athletes to have multiple pairs of sunglasses. The ones they wear ‘at work’ are not necessarily the same sunglasses they wear out to play. That’s fine with designers and manufacturers. The more sunglasses athletes buy, the better it is for business.
Athletes Are a Specific Market
Olympic Eyewear, a Utah company that specializes in affordable designer sunglasses, makes a number of different models for athletes. They explain that athletes represent a very specific market unlike any other. Designing for athletes is a matter of understanding both their needs and their wants, then meeting both with as many high-quality choices as possible.
Of course, sports sunglasses are not just for athletes. Non-athletes buy them just because they like the looks. There’s nothing wrong with that, either. As long as a pair of sunglasses adequately protects the eyes, that’s all that matters.