Safety Glasses vs. Sports Glasses: What is the Difference?


When it comes to protecting your eyes, choosing the right type of eyewear is crucial. Whether you’re working in a hazardous environment or playing sports, the appropriate glasses can make a significant difference in your safety and performance. Although safety glasses and sports glasses are both designed to meet rigorous standards, they serve different purposes and are constructed to withstand different types of impacts. Let’s explore the key differences between safety glasses and sports glasses.

Construction and Standards

Safety Glasses:

Safety glasses are designed to protect against high-velocity projectiles and provide extensive side protection against flying debris, dust, and water particles. They are manufactured to meet stringent standards to ensure maximum protection in various work environments.

1. Standards

Safety glasses must pass either the Z87.1 standard for basic safety protection or the Z87+ standard for high-impact protection. The Z87+ standard indicates that the glasses can withstand higher velocity impacts, providing superior protection against small, fast-moving objects.

2. Materials

The lenses are typically made from robust materials like polycarbonate or Trivex, which are known for their impact resistance and durability.

3. Design

Safety glasses often feature wraparound designs and side shields to offer enhanced protection from particles and debris entering from the sides.


Sports Glasses:

Sports glasses are designed to protect against larger, slower-moving objects, such as basketballs or softballs. They are built to withstand different types of impacts that are more common in sports activities.

1. Standards

Sports glasses need to pass the ASTM F803 standard, which is a different certification body focused on sports-related impacts. This standard ensures that the glasses can protect against larger objects that may hit the face during sports activities.

2. Materials

Like safety glasses, sports glasses are also made from impact-resistant materials such as polycarbonate and Trivex.

3. Design

The frames of sports glasses are designed to fit securely on the face, often incorporating straps and padding for a more secure and comfortable fit. The bevel placement of the lenses is also optimized to absorb and distribute the impact force more effectively.

Key Differences

Oakley sunglasses impact protection icon
Impact Resistance

Safety glasses are tested for higher velocity impacts from small projectiles, making them ideal for work environments where such hazards are common. Sports glasses, on the other hand, are tested for impacts from larger, slower objects typical in sports.

Side Protection

Safety glasses typically offer more extensive side protection to shield the eyes from debris and particles that can come from various angles. Sports glasses focus more on frontal impact protection and secure fit to stay in place during vigorous activities.

Certifying Bodies

Safety glasses must meet ANSI Z87.1 or Z87+ standards, while sports glasses must meet ASTM F803 standards. These standards ensure that each type of eyewear provides adequate protection for its intended use.


Both safety glasses and sports glasses are essential for protecting your eyes in different environments, but they are not interchangeable. Safety glasses are best suited for industrial settings where high-velocity impacts and debris are common, providing superior side protection and impact resistance. Sports glasses, meanwhile, are tailored for sports, designed to protect against larger, slower-moving objects and to stay securely on your face during physical activities.

When choosing between safety glasses and sports glasses, consider the specific hazards and activities you will be engaging in to ensure you select the appropriate eyewear for your needs. By understanding the differences in their design, materials, and standards, you can make an informed decision to keep your eyes safe and perform at your best.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Blog

Stay on top of the latest news about prescription safety glasses, eyewear, sunglasses, and all the trends in the industry.


Sign up for our Newsletter

Be the first one to know about promotion, new products, and more.

Follow Us On Instagram @rx_safety

; ;