Lacrosse goggles have a simple goal: to help protect your eyes during play. A required piece of protection in the women’s game, eyewear can help defend vulnerable areas from stray balls or misguided sticks that might make contact with your face.
But to keep your goggles from being a hinderance, you need them to be comfortable, secure and tailored to your specific needs. So here are a few things to consider when choosing the perfect gear to protect your game.
When you put on a pair of goggles, it’s the frame material you’ll notice first. It also may be the most important feature when discussing comfort.
Most models have silicone or polymer frames. The materials easily wipe clean, which can help you avoid a buildup of dirt and sweat that can cause breakouts. They’re usually comfortable, soft and well-fitting, too.
Some models have a hard plastic front for improved protection, and a softer plastic or silicone pad against your face. Because the outer shell can offer greater security, the inner material can focus more on comfort, fitting tighter to your face and feeling softer.
A less common innovation on the classic lacrosse goggle design eliminates the metal cage and instead uses a polymer material for the frame and a simple cage. The main benefit of this model is its ultra-lightweight feel — an important consideration for any player.
CAGE MATERIAL & SHAPE
With the exception of the extraordinarily lightweight all-plastic models, most goggles have metal cages, and with good reason, because metal is tough and durable.
Metal cages are heavier than plastic, however. The intention of a lightweight plastic construction is to make it seem like you are not even wearing goggles. When you run, you may notice your goggles bounce ever so slightly on your cheekbones. This might be more prominent with metal cages because of their weight. But if your goggles have the right fit, it shouldn’t be a distraction.
Generally, when it comes to lacrosse goggle cages, more bars equal more protection. Young players especially may benefit from having more bars on their goggles, since their opponents are likely to have less experience controlling their sticks. The ideal goggle for younger, less experienced players helps protect both the eyes and the bridge of the nose with thick bars. This type of eyewear often extends farther away from the face, increasing the depth of the goggles to make room for your nose and to keep the stick farther away from your eyes in the event of contact.
Players in more advanced leagues may want to opt for a lighter-weight, minimalist cage that eliminates the bottom bar. This may not offer as much protection, especially for your nose, but may offer added visibility and reduced overall weight. These goggles usually have a steeper profile, sitting flatter against the face.
At its core, sizing your goggles is about comfort. Since most googles are one-size-fits-all — youth size for players 13 and under and adult size for 13 and up — adjusting the strap to properly fit your face can make a great difference.
Your googles should rest on your cheekbones and press gently against your forehead just above your eyebrows. How do they feel on your face? Take a quick jog. Do they bounce or move?
If they shift or bounce when you run, you likely need to tighten them. If they feel uncomfortable on your face or leave a deep impression in your skin after you take them off, you’ll probably want to loosen them. Play around with the adjustment straps until you feel comfortable with the fit.
Most women’s lacrosse leagues follow a complex set of headgear safety standards developed by ASTM International. Be sure to check in with your coach or league about official rules and requirements before making your final choice.
Women’s lacrosse doesn’t require much protective gear, but wearing goggles is a must. Now that you know what to look for, you’re ready to take on the season more confidently and better prepared.