Looking for a clean and protective visor for the upcoming season that is within league regulations? After talking with a few D1 NCAA players about what they think, I created this guide to answer all your questions about visors and provides some recommendations.
An eye shield in football is typically referred to as a visor. For years, players have embraced wearing visors, and as players continue to stampede into the NFL, the use of eye shields has become very popular.
Football is all about protecting yourself. Like gloves and mouth guards, visors are used to protect the players’ eyes and face from any foreign object that could potentially get into their eyes and nose.
This includes but is not limited to fingers, cleats, turf pellets, mud, grass, and sand. The list of things that can get in your way is endless.
By wearing a visor, you are assuring yourself that your eyes will not be hindered by any outside conditions that could potentially challenge you from doing your job.
Tinted visors not only protect you from objects, but it provides a shade from the sun. I typically think of tinted visors for those who are sensitive to sunlight, and more often than not wear sunglasses.
If that is you, I would choose a tinted visor for sunlight protection, depending on the level you play on. Besides sunshade and eye protection, wearing a tinted visor makes you look very intimidating.
Something about the absence of your opponents’ eyes makes them seem superhuman and could intimidate anyone on the field.
A visor isn’t only utilized for cosmetic reasons. The original purpose of the football visor is to protect injuries that the player has sustained in the eye area. Maybe you got poked in the eye last game, which resulted in a black eye.
You don’t want to irritate the injury, so you put on a visor to protect it from further damage.
Which Visor is Best for You?
The first thing you should consider when looking for a football visor is the regulations of your league. The National Federation of State High School Associations and all of the NCAA have banned tinted visors from being used.
This is because tinted visors have become a safety hazard. It is important that medical trainers can see your eyes when you are injured on the football field.
Being able to see your eyes helps medical staff come to a conclusion on your injury and rule out unconsciousness.
While this is a rule at the amateur level, professional football players are allowed to wear whatever eye shield they please. The type of visor you get is solely based on the benefits it can provide you on the field. Here is what to look for:
Most visors use optic materials to improve vision while on the field. It’s also very important to maintain and clean your football visor regularly to ensure optimal visibility during play.
Shade from the Sun
If your eyes are sensitive to light, a tinted visor is definitely the way to go. If you play at an amateur level, try getting a doctor’s note and submitting it to your coaches so they are able to notify the referees prior to the game.
If you do not notify your coaches and/or referees in advance, they will ask you to remove the visor from your helmet and you can possibly get ejected from play if you do not comply.
Note: The lower the percentage, the darker the visor. The percentage listed isn’t the amount of darkness the visor has but the amount of light it transmits. So if you are extremely sensitive to light you would want to go for the lowest percentage available.
If intimidation is your thing, check out the tinted visors. It will most definitely throw your opponent off when they cannot see your eyes.
Some players want to paint an image of themselves as a “beast”, “monster”, or some unstoppable force so they wear a multi-colored/dark visor to stand out from the rest of the team.
Protection from Foreign Objects, Weather, Scratching, and Fog
If you are just worried about getting stuff in your eyes and nose, both the clear and tinted visor is suitable for you. Football is a game played in virtually any weather with the exception of thunder.
Eventually, you will play in a game with rain and possibly even snow depending on where you live and how long your season lasts.
Ease of Installation
Attaching a visor to your facemask could be difficult depending on what type of helmet you have. In order to properly attach a visor to your helmet, you will need a screwdriver to detach the facemask from the helmet and place the visor in its proper position.
Your visor should come with screws and other tools to help attach it to your helmet, but in the worst-case scenario you can find zip ties and use them for your visor.
Best Football Visor Reviews
1. Oakley Football Eyesheild
This Oakley visor is made from Plutonite, a proprietary synthetic that sets a new standard for durability and offers the highest level of protection. It only transmits 60% of light and is generally used for average to bright light environments.
Most sunrays are blocked when wearing this product, which is good because your skin and/or eyes wouldn’t be irritated. On top of that, the Oakley technology applied to the visor clarifies your vision so you can make plays on the field without any distraction.
It also blocks out 100% of all UV light in the whole spectrum.
- Oakley technology provides superior shade and vision
- Oakley visors are less likely to fog due to their exclusive material
- By transmitting on 60% of light, your eyes and skin can remain unbothered
- Does not offer the “smoked” look
- Cannot return once applying the product to your helmet
- Some users find it “flimsy”
2. Barnett Football and Lacrosse Helmet Eye-shield Visor
The SHOC visor is made of shatterproof materials that are fog and scratch-resistant. Technically the Barnett Visor comes in five different tint options, but the link we provided is to a clear option with no tint. It’s approved for high school / CIF and Youth leagues.
It fits both youth and adult helmets and it features a two-clip system that allows for quick and easy attachment and removal. There are many reviews of the Barnett Visor on Amazon, and 79% have given it a 5-star rating while another 10% give it a 4-star rating.
This is quite high, and many comments talk about how it fogs up less than big name brands like Nike. Because of the very high ratings, it hits #2 on our list.
However, it is not all roses and unicorns! There are complaints about Barnett’s inability to fit certain helmets, so we’d suggest reading some of the comments before completing your purchase.
In the worst-case scenario, you can always return it with no consequence other than lost time.
- Exemplary Review profile on Amazon
- Good price
- Very Clear
- If you like a tint for reduced light intensity, look at others on our list.
- May not be a universal fit for every helmet
3. Under Armour Clear Visor
The clear Under Armour visor is a standard visor made with great quality for a defined look. The brand-specific material is anti-scratch and anti-fog, so your vision will not be impaired due to damage caused on the field.
The quick-release clips included in the package make installation a lot easier; since all you have to do is align the visor properly to the facemask, and secure the clips.
Regarding design, the UA clear visor has two logos on the top of the product (one on each side) and a logo on each of the clips.
In addition, this visor comes with logo stickers in several different colors, so now you can match your visor with your team colors and customize it with your number. [Disclaimer: Some reviews state they did not receive the stickers.]
- Lightweight Anti-Scratch and anti-fog lens ensures player will be mobile with good vision
- Quick-release clips for easy installment
- Provides “universal fit” for any type of helmet
- Some reviewers said they didn’t get clips, others said there were air bubbles under the film of the lens
4. SLEEFS Borealis Football Helmet Eye-Shield
SLEEFS is not a name I hear every day (or every lifetime!) but Amazon reviewers hold it in high regard. While not the least expensive on our list (on par with Oakleys), it offers a whole lot!
It features a 2-clip system that allows for very quick removal or deployment mid-game if necessary. Of course, it’s anti-fog and virtually scratch-proof (though technically no visor is 100% totally scratch-proof) and anti-glare!
It should go without saying (but I’ll say it anyway), it’s 100% UV resistant and blocks harmful blue light. And of course, if you have to be told, then shame on you 🙂 Yes, it’s IMPACT resistant as well.
The SLEEFS brand products are designed in the USA but manufactured overseas to keep the costs reasonable (though these are priced a bit on the high end).
- “ANTI” – everything (impact, fog, scratch, harsh UV rays, etc.)
- Designed in America
- Really good Amazon reviews
- A few users complain about cracks
5. Grey Under Armour Visor
This Under Armour visor has the same credentials as the visor at #3 except it has grey tinting. This product would be perfect for someone who appreciates the Under Armour quality but needed a darker shade to protect their eyes from the sun.
The Under Armour optics make this visor one of the best in the tinted visor market. The pros and cons of this visor are exactly the same as #3, the only difference is the dark tint.
- No tools needed to install
- No variety of colors
6. Beastmode Clear Visor
Beastmode offers another great visor whose quality is on par with any out there! It’s a bit less pricey than a number of other options but offers good protection. This one is clear and made from Tri extreme polycarbonate material, which is tough against impacts.
It’s compatible with most cages on the market, and has pure optical clarity with no inclusions or imperfections to distort vision. It offers anti-fog and anti-scratch qualities along with safety clips for connection and decals/stickers.
The visor conforms to all NCAA and NFHS specifications.
- Value price point
- Stellar optical quality
- Compatible with nearly all cages/helmets on the market
- Though it’s technically “anti-fog”, one user said his fogged more than he would like.
7. Nike Gridiron Eye Shield
The Gridiron is essentially the adult version of the Nike youth visor, with some added features. Just like the youth visor, this product contains special optics material for clear vision in the sun or under high lighting environments (ie. Night game.)
The Gridiron is also curved to properly fit the facemask when installing.
The most valuable characteristic about this visor is that it is specifically made to fit all eight of Riddell’s most used helmets, including the Riddell Revolution Speed helmet. This is important because it doesn’t limit you to one option.
If you play for more than one team or use more than one helmet, and you don’t want to spend a lot of money on several different visors to fit your helmet(s), this visor is a feasible option.
With fair installation and a multi-colored decal pack, you can move your visor onto any of your helmets and change the color of the stickers.
- The optic technology minimizes glares and maximizes your vision in the sun.
- Facemask attachments absorb impact
- Fits all 8 most used Riddell helmets
- While it should fit a non-Riddell helmet, it may not fit as well on a different brand
8. EliteTek Tinted Eye Shield
Most people who know football are probably thinking, “what in the world is EliteTek?!” If the quality is there, it isn’t always bad to take a chance on unknown brand names.
EliteTek offers a clear visor, but they specialize in tint; offering a “smoke” look without the blacked-out image. This tinted visor blocks out UV light so you don’t have to worry about glares or overbearing bright light.
It is made of polycarbonate, so it contains anti-scratch and anti-fog coating, although they clearly state in the description that no visor is 100% scratch proof.
While that is true, it is unlikely that you will acquire many scratches unless you literally take your visor and scrape it against the sidewalk.
Keep in mind, this “smoked” visor is 30% tinted, so if you’re looking for a black look, you may want to look into buying the 20% Oakley or maybe something even a little darker.
- Fits any helmet using the two clip system
- Coating minimizes chances of scratches and fog
- “How to install” video in the description makes it easier for you to apply to your helmet
- “Smoke” visor only goes down to 30% tint…. there are darker visors on the market
- Tinted visor is not legal at the high school or collegiate level unless you have a doctor’s note
9. Bangerz Provu Football Eyeshield
The Bangerz eye shield is the typical football visor. It has an extra-wide vision so that you get a full look of what’s in front of you.
Its technology prevents UV rays from bothering your eyes and its anti-scratch and anti-fog coating will emphasize its service to provide a quality visor.
The installation process may be the most difficult of all our reviewed visors. The clips included need to be screwed in so make sure you have a screwdriver in hand prior to installing your Bangerz visor.
- Extra Wide vision gives you full view of the field
- Anti-scratch and anti-fog coating keeps your vision clear and clean
- A very simple and basic look
- Seems to be a somewhat flimsy material
10. Unique Sports Clear Visor
Another basic visor with no true superior benefits. The wrapped shape provides an easy fit despite any helmet you may wear.
A downside to this visor is there are no stickers for the tabs on top so if you are the type of person that is invested in image you may want to look elsewhere.
From face value, this 3mm thick visor will protect you from injury/irritating present injuries and will give you a wide, clear vision into the end zone.
- Wrapped shape will fit most helmets
- 3mm thickness will decrease chances of cracking
- Lens eliminates glare
- No sticker variety for design and color matching
- Looks flimsy despite the thickness
When it’s all Said and Done!
Wearing an eye shield has become a phenomenon in football, especially the NFL. Whether you are looking for a cool look, eye protection from injury or the sun, or better vision, a visor is something that could give you that edge.
Oakley is known for making excellent eyewear, so purchasing their clear or 20% tinted eye shields may be the best investment for you in the long run. If you are looking for a youth size your best bet is going with Nike.
If you are interested in a unique, new look, then you should go for the SLEEFS Borealis brand. Either way, wearing a visor will enhance your image, vision, and eye protection so it is most definitely an accessory you will not want to go without!