Can Soccer Goalies Wear Sunglasses? Guidelines For Protective Gear

By Kimberly


Playing certain outdoor sports can be challenging if you have the vision or light sensitivity problems. It’s not uncommon for soccer players to wear contact lenses or sports goggles on the field. It’s not fun to stare at the sun, especially if you are a goalkeeper who has to watch the ball closely. So can soccer players and goalies wear sunglasses?

Soccer players and goalies generally cannot wear regular sunglasses, as they could break and become a hazard. Goalies and players may wear hats or sports goggles to protect their eyes from the sun or as needed for vision correction, as they’re allowed in any weather conditions.

If you have any vision problems, you will need to speak to your optometrist for gameplay vision correction. The best solution may require contact lenses or custom sports spectacles or goggles. But let’s dive into some more ways you can be safe while playing soccer!

An image of a Female soccer goalie with a ball during sports training at the stadium looking away.

Protective Gear Goalies Can Wear

Soccer goalies are constantly putting their bodies on the line to stop the opposing team from scoring goals. They might have to use any part of their bodies to make that happen, so they need to make sure to wear all kinds of protective gear.

Here’s a list of pieces of equipment soccer goalies can wear to protect themselves.

Some of these recommendations come from me and my family, while others come from family members or friends who’ve recommended them to me.

1. Gloves

Soccer goalies must wear gloves for protection and performance. This rule applies from professional to even most local and some youth leagues.

Not only do they give your hands protection from powerful shots, but they also protect the wrist and give stability around the fingers.

Here are some great glove options to give you protection while playing goalie.

It’s also worth asking players on your rec and comp teams if they have any recommendations. If they don’t, ask some of the kids on the other teams. They may even know of a local sports store that has better sales or supports local teams.

2. Goalie leggings

Goalie leggings are becoming popular recently because they offer protection and flexibility around the thigh and hip areas instead of regular knee pads.

When playing goalie, you have to fall hard on the ground several times. That extra protection will definitely be beneficial.

Here are some great Storelli leggings options to give you protection while playing goalie:

Keep in mind that goalie pants aren’t usually for beginner or rec league players. They’re something more for competitive (comp) team players, high school teams, and beyond.

3. Shin guards

Shin guards are a mandatory piece of equipment for all players on the field to wear, including goalies. The shins guards soccer goalies wear are standard, not specialized for their position. So make sore to find one that feels comfortable and doesn’t restrict your movements.

Here are some shin guards options to give you protection while playing goalie:

  • Geeksim Sport shin guards are nice, because you can get them in a 2-pack, and they come in all of the youth sizes. You can see their availability on Amazon here. They’re more traditional, in that you attach them via straps in the back.
  • Shin guard sleeves (like these on are another cool option because they give your calf some compression in addition to protecting your shins. The downside is that you have to consider calf circumference in the sizing.

If you’re just starting out, get a standard pair of shin guards that will fit your child’s legs. You can upgrade to shin guard sleeves or fancier shin guards in the future, once your child knows they want to play more competitively.

4. Cleats

Like any other player on the field, soccer goalies wear cleats for safety and performance. Goalies perform many activities with their feet, such as sliding, tackling, hitting long and short passes, taking goal kicks, and clearing the ball away when in dangerous situations.

That’s why they need comfortable and powerful cleats to maximize performance.

For cleats, I recommend that you skip buying them online. Cleats need to fit well, so this is the one time that I recommend you take your child to a sports store, try on a lot of options, and buy a pair that will fit them well.

For super-beginner players, you can even buy cleats from big, name-brand box stores. They aren’t as good of a quality as cleats from name-brand shoemakers, but they’ll get the job done.

Once your child is about 10-12, though, the soccer games get more competitive and they will absolutely need a good pair of comfortable cleats by this age.

Want more reading on cleats? Check out these other articles I’ve written on sports shoes!

5. Protective headgear

This one is not common protective gear soccer goalies wear, but it’s a great option if you have some kind of previous head injury.

Petr Cech, a former Chelsea player, is a famous example of a goalie wearing protective headgear. He started wearing it after a head injury he suffered, resulting in a depressed skull fracture.

Here is a link to a soccer soft helmet (made by Imikeya) on Amazon to give you an idea of what they look like.

Can You Be a Goalie With (Regular) Glasses?

You can definitely be a goalie if you wear glasses, but you can’t use regular glasses on the field. It’s too dangerous for you and the other players if they break or fall off. FIFA allows contacts or sports goggles to correct vision issues.

FIFA (soccer lawmakers) clarifies that they allow protective goggles or contact lenses on a soccer field if you wear glasses for any reason in your day-to-day routine.

But the players must have ensured that they are secured tight to the head so that the spectacles or goggles won’t fall off.

One of my nephews, who’s big into competitive youth soccer, wears glasses. He uses corrective sports goggles. He totally rocks the look and the soccer field.

If you have vision problems and are unsure how to proceed, don’t hesitate to speak to your optometrist if you need vision correction for gameplay. They should be able to help you and your family decide if contacts are age and situation appropriate, or they can help you navigate the route of sports goggles.

But don’t panic. As mentioned before, there are multiple cases of famous soccer players with vision problems that managed to handle that with the options we mentioned.

What Do Soccer Players Wear If They Wear Glasses Normally?

Soccer players who normally wear glasses will either wear contacts or use goggles. For those who don’t want contacts, sports glasses or protective goggles are the best options. They often come with polycarbonate lenses which are resistant and do not break easily.

Wearing regular glasses in the field is simply too dangerous because there are many opportunities for them to come off and break, harming you and other players.

But suppose you wear glasses in your day-to-day routine. In that case, FIFA clarifies that they allow sports spectacles or contact lenses on a soccer field.

Contact lenses are an option too, but the problem with them is the risk of them falling out or getting contaminated with dirt or grass in the eyes, causing major inconveniences.

You have to consult a doctor and choose the most comfortable and safe option for you. It’s essential to seek appropriate medical advice if you are in doubt.

When you’re playing soccer, it’s also important to consider the game you’re playing. If it’s a pickup game in the backyard with small children, then it’s probably less of a big deal than if you’re playing in a competitive league.

Personally, I’m fine wearing my contact lenses while playing soccer in the backyard or watching my kids play a youth league game.

An image of a Female goalkeeper in her complete gear saving a goal during a game.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are a lot of other questions related to gear, sunglasses, and soccer. So let’s make sure we get those answered. Don’t see your question? No worries. Reach out to us via our contact us page, let us know the question we missed, and we’ll get it answered ASAP in a reply and/or by adding the information to this page.

Can other soccer players wear sunglasses?

No soccer player on the field can wear sunglasses or any regular glasses typically used in day-to-day life. The safety of the players on the field is in danger because it’s a collision sport, and accidents might happen. Sports goggles or hats can be used in accordance with FIFA rules, though.

But here’s a list of famous soccer players that had vision problems and managed to turn that around using contact lenses or protective goggles:

  • Lilian Thuram (contact lenses)
  • Kaka (contact lenses)
  • Edgar Davids (protective goggles)
  • David De Gea (contact lenses)

Next Steps

Now that you know more about soccer safety, let me again remind you that it’s important to remember the type of game in question, as that will impact whether or not you can wear your glasses.

When I played soccer in my backyard with my dad, he kept his glasses on. He was willing to risk getting hit in the face, although he was a good enough soccer player that it never happened, mostly because my siblings and I were that young (and that not amazing).

With my own kids, I don’t wear glasses outside, because I have to wear sunglasses (redhead problems). I risk wearing sunglasses while playing, and I’ve been hit in the face for a time or two.

However, if I were to play in an adult soccer league? You better believe I’d skip wearing the sunglasses. I’d be looking at either a hat, some tinted protective goggles (non-prescription, as I’d have my contacts in), or finding a league that plays evening games.

Now that you know more about protective gear for soccer players (and especially goalies), make sure you read this commonly asked question next: Do You Have To Volunteer As The Soccer Coach? You won’t have to volunteer, but that will walk you through how to avoid being voluntold to be the coach!


Learning from your own experiences is important, but learning from others is also smart. These are the sources used in this article and our research to be more informed as a family of sports nuts wannabes.

  • “A Photographic History Of Goalies Wearing Hats.” The18, Accessed 8 Mar. 2022.
  • “Law 4: The Player’s Equipment.” The FA,—the-players-equipment.

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