What are the Visors for on Football Helmets – Do You Really Know?

what are the visors for on football helmets

I am always fascinated by the American football. It is an interesting game to watch, and each team has it’s support base. As I watched the game recently with my daughter, she asked me; what are the visors for on football helmets?

This is a question that caught me off guard, as I have never really thought about it in depth. I promised her I would find out the information and share it with her.

If you are a great fan of American football, then you probably know the uses of a visor of a football helmet.

However, if you are new to this or do not know, then this article for you. It is based on research I undertook so that I could help my daughter understand what the visors are for on a football helmet.

What is a Visor?

A visor is a transparent often tinted piece of the front of a football helmet that is designed to protect your face and eyes.

A key part of an American football helmet is the visor which is attached to the face mask part of the helmet, and protects the eyes (sometime called an eye-shield). Visors aren’t required, but they are a good additional extra, that’s worth purchasing for many reasons: safety, ease of play, and to prevent the other team from ‘reading’ potential next moves.

A visor, in football, is a piece of curved plastic that attaches to a player’s mask, covering the eyes. Visors provide a range of benefits for players, from blocking sunlight to protecting the eyes. They are also available tinted or in prescriptions for players with vision problems.

What are the visors for on football helmets

The primary purpose of visor on football helmets is to protect the player from eye injury and dirt.

Benefits of Wearing Visors

The benefits of wearing a visor are that it would prevent injury to the eyes, such as from a ball, or from another player’s feet or fingers.

Some visors can act instead of glasses to help vision, but unlike glasses that could get knocked off during a game, the visor is likely to stay in place.

This makes a visor, a crucial bit of American Football kit, that it’s well worth investing in.

What Is the Purpose of a Football Helmet Visor?

Filtering Light

Tinted football visors can help football players by filtering out bright sunlight — much in the same way that sunglasses work. In sunny weather, this provides a player with an advantage by improving his vision. It can also benefit players with light sensitivities, including photophobia. The player doesn’t need to worry about losing sight of the ball in the sun, or being temporarily blinded by the sun when wearing a tinted visor.

Hiding Eyes

Tinted football visors can also hide a player’s eyes from his opponent, so that he does not know where the player is looking. While this can provide an advantage on the field, it also poses a safety risk. If a player is injured or knocked out, the person providing first aid needs to be able to see the players eyes to properly assess his condition. Because of this problem, the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the National Federation of State High School Football Associations have banned tinted visors.

Eye Protection

Football visors can protect against eye injuries. Football players risk being struck in the eye by the football, as well as players’ feet and fingers when wearing a typical mask that leaves the eyes exposed. A visor covers the eyes, protecting them from blows and poked. According to Ohio State University’s Research News website, football visors can handle an impact of approximately 562 pounds of force — meaning they are capable of sustaining a heavy blow from a kick.

Visor Materials, Styles and Designs

Most visors are made of polycarbonate, which is light. It is important to know the materials, styles and designs as you seek to understand what are the visors for on football helmets.

The visor is a curved piece of plastic that will cover the eye area. There are many well-known brands of visors that you can purchase, these include: Nike (which has a wrapped lens that gives clear view with no distortion, it includes shock dampening attachments to reduce damage, it’s universal and will fit most helmets.

It comes with clear instructions about how to fit it. Under Armour (which has a universal fit, which can be attached to most helmets without any tools, and has quick release clips, some use APVX material – which makes it light, clear and less likely to crack) and Oakley (which uses High Definition Optics – HDO, which means that players have a clear view, and no distortion. Its tinted visors come in 20, 45 and 60 percent.

The tint (polarized) blocks different UVA, UVC, and UVB rays and harmful blue light). It’s possible to buy clear, smoked and tinted visors that come in a wide range of shades: amber, blue, metallic silver and golds, black, polarized and even rainbow.

Tinted visors can be useful when daylight is starting to reduce.

Depending on what age-range you’re purchasing the visor for, may determine what colour tint you buy.

Buying a Visor

If it’s a student of High School or a Pee Wee league (under the age of 12 yrs) then you’d need to buy a clear visor, this is so that the coach can ensure easily by looking at a person’s face and eyes whether they’re conscious if injured.

Check with your league handbook as to what is allowed. Some of the big leagues don’t allow tinted visors for the same reason. However, if players have any eye-issues then they may have special permission to wear a tinted visor.

You’ll want to consider how well the visor fits onto the helmet and how it feels when wearing it.

Once you’ve purchased it, it’s best to try it out at a practice game, before the real thing, so you can get used to wearing it. It’s worth ensuring your visor has anti-glare, so that this doesn’t bother you when you’re trying to play.

Middle-Priced Visors

Looking for a middle-of-the range priced visor can be worth doing, so that you’re not just buying the cheapest that lacks quality, or the most expensive that would really suit a professional player.

Many visors come in a universal design, so that they’re able to fit most helmets and facemasks, but it can be sensible to take yours along when you buying a visor, just to make sure; as some visors are specific to certain facemasks.

Many helmets have a specific model number, so it’s worth making a note of that too. Many visors have been designed so that they don’t fog-up when you get hot or from your breath.

They’re shatter-proof which is important, because if your visor cracks they’re not legal to play in. They reduce glare (from sunlight, instead of sunglasses that may fall off, and stadium lights) and are resistant to scratches, giving good visibility to the wearer.

What are the Visors for on Football Helmets – How to Install a Visor

Installing a football visor should be relatively easy. With some you may need a screwdriver, if you don’t have the quick release clips.

You may need to undo screws to release the facemask, so that you can get the best fit possible. You don’t have to take the facemask completely off, but have it so you can move it around.

On your visor unscrew the quick release clips. It’s a quick installation process. Slide the visor under your facemask to get the correct fit, and so that it’s aligned correctly.

Ensure the end hole is lined up between the facemask bars. Re-tighten your facemask, and line up the quick release clips with the hole in the visor, and tighten the screw part.

Go as tight as you can with the screws so that the visor doesn’t move around.

It should take less than 4 minutes to fit.

Why do some football players wear dark visors?

To begin with, the visor acts much like a pair of sunglasses, cutting down on glare and making it easier to see in even the sunniest of circumstances. Dark visors block more than just the sun, however. That dark tint also makes it harder — if not downright impossible — for opposing players to see where you are looking

Should you wear a football visor?

An optional yet beneficial addition to a football helmet is a visor. Sometimes called a shield, the visor is a curved piece of plastic that protects your eyes, reduces glare, and hides potential next moves from your opponents

Is the Oakley Prizm visor legal?

This visor is not legal in-game, and Gurley will likely be fined. Legally worn visors must then be black or gray in color, unless using Oakley’s darker Prizm visor.

Do football visors fit all helmets?

Finding the best football visor and eye shield isn’t too hard.

Most styles will fit any helmet model easily. We selected visors that offer terrific anti-glare, scratch resistance and extreme impact protection.

Additionally, good peripheral vision while wearing the eye shields is factored in to our choices. As you try to figure out what are the visors for on football helmets, always consider the fitting.

Who Invented Football Helmets

Do you love American football? If you do, then you have witnessed great games and teams achieving greatness on the football pitch.

However, have you wondered who invented football helmets? With this question, I went into research to find out who is that person who invented football helmets, and what the intention was.

The inventor of the football helmet would, therefore, need to have designed or created a new and useful improvement to a protective head covering or enclosing headpiece specifically for use in the game of football and from which the evolution of the modern football helmet can be traced.

When was the football helmet invented?

One of the first instances of football headgear dates to 1896 when Lafayette College halfback George “Rose” Barclay began to use straps and earpieces to protect his ears. It is not certain who invented the football helmet.

Who invented the helmet?

James Naismith, the “Father of Basketball,” invented the helmet while playing for the YMCA International Training College football team in 1891.

Joseph M. Reeves, U.S.N.A., after being warned that one more blow to the head may cause “instant insanity,” had the first helmet made for him in 1893.

Who invented the plastic football helmet?

Again, it’s worth reiterating that helmets were not mandatory. That wouldn’t happen until 1943. During the 1920s and 1930s, variations of the leather helmet appeared, but in 1939, the game changed –or at least became safer– when John T. Riddel introduced the first plastic helmet.

Why did James Naismith invent basketball?

Naismith was a physical education instructor at YMCA International Training School (now known as Springfield College) in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Upon the request of his boss, Naismith was tasked to create an indoor sports game to help athletes keep in shape in cold weather.

What are the Visors for on Football Helmets – Types

Football visors are an important addition to a football helmet. These visors help protect your eyes from the harmful UV rays and also from high-impact collisions.

Moreover, they also can keep your opponents form reading your eyes and guessing your next move

Whether you are a beginner or a professional football player, you will need a visor at some point.

Here is a list of the top ten football visors available online;

  1. Oakley football shield
  2. Nike Gridiron Eye Shield
  3. Under Armour Men’s FootballVisor
  4. Arsenal Clear Football Visor.
  5. Elite Tek Color Football Visor.
  6. Sleefs Borealis Color Tinted Visor
  7. Sports Unlimited Universal Football Visor
  8. Barnett Football and Lacrosse Helmet Visor
  9. Unique Sports Eye Shield.
  10. Schutt Sports Optics Elite Eye Shield

You can learn more about these below

  1. Oakley football shield

The Oakley Football Shield is made from Oakley plutonite. It is a proprietary synthentic material that is durable and offers great protection.

The shield has high definition optics technology that eliminates distortion and is coated with a lens treatment that provides an anti-fog performance.

It is made with a unique curvature that offers clarity at all angles of vision.

  1. Nike Gridiron Eye Shield

Nike Gridiron Eye Shield provides precise vision from every angle. The shield is made from 100% polycarbonate.

It has a unique bevelled edge that minimize glare and distortion.

The shield has a shock-dampening attachment that provides impact-protection at the connection points.

The shield is designed to fit most of the football face helmets.

  1. Under Armour Men’s Football Visor.

The Under Armour Football Visor will protect you on the playing field. The visor features a tagless design.

The shield is made from polycarbonate that is durable and lightweight. This helps them provide protection without any added weight.

The shield has an anti-fog and anti-scratch coating.

  1. Arsenal Clear Football Visor.

The Arsenal Clear Football Visor offers exceptional game-day performance. It provides a clear finish and superior anti-fog and anti-scratch coatings.

This ensures long-lasting dependability and performance.

The shield has a tough design that provides superior impact strength. It fits most football helmets and cages.

  1. Elite Tek Color Football Visor.

EliteTek Color Football Visor has a color tint that allows 60% light transmittance.

It has a multi-angle color reflection that offers a wide range of colors. The shield is made from optical polycarbonate material.

This blocks the harmful UV/blue light.

The shield eliminates the annoying glare and controls the light intensity.

It is a perfect fit for most football and lacrosse helmets.

This visor can be attached by a two-clip system that allows fast and easy attachment and removal.

  1. Sleefs Borealis Color Tinted Visor

This visor comes with a pair of universal clips that allow fast and easy attachment and removal.

The shield fits most football helmets. It has an anti-fog and scratch-resistant coating. This provides clarity and durability.

Sleef Borealis Color Tinted Visor is made from optical polycarbonate material, to block UV and blue light.

  1. Sports Unlimited Universal Football Visor.

This visor is designed without a center tab. This is to ensure it can fit all helmets.

It has a universal clip design that fits on single-bar and double-bar face helmets.

The shield has an anti-fog coating that keeps your vision from being obstructed by the changing weather.

It is made from special scratch-resistant material that prevents damage.

The shield comes with five sticker packs for maximum customization.

  1. Barnett Football and Lacrosse Helmet Visor

The Barnett Football and Lacrosse Helmet Visor has an anti-fog and anti-scratch coating.

This ensures clarity and durability in all conditions. The shield eliminates glare and controls light intensity.

It fits both youth and adult helmets. It is a two-clip system that allows fast and easy attachment and removal.

  1. Unique Sports Eye Shield

The Unique Sports Eye Shield is made from a 3 mm thick, distortion-free polycarbonate lens.

It has anti-scratch and anti-fog coatings. The shield has a precision wrapped lens that eliminates blind spots and glare..

This visor fits all helmets. It has a two-clip system that allows fast and easy attachment and removal.

  1. Schutt Sports Optic Elite Eye Shield.

This visor is made through injection-molded high-impact polycarbonate.

It has an anti-fog and an anti-scratch coating. The shield has zero distortion, thanks to its ideal curvature.

It fits all Schutt helmets.


In conclusion, football helmets have come a long way from the time they were invented to how they look today.

What are the visors for on football helmets? I am hoping you now understand and know why visors are used.

If you look at the helmets used in various sports, you will notice that visors play a significant role of protecting the player.

The benefits of a visor to a player are many and I listed a number of them earlier in this article.

This means that if you are interested in American football or a sport like motor or bike racing, you should find the best visor to use.