6 Best Hiking Sunglasses for 2024

Owning a pair of decent sunglasses is a worthy investment for anyone who likes to spend time out in nature. Sunglasses are so much more than a stylish accessory. They can protect your eyes from harmful sun rays, loose branches or glare from reflective surfaces. 

It makes sense to invest in a decent pair rather than trying to find cheap sunglasses at a moment’s notice. Yes, it’s true, they are an item that can be easily lost, especially on hiking adventures, but once you find the right pair for you, you will want to keep them close.   

Our top pick for the best hiking sunglasses are the Oakley Flak 2.0 glasses. Their unique lens technology and lightweight durability make these sunglasses a stand-out choice, and they are available to customize for different preferences. 

The Maui Jim Peahi and Costa Del Mar Fantail sunglasses also deserve to be mentioned for their high-quality materials and wearability.

When you’re in the market for a new pair of hiking sunglasses, there are a lot of factors that you’ll want to consider. We’ve put together a guide on what features to consider when purchasing new sunglasses and answered some of the frequently asked questions about them.

The Best Hiking Sunglasses for 2024 

Image by Oakley

The Oakley Flak 2.0 sunglasses are a fantastic option for anyone looking for comfortable sunglasses with excellent lens technology. 

Oakley, a company started in a garage in California, is a reputable manufacturer of sunglasses and they have been making quality, long-lasting glasses since 1975.

These sunglasses make colors pop in several different lighting conditions, making them great for hiking in nature. The polarized lenses feature revolutionary Prizm technology, which provides ultimate control of light transmission, maximum contrast and enhanced visibility.

The Flak 2.0 XL offers protection from UVA, UVB, UVC and the lenses block harmful blue light up to 400nm (nanometers). These hiking sunglasses are available for men, women, and children. 

At some retailers, it’s possible to customize the glasses with prescription lenses and the Flak 2.0 comes in up to 22 colors, so you can tailor these sunglasses to suit your preferences.

Image by Smith Optics

If you’re looking for stylish hiking sunglasses, the Smith Optics ChromaPop range could be a great choice for you. 

An excellent combination of quality construction and attractive design, the unisex Wander glasses offer excellent eye protection while you enjoy a multitude of outdoor pursuits, but also work well as an everyday pair.

Smith’s ChromaPop sunglasses feature polarized lenses that are optically tuned to reduce glare and offer 100% UV protection. Everything looks vivid behind these lenses and they are enjoyable to wear all day long.

The Wander by Smith offers a simple yet versatile design with a traditional round frame and hydrophilic megol rubber nose pads to keep them in place. If you like to wear sunglasses for long periods of time, this pair is made from plastic and stainless steel, which makes them light and easy to wear.   

Smith is a brand known for making high-quality ski goggles, helmets, and sunglasses for men and women. The ChromaPop lenses are available to add to all of their frame styles.

Image by Knockaround

If you are looking for great hiking sunglasses but have a tight budget, give the Knockaround Fast Lanes lenses a try. A solid option for those of us who might be good at losing or breaking sunglasses, these unisex glasses come in several attractive colors.  

They offer 99-100% protection from UVA and UVB rays and polarized lenses, which is a great feature at this price point. Knockaround prides itself on providing high-quality, affordable shades and their prices start at around $20.

Made from light polycarbonate material, these sunglasses stay in place during workouts or long hikes. They are robust too, and don’t scratch easily if flung in a pocket or backpack while you’re on the go. The clean rectangular shape is best suited to medium and large face shapes, so it’s worth bearing this in mind if you have a narrow face shape.  

Image by Julbo

Looking for a sunglasses that will not fall off your face while you’re in the middle of a challenging trail run? The Julbo Aero Reactiv Performance frames are designed for high-intensity active pursuits, such as running or mountain biking. 

The company, based in Longchaumois, France, has been developing protective eyewear since 1888 and offers a range of sports eyewear for adventurers. It was one of the earliest pioneers in the development of eye protection for mountaineers. 

The Reactiv photochromic lenses work well in various light conditions, adjusting well from light to dark. Made from polycarbonate, the lens offers 100% UV protection. 

These ultralight sunglasses are designed to be aerodynamic and weigh just 32 grams. The glasses feature a 3D nose pad which keeps them in place, as the sunglasses allow you to enjoy a wide field of vision on your trail.

The rubberized grip temples mean that they do not stick to your hair. There is an option to add a prescription lens, which snaps in neatly behind the front lens. 

Image by Maui Jim

A great all-round pair of sunglasses, the Maui Jim Peahi sunglasses are great for beach hikes or long days on the water. Thanks to their polarized lenses, they protect your eyes from glare from water, snow, and sand.

Named after a bay on Maui’s north shore, the Peahi glasses are one of the brand’s most popular unisex styles. They offer maximum protection for the eyes from every angle. The patented lens technology stops 99.9% of glare and absorbs harmful blue light. The lenses are made from super thin glass.  

The frames are made from lightweight nylon, offering a flexible fit, and impact resistance and there are adjustable nose pads for extra comfort. The gloss black frame with a neutral gray lens gives a subtle, everyday look.  

If you spend a lot of time by the water, the Maui Jim Peahi glasses might be a great fit for your lifestyle. 

Image by Costa Del Mar

For a pair of hiking sunglasses that are built to last, the Costa Del Mar Fantail frames are a great choice for men and women. With sturdy frames for outdoor activities, these glasses will protect you for years to come from the negative effects of bright sunlight.  

Founded in Florida, Costa Del Mar are eyewear specialists who create styles especially suited to pursuits in the outdoors, including fishing, boating, and hiking. The durable frames are made from TR-90 nylon, a premier material for sports performance.  

You will be thankful for the 580g glass lenses on your Costas, which prove the importance of choosing glass lenses over plastic lenses when investing in the right sunglasses for you.

The image quality through the lens is very crisp and clear. This excellent clarity makes them great for driving as well as outdoor adventures.

The scratch-proof lenses allow for extra contrast between reds, greens, and blues, whilst filtering out harsh yellow tones. There are several lens color options to choose from. The copper-green lenses are excellent for cloudy days, while the lenses are a good choice for everyday wear. 

Tips for Buying The Best Hiking Sunglasses

When researching sunglasses, it is important to consider the different levels of protection available and what kind of sunglasses will suit your needs the best. Make sure you check out the following features before making a purchase. 

UV Protection

Ultraviolet rays can be extremely damaging to your eyes. The most important thing to check before purchasing sunglasses is that they offer 100% protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

Sunglasses with UV400 protection offer ultimate protection for your eyes. This refers to UV rays at the top end of the UV spectrum, up to the 400 nm (nanometer) wavelength. 

Lens Materials and Tints

Check what materials the lenses are made from. Polycarbonate lenses are lightweight and impact-resistant, whereas glass lenseses offer excellent clarity but can be heavier and more prone to damage. Lens quality should be a big factor when buying hiking sunglasses.

Choosing the tint of your glasses will depend on what you’re looking for. If you spend a lot of time enjoying bright sunlight, a set of lenses with a dark tint would be ideal to shade you from the harsh light.

A light tint or photochromic lenses are better suited to varying light conditions, as these types of lenses adjust themselves according to the conditions.

The Importance of Polarized Sunglasses

Polarization is a key component of good sunglasses. Once you’ve bought a polarized pair of sunglasses, it will be difficult to go back. If your eyes are tired at the end of a long day in sunlight, then it might be a sign that you would benefit from polarized sunglasses.

Polarized sunglasses reduce glare from reflective surfaces like water, sand and snow, and offers better visibility and an enhanced contrast between colors. Many of the best hiking sunglasses have this advanced technology which has great protective benefits for your eye health. 

Frame Material

Metal frames might look stylish, but they will be heavier to wear than a lightweight alternative. If your new sunglasses are for hiking or spending long periods of time outside, consider a lightweight material (like plastic frames) such as nylon and TR90 Grilamid, which are both flexible and durable. 

Remember to look for glasses with scratch resistant coating, this is important for keeping your sunglasses looking pristine in all types of outdoor conditions. 

Fit and Comfort

Look for sunglasses with a comfortable fit, adjustable nose pads, and temple grips. Consider wrap-around styles for better protection against peripheral light.

Try them on in a store before purchasing if you can, as this will help you figure out what styles suit your face the most. Look for flexible hinges as this allows the arms to move freely and allows for a secure fit that doesn’t pinch.

Brand Reputation

It’s important to do a bit of research into the brand, so you can trust the sunglasses will be high quality. It’s a good idea to purchase sunglasses from a reputable eyewear company or brand that has specialized in glasses for a long time. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What’s the difference between men’s and women’s sunglasses? 

Most eyewear brands create styles for men and women, or they offer a unisex style that is suitable for both.The frame size and shape can vary depending on whether you are shopping for men’s or women’s glasses, so make sure you double check before purchasing.

There is usually a range of colors and lenses to choose from to further personalize the sunglasses to suit your taste.

How do I look after my sunglasses?

Taking good care of your sunglasses will help them last longer. Use a microfiber cleaning cloth to wipe away dust and smudges on the lenses. Keep them in a protective case when you are not wearing them and try to avoid stuffing them into pockets or leaving them in places where they might get damaged.

What about my glasses prescription?

Checking in for regular eye doctor appointments is recommended, and you can always ask a specialist’s advice on new glasses and any specific vision requirements you might have. Most popular sunglasses brands have an option for adding prescription lenses to the frame if you shop directly on their site.  

How much does a good pair of hiking sunglasses cost? 

Sunglasses, which offer all the protective features and latest technology, are likely to cost somewhere between $150 and $300. Prescription sunglasses will have additional costs as you will need to add on extra for the prescription lenses.

Best Hiking Sunglasses 

 It’s important to remember that choosing sunglasses for yourself has a lot to do with personal preference and style, so it’s a good idea to choose the pair that suits your lifestyle the best. Try on a few styles from different brands and see what your preferences are.

It’s also worth thinking about what you like to do most in your spare time, and choose frames and lenses that might be well suited to those activities. Finding your next pair of sunglasses will bring many rewards to an active lifestyle.

Not only will your eyes be protected while wearing sunglasses, you will be able to see your favorite hiking spots in more vibrant color contrast. Make sure you do your research into frames, lenses and materials before you press ‘buy now’.

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