If you’ve been on the hunt for the best hiking sunglasses, look no further. This comprehensive guide will detail the best hiking sunglasses for many situations and users.
What’s the Best Pair of Hiking Sunglasses?
The pair of best hiking sunglasses is the Oakley Flak 2.0 XL. They are versatile for any hiking or outdoor activity and have a sleek, lightweight design. The lenses offer the best UV protection as well.
The Oakley Flak 2.0 XL is an impressive pair of hiking sunglasses. However, if these don’t seem like your cup of tea, look at the rest of our top picks.
Our Top 7 Picks for the Best Hiking Sunglasses:
- Best Overall: Oakley Flak 2.0 XL
- Best for Durability: Julbo Shield Mountain Sunglasses
- Best Style: Maui Jim Haleakala Wrap Sunglasses
- Best UV Protection: Costa Del Mar Rincon Rectangular Sunglasses
- Best Value: DUCO Polarized Sports Sunglasses
- Best for Men: Julbo Explorer 2.0
- Best for Women: Maui Jim Starfish
We have put in countless hours on the trail testing the best hiking sunglasses. Keep reading to learn more about our favorites, their pros and cons, and why you’ll love each one.
Why You Need Hiking Sunglasses
Every outdoor adventurer needs a solid pair of hiking sunglasses. This accessory is vital for protecting your eyes and skin from harmful UV rays that can cause skin damage including wrinkles, cataracts, and glaucoma.
Direct sun exposure can also potentially lead to cancers like melanoma. In addition to protection from the elements, hiking sunglasses have specially designed lenses that can help with eye fatigue and more vivid vision.
Hiking is all about enjoying the magic of nature, but appreciating its beauty is hard if you can’t see everything. If we’re being honest, hiking sunglasses also look pretty cool.
There are hundreds of styles to choose from to fit your unique style and aesthetic. Choosing the right pair of hiking sunglasses can feel overwhelming, simply because there are so many out there.
Best Hiking Sunglasses: Our Top 7 Picks
We are partial to the Oakley Flak 2.0 XL sunglasses for overall hiking and physical protection. However, hiking sunglasses are not a one-size-fits-all accessory.
Our top 7 picks for the best hiking sunglasses include budget-friendly options, sunglasses that are best for men and women, and even sunglasses with the best overall style.
1. Oakley Flak 2.0 XL
- Versatile uses
- Stylish, durable design
- 3-point fit with rubber grips
- Large lenses
- Some lens distortion
Oakley Flak 2.0 XL sunglasses are lightweight and sleek without sacrificing durability and performance. The glasses fit better than any pair of hiking glasses we’ve reviewed thanks to their rubber nose and ear grips.
These features also help keep the glasses on your face while hiking. The lenses on these glasses are large and rectangular. Some find them too large for their face shape, but their protection is outstanding.
They are made with polarized plutonite that filters 100% of blue light and UV rays. The lenses on Oakley Flak sunglasses provide optimal clarity from all angles. They protect your eyes from glare as well, which is ideal for hiking in both sun and snow.
Oakley Flak 2.0 XL sunglasses are perfect for hiking in any type of weather. However, they are also good for activities like mountain biking, running, and rock climbing.
2. Julbo Shield Mountain Sunglasses
- Scratch and abrasion-resistant lenses
- Removable side shields
- 100% UV spectrum sunglasses
- Limited lens color options
Julbo Shield Mountain Sunglasses are robust, durable glasses. They are extremely scratch resistant and can even withstand being shoved unceremoniously into your pack now and again.
These glasses are also a comfortable option. They have shock-absorbent, ergonomic rubber grips on the nose and the ears. They stay in place regardless of how sweaty you are. The sunglasses also include removable side shields and polarized lenses for maximum protection from the elements.
We love the ventilation on these sunglasses as well. This unique feature keeps the lenses from fogging up, whether you’re backpacking over a mountain or trekking through the desert.
Julbo Shield Mountain Sunglasses cost more than your average pair of hiking sunglasses. However, they are a superb, high-quality accessory that will tolerate whatever accidental abuse you put them through.
3. Maui Jim Haleakala Wrap Sunglasses
- Crisp lens optics
- Unisex wrap style
- Lightweight injected nylon design
- Lenses are difficult to keep clean
Maui Jim Haleakala frames are thin, lightweight, and ergonomic. They are a slightly transparent amber color with protective rectangular lenses and a tapered wrap-around style.
The anti-slip saddle-style nosepad and the gentle curve of the ear pieces look great on any face shape or size.
They also keep the glasses on your head during the most strenuous hikes. These hiking sunglasses have several different lens colors and tints to accommodate the hiker’s color-enhancing preferences.
The lenses are anti-reflective, anti-glare, and scratch-resistant. They also have grease and water-resistant treatments which leads to minimal staining from sunscreen, sweat, or water droplets.
Stylish though they may be, the UV filters on the Maui Jim Haleakala Wrap Sunglasses are some of the best on the market. They also protect against all UV rays and harmful blue light.
4. Costa Del Mar Rincon Rectangular Sunglasses
- UV Protection Coating
- Polarized polycarbonate lenses
- Wide lenses for extra protection
- Heaviness around nose pad
- Extra-large frames
Hikers who are serious about sun and eye protection will love the Costa Del Mar Rincon Rectangular Sunglasses.
The glasses protect against 100% of all types of UV light up to 400nm. This fun and stylish eyewear is made with polarized, 580G crystal lenses. This patented technology consists of encapsulated mirrors sat between thin layers of glass.
They do a great job of blocking out blue light and harsh yellow light, without dampening clarity or vision. Wearing these glasses can help reduce headaches and eye strain.
The lenses are resistant to heat, water, and scratches. However, they are significantly heavier than plastic or polycarbonate lenses. The extra wide lenses come in a range of bright colors, including shades of blue and green.
5. DUCO Polarized Sports Sunglasses
The DUCO Polarized Sports Sunglasses are inexpensive, lightweight, and comfortable for long periods of wear. They have a sleek, modern design with an open, semi frame that looks quite stylish.
Better yet, they are highly durable and will not corrode or irritate your skin. They are made from an aluminum magnesium frame and carbon fiber temples, which keeps them from pinching or weighing down the bridge of your nose.
Both the nose pads and the spring arms are adjustable, ensuring a custom fit. You can walk, run, or climb in these glasses and they will stay on your face.
The lenses come in a variety of colors, but all are polarized to reduce reflective glare. Ultimately, these glasses are an ideal option for people who tend to abuse their sunglasses and need a more affordable replacement.
6. Julbo Explorer 2.0
- Strong performance frames
- Superb coverage with detachable side shades
- Adjustable arms
- Logos and branding on the lenses are distracting
The Julbo Explorer 2.0 glasses are a fantastic hiking accessory, particularly for alpine hiking and high-UV environments. These glasses have a wide, panoramic, non-polarized lens that offers optimal protection from the elements.
The lenses also adjust automatically to a darker tint in bright settings. Removable side shields are also included to help protect eyes from wind, rain, and harsh sunlight. Julbo Explorer 2.0 sunglasses are also extremely comfortable.
The shock-absorbing, flexible arms have a soft gripping material on the temples that help keep the glasses on your head. They also come with an insertable nose grip to keep glasses secure on the bridge of your nose.
They are a bit bulky with the side shields attached and aren’t suitable for everyday wear. However, when it comes to hiking sunglasses for men, you can’t find a better pair.
7. Maui Jim Starfish Cat-Eye
- Effective UV filter qualities
- Fashionable cat-eye frames
- Polarized, super thin glass lenses
- Only fits medium-sized heads
The Maui Jim Starfish Cat-Eye sunglasses are a feminine, stylish hiking accessory. They can transition easily to everyday wear but have all of the protective elements needed for a safe and successful hike.
The subtle cat-eye is not the only attractive feature of the Starfish sunglasses. They are made with a lightweight injected nylon and have a saddle style bridge with comfortable embedded nose pads.
The glasses come with several gradient lens colors, including HCL Bronze, Maui Rose, and a neutral gray best for direct sunlight.
They reduce 99% of visible glare and 100% UV protection. The superthin glass technology Maui Jim uses is up to 32% thinner than other sunglasses, which allows for vivid clarity.
Finding the Best Hiking Sunglasses for You
Finding the right pair of hiking sunglasses can be tricky if you don’t know what to look for. Most people buy sunglasses to shade their eyes from the sun or to accessorize an outfit. Hikers need sunglasses with more protection.
Before making a hiking sunglasses purchase, consider what kind of lenses the glasses have, the protection and UV-blocking factors, their overall style and comfortability, weight, and durability.
Lens and UV Filters
The best hiking sunglasses have special UV filters in the lenses. You should always look for a pair that can block UVA and UVB rays, which are proven to cause skin damage and skin cancer.
Polarized lenses are also a factor to consider. These lenses do a wonderful job of filtering out reflected light and reducing the glare from the elements. They also improve clarity and can make colors appear more vivid.
Finally, you’ll want to think about the lens color and tint. The best hiking sunglasses have light, neutral-colored lenses like gray or brown. These colors won’t inhibit you from experiencing the world around you as it looks.
It is a good idea to ask yourself what type of hiking you plan to do. If you plan to hike near bodies of water or through snow-covered mountains, you may need a pair of hiking sunglasses that are resistant to glare.
On the other hand, if you plan on navigating rocky or rough terrain, a pair with more durability might be a better choice.
Style and Comfort
The best hiking sunglasses are both stylish and comfortable. While style may not be the deciding factor, you also want to like the look of the glasses you buy. An attractive pair of sunglasses can help you feel confident and protected.
It is important to find a pair of glasses that fits your head size and face shape as well. Sizing appropriately can help avoid uncomfortable pinching. If the glasses don’t fit, you also run the risk of them sliding off your face repeatedly.
Ideally, you will want to look for hiking sunglasses that have sleek, ergonomic designs, appropriately-sized lenses, and rubber grips on the ear pieces or nose pads.
Depending on the type of hiking you prefer to do, you may be carrying a lot of weight on your hike. The last thing you want when you’ve got 40 pounds of equipment strapped to your back is another accessory weighing you down.
Consider lightweight hiking sunglasses. It’s also a good idea to skip any pair with metal frames in light of something like nylon-injected plastic.
Hiking is a strenuous, sometimes grueling sport. You want to ensure the sunglasses you invest in are durable enough to withstand being dropped, shoved into your pack, or scraping against rocks and tree branches.
The most durable lenses are polycarbonate, a material that is stronger than glass and plastic. This material is also impact-resistant. Durable frame materials to consider are carbon fiber and nylon-injected plastic.
What you are willing to spend on a pair of hiking sunglasses is an important factor in the buying process. Many high-quality hiking sunglasses are pricey. You can look at this as an investment into your hiking adventures and personal protection.
However, if you tend to be hard on your eyewear, replacing expensive pairs of glasses will quickly add up. Consider the elements you want in a pair of sunglasses and compare those to what you are willing to spend.
Frequently Asked Questions
Before we wrap up, let’s address some of the most frequently asked questions about hiking sunglasses.
Should I wear sunglasses while hiking?
It is an excellent idea to wear sunglasses while hiking. Sunglasses protect your eyes from the sun, water, and snow glare, damaging UV rays, and weather conditions. They also help keep your vision sharp and clear.
What should I look for when buying hiking sunglasses?
There are many factors to consider before buying hiking sunglasses. In addition to general style and comfort, you should also think about the sunglasses’ weight, lens style, and protective features.
What is the most important aspect of hiking sunglasses?
Sunglasses that protect against harmful blue light, UVA, UVB, and UVC rays are the most important feature of a good pair of hiking sunglasses.
What lens color is best for hiking?
Hiking sunglasses should have lighter lens colors, such as brown, amber, green, or gray. These tints are perfect for enhancing the overall visual experience of your hike. The best hiking sunglasses also have a tint of 90% or higher.
Can I wear hiking sunglasses over my regular pair of glasses?
Wearing a pair of hiking sunglasses over prescription glasses is not an ideal scenario. The hiking sunglasses can rub against the prescription lenses and scratch them. They also can make it harder to see. A better idea is to find a pair of clip-on polarized shades that work with your regular glasses.
So, What Are the Best Hiking Sunglasses?
We think that, for most people, the Oakley Flak 2.0 XL are the best hiking sunglasses. They are the perfect balance of lightweight, durable, and versatile.
- Versatile uses
- Stylish, durable design
- 3-point fit with rubber grips
- Large lenses
- Some lens distortion
They also have protective lenses that will keep your eyes safe from UV rays. Most importantly, the Oakley Flak 2.0 XL sunglasses will enhance your hiking, rock climbing, and mountaineering adventures.
However, there are 6 other amazing options on this list, and you can’t go wrong with any of them. Happy travels!