When it comes to hiking gear, there’s no shortage of options. We know it can sometimes be overwhelming to sift through pages and pages of results or try on multiple items in-store and still come out empty-handed. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best hiking sunglasses for men and women.
Lens Type and UV Protection
Many components, such as lens type, should be considered when shopping for a pair of sunglasses. The ultimate goal for wearing sunglasses is to protect your eyes from damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays, which are high-energy, invisible light rays produced by the sun.
There are three different types of UV rays: UVB, UVA, and UVC.
UVB: UVB rays are the most dangerous of the three rays, which is why sunscreen and sunglasses are recommended to combat against these damaging rays. They cannot penetrate glass.
UVA: While experts disagree on whether or not these rays cause damage, they produce longer wavelengths and can easily pass through glass.
UVC: These rays are blocked by the atmosphere and therefore do not reach the Earth’s surface.
UV rays are harmful during all daylight hours but can cause the most damage from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. There are many other factors that can enhance the damaging effects of these rays, including high and altitude and your proximity to the equator, and that’s why proper sun protection is important.
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Polarized vs. Unpolarized
Polarized lenses are some of the most popular lens options on the market, and for good reason. They increase your visibility by blocking glares that reflect off of surfaces like water, sand, and snow.
On the contrary, some people argue that polarized sunglasses are not recommended for regular outdoor use because it’s hard to see slippery surfaces or they may alter depth perception when viewing potential hazards. Ultimately, it’s up to the consumer to decide whether polarized or unpolarized lenses are right for them.
From plastic to polyurethane, there are a variety of lens materials.
The most expensive and durable option is polyurethane, which is a synthetic material that fuses the best qualities of glass and polycarbonate.
Polycarbonate, a plastic with very high-quality optics and a strong, impact-resistant structure, is a great choice for hiking. However, if it doesn’t come with an anti-scratch coating, it can be easily scratched.
Last but not least, is regular plastic. While it is the most cost-effective option, it scratches very easily.
When you are choosing between hiking sunglasses, keep the material the lenses in mind, and for added comfort, check to see if that material is coated with anti-glare, anti-scratch resistance or water repellent material.
For the most part, the hiking sunglasses frames listed below are made with a variety of materials, including plastic, magnesium-aluminum, and even wood.
For hiking, you want a material that’s going to be comfortable to wear for hours. This is the area where you can really get down to the nitty-gritty details. Do you like plastic nose frames? Will they slide down your face once you start getting sweaty? Are the legs too tight? Will they cause headaches?
Most of the options listed are only available for purchase online, but we’ve made sure that each of them has a great warranty and easy return process since one size does not fit all.
Are Prescription Sunglasses Worth the Cost?
This is a common question when shopping for sunglasses, and it’s totally up to the consumer. If hiking in contacts is not comfortable, and you can’t find a pair of sunglasses that fit over your prescription glasses, prescription sunglasses are definitely worth the cost.
Unfortunately, we haven’t included any prescription pairs on our list, but your local optometrist should be able to assist you with the buying process.
Let’s be real. When it comes to sunglasses for outdoor activities, sometimes spending less offers more. These shades are going to be put through the wringer and potentially misplaced. We’ve put together a list of seven affordable pairs of sunglasses perfect for hiking.
The RIVBOS RB831 sunglasses have a plastic polarized lens with a mirror coating. The frames are made from a thermoplastic material called TR90, which is incredibly durable, flexible, and lightweight. The lenses offer 100% UVA & UVB filtering, as well as blue light up to 400nm. They restore true color, so you can see perfectly with them on. The RIVBOS RB831 sunglasses come with a protective box, sunglass strap, and a cleaning cloth.
There is a lifetime breakage warranty on the frame and lenses. For a replacement, you can contact RIVBOS directly, as they provide a lifetime after-sale service for all RIVBOS products. If you aren’t totally satisfied and just want to send them back, there is a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Duduma Sunglasses lightweight design and features ventilation that’s ideal for hiking and trail running. While the company doesn’t disclose the type of material the frames are made from, it is said to be flexible and unbreakable. They even claim that the sunglasses will return to the original shape, even after being bent, and the reviews agree with this claim.
The HD polarized lenses filter out 99% of reflected glare without the optical distortion or haze that can come from the conventional manufacturing techniques. Ultralight hikers and backpackers have agreed that these sunglasses are perfect because they aren’t heavy and can easily be replaced due to their price point. Duduma also offers a lifetime warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can return them for any reason if they aren’t exactly what you were hoping for.
Bircen’s polarized unisex sunglasses feature a lightweight magnesium-aluminum frame and durable composite, polycarbonate lens. The Bircen lenses are UV400, which means they provide protection from both UVA and UVB rays, making them perfect for outdoor activities like hiking. They’re also coated with an anti-breakage resin to keep your lenses safe.
For hikers hoping for a more custom fit, these sunglasses are for you. The nose pad is adjustable, and the spring arms provide stretch without the risk of them falling off of your face. These sunglasses come with a protective case and cleaning cloth that fits perfectly in any backpack. Like the above-mentioned sunglasses, Bircen provides customers with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Similar to the RIVBOS polarized sunglasses, these Bevi Sports Sunglasses are made from the same Swedish thermoplastic material that is incredibly durable and lightweight. This innovative Swiss technology and the soft nose pad provide you with ultimate comfort, as they can bend under pressure and contour to your face.
The polarized polycarbonate lenses provide 100% protection against UVA & UVB Rays without distorting color. Through the TriAcetate Cellulose (TAC) polarization process, seven layers are applied to the lenses which work together to protect your eyes from the sun and enable durability. Bevi’s return policy ensures that you will be provided with the best service and will repair or replace your sunglasses no matter what.
GoWood premium quality wooden sunglasses feature a unisex design that offers both functionality and fashion. The front frame is made of polycarbonate plastic, and the temples and legs are made of real walnut wood. While you might think that the wood details would weigh these glasses down, they’re actually lightweight and comfortable. Like the Bevi sunglasses above, GoWood lenses undergo a similar polarization process resulting in an ultra-clear, light and high-quality protective lens.
What makes these sunglasses extra special is that they use USA sourced natural walnut to help reduce the production of oil-based plastics. They arrive in a bamboo protective box and also come with a microfiber soft pouch which doubles as a cleaning cloth. GoWood prides themselves on excellent customer service and offers a 20% discount when you buy two or more GoWood products.
J+S Polarized Aviator Sunglasses offer a special multi-layer lens designed to filter and block intense horizontal glare through the application of a vertical filter embedded in the lens. This provides maximum comfort and improved visibility. These tough lenses are lightweight, scratch-resistant, and have high optical clarity making them an excellent choice for hiking and general outdoor activities. They also are 400UV rated and can block both UVA and UVB rays.
Made with lightweight metallic alloy, the J+S sunglasses are strong and durable. These sunglasses are built for comfort and flexibility and feature spring-loaded hinged legs and adjustable silicon nose pads. All J+S sunglasses come with a one year warranty on frames and lenses, as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee.
The Merry’s Unisex Polarized Sunglasses offer both style and comfort with the retro design and one-piece nose pad design. These lenses are polarized and provide 100% protection from UVA & UVB rays and balance colors and contrast that our eyes naturally perceive.
The legs are made of aluminum-magnesium making it both flexible and durable. Paired with the silica gel and aluminum temple end tips, these are guaranteed to be comfortable while out on the trails.