20 Best Hiking Sunglasses for Summer 2020

You can always pick up a pair of sunglasses from a convenience store or gas station, but chances are these shades won’t even last for half of your hiking trip. Proper hiking sunglasses come with a higher price tag, but offer so much more in terms of protection, comfort, style, and all-around outdoor enjoyment.

Honestly, a proper pair of hiking sunglasses cannot be beaten and will give you that extra reliability you need while on your hiking trip.

Whether you have sensitive eyes or just want to improve your visibility in high-glare conditions, there are a few things you should make sure to consider when picking hiking sunglasses.

In this guide, we’ll review the best hiking sunglasses for all adventures for both men and women. We’ll also answer all the essential questions you need to know about polarized hiking sunglasses, sunglasses technology, and what makes hiking sunglasses different from regular sunglasses.


How to Choose the Best Hiking Sunglasses for You


best hiking sunglasses

Before we dig into hiking sunglasses, think about why you want hiking sunglasses. Are you looking for a new pair of glasses for hiking mountains, for trail runs, for snowshoeing and other winter activities? Will you be on the water? In which case you’ll want to protect against glare.

Maybe you’re looking for a style of sunglasses that can be practical on both the trails and in towns. Perhaps you want a budget pair of sunglasses, or maybe you have a large budget.

No worries if you’re overwhelmed – we’re covering all that for you here!

With my Spy Helm Hiking Sunglasses

What Are the Top Hiking Sunglasses?

A Quick Answer


Hiking SunglassesSpecsPrice
Smith Guides Choice 
best-hiking-sunglasses
UV Protection: 100 percent
Light Transmission: 13 – 20%
Lens Material: Techlite glass
Frame Material: Evolve castor-based polymer
Best Use: Casual Hiking
$259
Spy Optic Cyrus Hiking Sunglasses

UV Protection: 100 percent
Lens Material: Happy Lens
Frame Material: Grilamid
Best Use: Color Enhancing on Lakes
$160
Smith Lowdown 2
best hiking sunglasses
UV Protection: 100 percent
Lens Material: ChromaPop polycarbonate
Frame Material:  Evolve castor-based polymer
Best Use: Stylish Hiking/Lifestyle
$120
Ray Ban Andy
UV Protection: 100 percent
Lens Material: Polycarbonate
Frame Material:  Propionate nylon
Best Use: Sunny Adventures
$170
Oakley Two Face Sunglasses
UV Protection: 100 percent
Lens Material: Plutonite
Frame Material: Polycarbonate
Best Use: Water Activities
$200

Important Features of Hiking Sunglasses


Polarization

Polarization is the optimal choice for glare-cutting lenses. From shiny vehicles to bright surfaces of water, polarization will allow you to see color, shape, and contrast without needing to painfully squint. 

Although polarized lenses are typically more expensive, this investment can make a big difference in the long run for hikers and outdoor adventurers. Consider how many circumstances you might want to use your glasses in – from morning walks and road trips to days at the beach. 

I don’t hike in anything but polarized glasses. For one, they make everything from the trees to the water look better; the colors become more vibrant and detail crisper. I’m also out in the snow a lot in the winter, and on the water in the summer. Because of this, I need glasses that protect against the reflection I would get from the surface.

The fun thing about polarized hiking sunglasses is that the often come in fun colors. I have purple ones, because that is my favorite color and love how they look when I’m hiking.

Lens Types and UV Protection

UV protection is another essential quality in excellent hiking sunglasses. You might be more familiar with UV protection in terms of sunscreen, so think of sunglasses like sunscreen for your eyes. Fatigue and strain can occur when you’re out in the sun for a long time, and having UV protected sunglasses gives you more clarity and ease of vision. 

VLT is the most basic type of lens you can get in a sunglass and is there to reduce the amount of light on your eyes. Low VLT (Visible Light Transmission) is helpful in bright conditions as they act as a blocking of light getting through the lens.

Obviously you need sunglasses with UV protection. There are three types of YV lights you should know about. UVC (highest-energy UV rays), UVB  lower energy than UVC rays), and UVA (lower energy than UVB and UVC rays are words you’ll commonly see.

UVA and UVB are harmful to the eyes. Overexposure to the sun’s UVB radiation is associated with a number of eye problems, including snow blindness. Overexposure to UVA radiation has been linked to cataracts and may play a role in macular degeneration.

Wearing sunglasses is important to protect your eyes from all these harmful rays.

Frame Material

You’ll also want to look for a frame material that is both durable and lightweight t hold up in trekking conditions. Nylon is a common choice, as well as some plastic blends. It’s helpful to find scratch-resistant lenses to prevent damage from occurring when out on the trails. 

I would avoid any plastic only trekking sunglasses and stick to nylon frames as they are the most durable against harsh conditions.

Fit and Style

Before making a final purchase on your backpacking sunglasses, you’ll want to double-check the frame fit. Most websites give exact dimensions of the glasses; you can measure your facial dimensions to determine the distance between your eyes and from your temples to your ears to make sure you purchase a pair of sunglasses that will fit your face shape. 

It’s also important to choose the right fit and style for the activities you’ll be engaging in. If you’re biking or hiking you may want sunglasses that are larger and cover your side-eyes. If you’re running and hiking you’ll want to make sure your glasses stay in place comfortably and the nose doesn’t slip.

When I hike I barely notice my glasses are on my face, and that’s what you should aim for.

Lens Tints

Certain lens tints are better suited to specific qualities of light. If you know you’re more likely to need sunglasses while on a boat or in a car, you might want to consider this before just buying a pair that looks cool. Another great option is to look for a pair with auto-adjusting tints or the ability to swap out various lenses to accommodate for changes in light. 

Prescription Hiking Sunglasses

Do you wear glasses or contact lenses? You could consider purchasing a pair of prescription hiking sunglasses. I personally wear my glasses when I’m inside and then switch to contacts with regular sunglasses whenever I go outside.

If you don’t wear contact lenses regularly it’s definitely worth investing in a pair of prescription hiking sunglasses.

With my SMITH Lowdowns

The Best Hiking Sunglasses


1. Smith Guides Choice 


best-hiking-sunglasses
  • UV Protection: 100 percent
  • Light Transmission: 13 – 20%
  • Lens Material: Techlite glass
  • Frame Material: Evolve castor-based polymer
  • Best Use: Casual Hiking

These polarized lenses will do the job and are my favorite polarized hiking sunglasses on the market. Whether you’re out hiking or need to reduce the glare while driving to your next destination. The stylish and high-quality ChromaPop lenses keep everything in clear definition no matter the weather. 

The stainless-steel hinges are durable and won’t get sticky or difficult to move after just a few uses. To keep your glasses safe, these come with an integrated and detachable sunglass leash. 

Even with the shades on, color perception is still preserved thanks to the lens coatings. The glasses also have photochromic technology, which adjusts the tint based on the light conditions. 

Hikers will love that these sunglasses are protected by an anti-scratch treatment and are designed to be hydroleophobic. This means they repel grease and moisture, so even if they get mucky or wet, you can easily clean them up without leaving smudges or scratching the lens. 


2. Oakley Flak 2.0 XL Hiking Sunglasses


  • UV Protection: 100 percent
  • Lens Material: Plutonite
  • Frame Material: O Matter
  • Best Use: Multisport

Another great pair of backpacking sunglasses are Oakley hiking sunglasses. Keep the color and detail of your hike preserved in high-quality thanks to the Prizm Lens technology from Oakley. These sunglasses will cut the glare while keeping everything in high definition. 

The “rose” base lens color provides a soft background for the sunglasses while still allowing the natural colors to come through. Depending on what activities you need the sunglasses for, you can pick from a variety of models, such as Road Black, Field, Golf, and Trail Torch. 

You can also get full coverage in your peripheral vision thanks to the shape of the lenses and the High Definition Optics technology. Hikers will appreciate the durable yet lightweight design – plus, it’s possible to order repair kits and replacement parts in case you damage the sunglasses but don’t want to buy an entirely new pair.


3. Maui Jim Haleakala Hiking Sunglasses


  • UV Protection: 100 percent
  • Lens Material: MauiPure
  • Frame Material: Grilamid frame
  • Best Use: Hike to Town

These polarized wrapped sunglasses are available in both standard lenses and prescription lenses, so if you’re a glasses wearer, you can still don a stylish and high-quality pair of hiking sunglasses. 

Each pair is made out of a durable but lightweight frame to prevent uncomfortable sweat from building up around your nose and ears. They are also designed to stay in good condition over a long period, thanks to the anti-scratch coating applied to each pair.

The bronze tint of the glasses adjusts based on how much light you’re exposed to, which is perfect for the changing conditions you’re bound to experience while hiking. 

Each pair comes with a large tri-fold case and a cleaning cloth to keep your glasses safe while being transported in your backpack, car, or purse. The Haleakala hiking sunglasses also have a two-year warranty and free shipping and returns on the product, just in case something goes wrong.

 


4. Spy Optic Cyrus Hiking Sunglasses


  • UV Protection: 100 percent
  • Lens Material: Happy Lens
  • Frame Material: Grilamid
  • Best Use: Color Enhancing on Lakes

Bump up your “cool” factor points while hiking with these awesome spy-style sunglasses with a flat brow and wide-rimmed design. Not only are these glasses super stylish, but they’re also made of highly durable Grilamid material, which is perfect for the rough and tumble adventure life of a hiker. 

If you want extra protection against the glare, you can also opt for Trident polarization for the lenses to get rid of reflective light. Even if you go for the cheaper, non-polarized glasses, they still come with 100% UV protection, so your eyes won’t get fatigued over a long time. 

Depending on your own personal style, there are a few different colors and themes to choose from, including basic black or a soft spotted fade. Either way, these glasses are made for cool, all-day comfort, whether you’re out on the trails or just chilling at the beach with your friends. 


5. Smith Outlier 2 Hiking Sunglasses


  • UV Protection: 100 percent
  • Lens Material: ChromaPop Polycarbonate
  • Frame Material: Evolve castor-based polymer
  • Best Use: All-around pair of polarized sunglasses

Smith has taken their popular original Outlier sunglasses and upgraded to create a new and even better product! These are some of the best mountain sunglasses for hiking out there. The cool modern design and enhanced ChromaPop lenses come together to create the ultimate hiking sunglasses. 

For comfort, the Outlier 2 have expertly shaped nose pads to keep the glasses firmly in place, but not pinch or cause itchiness. Plus, the frame material is also eco-friendly, so you can support a sustainable product with your purchase. 

Like any good pair of hiking sunglasses, the Outlier 2 model has an anti-reflective and anti-scratch protective coating. This makes them more comfortable for your eyes and prevents any damage that might occur during your outdoor adventures. 

Depending on your own personal style, you can pick from a variety of frame colors, such as black, tortoise, and gray. The lenses also come in different tints, including turquoise and polarized brown. 


6. Oakley Two Face Sunglasses


  • UV Protection: 100 percent
  • Lens Material: Plutonite
  • Frame Material: Polycarbonate
  • Best Use: Water Activities

Another great option when looking for sunglasses for hiking are the Oakley Two Face. Filter out the reflective glare and keep your vision clear and crisp while hiking with the Oakley Two Face Sunglasses. These cool and modern looking sunglasses are comfortable and high-performance and built to last all your outdoor expeditions. 

A protective sunglasses sleeve case comes with your purchase, which helps prevent damage or scratching that might occur while the glasses are stored in your backpack. The sunglasses are made from a combination of O Matter – a lightweight but durable frame material – and aluminum on the lower ridge of the frame. 

There are various lens options to choose from, including Polarized and Iridium, and Prizm lenses that will enhance the color and detail of your vision while wearing the sunglasses. For a certain range, the Two Face glasses are also available for prescriptions, so even if you are a glasses wearer, you can still make use of these ultra-cool hiking sunglasses. 

You can also pick from different frame colors and lens tints depending on whether you want to go for a plain black or fun sapphire appearance. 


7. Ray Ban CHROMANCE


hiking-sunglasses-1
  • UV Protection: 100 percent
  • Lens Material: Plutonite
  • Frame Material: Metal
  • Best Use: Light Hiking to Town

Square-shaped, wide coverage, and super stylish, the Ray Ban CHROMANCE sunglasses take shades to a whole new level. Whether you’re out hiking in the woods or just relaxing at the cabin with your friends, these sunglasses will keep you from squinting and add some serious cool points to your game. 

CHROMANCE lenses feature six layers of antireflection treatment to prevent any glare from distracting you while you’re out on your adventures. This keeps color clear while protecting from the sharpest rays of sunlight. 

You can pick from five different colors for your Ray Ban sunglasses to fit your own personal style combined with the excellent anti-glare technology. When ordering a pair, you can count on free shipping and returns if something doesn’t quite work out with your sunglasses.  


8. Spy Sprinter


  • UV Protection: 100 percent
  • Lens Material: HappyLens
  • Frame Material:  Grilamid
  • Best Use: Biking and Hiking

Super stylish, super durable, and super comfortable, the Spy Sprinter sunglasses hit all the requirements and more for what qualifies for a good pair of hiking sunglasses. The frame has an upper-only design, allowing the glasses to fit more closely against your face and prevent any peripheral glare from distracting you while hiking. 

The Spy Sprinter glasses also have adjustable nose pads and temple tips, which help you fit the glasses to match your exact facial dimensions. It also prevents the Sprinters from slipping during hot and sweaty hikes. 

If you want to upgrade from the standard Spy Sprinters, you can get these sunglasses with 

Trident polarization to further prevent glare and reflective light. Interchangeable lenses are also available, so you can wear these glasses in a variety of light conditions. 

Even with the inevitable rough and tumble action that’s bound to occur with hiking, you can count on the durable Grilamid material of the frames to stay intact. The Spy Sprinters provide 100% UV protection to keep your eyes from becoming fatigued even after hours in the sun. 


9. Maui Jim Local Kine


  • UV Protection: 100 percent
  • Lens Material: Glass
  • Frame Material:  Nylon
  • Best Use: Biking and Hiking

The distinguishing feature of the Local Kine sunglasses is the thicker material around the temple to provide greater coverage and prevent side glare in your peripheral vision. Local Kine lenses are made with a thinner and lighter glass material, which provides a much crisper image while preserving strength and quality. 

You can select from a variety of frame colors and lens tints depending on your personal style and where you plan to use the sunglasses most. These sunglasses will hold up for long days and tough use on the trails over the long run. 

A large tri-folding case and a cleaning cloth come with the sunglasses to help you keep them safe and in top condition. The sunglasses are also protected by a two-year warranty, providing a bit more security when investing in a more expensive pair of sunglasses like the Local Kines.  


10. Costa Fantail


  • UV Protection: 100 percent
  • Lens Material: Glass
  • Frame Material:  Bio-based TR90 resin
  • Best Use: Water Activities

Designed to combat the harsh glare of the open water, the Costa Fantail sunglasses are a perfect option for fishers, kayakers, boaters, or hikers. The durable material and superior lens quality produce a pair of sunglasses that match the most adventurous lifestyles. 

The sunglasses are available in both glass and plastic lens varieties. A glass lens is the best option for higher clarity and detail, while a plastic lens will still provide excellent vision but also be a bit more durable and damage-resistant. 

Both plastic and glass lenses feature 100% polarization to cut the glare and 100% UV blockage to prevent your eyes from getting fatigued after hours in the sun. The Fantails also come with a case and a cleaning cloth to keep your sunglasses looking new and protect them while they’re stored in your backpack or car. 

The Costa Fantails can be purchased in seven different lens colors to accommodate every type of weather and use. Blue mirror lenses are perfect for open water, copper lenses are excellent for driving conditions, and gray is the ideal option for day-to-day activities. You can decide which lens variety will fit your lifestyle best. Pair that with your favorite frame color, and you’re ready to go! 


11. Smith Lowdown 2


best hiking sunglasses
  • UV Protection: 100 percent
  • Lens Material: ChromaPop polycarbonate
  • Frame Material:  Evolve castor-based polymer
  • Best Use: Stylish Hiking/Lifestyle

Not only is this stylish pair of glasses great for hiking, but they are also the best sunglasses for travel too! A new and modern adaptation of the original Smith lenses, the Lowdown 2 glasses have been upgraded with the latest technology and design to fit an active lifestyle. You can pick from a variety of frame colors and ChromaPop polarized lenses to create a pair of sunglasses that fit you perfectly.

To keep the Lowdown from sliding around or becoming itchy when you’re sweating, the glasses have comfortable megol nose pads. These provide extra cushioning and keep the sunglasses stable on your nose even when out hiking all day. 

The Lowdown 2s are hydroleophobic, which means they repel water and grease. This, combined with the anti-scratch treatment, makes it easier to keep the sunglasses from becoming dirty or getting smear marks when you try to wipe them off.  I also love all the styles they come in (I have three pairs) and find them among the best hiking sunglasses for women.


12. Smith Operator’s Choice Elite


  • UV Protection: 100 percent
  • Lens Material: Techlite glass
  • Frame Material:  Evolve castor-based polymer
  • Best Use: All Around Hiking

Another great pair of polarized sunglasses for hiking are the Operator’s Choice. When these sunglasses say “elite” in the title, they mean it! If you’re looking for a durable, stylish, and high definition pair of sunglasses for hiking, then look no further. 

These sunglasses come with ChromaPop+ polarized lenses and also meet the MIL-PRF-31-13 clause 3.5.11. In simple terms? These lenses are good. No blurriness, no glare, no reflective light – just a super clear visual experience while you’re out hiking, driving the car, or running errands on a particularly bright and sunny day. 

To prevent your eyes from becoming fatigued, the sunglasses are 100% UV protective. The extensive coverage of the lenses and the thicker frame material at the temples prevent any peripheral reflective glare from bothering you while hiking. 

The Choice Elite also deliver on the comfort score thanks to the megol temple and nose pads and the lightweight design. Since the frames are made from nylon, you can count on durable but non-cumbersome sunglasses. 


13. Ray Ban Andy


  • UV Protection: 100 percent
  • Lens Material: Polycarbonate
  • Frame Material:  Propionate nylon
  • Best Use: Sunny Adventures

With cool frame colors and stylish lens tints, the Andy sunglasses bring out all the best qualities of the Ray Ban glasses line. You can pick which of the five different models suits your lifestyle and personality best! 

Each lens type has its own special qualities. The green classic lenses preserve the natural qualities of light and color while preventing glare. Brown gradient lenses are excellent for driving conditions and have a softening effect on colors. Blue mirror lenses are exceptional for cutting glare, while gray gradient is perfect for daily use. Polarized blue flash lenses are great to use with extra shiny surfaces like water and reflections. 

The Andy sunglasses frames are made from nylon, making these sunglasses lightweight but very durable. This makes them perfect for adventurous lifestyles, including hiking, boating, fishing, or simply relaxing at the cabin with your friends. 


14. Spy Optic Frazier


  • UV Protection: 100 percent
  • Lens Material: Happy Lens
  • Frame Material:  Grilamid
  • Best Use: Snow Sports

Truly a champion among outdoor sunglasses, the Frazier sunglasses are high performing, not to mention super cool. You can wear them hiking, out at the cabin, or just relaxing at the beach with equal comfort. 

Each pair is made from Grilamid material, which is practically indestructible, so not to worry if you accidentally drop them while on your hike. Long-lasting pin hinges keep everything together and smoothly functioning even with time. 

For added comfort, the Frazier’s have rubber nose and temple pads, which keep the lenses in place even in hot and sweaty weather. This also makes them perfect for running and higher impact sports, since they’re less likely to slip and slide off your face. 

To prevent sun damage and eye fatigue, the Frazier sunglasses also feature 100% UV protection. Each pair is equipped with signature Happy Lens, which help to enhance color and clarity to create a more positive mood environment. 


15. Maui Jim Switchbacks


  • UV Protection: 100 percent
  • Lens Material: Polycarbonate
  • Frame Material:  Glass
  • Best Use: Island Hiking

The Switchbacks polarized shield sunglasses give you full coverage against blinding rays of sunlight as well as a super cool look. What makes the Switchbacks so awesome is that you can swap out lenses to fit a variety of light conditions. 

The standard neutral grey lenses give you excellent light reduction while preserving color and detail. If you’re looking for something to wear while driving, bronze may be the way to go. 

All the lenses are made from durable and scratch-resistant glass so you can count on a long performance life. They also have a thicker frame design on the temples to prevent any peripheral glare from distracting you.  

From sun rays and bugs to splashes of water, the switchbacks provide excellent all-around coverage and protection for your eyes. It’s the perfect solution for hikers looking for a stylish way to keep clear vision on long day treks under the sun. 


16. Costa Trevally


hiking-sunglasses-3
  • UV Protection: 100 percent
  • Lens Material: 580 polycarbonate lens
  • Frame Material:  Nylon
  • Best Use: Fishing

Thinner and lighter than average polarized glass, the Costa Trevally shades are the perfect solution for outdoor adventurers looking for sun protection. The lightweight design keeps them from feeling burdensome, but the sunglasses still maintain excellent strength and durability. 

The lenses feature encapsulated mirrors between layers of glass. They are also scratch-resistant and polarized to cut the glare. 

To account for a variety of light conditions, you can choose from different tints to the lenses. Copper is a perfect choice for driving and variable light, while green mirror is perfect for a high contrast lens. If you need a bit of protection during low light, you can opt for the sunrise silver mirror lenses for early morning or twilight conditions. 

If you’re already a glasses wearer, you can order the Costa Trevally with prescription lenses. Your sunglasses come with a protective case and a cleaning cloth to keep them safe in your backpack or travel bag when you’re not on the trail. 


17. Smith Pinpoint ChromaPop Sunglasses


best-hiking-sunglasses-11
  • UV Protection: 100 percent
  • Lens Material: ChromaPop
  • Frame Material:  Evolve
  • Best Use: All Around Hiking

I just got the Smith Pinpoints and now where them on all my hikes. They are some of the best hiking sunglasses for both men and women. What I love most is that they over all angles around your eyes with their design.

They are sporty enough to wear outside, but also look great on the street too. Their interchangeable nose pads are comfortable with megol rubber that is optimal for riding a bike or running.

Smith’s signature ChromaPop provides clarity and detail and will make all the colors around you look better. They’re excellent on the water, biking, running, trail running, and doing just about anything outside.


18. Spy Helm Hiking Sunglasses


  • UV Protection: 100 percent
  • Lens Material: Happy Lens
  • Frame Material:  Grilamid
  • Best Use: All Around Hiking and Lifestyle

I love Spy Optics so when we recently got our hands on a pair of Helm’s I was stoked. These hiking sunglasses are great for the trail and around town. They sit comfortably on the face and provide excellent UV protection. What I love most is Spy’s Happy Lens technology that truly makes all the colors around you pop.

Seriously, I rarely see lakes so blue and mountains so green with regular sunglasses, these guys make everything stand out so well! The Helm’s look great on both men and women and I frequently share them with my partner whenever he is looking for a change-up.


19. TOREGE Polarized Hiking Sunglasses


  • UV Protection: 100 percent
  • Lens Material: Composite lens
  • Frame Material:  TR90 frame
  • Best Use: Budget hikers

For those on a budget, the TOREGE hiking sunglasses are a great option. They are the best (and only) hiking sunglasses for under $100 on this list, but that doesn’t make them bad!

These come in a range of colors for both women and men. Their three interchangeable lenses mean you can always be comfortable no matter toe conditions outside. All the lenses offer UV400 protection and restore all the true colors you will want to see while hiking.

These bad boys aren’t cheap feeling and are durable enough to handle any cycling, running, racing, climbing, or fishing adventure you could throw at it. If you’re worried about the comfort you can rest assured as there are two soft rubber nose pads that keep in place through all activities. These are the best budget hiking sunglasses, and honestly, for the price, you can’t go wrong.


20. Smith Attack Max


  • UV Protection: 100 percent
  • Lens Material: Two ChromaPop lenses
  • Frame Material:  Frameless Front
  • Best Use: Cycling, Mountain Biking

Although the Smith Attack Max sunglasses aren’t technically hiking sunglasses these bad boys are great for cycling and mountain biking adventures so I knew I had to mention them. Built strong for both men and women these glasses fit perfectly with Smith Helmets. They come with an interchangeable lens for low light situations and an adjustable nose pad.

I love their frameless front look, and that they are equipped with Smith’s quick-release MAG interchangeable system. Seriously, if you’re going from hiking to biking there are no better sunglasses out there.

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