When you are taking part in outdoor sports like running, hiking, and climbing, or even if you are backpacking, you need to protect your eyes from ultaviolet rays and other hazards, like strong winds or small insects that can be very annoying.
Are you looking for the best hiking sunglasses? We need to focus on polarized sunglasses that block UVA and UVB. At the same time, the glasses must be comfortable as well as rugged and durable, not to mention ready to protect you from dust and flying debris.
THE BEST OUTDOOR SUNGLASSES – OUR LIST:
- Oakley Radarlock Path
- Julbo Explorer
- Oakley Half Jacket
- Julbo Shield
- Smith Attack
- Julbo Vermont Classic
- Spy Optics Cutter Mate
- Duduma Polarized
- Huba Sports
THE BEST SUNGLASSES FOR HIKING. TOP END
OAKLEY RADAR EV
USE: Hiking, running, cycling, winter sports
The Oakley Radar EV features resistant polycarbonate lenses in a modern design. These sunglasses are perfect for any outdoor sport because they are really lightweight, durable, comfortable and flexible.
Advantages: In my opinion, this model stands out from its competitors due to its excellent optics. I also like how well the frames fit to your face. They don’t move throughout your activity.
Disadvantages: The surface of the lens is quite delicate, so you’ll need to be careful to avoid scratching them. Also, I’ve noticed that the perimeter vision at the top could be improved.
JULBO EXPLORER POLARIZED
LENSES: Spectron 4
USE: Mountaineering, winter sports
The Julbo Explorer hiking sunglasses provide ultralight eyewear protection and resistance. This model comes with removable side shields to protect you from lateral rays and intense glare, and removable sweat blocker on the upside of the frame.
Advantages: You can get these sunglasses with prescription lenses by contacting Julbo. I find that the side protectors are really useful on sunny days. They offer a great panoramic view.
Disadvantages: Sometimes, they fog up a bit. I feel that they press a bit in the cheek area.
OAKLEY HALF JACKET 2.0 POLARIZED
LENSES: High definition
USE: Running, cycling, outdoor sports
The Oakley Half Jacket 2.0 features comfort, protection and durability with an awesome interchangeable lens design. These sunglasses provide high optical clarity lenses, a tight grip and great impact resistance.
Let’s compare this model with the Oakley Radar. As you can see, these sunglasses have smaller lenses, which means less protection. In fact, this model features two lenses, while the Oakley Radar has a larger lens that covers both eyes. On the other hand, this model feels more comfortable in the nose area.
Advantages: They have a casual design, so you can use them in the city. They are lightweight.
Disadvantages: The frame has a plastic feel. I expected better quality considering they are Oakley brand glasses.
LENSES: Spectron / Reactiv
USE: Trekking, snow sports
The Julbo Shield mountain sunglasses provide maximum protection in extreme conditions. They feature a comfortable and solid grip and adjustable temples. In addition, they have side wings to add coverage and extra protection.
If you compare this with the Julbo Explorer, you’ll notice that both models include side sun shields. However, the Jubo Shield doesn’t feature upper sweat guards. Regarding the shape of the frame, the Julbo Shield has an urban design, and, in my experience, feels more ventilated (less foggy). You have the flexibility to choose the lens type that best suits your preferences. Options include Spectron, Chameleon, Reactiv, and more.
Pros: In my experience, the lenses rarely fog up.
Cons: The only thing I don’t like is the price. It costs almost twice as much as the Julbo Explorer.
RUGGED SUNGLASSES – MID RANGE
SMITH ATTACK CHROMAPOP
LENSES: Chroma Pop
USE: MTB, cycling, mountain, multi-sport
The Smith Attack differentiates itself from the rest by being specially designed for speed and competition. The set comes with interchangeable Chromapop lenses which adapt to changing light conditions. It features a lowered-brow design for increased ventilation. As a result, these are great sunglasses for running and biking!
Pros: Chroma Pop lenses are my favorite. The truth is, they allow you to see everything clearly, regardless of the weather conditions. The magnetic lens changing system is the best I’ve ever seen. It takes a few seconds to change the lenses of the glasses.
Cons: This model is quite expensive.
JULBO VERMONT CLASSIC
LENSES: Spectron 3CF
The Julbo Vermont features a combination of traditional style and modern performance. They include old-school leather side covers, a leather nosepiece and pre-curved flexible temples for a tight hold behind the ears.
Pros: I love the vintage style of these sunglasses. They efficiently protect you from the wind when it blows sideways. Another aspect that I really appreciate is the rubber coating on the temples, which effectively prevents them from slipping or moving out of place.
Cons: Occasionally, a slight glare seeps through the holes in the side shields. Furthermore, it’s worth noting that these glasses aren’t polarized.
SPY OPTIC PIPER
BRAND: Spy Optics
LENSES: High Def
USE: Everyday use, outdoor sports, cycling
The Spy Optic Piper outdoor sunglasses have a modern and casual design with great features like polarized lenses, a resistant plastic frame and a ventilation system to prevent lens fogging.
Advantages: They have a great design that feels comfortable. The temple tips don’t press into your face.
Disadvantages: The glasses are easily scratched.
BEST SUNGLASSES FOR HIKING. BUDGET
The Polaroid sunglasses are pretty well built. They feature polarized lenses with UVA and UVB protection in a sleek, durable and ultralight design. This model has gained popularity among a wide range of athletes due to its versatile nature. It’s perfect for running, hiking, golf, cycling, skiing and many others. Additionally, you’ll have the option of choosing from a diverse selection of colors to suit your personal style.
Advantages: They are quite lightweight, and the sunglasses seem quite scratch-resistant. The truth is, they perform really well for the price.
Disadvantages: I wish they were a little darker for more sun protection.
LENSES: UV400 filter
The Duduma sunglasses are another great option for those looking for affordable, polarized sunglasses with pretty decent performance. They are designed for cycling and running, but can also be worn for many adventure sports.
Advantages: They have a good price and are ultra-light.
Disadvantages: The overall construction doesn’t convince me. Durability leaves a lot to be desired.
BRAND: Hubo Sports
USE: Running, cycling, outdoors
The Hubo Sports use interchangeable polarized lenses and an ultra-flexible frame. While they fall into the mid-range category of sports glasses, they deliver pretty good performance given their price point. Moreover, their aerodynamic design makes them an ideal choice for avid runners and cyclists seeking optimal performance during their workouts.
Advantages: They are quite cheap and lightweight. Also, they adapt very well to the shape of the face.
Disadvantages: Personally, I’m not fond of their overall design. You can tell they are made in China, which might raise concerns about their durability and longevity.
A few things to consider before buying outdoor sunglasses:
TYPES OF SUNGLASSES FOR HIKING AND OUTDOOR SPORTS
Polarized lenses have the ability to reduce glare and protect your eyes. This is especially important for water sports and hiking in bright-colored and snowy areas. I’d always recommend that you get polarized lenses for better protection.
Photochromic lenses are designed to automatically adjust to changing light conditions and intensity. They get darker on sunny days and lighter on cloudy, dark days.
SHAPE AND COMFORT
A good pair of sunglasses should protect against the sun, wind and small debris. At the same time, they should offer 100% protection against UV rays.
Although the quality of the lenses is important, the shape of the frame is another factor to consider. The sun’s rays affect our eyes from different angles. Therefore, depending on the activity and type of exposure, our sunglasses should adapt to the shape of our faces and cover the eyes properly.
Some models include elements for extra protection. This is the case with side protectors for lateral rays or upper protectors that prevent sweat from getting into the eyes.
We all have different facial features, so it’s not always easy to find a model that perfectly suits one’s face. The nose piece is among the most crucial parts of sunglasses. Look for comfortable models that are equipped with soft, ergonomic nose pieces.
If you are a hiker or adventure lover, you will probably hit your sunglasses against branches or drop them at some point. Anti-scratch lenses will better withstand all those situations.
Glass lenses offer the best optical clarity and great scratch resistance. They are usually more expensive and not so impact-resistant.
Polyurethane lenses provide great optical clarity while offering awesome impact resistance. Because of its great performance, they tend to be quite expensive.
Polycarbonate lenses also provide good optical clarity and impact resistance. They are cheaper, although they are less scratch-resistant.
Plastic lenses tend to have decent optical qualities, especially for their price. They are the cheapest option and are generally very lightweight. However, keep in mind that they are easily scratched and not as resistant to impacts as other materials.
You don’t want to invest your money into a new pair of sunglasses that falls apart after a few days. A good frame must be resistant, comfortable and flexible. Metal frames have good designs, although they can be somewhat uncomfortable. On very sunny days and depending on the model, they may get too hot.
Nylon alloys and other high-strength plastic materials provide comfort, strength and great overall performance.
When we practice outdoor sports, we must take care of our eyes. Many people think that sunglasses should be worn only on sunny days. This isn’t always the case. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., but that’s not the only time when the sun’s rays affect our eyes. The sun’s rays can easily pass through the clouds, so it doesn’t matter whether the sky is cloudy or not.
Glare and reflections are especially annoying. Therefore, it’s advisable to keep a pair of sunglasses on hand if you’re planning to be near snow, water or clear terrain such as sand. At high altitudes, near the equator or in countries with a weakened ozone layer (like New Zealand), the effects can be even more damaging.
WHAT EXACTLY ARE UV RAYS?
Ultraviolet (UV) rays are located just past the violet part of the visible light spectrum. Sunlight is its main source. There are three types of UV rays:
– UVA rays have longer wavelengths and pass easily through glass. After several studies, some doubts still exist regarding whether UVA rays are harmful to the eyes.
– UVB rays are the most dangerous rays. That’s why it’s important to use sunglasses and sun block. Sunglass lenses must block these rays.
– UVC rays don’t reach the Earth because our beloved atmosphere blocks them.
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Hi, I’m Miguel; Adventure traveler, scuba diver and hiking lover. I have been traveling the world for the last 12 years and I hope my experiences, photos and hiking routes inspire you to travel the world too.