Best Hiking Sunglasses of 2024

Best Hiking Sunglasses: Person holding a pair of hiking sunglasses in Austria

In this post, we'll take a look at:

Choosing the best hiking sunglasses for your upcoming expedition from the array of options can pose a challenging task.

It’s vital to take into account factors such as weight, UV protection, lens quality, durability, and comfort.

Our guide is designed to simplify this decision-making process, guiding you through the maze of choices, and ensuring you select the optimal lightweight sunglasses that align perfectly with your needs.

Let’s get started.

What Are the Best Hiking Sunglasses?

  1. Most Ultralight: Julbo Fuse (0.77oz/22g)
  2. Best Overall: Smith Optics Parallel Max 2 (0.98oz/28g)
  3. Best Value: Uvex mtn perform (1.16oz/33g)
  4. Photochromic: Tifosi Optics Tyrant 2.0 Fototec Sunglasses (0.84oz/24g)
  5. Budget Option: Knockaround Fast Lanes Polarized Sunglasses (0.81oz/23g)

1. Most Ultralight
Julbo Fuse

Julbo Fuse

Key Specs


Weight: 0.77 ounces (22 grams)
Price: $$

PROS


✅ Ultralight

✅ Fog resistant

CONS


❌ Relatively expensive

For protective eyewear with sleek style, the Julbo Fuse sunglasses deliver. Their polarized Spectron lenses filter glare effectively, making them a sharp choice for outdoor activities near water or in bright terrain.

Lightweight curved metal frames and soft Grip Tech sleeves on the temples enhance all-day comfort. The secure yet flexible fit protects vision without pinch points or excessive pressure.

During testing, we found them suitable for varied weather conditions from sunny hiking to rainy commutes. Colors and designs also suit active lifestyles in or out of the wilderness.

Our one critique is that some may find the fit slightly snug, so trying on is advised. Otherwise, these sunglasses marry protection, design, and performance adeptly.


2. Best Overall
Smith Optics Parallel Max 2

Smith Optics Parallel Max 2

Key Specs


Weight: 0.98 ounces (28 grams)
Price: $$$

PROS


✅ Replacable lenses

✅ Durable

✅ Various colorways available

CONS


❌ Some configurations are expensive

The Smith Parallel Max 2 offers standout performance for active outdoor enthusiasts. Its enlarged size provides exceptional coverage while Carbonic lenses deliver crystal clear optics. Hydrophilic megol pads ensure a secure, comfortable fit.

During our testing, we found the lightweight yet durable TR90 frames kept pace with rugged trails and adventures. Flexible hinges allow easy one-hand operation. A minimal aesthetic complements any style.

Areas we appreciated include the adjustable sizing for customized comfort and the impact-resistant lenses protecting vision on long excursions. However, some configurations prove to be quite expensive.

Our only misgiving relates to the limited lens options included, pushing additional purchases.

Nevertheless, for functionality, protection and style in one package, the Parallel Max 2 delivers winners. Sunglasses don’t get much better for maximizing activity.


3. Best Value
Uvex mtn perform

uvex mtn perform hiking sunglasses

Key Specs


Weight: 1.16 ounces (33 grams)
Price: $$

PROS


✅ Relatively affordable

✅ Various lens options

CONS


❌ Temple arms could be longer

The Uvex mtn perform sunglasses offer style and sun protection for outdoor enthusiasts. Featuring Uvex’s supravision technology and easy-clean coating, these shades are available in on-trend shield colors to complement any outfit on your adventures.

During testing, we found the adjustable soft nose pads and cold-formable earpieces provided a comfortable, customizable fit for various facial shapes. The impact-resistant lenses protected vision effectively in bright conditions without fogging.

Areas we appreciated included the 100% UV filtration up to 400nm, lightweight yet durable design, and the fact that they provide good value for the price.

There were a couple small issues we noticed. The temple arms (the part that goes behind the ears) were a little short for some people. During really sweaty activities, the nose pads sometimes felt loose on our noses. But overall these sunglasses worked well for most of our testing.

However, for the price, these sunglasses balance functionality, coverage and looks nicely and represent a good value option.


4. Photochromic Option
Tifosi Optics Tyrant 2.0 Fototec Sunglasses

Tifosi Optics Tyrant 2.0 Fototec Sunglasses

Key Specs


Weight: 0.84 ounces (24 grams)
Price: $$

PROS


✅ High quality

CONS


❌ Not for large faces

For outdoor adventures with changing light, the Tyrant 2.0 excels thanks to its adaptive Fototec lenses.

During testing, we found they smoothly transitioned between different lighting without needing to swap lenses. This constant protection allowed us to pursue activities from dawn to dusk.

The snug fit and adjustable nose pieces kept the sunglasses securely in place during varied exertion. Features like the nose bridge added comfort on long journeys.

Areas we appreciated included the smooth photochromic performance and capability to handle everything from bright sun to dim forest shadows. The polycarbonate lenses also withstood rugged use without distortion.

Our only concern is the limited sizing, fitting smaller to medium faces best.

However, for reliable eyewear that automatically adjusts to conditions, these sunglasses deliver outstanding performance.


5. Budget Option
Knockaround Fast Lanes Polarized Sunglasses

Knockaround Fast Lanes Polarized Sunglasses

Key Specs


Weight: 0.81 ounces (23 grams)
Price: $

PROS


✅ Affordable

✅ Comfortable

CONS


❌ Lenses feel a bit flimsy

These Knockaround sunglasses are great for bright, active days outdoors. Their rectangular lenses fit most face shapes well. This helps reduce eye strain from the sun’s rays and glare.

When we tested them, we found the fit is comfortable and secure. But also lightweight enough to keep up with energetic activities. The small logos on the frames provide a little style too.

Things we really liked included how well the polarized lenses work. They block UV rays very effectively. Also, these glasses offer good quality at a really low price. While some of us noticed reflections inside the lenses or that the arms bend easily, most thought they held up to rougher use.

Perfect for sunny adventures, these shades handle everyday wear very capably. Plus, the carrying case is a nice bonus for price-conscious buyers. Overall, Knockaround found a good mix of looks and functionality at an affordable price point.

How to Choose the Best Hiking Sunglasses

When gearing up for outdoor adventures, it’s easy to overlook the need to protect our eyes. Hiking sunglasses play a crucial role in shielding us from the sun’s harmful UV rays, which can cause eye fatigue and discomfort during extended hikes.

Look for sunglasses with “100% UV protection” to ensure they block both UVA and UVB rays effectively.

Advanced lens technologies, like polarized lenses, photochromic lenses, lens coatings, and different tints, offer clarity and eye protection:

  • Polarized lenses – Cut glare off water/snow, improve contrast.
  • Photochromic/transition lenses – Automatically change tint, convenient.
  • Anti-reflective/anti-scratch coatings – Reduce glare, improve vision range.
  • Mirrored/colored mostly fashion, limited benefit.
  • Amber or rose tints – Enhance low light details, comfortable.

Sunglasses are categorized based on their lens tint and visible light transmission (VLT), so choose accordingly for your hiking conditions:

  • Light tint (20-30% VLT) – Sunny days, not low light.
  • Moderate tint (20-50% VLT) – Most activities, varied light.
  • Dark/photochromic (8-18% VLT) – Snow, water, reflective surfaces.
  • Amber/rose lenses – Low light, forests, dawn/dusk.

The frame design matters too; opt for sunglasses with full coverage and wide arms to guard against sunlight, insects, and trail hazards.

Your hiking sunglasses are more than accessories; they’re essential allies for your outdoor adventures. If you want to become an expert in selecting the right pair, check out our comprehensive post on the topic.

FAQ

How to choose the best hiking sunglasses?

When choosing sunglasses for sport activities like hiking, trekking, backpacking or mountaineering, look for a wrap-around style frame that protects your eyes from all angles of UV radiation. The lenses should be impact-resistant for rugged outdoor use. Consider stylish yet durable frames that are also comfortable for long periods of activity. Features like adjustable nose pads and non-slip temples ensure a snug, secure fit during vigorous movement. Polarized lenses reduce eye strain from glare. Choose shades suitable for varied light conditions from partly cloudy to bright sun.

Are polarized lenses necessary for hiking sunglasses?

While polarized lenses are not absolutely essential, they do provide significant benefits for hikers by reducing eye strain caused by glare. Polarization filters out reflected glare off surfaces like water, sand, snow, and man-made structures so hikers can see clearly in a variety of lighting conditions. This is especially useful when trekking near large bodies of water or snowy landscapes. Polarized lenses also enhance color contrast and clarity of vision, aiding with navigation and hazard detection on the trails. Therefore, polarized lenses for hiking sunglasses can make outdoor activities more comfortable and improve safety in certain environments.

How to prevent fogging in hiking sunglasses?

There are some things hikers can do to stop their sunglasses from fogging up when they’re wearing them. Make sure the glasses fit snug but comfortably against your face so hot air doesn’t get trapped. Look for frames with ventilation holes so air can flow through. Apply an anti-fog spray made for glasses before each use. When hiking in cold weather, exhale down instead of up to prevent moisture from hitting the lenses. Bring a microfiber cloth to quickly wipe away any fog that does form. Using these simple tricks can help keep sunglasses clear for better vision while trekking in different climates and activity levels.

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