Hiking is creating quite the name for itself across the globe as a significant amount of people begin to embark on this fun adventure-themed outdoor activity. In fact, according to the AllTrails app, hiking was up 50% in 2020 – with gyms closing, people confined to their homes, and no running races, this comes as no surprise.

Research also supports this statistic as hiking has continued and is set to continue as more avid hikers continue exploring new trails. And while many people are finding a passion for walking through great landscapes, they are also becoming increasingly aware of the need for certain hiking essentials.

Becoming a regular hiker means being well-equipped with all of the hiking equipment you will need before you embark on your next adventure. This includes having good quality sunglasses for your hike.

Check out our post on the best sunglasses for the beach.

Why you need the best hiking sunglasses

The truth is that we tend to get all of the stuff we need so that our feet are kept safe, we stay hydrated, wear a cap, smother ourselves in sunscreen, and yet we forget one other crucial safety measure – sunglasses.

Our eyes are often neglected when it comes to hiking. Being out in the blazing sun (even in the winter months) can do more damage to your eyes than you think, which is why hiking sunglasses have some pretty complex technology.

We’ve listed some of the best sunglasses for hiking and trekking that will offer both protection and functionality throughout your next hiking expedition.

At a glance: Here are a few of our best hiking sunglasses

A few frequently asked questions about sunglasses for hiking

Before we get into the best hiking sunglasses for women and men, let’s first answer a few frequently asked questions that people have when they are on the market for good quality hiking sunglasses.

Do I need sunglasses for hiking?

Short answer: yes.

In fact, we cannot stress enough how important sunglasses for hiking are. In fact, they are a necessity, not a luxury.

Whether you are hiking, fishing, backpacking, biking or doing watersports, a quality set of sunglasses is essential. Not only will they protect your eyes from the sun, but they also offer excellent protection from dirt, sand, snow and other ‘things that tend to find their way into your eyes during active outdoor activities.

Are polarized sunglasses better for hiking?

When light reflects off a surface, such as snow or water, the light becomes ‘polarized’. Polarized sunglasses filter out this reflected light and reduce glare.

Polarized lenses, therefore, are an absolute must for hiking, especially if you’re hiking near large bodies of water. Polarized lenses give the wearer added protection from direct sunlight as well as glare from water or snow.

What makes a good pair of hiking glasses?

Have you ever been on a hike with the wrong pair of sunglasses? Whether they’re sliding down your nose, constantly fogging up, or not giving enough protection from the glare – the wrong pair of hiking sunglasses can really ruin your hike and negatively impact your eyesight later on.

Here’s what to look out for in a good pair of hiking and outdoor sunglasses:

  • Polarized lenses: Polarized sunglasses are essential for hiking – don’t ever buy a pair that aren’t polarized!
  • Anti-fog coating: Foggy lenses block your views – while not always an issue with hiking, it’s an excellent feature to have in a pair of outdoor sunglasses.
  • Weight: When you’re wearing sunglasses for a prolonged time, you want a pair that is lightweight for added comfort.
  • Non-slip fit: Look for sport- or hiking-specific glasses designed to stay in place – especially if you are prone to getting sweaty on your face.
  • Durability: You don’t want brittle sunglasses that are likely to experience severe wear and tear. Look for frames made of durable materials and lenses that are impact- and scratch-resistant.
  • UV protection: Make sure to get sunglasses that provide UV protection. If you want to get really fancy, then get sunglasses with photochromic (transition) lenses that lighten and darken based on your surroundings. These are great for hikes where you’re moving between shaded forest areas and open landscapes.
  • Aesthetics: While it shouldn’t be the first thing that you look for, you still want to like the look of your sunglasses. There are enough high-quality sunglasses available that still look good – so you should be able to find a pair that suits your style.
  • Price: Don’t always go for the cheapest option; invest in a quality pair that will not only serve you better on the trails but will also last for years to come.

Can I get prescription glasses for hiking?

If you need to wear prescription glasses in your everyday life, you can still get prescription glasses for hiking. Many manufacturers and retailers of sunglasses now provide you with the option to provide your prescription details, and they’ll custom make a pair for you. Ryders Eyewear and Abaco both offer this option.

Alternatively, you can find a pair of “clip-on” lenses or a large pair of “fit over” glasses that can be worn over the top of your regular prescription glasses while hiking.

So, what are the best sunglasses for hiking?

High-quality, comfortable eyewear while hiking can make all the difference between an enjoyable hike, and one filled with discomfort. Choose wisely when buying sunglasses for trekking.

Here are some of the best outdoor sunglasses:

Abaco Polarized

Abaco makes a few excellent hiking sunglasses are reasonable prices. While they’re not the most technical glasses, they are great for the average hiker.

Their lenses are polarized and have 100% UV protection and 2mm polycarbonate lenses. They are also layered with triple-action scratch resistance and anti-reflective inner lens coating.

Specs:

  • Lens material: Polycarbonate
  • Polarized: Yes
  • Price: They range from $60 to $100

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Abaco Polarized sunglasses
Polarized Abaco sunglasses

IRONMAN IM2002 Black

These IRONMAN® sunglasses are great for completing races as well as for hiking. The square, wraparound style has a rubberized black plastic front frame with stainless steel detailing on the temples and polarized lenses to reduce glare.

Specs:

  • Lens material: Polycarbonate
  • Polarized: Yes
  • Price: $20.95

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Sunglasses for hiking
IRONMAN IM2002

Pello – Standard by Ryders Eyewear

Ryders Eyewear offers some great sunglasses for all outdoor and sports activities. We love this particular style as it provides both the ‘sporty’ and ‘casual’ sunglasses look.

Its anodized magnesium aluminide frame is lighter and stronger than aluminium, and its wire core temples and nose pads can be adjusted to sit perfectly on your face. It’s also impact resistant and offers 100% protection from UVA, UVB and UVC rays, and harmful, high energy light to 400nm. That’s a lot of protection!

Specs:

  • Lens material: Polycarbonate, hydrophobic
  • Polarized: Yes
  • Price: $149.99

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Hiking sunglasses by Ryders Eyewear
Hiking sunglasses by Ryders Eyewear – Pello

Jackson – Standard by Ryders Eyewear

Another great option from Ryders Eyewear, the Jackson-standard gives a more classic, casual look. It’s also impact resistant and offers 100% protection from UVA, UVB and UVC rays and harmful, high energy light to 400nm.

This pair is an excellent option for women’s hiking sunglasses.

Specs:

  • Lens material: Polycarbonate, hydrophobic
  • Polarized: Yes
  • Price: $149.99

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Hiking sunglasses by Ryders Eyewear
Hiking sunglasses by Ryders Eyewear – Jackson

Ray-Ban Folding Wayfarer

These aren’t your regular sunglasses for trekking but are perfect for the traveler who loves to indulge in a bit of hiking on their trips (and not have to carry a specific pair of sunglasses with them for it).

The unisex polarized Ray-Ban Ray Ban Folding Wayfarer are practical, stylish, sturdy, and can easily be folded away to pack into your backpack.

They’re the perfect backpacking sunglasses!

Specs:

  • Lens: Glass
  • Polarized: Yes
  • Price: $211

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Sunglasses for traveling
Ray-Ban foldable sunglasses

Oakley Flak 2.0 XL

You’ll find some great Oakley hiking sunglasses, but the Oakley Flak 2.0 XL is a great all-around option for hiking sunglasses. It’s lightweight, comfortably hugs your face, and the frame has a rubber coating for extra grip.

The polarized lenses are optimized with high-definition optics and patented XYZ Optics for razor-sharp clarity. The lenses are also coated with black iridium, which provides a mirror-like reflection giving you more protection.

Specs:

  • Lens: Polycarbonate
  • Polarized: Yes
  • Price: $128

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Oakley hiking sunglasses
Oakley hiking sunglasses

Julbo Explorer Mountain Sunglasses

Julbo Explorer Mountain Sunglasses are designed for extreme conditions. These are for the hikers tackling the big mountains like Mt Kilimanjaro and Everest Base Camp – they’re a bit of an overkill for average hiking.

The frame material is made from nylon, and the lens material is made from polycarbonate. As for the polarized lens, the Julbo Explorers have full-spectrum UV protection, an anti-reflective coating, and brown color.

Specs:

  • Lens: Polycarbonate
  • Polarized: Yes
  • Price: $229

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Julbo Explorer sunglasses for hiking
Julbo Explorer sunglasses for hiking

GOMER – Polarized Smoke Black

Pretty much all the sunglasses from Bomber Eyewear are perfect for hikes where swimming might be involved – whether it’s a dip in a waterfall, lake, or river. Their glasses are all floatable – meaning you won’t lose them if you forget to take them off before jumping into the water!

Their sunglasses are designed for optimal comfort and performance with lightweight, durable materials. They are both polarized and offer 100% UVA & UVB protection.

We love the Gomer Bomb polarized smoke lens sunglasses for its clean lines and retro style for a fun, bold look.

Specs:

  • Lens: Polycarbonate
  • Polarized: Yes
  • Price: $62 (use the code 15BOMBER for 15% off)

Buy now

Gomer Bomb from Bomber Eyewear
Gomer Bomb from Bomber Eyewear

Remember that your eyesight is a major part of any outdoor activity, especially hiking. In the same way that you work to keep other parts of your body safe and protected, make sure to offer your eyes the same courtesy. You won’t regret it!

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  • Travel Dudes

    I'm sure you've had similar experiences I had whilst traveling. You're in a certain place and a fellow traveler, or a local, tip you off on a little-known beach, bar or accommodation. Great travel tips from other travelers or locals always add something special to our travels. That was the inspiration for Travel Dudes.