Best Hiking Sunglasses

Best Hiking Sunglasses

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This is a gear review about the Best Hiking Sunglasses 2024.

A good pair of sunglasses are worth the money. You need a pair of sunglasses that will protect your eyes and are comfortable to wear. If you are anything like me you usually buy cheap pairs that don’t last long and end up regretting it later. A good pair makes better sense.

I’ve done all the work for you, in this article we will be looking for the best pair of hiking sunglasses for 2024. I’ve included a mix of the best-name brands and best-budget sunglasses.

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How We Tested

All the Hiking Sunglasses in this review have been extensively evaluated and researched by the expert author who has more than 30 years of experience in Thru-Hiking, Backpacking, and Hiking. He also spent several years managing a hiking retail store. Some of the Sunglasses were purchased and some were supplied by the manufacturer for this review. They have been rigorously tested by the author in all kinds of weather. The research, testing, and experience of the author have combined to present this honest and unbiased review. Read the Review Policy for further details.

Best Sunglasses for Hiking 2024

The Best Sunglasses for Hiking in 2024 are:

Best Hiking Sunglasses 2024 – Overall

Oakley Flak 2.0

Oakley Flak 2.0 XL Sunglasses

Lens Width: 59 Millimeters
Lens Material: Polycarbonate

> Durable
> Full UV protection
> Unobtainium Grips
> Price

The Oakley Flak 2.0 XL Sunglasses are known for their durability, as they are made from high-quality materials. They are made with a stress-resistant and lightweight thermoplastic frame material. It also comes with Unobtainium nose pads and earlocks which help keep these sunglasses feeling comfortable to wear all day.

The lenses on these glasses offer 100% UV protection, including UVA, UVB, and UVC rays, while also protecting your eyes from blue light. However, with these sunglasses, you have a low light transition level of 11%. This means the sunglasses will be quite dark in low light and shadow conditions. 

The refraction on the Oakley Flak 2.0 glasses is very close to real life. Thus, how close up or far away objects are when wearing these sunglasses is much closer to real life. Some sunglasses change the depth perception sometimes, while the Oakley sunglasses keep things truer in real life.

They are rather expensive but also have the advantage of having replaceable lenses, if you scratch a lens you can buy another one rather than throw the sunglasses away. For those with a big head, they have the Oakley Flak 2.0 XL and there is also a more normal size, the Flak 2.0.

Overall, these are popular and one of the best sunglasses for hiking.

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Best Trekking Sunglasses for Mountaineering

Julbo Explorer 2.0

Julbo Explorer 2.0

Lens Width: 130 Millimeters
Lens Material: Polycarbonate

> Full UV protection
> Eye shields to reduce internal reflection
> Comfortable
> Anti-fog lens
> They don’t fit everyone

The Julbo Explorer 2.0 offers you the ultimate protection against direct sunlight and any harsh glares. The frame material is made of nylon and does its best to stop any light coming in, which could cause reflections, thanks to its side shields.

These are extremely comfortable to wear thanks to their soft nose grip and adjustable temples that adjust in every direction. This not only allows for comfort but creates a very secure fit. These glasses won’t be sliding off your nose. 

The Julbo Explorer 2.0 sunglasses come with photochromic lenses that are ideal for bright conditions. The lenses are polarized to reduce glare from any sunlight.

Finally, these lenses have an anti-fog and reflective coating so nothing can affect your vision while wearing these sunglasses.

Overall, these are one of the best backpacking sunglasses on the market.

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Best Sunglasses for Backpacking

Smith Lowdown 2

Smith Lowdown 2 sunglasses for backpacking

Lens Width: 55 Millimeters
Lens Material: Polycarbonate

> Good Quality Lens
> Comfortable
> Polarized lenses
> Full UV Protection
> The nose bridge can annoy some people when hot and sweaty

The Smith Lowdown 2 Sunglasses are right up there with some of the best backpacking sunglasses on the market in 2024.

They offer a couple of frame colors and lens styles. The Chromapop polarized lenses protect against all UV rays.

They also have the Smith Lowdown XL which is a larger size for this with a big head. There is also the Smith Lowdown Slim for those who have a smaller-sized head.

Overall, the Smith Lowdown 2 is one of the best sunglasses for backpacking.

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Best Quality Sunglasses

Maui Jim Haleakala

Maui Jim Haleakala

Lens Width: 66 Millimeters
Lens Material:

> Lightweight
> Scratch resistant Lenses
> Protection against all UV
> 2 Year Warranty
> Price
> No ear grips

The Maui Jim Haleakala Sunglasses are polarised so you can deal with bright and direct sunlight. Made with a nylon frame and with MauiPure and SuperGlass lenses.

The lenses have good scratch resistance and will protect your eyes from UV and blue light rays. While also being scratch and shatter-resistant, alongside water and oil protection. These are durable glasses that are still lightweight to wear. 

These sunglasses will offer protection from the sun and glare. They also come with a two-year warranty, in case you aren’t happy with your purchase. These are expensive sunglasses but you are paying for quality, which should last you a lifetime.

They lack the wrap-around style ear grips so these are not so good for mountain biking

Overall, these are very popular pairs of sunglasses that are often seen on hiking trails. A good buy.

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Best Hiking Sunglasses for Women

Maui Jim Starfish

Lens Width: 56 Millimeters
Lens Material: Glass

> Stylish
> Scratch resistant Lenses
Protection against all UV
> Durable and Lightweight
> Lens doesn’t go dark enough

The Maui Jim’s Starfish are similar to the Maui Jim’s Haleakala Sunglasses that we just mentioned above.

However, the difference between them is that the Maui Jim Starfish Sunglasses have been designed for women. Made with a nylon frame material, it is lightweight and easy to wear.

The polarized lenses have good scratch resistance and shield your eyes from any glare and all harmful UV and blue light rays. Also, the lenses come in a range of colors from HCL Bronze and Maui Rose, these are ideal for sunny and overcast conditions.

The Natural Grey lens color is perfect for direct and bright sunlight but some people think the lens is not dark enough. This is a durable pair of sunglasses that will protect you from all UV rays.

Overall, these are one of the best pairs of hiking sunglasses for women. They are durable, stylish, and have good-quality lenses.

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Best Eco Friendly & Sustainable Sunglasses

Ecoer Cycling Sunglasses

Ecoer Cycling Sunglasses

Lens Width: 60 Millimeters
Lens Material: Polycarbonate
> Eco Friendly
> Ultralight
> Polarized Lens & 100% UV protection
> Comfortable
> Reasonably Priced
> The lens could be a darker shade

The Ecoer Cycling Sunglasses are made from recycled nylon and fishing nets. Add to that the fact that Ecoer sunglasses are ethically made with workers paid a fair salary. Even though these are called cycling sunglasses I can attest that these make great hiking and backpacking sunglasses.

When I tried and tested these sunglasses my very first impression is just how lightweight they are. They are the lightest sunglasses in this review. The super lightweight frame and lens combine to make them feather-light. And they have a good fit and are comfortable.

There are three color choices and they all have polarized lenses. I like the plain black color that comes with a smokey grey lens. While I would have liked to have the lens a bit of a darker shade, it is not a deal breaker.

Overall, if you are looking for the best sustainable and eco-friendly sunglasses then the Ecoer Cycling Sunglasses are for you. And they are reasonably priced, especially in comparison to some of the name brands listed above.

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Best Polarized Hiking Sunglasses

Tifosi Swank Polarized

Tifosi Swank Polarized Hiking Sunglasses

Lens Width: Unknown
Lens Material: Polycarbonate

> Polarized Lens
> Lightweight
> Non Slip nose bridge
> Tifosi logo on the lens

The Tifosi Swank polarized hiking sunglasses are a good balance between cost, comfort, style, and quality. While there are many polarized hiking sunglasses, the Swank does everything well.

Not only is there a polarized lens, but a nose pad that prevents slipping which is helpful on sweaty days, or when you want to use these glasses for running.

While these are great sunglasses it would be good to remove the annoying Tifosi label on the lens itself. The brand name is on the arms of the glasses, that should be enough.

When choosing these sunglasses be aware that they also come in an XL size if you have a bigger sized head, and non-polarized which are about half the price of polarized.

Overall, the Tifosi Swank is a good pair of polarized glasses for hiking, backpacking, and more.

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Best Budget Hiking Sunglasses

Knockaround Fast Lanes Polarized Sunglasses

Knockaround fast lane sunglasses

Lens Width: 53 millimeters
Lens Material: Polycarbonate

> Unisex
> Lightweight
> Polarized Smoke Lenses
> Protection against all UV
> Budget Price Hiking Sunglasses
> Inside reflection on the lens

The Knock Around Fast Lanes Polarized Sunglasses do as they say. These sunglasses come with a matte black polycarbonate frame, which makes these sunglasses incredibly lightweight while wearing them.

These sunglasses have rectangular lenses that suit most face shapes. This pair of sunglasses come with polarized smoke lenses, which decrease the glare from any sunlight, but you still maintain the true color perception of what you are looking at.

These are the perfect sunglasses for a hiker on a budget. They may be on the lower/more affordable side of the market, but they are still durable and perfect for men or women.

With a UV coating on the lenses, these sunglasses will offer protection from harmful UV rays.

Overall, these are the best hiking sunglasses for those on a budget.

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More Quality Outdoor Sunglasses

Costa Fantail Polarized Sunglasses

Costa Fantail Sunglasses

Lens Width: 59 Millimeters
Lens Material: Polycarbonate

> Scratch and impact-resistant Lens
> Made from recycled materials.
> Comfortable
> Lifetime warranty
> These sunglasses are only available in a medium-frame fit. This can cause issues with people with larger or smaller heads.

The Costa Fantail Polarized Sunglasses are an eco-friendly option. Costa has partnered with Bureo Company, so the fishing nets that are recycled into pallets are then used to make the frames. These frames are available in a wide range of choices, depending on your style. 

Your choice of lenses is between either glass lenses or 580 polycarbonate lenses. The 580 polycarbonate lenses are the clearest lenses to find. They are also lightweight and have impact resistance.

580 lenses give you sharper and deeper colors. Compared to the glass lenses which are also very clear and also extremely scratch resistant too.

All the lenses are polarized which reduces eye strain. The Costa Fantail Sunglasses have nose pads for a more comfortable and secure fit. They come with a lifetime warranty.

Overall, these are one of the best environmentally friendly sunglasses that are comfortable and high quality and don’t forget the lifetime warranty.

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Julbo Shield

Julbo Shield Sunglasses

Lens Width: 130 Millimeters
Lens Material: Polycarbonate

> Choice of lenses
> Removable side shields
> Comfortable
> Protects against all the UV
> All made in a similar design

The Julbo Shield Sunglasses will provide you with a comfortable and secure fit. This is down to its soft nose pad and soft material placed on the end of the temples. These sunglasses also come with removable side shields, that stop any sunlight from reflecting on your glasses.

There is a range of lens options available to choose from. You have a choice of the spectron polycarbonate lenses or the REACTIV Photochromic lenses.

The spectron polycarbonate lenses are lightweight and are shock and scratch-resistant. Compared to the REACTIV Photochromic lenses that get darker or lighter in response to the light conditions that you find yourself in. These sunglasses also come with a cord attachment for extra security if it is needed.

Overall, these are a really good pair of hiking sunglasses.

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Other Hiking Sunglasses to Consider

Here are some hiking and backpacking sunglasses that I have either not tested yet or didn’t quite make the list:

  • Karun Outdoor Sunglasses: Karun Outdoor Sunglasses are the most eco-friendly sunglasses with polarized lenses. Made from recycled plastic pulled from the oceans around Patagonia. They will be added to the list soon.
  • Sunski Treeline: The Sunski Treeline are very popular backpacking sunglasses that will be added to the list once they have been reviewed.
  • Smith Parallel 2: The Smith Parallel 2 are another pair of awesome hiking sunglasses that will be added to the list as soon as they have been reviewed.
  • Ray Ban Original Wayfarer: The original and the classic Ray Ban Wayfarer sunglasses. Look cool in town or on the trail.
  • Spy Discord Lite Polarized: The Spy Discord Lite Polarized are tey to be reviewed and may be added to the list at a later date.
  • Oakley Double Edge: The Oakley Double Edge with the Prizm lens are my current sunglasses that I have been using for many years. They are discontinued and not so easy to find nowadays.

Hiking Sunglasses Comparison Table

BrandLens MaterialLens Width
Oakley Flak 2.0Polycarbonate59mm
Julbo Explorer 2.0Polycarbonate130mm
Smith Lowdown 2Polycarbonate55mm
Maui Jim HaleakalaGlass66mm
Maui Jim StarfishGlass56mm
Ecoer Cycling SunglassesPolycarbonate60mm
Tifosi Swank PolarizedPolycarbonateNot Specified
Knockaround Fast Lanes Polarized SunglassesPolycarbonate53mm
Costa Fantail Polarized SunglassesPolycarbonate59mm
Julbo ShieldPolycarbonate130mm
Source: Manufacturers

Lens Materials

Lenses are either made from plastic, polycarbonate, or glass, each has either pros or cons.

Polycarbonate is a high-quality plastic that is strong and impact-resistant. These lenses can scratch if you don’t have an anti-scratch coating but they are very durable, which is ideal when out hiking.

Plastic lenses are much cheaper and a lot less durable. In most cases, they are not the best lens material to take on a hike.

Glass lenses are the best in most cases but are often quite expensive.

When you are looking at what the lens is made from, you should be swayed more towards polycarbonate lenses or glass, more than just plastic. However, you should always make sure that the lenses come with coatings such as anti-scratch or glare.

UV Protection

UV protection is one of the most important things to have on your sunglasses. This is because UV light can be harmful to your eyes.

You want glasses that cover all UV protection, but especially UVA and UVB. However, having glasses that cover all three types including UVC is important. Especially as UVB is associated with skin cancer. 

Another lens to consider is the VLT lens which is the Visible Light Transmission Lenses. These lenses will reduce the amount of light that is transmitted to your eyes. It is all about reducing the harsh glare of the sun and direct sunlight hurting your eyes. 

Hiking Sunglasses with UV protection
Testing the Julbo Sunglasses with good UV protection which is important when hiking at high altitude

Polarized Lenses

Most of the hiking sunglasses on this list have polarized lenses, which is vital when hiking in snow or near large bodies of water. Polarized hiking sunglasses have lenses that filter out reflected light and reduce glare massively. By doing this, colors become a lot deeper and richer.

Polarized lens colors are a matter of preference, but certain colors are more useful for certain weather conditions. Some lens colors let more light or less light in. Grey is a pretty neutral color that works for a range of conditions. However, it is just personal preference.

polarized hiking sunglasses
Testing Oakley Hiking Sunglasses with polarized lenses which are the preferred option for hiking and backpacking


When it comes to the frames of your sunglasses, the most durable materials to look for are nylon or nylon and plastic. These frames will last you a lot longer and are suited for tough conditions. Ideally, you should look for nylon frames as they are more reliable for a hiker. There is even a pair of sunglasses in this review made from recycled nylon and old fishing nets.

As you will be wearing these sunglasses while hiking, you need sunglasses that are comfortable to wear. Some sunglasses will come with padding to make them easier to wear. While others will have adjustable features that create a more secure fit, while also making them more comfortable to wear.

Looking at the little details of the sunglasses you want to buy will help you understand if you can wear them on a long hike. You need to remember that you may sweat while on your hike, so you want to make sure that the frames stay on your face but also don’t dig in anywhere. 

You want sunglasses that mold to your face and are extremely comfortable to wear so that you actually forget that you are wearing sunglasses. 

Ecoer sunglass frames are made from recycled nylon and fishing nets
Testing the Ecoer Sunglasses with frames that are made from recycled nylon and fishing nets


In most cases, a quality pair of hiking sunglasses are not cheap. Especially if they are from a well-known name brand. While price often reflects quality, there are many affordable hiking sunglasses in this review that come in under $50 with a high-quality frame and good lens. But for the best sunglasses for backpacking and hiking you will pay over $200!


The Best Hiking Sunglasses in 2024 are:

Another one of the Best Hiking Gear Reviews from BikeHikeSafari.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Do I Need To Look For In Hiking Sunglasses?

Your number one priority, when buying hiking sunglasses, is that they will protect your eyes from all UV rays and blue light rays. The style and design of the sunglasses consideration should come after you have found a pair of sunglasses that will protect your eyes.

Are Polarized Sunglasses Better For Hiking?

Polar sunglasses are really a must-have for hiking, especially if you like hiking in the snow or near large bodies of water. Polarized sunglasses give you protection from direct sunlight and glare, which is created by snow and water.

Should You Wear Sunglasses While Hiking?

It is up to you, but we recommend that you do. They not only protect your eyes from the sun, but they help you see better in all weather conditions. These sunglasses can come with colored lenses that help you see things in more detail and more accurately, than not wearing sunglasses at all.

Best Hiking Sunglasses for Backpacking
Best Hiking Sunglasses for Backpacking

BikeHikeSafari Gear Review Process

The author, Brad McCartney from BikeHikeSafari is a small independent adventurer and outdoor gear tester who owns and runs

BikeHikeSafari is not part of a large blog network and is proudly independent. All reviews on this site are independent and honest gear reviews of outdoor products by the author.

The author, Brad McCartney is a very experienced triple crown thru-hiker, adventurer, and bike tourer having spent 1000s of nights sleeping in a tent and sleeping bag (Read more). He was a manager of an outdoor retail store and is very experienced in what is important when using and testing gear for reviews like this.

BikeHikeSafari will never receive any money for reviews and they do not accept sponsored reviews on this website. All the comments about the gear reviews are from the author based on his years of experience. Hope this independent review was helpful for you.

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About the Author:
Brad is an Australian who has completed the hiking Triple Crown after he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail. He has hiked on every continent (except Antarctica) and has cycled from Alaska to Ecuador. He is an expert on outdoor gear currently living in Chile.

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