Hiking is not a risk-free activity, but the right sunglasses can reduce that risk.
When wandering the great outdoors, you can be prone to slipping, falling, or even animal attacks. But did you know that one of the biggest hazards to hikers is the sun? No, we’re not talking about sunburn or overheating, we’re referring to harmful UV rays that can permanently damage your eye-sight.
Whether it’s sunny or overcast: proper protection against UV rays and ultraviolet light is essential, not optional. That is exactly why we created this Best Hiking Sunglasses overview, navigating you towards the best glasses on the market!
In a hurry? Here’s the test winner after 10 hours of research:
And here’s an overview of the best hiking sunglasses on the market today:
A pair of high-quality hiking sunglasses should offer 100% protection against UV light, with no exceptions. However, a pair of sunglasses can offer even more protection, depending on the type of frame you chose. For example, there are impact-resistant, scratch-resistant frames that shield you from flying hazards and debris, which may be ideal for hikers on rocky slopes and mountaineering fun. You always have styles with interchangeable lenses, allowing you to switch between lens colors and even prescriptions, depending on the situation and hiking location. Plus, a pair of quality sunglasses should also reduce annoying glare and give you a more defined field of vision. Enabling you to keep track of all your surroundings with crystal clarity.
From streamlined, non-slip, ergonomic frames that can also be used for casual wear, to heavy-duty glasses with outstanding impact resistance for hikers that need the ultimate protection: there’s a match for every preference!
Discover our top-rated, best-value Best Sunglasses for Hiking below, and give your eyes the premium protection and crystal-clarity they deserve!
Best Hiking Sunglasses – Overview
Maui Jim Haleakala Sunglasses
The Maui Jim Haleakala sunglasses are ideal for hikers that need extra coverage, as the large frame comfortably wraps the face, providing optimal protection against the sun’s harmful UV-rays. The ultralight frame is made of Grilamid, a high-performance polyamide plastic with excellent durability. To create a comfy, non-slip grip, the frame features flexible plastic nose pads and extra padding near the ears. These nose pads and ear pads are adjustable, allowing you to customize the fit to your specific requirements.
The frame of the Haleakala sunglasses is great, but the lenses are simply outstanding. The Haleakala sunglasses by Maui Jim offer outstanding UV-protection against harmful UV-rays, whilst reducing the risk of glare. The lenses are made of MauiPure material, known for its crisp optics and fantastic scratch-resistance. MauiPure lenses feature PolarizedPlus2 and bi-gradient mirrors to cut 99.9 percent of glare and block 100 percent of harmful UV rays. And it gets even better. PolarizedPlus2 is a color-boosting technology that enhances colors and vibrancy levels, giving you a clearer, crisper, and more vivid image of your outdoor surroundings. The high-quality lenses also give blue light protection, reducing HEV-light (high-energy visible radiation) without removing visible blue colors.
Seal of Recommendation
The quality of the Haleakala sunglasses by Maui Jim is even confirmed by leading health authorities. Because this premium choice in hiking eyewear was awarded the Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Recommendation as an effective UV filter in March 2019.
Another plus is that the Maui Jim Haleakala sunglasses are available in 4 different lens types, allowing you to pick the style that suits the specific light conditions. For this review, we’ve highlighted the Bronze-colored polarized lenses, as they are perfect for everyday conditions ranging from sunny to overcast. Other options are rose-tinted lenses, with similar performance. High-transmission polarized lenses, which boost contrast and depth of field in various weather conditions. And grey-colored polarized lenses, ideal for wearing in direct sunlight/sunny conditions.
Are there any cons? Well, mostly the price: this is not a budget-friendly pair of hiking sunglasses. That said, we think it’s 100% worth the investment, due to the superior quality standard and fantastic UV-protection. Another minor con is that though the lenses are anti-scratch, this is not the most heavy-duty frame. Meaning for mountaineering and high-intensity wear, it may not be the most impact-proof eye protection. However, for everyday use and regular hiking, it’s simply one of the best sunglasses you will find on Amazon.
Tip: If you like the casual style of the Maui Jim Haleakala sunglasses, you may also like the Oakley Holbrook sunglasses. These highly-rated sunglasses also feature a trendy rectangular frame and are great for both sports and casual wear.
- Outstanding UV-protection
- PolarizedPlus2 Technology
- Compatible with Rx prescription
- Great for casual wear
- Protect against blue light
- Enhance color vibrancy
- Includes carry case and cleaning cloth
- Not for extreme conditions
Julbo Explorer 2.0 Cameleon Sunglasses
Whereas the previously listed Maui Jim Haleakala sunglasses are ideal for everyday wear, the Julbo Explorer 2.0 Cameleon Sunglasses are suited for those hikers that want maximum protection in harsh environments, such as when mountaineering or encountering tough terrains.
The frame material of the Julbo Explorer 2.0 is lightweight nylon. The silhouette features removable side shields, allowing you to upgrade your protection and eye coverage when the situation demands it. Further protection is offered by the flexible and shock-absorbing grip inserts on the bridge, which keep the glasses firmly in place, even when you’re on the move. Plus, the non-slip grip prevents the sunglasses from sliding off when things get sweaty. The Julbo Explorer 2.0 sunglasses are also compatible with helmets, as the adjustable temples allow you to customize the fit to glide under a helmet with ease.
Photochromic and adaptive
The Julbo Explorer 2.0 comes with polarizing, photochromic REACTIV Cameleon lenses. These photochromic lenses allow for optimal vision in multiple light conditions, the lenses automatically lighten and darken, based on your surroundings. For example, in bright light, the lens will darken to provide the perfect contrast; whilst in overcast conditions, the photochromic lens will lighten due to less intense light conditions. This means you always have the perfect pair of sunglasses at hand and don’t have to switch between different styles when the weather changes.
The high-quality REACTIV Cameleon lens is made of state-of-the-art NXT material. NXT is made from a thermal casting process, where the material is filled into a cast and allowed to cure for several hours, before being removed. The result is a material with outstanding durability, and fewer imperfections, with military-grade performance. NXT is super impact-resistant, which is why it’s even used in the windshields of US Apache helicopters. NXT lenses are up to 10 times more impact-resistant than glass lenses and plastic lenses.
Anti-fog, anti-glare, super clarity
Besides outstanding protection against UVA/UVB/UVC lighting, impact, and debris, the polarizing filter on the lenses helps eliminates glare. The perks don’t stop there. The Julbo Explorer 2.0 sunglasses also feature natural front-venting and an anti-fog coating on the lenses. These both help prevent interior condensation, keeping your field of vision clear and unobstructed.
Any cons? Again, just like the Maui Jim Haleakala its pricing may seem steep and is not very budget-friendly. Yet for the outstanding quality and durability of the Julbo Explorer 2.0 sunglasses, it’s once again worth the investment. If you want a heavy-duty, yet lightweight frame that is up to the task, even during high-intensity, high-risk outdoor activities: this may be your match. That said, for moderate hiking and leisurely backcountry adventures, it may just be a tad excessive in performance. And it doesn’t lend itself as well for casual wear as the Maui Jim Haleakala.
- Outstanding durability
- Removable side-shields
- Photochromic lenses
- Excellent peripheral vision
- Non-slip, ergonomic fit
- Ideal for mountaineering and extreme conditions
- Premium UVA/UVB/UVC light protection
- Military-grade NXT lens material
- Too heavy-duty for casual wear
- Not the most versatile
RIVBOS Polarized Sunglasses
The polarized RIVBOS sunglasses feature a frame made of flexible, lightweight thermoplastic. This frame is made to ‘move with you’, allowing for it to bend under pressure, without breaking. The style’s wraparound design and rubber grips also help keep the frame firmly in place. Creating an ergonomic and sturdy fit that’s comfortable enough for all-day wear.
UV-protection on a budget
The lens material of the RIVBOS sunglasses is triacetate cellulose polarized polycarbonate, also known as TAC-lenses. According to the manufacturer, this type of lens is formulated for optimal visibility and clarity. Besides 100% UVA/UVB/UVC protection up to 400nm, the lenses also eliminate reflected light and help restore true color, resulting in a vivid, perfectly contrasted image.
When you order these affordable hiking sunglasses via Amazon, you also receive some great bonus accessories. Included with every pair of sunglasses by RIVBOS are a hard-shell carry case with a belt loop, a cleaning cloth and pouch, a polarized test card, and a sunglasses strap. Granted, it’s not the most durable or heavy-duty, and will likely not last you for decades, but for the price listed, the polarized RIVBOS sunglasses do offer maximum bang for your buck.
Also good to know: the unisex RIVBOS sunglasses are available in various colors and lens colors/styles, including grey-lenses, black-lenses, yellow-lenses, and gray-lenses with Revo-coatings. Check out the full range on Amazon for more info about the different options.
- Very affordable
- Help restore true colors
- Adequate UV-protection
- Includes carry case and sunglasses strap
- Fantastic value-for-money
- Wraparound ergonomic fit
- Mid-grade quality
- More prone to damaging
- Not for extreme conditions
Each of the sunglasses listed in this overview is a great choice to keep you safe and shielded from harmful UV-rays and ensure crystal-clarity on your hikes. Which style is ‘the best’ for you, depends on where and when you plan to wear it, and how much you’re willing to spend. For a top-grade, all-round pair of sunglasses that are suitable for both hiking and casual wear, the Maui Jim Haleakala is a first-class choice. Durable, lightweight, ergonomic, trendy, and superb protection, it’s a versatile pair of glasses that should give you plenty of daily wear. Whether you take it on hikes or wear it to the beach: this comfy and stylish pair of sunglasses has got your eye protection needs firmly covered.
For hikers that want a more heavy-duty style that can tackle extreme conditions with ease, the highly-rated Julbo Explorer 2.0 could be the best match. This style is superior in its impact-proof, shatter-resistant protection, with military-grade materials to offer maximum safety. If the US-army uses this lens material for its fighter helicopters, you can be certain it’s up to scratch for any kind of hiking scenario. Or should we say: scratchproof for any hiking scenario. Though this style is excellent for mountaineering and sporty wear, it may be a bit too heavy-duty for casual wear, making it less versatile than the Maui Jim Haleakala. That said, when it comes to shielding your eyes from any kind of hazard, this Julbo Explorer 2.0 style does reign supreme.
For some hikers, the Maui Jim Haleakala and Julbo Explorer 2.0 may be a bit too pricey. That is exactly why the RIVBOS Polarized Sports Sunglasses could be ‘the best’ fit. This budget-friendly pair of sunglasses may be slightly less durable and lack some of the performance of the higher-end styles, but it still gets the job done to shield you safe from harmful UV-lighting. Plus, the polarized lenses help reduce glare, whilst helping restore true color. The result is a vivid, clear view of your surroundings, letting you enjoy the great outdoors in crisp detail. Cheap, yet very cheerful: the RIVBOS Polarized Sunglasses are a real contender for the best sunglasses for hikers on a budget.
Don’t stress: all 3 products in this Best Hiking Sunglasses overview offers excellent value-for-money, protection, and comfort. All you need to do is choose the style that fits your preferences best, but honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of them…
If we had to pick a winner, we’d invest our money in the Maui Jim Haleakala sunglasses. We like that though this style offers great protection against both UV-light and other hazards such as flying debris and dust, the frame is still stylish enough for casual wear. When spending this much on a pair of sunglasses, we want to be able to wear them anywhere, anytime; without looking out of place. Which is exactly what the Maui Jim Haleakala enables. It’s sporty, yet sleek, and keeps you safe and shielded both in nature and in urban landscapes. This style comes with many high-end perks, including PolarizedPlus2 Lens Technology – a color-boosting technology that enhances colors and vibrancy levels, giving you a clearer, crisper, and more vivid image of your outdoor surroundings. The broad, wraparound frame offers comfortable, all-day wear, whilst the non-slip grip ensures it stays firmly in place, even when you might get sweaty.
We also like that this style was awarded the Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Recommendation as an effective UV filter in March 2019, which serves as a testimony of its outstanding quality and protective properties.
Sleek style, first-class safety, crystal clarity: the Maui Jim Haleakala also gets our expert seal of approval as essential hiking gear!