Sunglasses are some of the most underrated pieces of gear in the outdoors. Often broken, lost, or left behind, sunglasses are sometimes treated as if they’re more of a fashion accessory than a piece of safety equipment.
But, new research shows that wearing sunglasses is critical for our long-term eye health and vision, so maybe it’s time to get yourself a new pair of sunglasses that are both stylish and functional.
Unfortunately, there are a whole lot of sunglasses available on the market today, many of which just don’t hit the mark when it comes to actually protecting your eyes from the damaging effects of the sun.
To help you find a pair that’s great for your needs, we’ve made this ultimate buying guide to the best polarised sunglasses. Let’s get to it!
The Oakley Gascans provide ample eye protection in one stylish package. These sunglasses boast a wrap-around shape with lenses that are cut from a single lens shield, which helps maintain a single, continuous contour around your face for a perfect fit.
Plus, Oakley’s signature Three-Point Fit helps keep the lenses in alignment with your face for maximum protection as you move.
The lenses themselves are polarised with UV protection that filters 100% of all UVA, UVB, UVC, and blue light up to 400nm in wavelength (which is pretty darn small).
The Gascans’ grey lens colour works best in bright light conditions, but still only allows 16% of visible light transmission, to offer you the best combination of vision and protection in one pair of sunglasses.
- Three-Point Fit for all-day comfort
- Polarised grey lenses with 100%
- Protection against UV and blue light
- Wrap-around fit for maximum eye protection
Venture Eyewear Avalanche
Venture is known for making stylish and affordable sunglasses, and the Avalanche are no exception.
Designed in the classic square-frame shape, the Avalanches are meant to look good and protect your eyes, all at the same time.
Their lenses offer excellent UV protection and are rated as “category 3,” which means they allow only 8-17% of visible light to transmit through to your eyes. These lenses are polarised, too, so they help reduce glare as you hike in the mountains.
The best part about these sunglasses? They’re incredibly affordable, so you can protect your eyes without spending your entire life’s savings.
- Category 3 light protection
- Frames may be a bit flimsier than other options
Tifosi Vogel 2.0
The Tifosi Vogel 2.0 is a moderately-priced pair of sunglasses with a unique wrap-around frameless style.
The frames of the Vogel 2.0 are made from Grilamid TR-90, a high-quality nylon that’s incredibly resistant to UV and chemical damage.
The frames sit comfortably on the face, thanks to a set of adjustable ear and nose pieces made from hydrophilic rubber.
The Vogel 2.0’s lenses are made from polycarbonate, which is an excellent material for combining durability and quality.
These lenses offer UV protection and wrap around the face for increased protection in highly reflective environments.
- Wrap around style offers lots of protection
- Comes with a protective case
- Durable lenses feel nice on the face
- Frameless style isn’t for everyone
The Crankshafts are yet another great pair of wraparound sunglasses from Oakley. Their Plutonite lenses offer 100% protection against all types of UV light, as well as blue light, which is great for long-term eye health.
Plus, these grey lenses transmit only 10% of visible light, so they’re fantastic for really bright conditions.
Finally, the Crankshafts are made with Oakley’s proprietary O-Matter stress-resistant frame, which is durable enough to resist breaking, while being light enough for all-day comfort.
If you’re looking for a pair of sunglasses with a classy, but protective wrap-around look and some high-quality lenses, the Crankshafts might be for you.
- Polarised grey lenses allow only 10% of visible light
- O-Matter stress-resistant frame is highly durable
- Wrap around fit for maximum eye protection
Tifosi Slip Carbon
The Slip Carbon sunglasses are some of Tifosi’s lightest sunglasses for active use. They’re made from Grilamid TR-90, a nylon composite that’s super durable, lightweight, and resistant to chemical and UV damage.
In other words, these frames are designed to last, but they’re so light, you might forget you’re wearing them!
The Slip Carbons come with adjustable ear and nose pieces that are made from slip-free rubber so that you can find the perfect fit.
Their polycarbonate fototec lenses offer superior UV protection and polarisation that adjusts with the light conditions.
Plus, these lenses are vented, to help reduce sweat and moisture build up during high-octane activities.
- Incredibly lightweight frame
- Adjustable ear pieces
- Vented lenses
- Protective case included
- Frameless style isn’t for everyone
Polarised Sunglasses Buying Guide
Sunglasses might seem like simple pieces of gear, but there’s actually a lot of technology that goes into protecting your eyes from the sun. Here’s what to look for in polarised sunglasses:
Perhaps the most commonly asked question from would-be sunglasses owners is, “Should I get polarised lenses?” The answer? Well, it depends.
Polarisation helps reduce glare from reflective surfaces, such as water, snow, and pavement.
This glare can cause eye strain and eye fatigue, which can ultimately impair your vision.
Polarised lenses block out the horizontal waves of light that bounce off of these reflective surfaces while still allowing the vertical waves of light that come from the sun.
This is a great benefit when you’re on the water or driving, but can actually hinder your ability to see in other environments, such as in the winter, when being able to see the difference between snow and ice is essential.
Ultimately, whether or not you get polarised sunglasses is a matter of personal opinion, as many people only use polarised glasses while others avoid them altogether.
These days, many people choose their sunglasses based on how they look.
While style is important for sunglasses, it shouldn’t be the only factor determining what kind of sunglasses you buy.
Especially when you use your sunglasses for outdoor adventuring, it’s essential to have a pair with a functional shape to help block out damaging light from your eyes.
There are several different shapes out there, but the ones that will offer you the most protection will be the “wrap around” style. As you might have guessed front the name, “wrap around” sunglasses, well, wrap around your face.
This helps reduce the amount of light that can enter your eyes from the sides, which is a common cause of eye fatigue and headaches in marine, alpine, and snowy environments.
On the other hand, more stylish sunglasses, such as “Aviators,” sacrifice this eye protection in the name of fashion, so they’re not as functional in the outdoors.
At the end of the day, you can only wear one pair of sunglasses at a time, so it’s important to find the pair that’s right for you.
If we could only choose one of these polarised sunglasses and name it as the winner of our review, we’d have to select the Oakley Gascan for their highly protective design and high-quality lenses.
Ultimately, what’s most important is to choose a pair of sunglasses that’s best for your needs. Happy trails!