If sunglasses are like water—a necessity on scorching days with relentless sunshine—then we’re here to quench your thirst. Below you’ll find reviews of the 12 best sunnies we’ve sported this summer. Whether it was hiking a 14er, mountain biking on a single track, relaxing by the pool or driving to work, we’ve put these frames and lenses to the test. With a range of styles and performance features this group of shades is guaranteed to protect your precious pupils while keeping your style on-point.
Oakley—Latch, with PRIZM lens
With the Oakley Latch there isn’t a compromise between style and function. PRIZM lenses adapt to your surroundings, enhancing contrast and color differently in every situation, and lightweight frames will have you forgetting these glasses are even on your face. One thoughtful detail from the designers at Oakley is a fold away hinge-clip mechanism that allows these shades to fasten onto your shirt without snagging or pinching. A classic keyhole bridge adds the extra pizzazz necessary to enhance your everyday style.
These lightweight shades from the masters at POC will give you the athletic look and performance you deserve. A sturdy, flexible grilamid frame with an open design promotes airflow making them ideal for whichever activity you choose. Hydrophilic rubber on the nosepiece makes certain the shades stay in place regardless of if the sweat starts dripping or rain starts falling and lenses from Carl Zeiss Vision provide outstanding optics. Available in various sport-specific styles, the Crave are ideal for the multi-discipline adrenaline junkie.
Enjoy the power of polarized lenses and high quality craft for under $60. We dig the Makani for its light weight and the general comfort it provides for all-day adventures. Sunski also now offers a lens replacement kit; for just $5 the company will send you a pair of new lenses, along with instructions on how to swap ‘em out for the old ones. Additionally, Sunski gives back via the 1% For The Planet initiative.
Oakley—Wind Jacket 2.0, with PRIZM lens
The Wind Jacket 2.0 is a big-lensed, snug-fitting pair of shades with heaps of retro flair. These puppies come with a removable strap and PRIZM lenses that enhance color and contrast. We sport ‘em while skiing, hiking, biking, paragliding, rollerblading, river-rafting, boating, you name it. Rest assured, they’ll remain squarely in place through all of these activities, block wind and generally enhance your experiences thanks to the power of PRIZM. The Wind Jacket 2.0 comes in six colorways.
Julbo celebrates its 125th anniversary by bringing back the fan-favorite Vermont Classic, an icon of mountaineering culture that dates back to the 1950s. Handmade in France, these glacier glasses utilize burly yet beautiful lenses along with a leather nose-piece and side shields to block out angry high-alpine UV rays. Rubber, hooked arms keep ‘em comfortably on your ears at all times. As part of the re-release, the “VC” now comes in three eye-catching colorways.
With a slimmed-down frame for those of us who get the “bug eye” look when we put on other styles, these Smith sunnies fit right and boast a modern twist on the classic Wayfarer. Chromapop polarized lenses cut glare and increase contrast for the best vision possible while you’re out and about and comfortable nose pads keep the Lowdown’s snug on your face even if things get rowdy.
Vuarnet has been making beautiful sunglasses since 1957, and through all the years, the Glacier Glasses have proved to be total champs. Made in France and once worn by none other than James Bond, these classics feature Vuarnet’s esteemed glass lenses that bode well with all light conditions, a sleek stainless steel frame, removable side cases and a natural leather cord.
The first thing you need to know about Sunski’s Taraval sunnies is that they’re $58. That’s darn cheap, folks, but don’t be fooled into thinking quality has been sacrificed; we’ve been testing these all winter, into spring, and are thoroughly impressed. Big ol’ lenses offer great peripheral vision, while a versatile mirror profile makes ’em wearable—and highly enjoyable—in varying light conditions.
Ideal for small-to-medium faces but suitable for anyone looking for a nice pair of shades, the Lyric is one mighty-fine offering from SCOTT. A thermal frame teams up with 100-percent UV protected lenses—topped off with a super-sleek matte finish that makes you look like a total badass.
Take it back to the old school with Bollé’s timeless 527s. These were cool in the ’80s and they’re arguably even cooler now—rocking a retro look with modern tech. Polycarbonate lenses provide amazing visual clarity, complemented by a lightweight and durable frame that looks stellar for both active and casual pursuits.
These sunnies literally just debuted and we’re sure they’ll make a splash in the outdoor community—particularly among skiers. Boasting a medium fit that suits most face shapes and a versatile look built for both the streets and the mountains, these are a great everyday, go-to offering. And, while we like everything about ’em, the lightweight profile, polarized lenses and dedication to sustainability (they’re made from plant-based materials) really seal the deal.
Built with a lifestyle focus but fit for skiing, hiking, biking, etc.—Spy’s Bellows are totally money. We’ve been loving these for one because they’re stylish, but also because they feature Spy’s renowned Happy Lenses—offering radical color and clarity. Best of all, they make you look like a modern blues musician who also shreds the gnar, which is a very good appearance.
Featured image courtesy of Mammoth Mountain.