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Updated Aug 7, 2023 12:35 PM

Whether you are hiking, fishing, or camping, polarized sunglasses will protect your eyes. Polarized glasses eliminate the amount of glare that enters your eye. That makes for greater clarity, sharpness, and less strain on your eyes. The best polarized sunglasses also protect your eyes from errant lures and flies while fishing, and twigs and branches while hiking and working outside.

How We Picked The Best Polarized Sunglasses

I always wear polarized fishing sunglasses. The reduction of glare on the water allows me to see deeper down in the water column. That makes it easier to see fish, as well as underwater structure and weed beds. They also help keep my footing while wading rivers because I can spot and avoid slippery rocks and submerged limbs. And wearing sunglasses while fishing is as much about safety as it is about comfort. After you get hit in the face by a hook and realize how close it came to hitting your eye, you’ll never fish without polarized glasses again.

Fishing isn’t the only activity in which polarized glasses protect and help you. Any time you’re hiking or in a boat or kayak, the glare can bring on eyestrain and eye pain. Polarized glasses alleviate that. (If you’re going to be out in the ice and snow, consider a pair of glacier glasses instead.)

The Best Polarized Sunglasses: Reviews & Recommendations

Best for Fishing: Julbo Renegade

Best for Fishing

These are comfortable fishing sunglasses that will never let you down. The wraparound design blocks out light from the sides and maximizes visibility in the water—a key component for any angler. The Julbo Renegade sunglasses have a nose grip to make sure they stay in place, and the stylish design looks good on and off of the water.

Best Everyday: Ray-Ban Polarized Sunglasses

Best Everyday

The Ray-Ban polarized sunglasses offer one hundred percent UV protection for maximum safety against glare and harmful rays. The unisex glasses reduce glare from water, snow, and sand to improve visibility. The lightweight nylon frames offer comfortability, and a blue multilayer mirror finish offers even more glare reduction.

Best Costa: Costa Blackfin Sunglasses

Best Costa

Nobody may deal with more blinding reflective light than serious anglers. That makes a pair of reliable shades must-have outdoor gear. The Blackfin polarized sunglasses offer 100 percent UV protection and glare and blur reduction. They are designed specifically for fishing and help reduce reflective light for better visibility when staring down into the water to see fish or structure.

Best Smith: Smith Basecamp ChromaPop Polarized Sunglasses

Best Smith

Smith Basecamp ChromaPop sunglasses are perfect for adventurers that spend time outside and need sun protection. They are perfect for hikers, campers, and anglers. These glasses are polarized and UV protective to offer maximum clarity and detail. The glasses are designed with a coating to repel moisture and oil. The frames come with nosepads to help grip your nose and auto locking hinges to ensure the glasses stay secure.

Best Oakley: Oakley Half Jacket 2.0 XL

Best Oakley

The Oakley Half Jacket 2.0 XL sunglasses are great for someone looking for versatility and performance. The easy lens swap design allows you to change your lens for different situations and lighting. This feature is a huge advantage with this pair of shades. It is also equipped with earpads and nosepads for increased comfort.

Best Budget: Kaliyadi Polarized Sunglasses for Men and Women

Best Budget

If you tend to lose or break sunglasses, this is the pair for you. The Kaliyadi polarized shades come in both two and three packs with different colors and lenses. You lose durability in the frame design, but they will reduce the glare and improve visibility. You can keep backups in your vehicle or on your boat.

What to Consider When Choosing Polarized Sunglasses

One of the main features to consider is the lens tint and how much light comes through. Glasses that are too dark may make it harder to see in conditions that aren’t super bright, which will cause eye strain. There is no perfect universal lens, so think about where you’ll be using the sunglasses most often.

Another consideration is frame lens size. Besides aesthetics, frame lens size will contribute to how much light and glare enter your eyes. Obviously, the bigger the lenses, the more protection you get from harmful glare. 

It is essential to understand exactly what polarized shades do: Reduce glare off of reflective surfaces. Not all sunglasses protect against UV rays. Any activity or sport that involves water is where you will want a pair of good polarized shades. But they also come in handy when hiking and camping, and of course on beach trips. They make those days much more enjoyable.

FAQs

Q: What are polarized sunglasses?

Polarized glasses are a specific design of sunglasses built to reduce glare off of surfaces like glass, water, sand, and pavement. Harmful glare can impact visibility, clarity and be a detrimental strain on the eyes. Polarized shades improve visual comfort and overall color clarity and detail. Polarized lenses are ideal for people who spend much of their time outside and in direct sunlight.

Q: Which is best polarized or UV protection sunglasses?

The common opinion is that UV protection is more critical and necessary, while polarization is just a preference. While harmful UV rays can cause serious damage to your eyes, intense glare is also bad for you. The best solution for this debate is to buy a pair with both polarized and UV protective lenses. Some of the recommendations above have both, and are worth the price to protect your eyes from both glare and UV rays.

Q: Which brand of polarized sunglasses is the best?

This question is one of preference, but some of the best brands for outdoor enthusiasts are Costa, Smith, Julbo, and Ray-Bans. You can’t go wrong with buying sunglasses from any of these top-of-the-line companies.

Best Polarized Sunglasses: Final Thoughts

Sunglasses need to be kept clean in order to perform well. An optical lens cleaner and a good cloth will keep the best polarized sunglasses performing at their optimal level.

Why Trust Us

For more than 125 years, Field & Stream has been providing readers with honest and authentic coverage of outdoor gear. Our writers and editors eat, sleep, and breathe the outdoors, and that passion comes through in our product reviews. You can count on F&S to keep you up to date on the best new gear. And when we write about a product—whether it’s a bass lure or a backpack—we cover the good and the bad, so you know exactly what to expect before you decide to make a purchase.

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