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The Best Sunglasses for the Outdoors in 2024

CEO Tinh Phung
As outdoor enthusiasts, we at GearJunkie have had the privilege of testing numerous sunglasses in challenging conditions. After putting in the work, we have compiled a list of the best sunglasses for outdoor pursuits. So,...

As outdoor enthusiasts, we at GearJunkie have had the privilege of testing numerous sunglasses in challenging conditions. After putting in the work, we have compiled a list of the best sunglasses for outdoor pursuits. So, whether you're fishing, hiking, running, or simply enjoying the great outdoors, we have you covered.

Finding the Perfect Pair

When it comes to sunglasses, it's not just about style. We have carefully selected shades that combine timeless appeal with cutting-edge technology and design. Plus, if you're on a tight budget, don't worry. We have included some excellent affordable options as well.

Costa del Mar Fantail Pro Caption: Costa del Mar Fantail Pro - the best overall sunglasses for men.

Quality Matters

We understand that quality is vital when it comes to sunglasses. That's why we have considered both performance and durability in our selection process. Our lead tester has been using a pair of Costa del Mar Pescadors for over four years, and they still look and perform like new. Investing in high-quality sunglasses is a wise decision that will pay off in the long run.

The Best Sunglasses of 2024

Here are some of the top sunglasses for various outdoor activities:

  • Best Overall Sunglasses for Men: Costa del Mar Fantail Pro
  • Best Overall Sunglasses for Women: Smith Optics Wander
  • Best Budget Sunglasses: Knockaround
  • Best Sunglasses for Fishing: Bajío Vega
  • Best Sunglasses for Hiking and Backpacking: Ombraz Armless Sunglasses
  • Best Sunglasses for Running: Nathan Adventure Polarized Sunglasses

Sunglasses Comparison Chart Caption: Sunglasses Comparison Chart

How We Tested Sunglasses

At GearJunkie, we take our testing seriously. Our team of editors spends years understanding outdoor products, including sunglasses. We meet with brands, learn about the latest technology, and conduct extensive research to ensure the products perform as promised.

Our lead author, Sean McCoy, has been in the outdoor gear testing industry for nearly 15 years. His deep knowledge and experience have allowed us to provide you with reliable recommendations. We also had contributors, Mary Murphy, Adam Ruggiero, and Rachelle Schrute, who shared their testing notes for this article.

Tester putting on Oakleys Caption: Our lead tester putting a pair of Oakleys through their paces. (Photo: Sean McCoy)

Choosing the Best Sunglasses

If you're unsure about how to choose the perfect pair of sunglasses, we've got you covered. Here are some tips to consider:

Best Sunglass Brands

After extensive testing and research, our team agrees that Costa del Mar is the best sunglasses brand money can buy. Their lens quality and durability are hard to beat. However, we also recognize other top brands such as Maui Jim, Bajío, Smith, and Spy for their exceptional sunglasses. Roka, Julbo, Dynafit, Ombraz, and Shwood are also worth mentioning.

Frames, Lens Material, and Design

When selecting sunglasses, the material of the frames, lens material, and design play crucial roles. We have tested sunglasses made from various materials, including recycled plastic, titanium, and different types of plastic. Each material has its own advantages, so choose the one that suits your needs and preferences.

Polarized Lenses

Polarized lenses are an excellent choice for activities where glare reduction is essential, like fishing or watersports. They allow you to see more clearly and enhance color contrast. However, non-polarized lenses may be preferable for driving, as they don't cause strange aberrations with some windows.


While budget sunglasses can perform well, investing in higher-quality sunglasses is worth considering. The durability and optical quality of premium sunglasses are usually superior. That being said, our budget choices are still reliable and will last if well cared for.

For more information, consult our comprehensive FAQ section.

Sunglasses frame Caption: Sunglasses frames also play a vital role in style and performance. (Photo: Mary Murphy)

In Conclusion

Finding the best sunglasses for your outdoor adventures doesn't have to be a daunting task. With our carefully curated list and expert insights, you can make an informed decision. Remember, choosing quality sunglasses is an investment in your eyes and your overall outdoor experience. So, gear up, protect your eyes, and enjoy the great outdoors with confidence!

Editor’s note: This article was updated on January 16, 2024, to include detailed specifications, features, and a comparison table for each product.