Best Hiking Sunglasses for Men


Smith Frontman

Smith Frontman

Overexposure to sun light is not only harmful for your skin, but also for your eyes. Spending a long day out in the sun without sunglasses will cause most to have tired or slightly burning eyes – and the sun can indeed burn the eyeball and be a contributing factor to various eye issues such as cataracts. For hikers and mountaineers, it is also important to note that the potency of UV rays is enhanced by 4% for every 305 meters increase in altitude, which makes proper sun protection of the eyes a legitimate concern.

Below we have made a list of the best hiking sunglasses for men, but as most sunglasses are unisex in their design you might also want to check out our list of the Best Hiking Sunglasses for Women where most pairs can be worn by both genders. In the following you can read more about some of our selection criteria.

1. Buying Hiking Sunglasses – What is important?

Shape

The most important feature of hiking sunglasses is actually not the lenses, but the shape of the frame and sidepieces. The lenses are of course also very important, but as sun does not just come from one direction, it is crucial that the frames are shaped in a manner that protects your eyes from all directions; either the sunglasses should wrap all around to your temples or the sidepieces should be wide enough to block out most of the sun rays coming from the side.

Lenses

All lenses for hiking sunglasses should protect against 99% or 100% of all UV radiation – note that some manufacturers (especially European) label their sunglasses with “UV400” or “UV absorption up to 400nm” – which means that they block out 100% of UV radiation. Another aspect of sunglass lenses is how much visible light they let through; there are five categories of Visible Light Transmission (VLT) 0-4. Category 2 sunglasses are the most common and can be used for most purposes, but for hiking and mountaineering in open mountain ranges etc. we would recommend category 3 lenses which block out 80%-90% of the visible light. Category 4 lenses block out more than 90% of the visible light and are thus meant for activities in very bright conditions, such as glacier walking or high altitude hiking, but cannot be used for driving as they are too dark.

There are, however, various types of lenses with additional features that might be desirable:

  • Polarized lenses: Polarized lenses are simply coated with a special chemical film that helps to reduce glare from the sun’s reflection off water or other shimmering surfaces (snow, grass etc.). The chemical filter absorbs horizontal light waves but still allows vertical light waves to pass through. While polarized lenses help you to see objects more clearly, they are not a must. Several of the sunglasses in the selection below have polarized lenses.
  • Photochromic lenses: Photochromic lenses, also referred to as transition or light adaptable lenses, darken automatically when exposed to sunlight (UV radiation) due to UV-sensitive molecules such as silver chloride or other silver halides being incorporated in the lenses – which themselves can be made of glass, polycarbonate or plastic. Photochromic lenses take less than a minute to darken and somewhat longer to clear up. The reaction time is usually considered to be the greatest disadvantage of photochromic lenses and can diminish the otherwise pleasant idea to have a pair of sunglasses which adapt to the light conditions. Some of the models below come with photochromic lenses (optionally).

2. The Best Hiking Sunglasses for Men Review

Best Hiking Sunglasses for Men

Best Hiking Sunglasses for Men

  1. Julbo Stunt
  2. Oakley Fives Squared
  3. Smith Frontman
  4. Serengeti Bormeo
  5. Maui Jim Spartan Reef

Comparison

Feature/Product Julbo StuntOakley Fives SquaredSmith FrontmanSerengeti BormeoMaui Jim Spartan Reef
UV protection100%100%
100%100%100%
VLT category33332-3
Lens optionsLight Zebra Photochromic
Polarized3+
Spectron3CF
Polarized or non-polarized in multiple colorsPolarized ± ChromaPop in various colorsAll lenses are photochromic and polarizedPolarized in different colors
Eye size (width of lenses)2.4 in.2.1 in.2.4 in.2.6 in.2.5 in.
Eye size - Metric (width of lenses)62 mm54 mm61 mm65 mm63 mm
Bridge size (width between the lenses)0.67 in.0.79 in.0.67 in.0.63 in.0.63 in.
Bridge size - Metric (width between the lenses)17 mm20 mm17 mm16 mm16 mm
Temple size (arm piece length)5.2 in.5.2 in.4.9 in.4.9 in.4.9 in.
Temple size - Metric (arm piece length)133 mm133 mm125 mm125 mm125 mm
Julbo Stunt

Julbo Stunt

1. Julbo Stunt

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking
  • Climbing
  • Travelling
  • Everyday use
  • Mountain biking

 

The Julbo Stunt sunglasses have slightly bigger lenses and sidepieces than the unisex Julbo Coast mentioned in the list of the best hiking sunglasses for women. The Stunt sunglasses were developed specifically for mountain bikers, but many features will be highly appreciated by hikers and mountaineers as well – not least that they are lightweight, helmet-compatible and designed to stay comfortably on your head regardless of activity level. In terms of lenses, there are three options for the Julbo Stunt: Polarized VLT-category 3 lenses, the Spectron3CF lenses with a flash coating (also category glasses which let 12% of the visible light through) and the more technical photochromic Zebra Light lenses which change between categories 1 and 3 depending on the light conditions. The frame can be equipped with corrective solar lenses.

 

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Different options for lenses (including photochromic)
  • GripNose and GripTech design to ensure that they stay comfortably in place.

Cons:

  • /

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Oakley Fives Squared

Oakley Fives Squared

2. Oakley Fives Squared

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking
  • Climbing
  • Travelling
  • Everyday use

 

Fives Squared is one of Oakley’s bestselling sunglasses and there is a reason for that. The sunglasses have smaller lenses than some of the other models included in this selection, but wrap comfortably around your face to ensure that your eyes are protected from all angles. The frames of the Oakley Fives Squared come in various neutral colors and ditto lenses which are also available in polarized versions. A really great feature of Fives Squared model is that you can buy replaceable lenses to customize them to different needs and adventures (for instructions, see video below). Among the replaceable non-polarized lenses there are nine different colors to choose from, while there are five colors of polarized lenses. All Oakley lenses meet or exceed the testing standards of the American National Standards Institute when it comes to optical clarity and impact resistance.

 

Pros:

  • Sporty minimalistic design
  • Replaceable lenses available to customize sunglasses to your needs

Cons:

  • /

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Video

Smith Frontman

Smith Frontman

3. Smith Frontman

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking
  • Climbing
  • Travelling
  • Everyday use

 

Smith Optics is behind some of the most attractive sunglasses for outdoorspeople and the Smith Frontman sunglasses are no exception. The frames come in black, brown, grey and cameo but there are even more options when it comes to lenses. These include polarized lenses in the colors grey, brown and platinum, but also polarized lenses with Smith’s ChromaPop technology which makes colors appear clearer as it reduces color confusion (see more in the video below). The Smith Frontman sunglasses are also available in the Elite Tactical version with MilSpec Ballistic Protection that meets ANSI Z87.1 and MIL-PRF-31013 standard.

 

Pros:

  • Sleek design with wide sidepieces
  • Wide variety in lenses depending on your preferences and needs

Cons:

  • /

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Video

Serengeti Bormeo

Serengeti Bormeo

4. Serengeti Bormeo

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking
  • Climbing
  • Travelling
  • Everyday use

 

Serengeti Eyewear has set itself apart by including photo chromic lenses in all their sunglasses. The Serengeti Bormeo model is a part of the brand’s Sport division where functionality and style go hand in hand. The Bormeo sunglasses have relatively slim sidepieces but as the frame has a base curve of eight, they will wrap around the eye area flawlessly and protect your eyes from every angle. The frames are available in variations of black and tortoise and all come with Serengeti’s photochromic Polar PhD lenses. In the world of eyewear glass lenses are still the most optically clear lenses available, but the Polar PhD lenses were developed to imitate this clarity and come very close.

 

Pros:

  • Photochromic and polarized lenses
  • Base Curve 8 means that frames wrap perfectly around your face
  • Great clarity

Cons:

  • /

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Maui Jim Spartan Reef

Maui Jim Spartan Reef

5. Maui Jim Spartan Reef

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking
  • Travelling
  • Everyday use

 

For the uninitiated, Maui Jim might sound more like the name of a good cocktail bar but the brand was actually incepted in 1980 to create sun protective eye wear that would do justice to the splendid colors of the Hawaiian nature rather than impair them. For the same reason, all Maui Jim sun glasses have Polarized Plus2 lenses not to let glare disturb your vision and are made of actual glass (unrivalled optical clarity) rather than polycarbonate or plastic. However, it is not just any type of glass Maui Jim utilizes, but SuperThin Glass which is 20% lighter and thinner than standard glass while offering supreme scratch and solvent resistance. For this list, we chose the Maui Jim Spartan Reef sunglasses as the base curve 8 frame provides all-around protection of your eyes as well as good fit and comfort. The frames come in five colors; Gloss Black with grey lenses, Marlin, Redfish and Matte Tortoise Rubber with bronze High Contrast lenses and Mahimahi with Maui HT lenses. The latter are merely VLT-category 2 glasses as they let 25% of the visible light through and might thus not be suitable for hiking in very bright conditions.

 

Pros:

  • Supreme clarity due to polarized SuperThin Glass lenses
  • Base Curve 8 means that frames wrap perfectly around your face

Cons:

  • Price

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Best Buy!

Video

 

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