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If you spent a lot of time outdoors and in the sun, polarized glasses are a must-have during the day. The special coating on the lenses helps to fend off the sun’s glare, which is really useful if you spend time on the water or on the slopes, where the sun reflects off the surfaces of each — though they’ll help to reduce it in pretty much any outdoor setting.
Most importantly, they help to protect the retinas of your eyes from sun damage (just be sure to choose a pair with UV 400 or higher). Keep in mind that cost can definitely affect quality with this purchase: Cheaper lenses tend to be not as clear as more expensive ones, to the point where it hinders your ability to see your phone’s screen.
We’ve done the groundwork to round up the best polarized sunglasses out there, from ones with classic style to those that will make the world around you a little brighter. We’ve also picked some that are sport-specific, so your eyes will be protected on the slopes and on the water. Read on for our picks.
Best Overall: Ray-Ban Clubmasters
Ray-Ban is one of the most classic eyewear brands, and its iconic shapes —the Wayfarers, aviators, and Clubmasters — have been beloved for decades now. For frames that are a little different than the norm, the Clubmasters are still hip enough to be of-the-moment stylish while classic enough to be a staple piece in your wardrobe for years to come. The frame can be dressed up for a day out or down for a hike in the woods, and the glasses are extremely well-made, with a light aluminum frame and lenses that ward off scratches and breakage far better than those $20 shades from the gas station.
There are quite a few frame-lens combinations to choose from — just make sure you select ones that specifically say they’re polarized. Best of all, they suit a range of facial shapes, so if you’re getting them as a gift, the odds are very much in your favor.
Best Budget: Sungait Classic Half Frame Clubmaster Sunglasses with Polarized Lens
If you like Ray-Ban’s classic Clubmaster styling but don’t want to lay down $100 plus on a pair, see Sungait’s take on the iconic shape. They're a great budget pick and still polarized, which is rare for less than $20. But make no mistake: These are no cheap knockoffs. They’re made from a lightweight aluminum alloy frame, which keeps them light but durable, and the UV400 lenses provide 100 percent protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
Customers say that the polarization on the frames is great, providing really sharp vision while reducing glare — plus, Sungait’s scratch-resistant lenses keep scrapes from showing up. We also love that they come with a four-in-one repair tool, just in case something gets a bit bent out of shape.
Keep in mind that this frame is best for those who have a smaller-than-average face or might not have a prominent nose bridge — if yours is a little larger, it might be a good idea to explore a bit more.
Best for Women: Guide’s Choice ChromaPop Polarized sunglasses
Although there are plenty of fashion-forward polarized sunglasses options out there, women wanting something that will hold up on adventures in the outdoors should look to Smith. The famed optical company’s Guide’s Choice ChromaPop Polarized sunglasses are a great option for active women (and the best-rated ones on REI), thanks to a wrap fit that hugs the head, but a wide fit at the temples so they don’t pinch.
The construction holds up, too: Megol nose and temple pads, as well as hidden Italian spring hinges and impact-resistant carbonic lenses, are marks of quality in the optical world. Wearers love the lenses’ performance, too: Clarity, contrast, and sharpness are great in all manner of light and weather conditions. Although the shape is sportier, they’re stylish enough to wear on days spent out in the city (which, frankly, at this price point they should be). These are great for heads that run a little larger in size.
Best for Men: Ray-Ban New Wayfarer Polarized Sunglasses
Navigating men’s polarized sunglasses can be tricky: So many of them are super-sporty or outdoorsy, and while that’s great for a lot of guys, it doesn’t match everyone’s wardrobe. Ray-Ban Wayfarers are about as iconic as you can get, and the frames flatter almost any face at almost any age. Stylish but practical, the New Wayfarer has smaller lenses than the vintage model, softer edges, and a reduced tilt (which helps to block the light better), but keeps the same durable plastic, great tint, sharp polarization, and crystal lenses that make the brand not just stylish to wear but incredibly practical, too.
The glasses also deliver 100 percent UV protection, and users report that their eyes don’t feel as tired as they normally would be after hours in the sun. There are plenty of frame-lens combinations to play around with, so whether you’re after the classic green lens with black frame or something a little more unique, there’s a combo out there for you.
Best Oakleys: Oakley Flak 2.0
When it comes to Oakleys, you either love them or you hate them — and if you’re Team Oakley, you’ll want to look no further than these, which have the much-coveted five-star rating on Amazon. These sunglasses are made for rugged activity and adventure, and they hold up in the roughest conditions, thanks to the durable frames, great lenses, and a three-point fit that keeps glasses on the face (and stops the glasses from getting crooked).
Users also love how lightweight the glasses are; although they’re sturdily built, they don’t weigh down the face, and the glasses’ curvature does a great job of blocking sneaky rays of sunlight. (The only downside is some users report that, due to said curvature, the glasses can be difficult to fit in overhead sunglass compartments in some vehicles).
Speaking of, the UV protection on these is top-notch, too: The glasses filter out all the UVA, UVB, and UVC rays that can harm eyes for 100 percent protection. The frame is standard-sized, so these glasses should fit most.
Best for Fishing: Costa del Mar Fantail Sunglasses
Costa del Mar sunglasses are known among fishermen as being some of the best you can wear on the water, and the Fantains have proved extremely popular. The 100 percent polarized lenses are particularly great for fishing (we suggest the blue mirrored ones for maximum effect in harsh sunlight), thanks to their great ability to get rid of glare, which in turn helps keep eyes feeling rested and alert. Some anglers say that the blue helps them see fish better under the water too.
The sunglasses are handmade, but they’ll hold up through all your fishing adventures, thanks to the rugged 580P polycarbonate and high-tech bio-nylon they’re made from, so there’s no worrying about scratches or impact-related woes with these.
They fit close to the face and they’re also lightweight, so they don’t interfere with your activity. (We also like the rubberized coating on the temples to help them grip even better.)
Take a look at other product reviews and shop for the best fishing sunglasses available online.
Best for Kids: Pro Acme TPEE Rubber Flexible Kids Polarized Wayfarer Sunglasses Age 3-10
Little eyes are just as important to protect as grown-up eyes, so make sure your child’s protected from the worst effects of the sun with polarized lenses. We love this junior take on grown-up Wayfarers (kids love emulating their parents, after all) — and all the more so because of the rubber-like soft silicon construction, which makes for a flexible fit, and other “unbreakable” materials Pro Acme says it uses in their manufacture — and multiple parents rave about just how invincible these glasses are.
The fit on these is sized for active kids, so these will stay on small heads whether they’re out joining the adults at brunch or having adventures on (and off) the trail. The sun protection on these is great, too, with complete protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
The glasses come with a case and cleaning cloth, so they’re easy to care for after a busy day out. They run a little big on smaller kids but tend to fit the 6-plus age range well.
Best for Skiing: Smith Optics Hudson Tactical Sunglasses
Smith Optics are some of the best eyewear skiers and snowboarders can buy — but it’s not like your only choice is a bulky pair of snow goggles. If you want something a little lighter on your face, the Hudsons are a great pick — and it’s not just due to their military-grade construction. They were originally designed for members of the military and police, though wearers love them for on the slopes, on the cycling trail, and on the water, thanks to a snug fit that wraps around and stays on the head. The lenses have a lot going for themselves, including tapered lens technology that helps reduce distortion and the polarized gray lenses that help increase depth perception on the slopes.
They’re also built to provide 100-percent UVA/UVB/UVC protection, so your eyes are fully shielded. On the downside, although they’ll withstand a lot of impacts, they do surprisingly easily — so be sure to take care of these at the end of the day. (If you’re buying from Amazon, make sure you choose the polarized lenses!)
Our writers spent 3 hours researching the most popular polarized sunglasses on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 40 different sunglasses overall, screened options from 15 different brands and manufacturers, read over 40 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 1 of the sunglasses themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.