The sun is a merciless ball of burning gas spinning in space over 90 million miles from our little old Earth. To protect your precious retinas on a sunny day of climbing, cycling, rafting, or any outdoor activity, we recommend a pair of sports sunglasses with a quality lens that filters out the sun's harmful UV rays—and looks good doing it.
Most sunglasses designed for our beloved outdoor activities unfortunately suffer from presenting as overly sporty, which just doesn’t jive well for anyone that likes to keep a low profile. Some folks like to rock wraparound speed shades day in and day out, but that ain't us.
We really only want one pair of sunglasses to handle it all—daily life and sport. Fortunately, there’s a decent selection of shades out there that pack those high-tech features found on the ultra-sporty options into stylish casual frames. Scroll down to read about some of our favorite options for sunglass frames to hold you down while climbing at the local crag, cranking out PRs, or just cruising around on your townie bike.
Performance eyewear brand Roka seems to put as much effort into their lifestyle frames as they do their high-performance shield lens frames. The Rory is smart looking frame made from an ultra-lightweight nylon that features the brand’s patented GEKO fit retention system, consisting of a grippy temple coating and nose pad that will keep them put while sweating and bouncing around. Six frame finishes are offered along with 17 different shaded lenses for various lighting condition needs in addition to options for prescription lenses.
Price: $160 SHOP NOW
Leave it to the masters of roadie fashion Rapha to offer a frame that’s boldly titled the Classic Cycling Glasses whose design cues pull inspiration from the classic style gods Coppi and Anquetil. The Italian-made frame has a slight curve for a secure fit, but it’s also outfitted with temple grips and a nose piece that’s packaged with two sizes to customize a secure fit. The sunglass is offered in five frame finishes with three different lenses to suit your light transmission needs.
Price: $125 SHOP NOW
The polarized version of POC’s Require sunglass removes bright, blinding reflections from surfaces like roads and water thanks to Carl Zeiss Vision lenses. That means this very stylish frame would do great for a road ride or even the occasional angling outing. Minimal rubber points at the temple and nose improve grip to the wearer's face. Available in any color you’d like, so long as it’s black.
Price: $230 SHOP NOW
The Legere Round sunglass from moto and bike eyewear specialists 100% is equal parts sharp design style and smart product design. The rimless shield lens is cut into a familiar round-lens frame shape with the keyhole nose bridge and all. A proprietary UltraCarbon construction keeps the weight of the frame down to an impressive 17 grams, a perfect option for UL through hikers.
Price: $110 SHOP NOW
The Frogskins have been a part of Oakley’s lineup since the 80’s due to undeniable style that has managed to stay relevant across the decades. There’s been no shortage of limited edition frame colors and lenses, but a crystal Frogskins frame and mirror lens combo will always go. Opt for a pair of Oakley’s Prizm lenses for ultimate clarity in a variety of lightning conditions.
Price: $162 SHOP NOW
Chilean Patagonia-based Karün’s Mapu sunglass is definitely the sportiest looking piece in our lineup. The frame is constructed out of ECONYL, a regenerated nylon made from fishing nets sourced by locals in Patagonia and other discarded nylon products. Definitely a great choice for the eco-conscious athlete.
Price: $135 SHOP NOW
The Topeka sunglass is notable for offering polarized lenses at dirtbag budget prices. Performance features like nose and temple grips are even included on the frame that’s made from recycled materials. To up the value, they even come with a warranty that covers damage caused by the original owner through normal use. All hard features to beat at this price by our count.
Price: $68 SHOP NOW
The VRG sunglass from affordable shades brand goodr are dripping in retro-futuristic style. A lightweight frame holds a shield lens that’s both polarized and rated for an impressive amount of UV protection. Goodr’s prices are pretty hard to beat, so you might as well buy more than one pair in case they end up left behind somewhere or hidden under a car seat.
Price: $35 SHOP NOW
More lens makes for more protected vision on the Nako Multisport by mindful athletic brand District Vision. The athlete-tested design is made with a titanium core and hinge screws for light weight and strength. A grippy nose bridge is present, as is a pair of eyelets at the ends of the temples that pair with an extra accessory sports strap to keep the frames snug for the most aggressive activities imaginable. Three frame colors are available, each with their own specialty lens.
Price: $200 SHOP NOW
The armless Classic sunglass from Ombraz is a wild card option that might be perfect for someone who keeps sitting on their sunglasses. Forgoing temples completely (and the fragile hinges they rely on) the Ombraz sunglasses rely on a built-in cord made from 100% recycled nylon with an easily adjustable set of sliders that manage the tension when taking them on and off. Lenses are offered in polarized and non-polarized varieties with a few frame colors to pick from. We’ve noticed some of our favorite bike and ski athletes testing them out, so maybe there’s really something to this whole armless frame design?
Price: $140 SHOP NOW