Updated on  February 5, 2024
8 min read

What are the Best Ski Sunglasses?

4 sources cited
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What are Skiing Sunglasses?

Ski sunglasses protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, glare from the snow, and eye injury while skiing or snowboarding. 

While people often associate sunscreen and sunglasses with summer, the winter can be even more dangerous.

Skiers and snowboarders are at an increased risk for eye damage because:

  • Sun reflecting off of the snow can decrease visibility
  • UV light and radiation are increased during cloudy days
  • Exposure to harmful UV rays increases with a higher elevation
  • Cold and windy conditions can cause ‘snow blindness’

Snow blindness, or photokeratitis, is a temporary painful eye condition caused by unprotected exposure to UV rays. It can lead to pain, blurry vision, and watery eyes.

This article is your guide to finding the perfect pair of skiing sunglasses to prevent eye damage and increase visibility. 

Where to Buy Sunglasses

Biggest Selection: GlassesUSA

Fastest Delivery: EyeBuyDirect

Best Independent Retailer: Warby Parker

5 Best Skiing Sunglasses of 2024

Based on our research, here are the best five skiing sunglasses available:

1. Best Overall: Smith Bobcat Sunglasses

Smith Bobcat Sunglasses

Smith’s Bobcat Sunglasses is our pick for the best ski sunglasses because it offers multiple features in one pair of sunglasses. Its broad frame provides a full goggle-like cover but with a lightweight feel and adjustable nose pads for comfort.

Its ChromaPop lenses bring out the vibrant colors and extensive details of the ski slopes, and they also come with interchangeable clear lenses for flat light conditions. 

Features include:

  • Unisex-small to medium fit
  • 100% UV protection
  • Half Rim frames with a shield shape
  • Non-polarized
  • Evolve bio-based lightweight frame material 
  • Airflow venting to reduce fogging

2. Best Interchangeable Lenses: Oakley Jawbreaker Sunglasses

Oakley Jawbreaker OO9290 Sunglasses

Oakley Jawbreaker sunglasses are perfect for the skier who wants to be prepared for any weather conditions. Oakley’s Switchlock Technology lets you easily change your lenses to enhance optical clarity with excellent peripheral vision in varying light conditions.

The Jawbreaker’s full-rim frame also has anti-fog air vents and adjustable ear stems that fit over your ski helmet, making them a great alternative to goggles. 

Features include:

  • Men’s large fit
  • 100% UV protection 
  • Full Rim frames with a shield shape
  • Non-polarized
  • Interchangeable lenses
  • Airflow venting to reduce fogging
  • Plastic composite frame material 

3. Best on a Budget: Tifosi Sledge Light Sunglasses

Tifosi Optics Sledge Lite Sunglasses

The Tifosi Sledge Light Sunglasses are our pick for the best affordable polarized sunglasses because they offer multiple features at half the price of other sunglasses.  

They have a classic style with lightweight lens tech that includes air vents to decrease fogging. Also, they come with a hydrophilic nose, ear, and brow bar padding that prevents slipping to provide maximum comfort.

Features include:

  • Unisex- medium to extra large
  • 100% UVA and UVB protection 
  • It comes with three interchangeable lenses
  • Polycarbonate lenses (scratch resistant)

4. Best Half Rim: Oakley Radar EV Path Sunglasses

Oakley Radar EV Path OO9208

We chose the Oakley Radar EV Path for the best half-rim sunglasses because the frames provide optimal vision. The design allows for greater downward and peripheral vision while blocking snow glare and providing maximum protection. 

The Oakley Prizm Technology provides high-definition optics by enhancing color and detail, making them ideal for your next ski adventure. 

Features include:

  • Men’s medium fit
  • 100% UV protection 
  • Half-rim frame with a shield shape
  • TR90 frame material
  • Non-polarized

5. Best Coverage: Julbo Ultimate Coverage Sunglasses

Julbo Sunglasses Ultimate Cover BlueBlue Spectron 3

Julbo Ultimate Sunglasses is our pick for the best coverage because they have removable plastic side shields and a nose cover. These features provide optimal protection from wind, snow, and reflected light from snow glare. 

Julbo’s REACTIV photochromic lenses also provide shade when in the bright sun. They adjust when in a shady area, resulting in peak performance clarity and visibility. 

Features include:

  • Plastic frames
  • 100% UV protection 
  • Available in prescription lenses 
  • Polarized and Non-polarized options
  • Photochromic lenses 

What are the Top Brands of Skiing Sunglasses?

While many brands manufacture sunglasses for skiing, a few stand out for having better quality, durability, and style: 

Smith Ski Sunglasses

Smith is a favorite brand because of its high-quality reputation. 

Smith’s state-of-the-art ChromaPop and Vert PivLock lens technology offers a wide-screen view of the mountain while providing maximum protection against bright light and snow glare. 

Oakley Ski Sunglasses

Oakley is known for high-quality sports sunglasses. Many professional athletes, including skiers and snowboarders, wear Oakley sunglasses and eyewear to maximize performance. 

While Oakley tends to be more expensive than other brands, the features, styles, and frame choices make them great for your next ski trip. The Prizm lens technology also creates a detailed and colorful view of the surrounding mountains and terrain. 

Julbo Ski Sunglasses

Julbo Eyewear has been producing high-quality eyewear since 1888. They’ve pioneered ski sunglasses with their retro design and detailed craftsmanship. 

Julbo’s REACTIV lens technology reacts to light changes protecting your eyes from dangerous UVA and UVB rays while offering a vibrant, detailed, and clear field of view.

How to Choose the Right Pair of Sunglasses for Skiing

There are several factors to consider when choosing the proper eyewear, especially when spending time outdoors during winter. 

From harmful UV protection to style and design, we highlight some essential factors to consider below:

Lens Technology

Different types of lens technology are available for skiing sunglasses. Many name brands have developed their patented technology.

  • Polarized lenses are critical for reducing bright glare from water, snow, and sunlight. However, they don’t protect against UV rays, so it’s vital to check that polarized lenses also have a UV-blocking substance to provide maximum protection. 
  • Polycarbonate lenses are made with durable, scratch-resistant material that makes them perfect for outdoor weather conditions. 
  • Photochromic lenses automatically get dark when exposed to bright sunlight, while lighting when in low light. This allows you to prepare for all weather conditions without the need to adjust your lenses.
  • Mirrored lenses come with a coating that protects against bright light and glare while skiing. However, they don’t protect against harmful UV rays.
  • Blue-blocking lenses help block blue light and make objects look clearer in snow or haze. 

Frame Design and Size

Frame design and size are major in choosing the right skiing sunglasses. You’ll want to make sure they are:

  • Flexible
  • Durable 
  • Have adjustable nose pads for a non-slip fit
  • Large enough to provide complete coverage

Ski sunglasses come in various shapes and sizes, ranging from small to extra large, so it’s essential to try them on to ensure they fit correctly. 

While maximum UV protection is important, you’ll also want your skiing sunglasses to fit correctly and match your style. You can choose between full or half-rim frames.

Lastly, the frame material is also an essential factor to consider. Metal frames are solid and durable, but plastic frames are better for snow sports because of their flexibility. 

Lens Tint

Lens tint plays a significant role in choosing sunglasses for skiing. Dark lenses block bright light and snow glare better than lighter lenses. 

While there are various lens tints, amber-colored lenses are better for snow lenses because distant objects look clearer while blocking bright sunlight. 

Polarized vs. Non-Polarized Lenses

Polarized lenses greatly reduce the glare from water, snow, or oncoming headlights. However, many skiers and snowboarders have found that polarized lenses can make it hard to distinguish between snow and ice patches, which can be dangerous.4 

Many sunglasses brands offer polarized and non-polarized lens options, so you can see what works best for you. 

Goggles or Sunglasses: Which is Better for Skiing?

Ski goggles have been the eyewear for many professional and casual skiers. 

The benefits of snow goggles include: 

  • Maximum face protection 
  • Protection for your face at high speeds
  • UV protection 
  • Coordination with your ski helmet
  • Warming insulation

The biggest downfall of snow goggles is they tend to become foggy quickly, leading to discomfort and limited visibility. They can also slip off your face if you don’t have the right fit.

Many people are now choosing to wear polarized wrap-around sunglasses instead of goggles. 

The benefits of skiing sunglasses include:

  • Lightweight
  • Stylish
  • Anti-fogging lenses
  • A lens technology that provides enhanced color and vision 
  • Less cumbersome 

Skiing sunglasses are a great alternative to snow goggles. However, they don’t provide as much facial coverage to help prevent skin damage from injury or flying debris. 

Can You Wear Regular Sunglasses While Skiing?

Because there is a higher risk of eye damage from the sun at high elevations, wearing protective sunglasses while skiing is recommended to prevent snow blindness (eye damage from UV rays). 

High-quality lenses designed for snow sports are also important for clear vision and object distinction. 

You should look for the following factors when shopping for skiing sunglasses:

  • Full coverage
  • Shield frame shape
  • Darker lenses
  • Flexible frames
  • Photochromic lenses
  • Adjustable nose pads 
  • 100% UV protection

Summary

Many high-quality skiing sunglasses on the market provide maximum protection from UV rays and enhanced color and vision clarity.

Protecting your eyes from sun damage and injury is essential whether you choose snow goggles or sunglasses.

Best Places to Buy Glasses

Best Overall

Warby Parker has stylish, high-quality frames at affordable prices.

Also Great

Liingo Eyewear is another great option to buy glasses online.

Best on a Budget

EyeBuyDirect has a wide variety of budget frames starting at $6.

Best Places to Buy Contacts

Best Overall

1-800 Contacts is our #1 recommendation to buy contacts online.

glasses usa logo
Also Great

GlassesUSA has a huge selection of contacts, glasses, & sunglasses.

Updated on  February 5, 2024
4 sources cited
Updated on  February 5, 2024
  1. Turnert, D. “Winter UV eye safety: Prevent snow blindness and other conditions.” American Academy of Ophthalmologists, 2021. 
  2. American Academy of Ophthalmologists. “Recommended types of sunglasses,” 2015.
  3. Vimont, C. “How to choose the glasses frame material that is right for you,” American Academy of Ophthalmologists, 2020.
  4. Sport RX. “How to choose a snow goggle lens color, lens tech explained,” 2023.
The information provided on VisionCenter.org should not be used in place of actual information provided by a doctor or a specialist.