The 15 Best Fishing Sunglasses 2021: Reviews, Buying Guide, & Top 3 Picks
Quality fishing sunglasses do more than help screen out glare and spot fish. They reduce eye strain and fatigue, block wind to keep your eyes moist, protect you from harmful UV rays, reduce distractions, and even prevent snow blindness during winter outings. Not to mention make you look stylish. Here’s the best fishing sunglasses that will help you catch more fish.
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How To Choose The Best Fishing Sunglasses
Whether fly, inshore, off-shore, deep sea, or sight fishing – anglers will tell you they rely on quality sunglasses. They need the best pair of shades that block glare. Moreover, they need protection from harmful UV rays, wind, distractions, and the risks hooks flying by your face.
New sunglasses are flooding the market, thanks to improved manufacturing techniques, designs, and materials. Not to mention copy-cat and look-alike brands. But with so many options available, narrowing down the best sunglasses can be challenging.
How do you make the best choice for your needs? We’ve conducted a whole lot of research, to bring you accurate and objective information that supports a solid decision. Here’s what you’ll need to think about as you select a pair:
- What type of water are you fishing – and how much will cutting glare be important, or not? This guides the amount of polarization you’ll need.
- What light conditions will you be fishing in, predominantly? Dawn, day, dusk? Bright sunlight, cloudy days, or both? This determines the color lens and coatings you’ll need.
- How much wind are you contending with? This determines the amount of side protection, which will help keep your eyes from drying out and reduce fatigue (especially if wearing contact lenses underneath).
- Do you need a prescription pair, or will you wear them over contact lenses, or other glasses?
- What colors, style, and fit do you like?
- How much do you want to spend, for the quality and features you need?
Our reviews below – which cover the good, the bad, and the ugly as we don’t soft pedal disadvantages – are broken out into the following value categories, with makes/models in price ranges:
- Practical, from $25 – $75
- Best Value, from $75 – $150
- High-End, from $150 – $250
What do we look for in sunglasses for fly fishing? Our reviews consider features, style, material, design, construction, durability, and track record. Then, we carefully evaluate these characteristics against prices and warranty policies. In so doing, we’ve assembled some of them most detailed information you can find, to ensure you get what you need, at a right price for you. For more detail, check out our section below “What Goes Into A Quality Pair Of Fishing Glasses?”
Our Top 3 Picks
The fishing sunglasses that rise to the top of our evaluation are these three, 2 of which fall into our “Best Value” category, and 1 from our “High End” price point category. The important thing is, the best sunglasses for you are a combination of the right tint/color to match your fishing conditions, fit, style, cost, and other features. So, don’t let us prejudge these for you, choose the pair that will work best for you, which may be different than our top 3. The good news is that we have compiled all the information you should need to make a great choice.
Lens Color Vs. Light Conditions
Before we deep dive into the sunglasses themselves, be sure you have a handle on what color you will need. Fishing sunglasses aren’t just for style, the right tint color, mirror or reflective vs. matt finish, and degree of light transmission play a huge role in what you can see and how effective you’ll be.
Check out our infographic below, which will give you a good sense for the optimal tint and color for a variety of light conditions. Go ahead, try several different colors outside on the water during different light conditions, even if you have to borrow a friends, and you’ll see what we mean!
With the benefit of our infographic above, here’s a translation into the types of situations you’ll want to use each color tint and finish for:
- Blue Mirror – gray base with blue mirror finish, offers great glare reduction and contrast – use for extreme bright sun, open water fishing from shore or deep water boats, and sun reflecting off snow and ice.
- Dark Gray Tint – mid-to high brightness offering strong contrast – use on land or water for general outdoor activities, versatile color for bright sun
- Green Mirror – copper and amber blended base with mirror finish for clarity – use for saltwater flats, and freshwater lakes and large rivers in mostly bright sun.
- Silver Mirror – copper base with mirror finish for color and clarity – use for variable light conditions, especially for freshwater sight fishing.
- Copper Tint – contrast and glare reduction that is effective across a broad range of light conditions – use for sight fishing and for general purpose on and off the water, good overall outdoor sports tint.
- Amber Tint – bright field of vision – use as a good general fishing lens color across a range of light conditions weighted towards dimmer / lower light conditions, for sight fishing, and especially when good contrast is needed.
- Sunrise / Yellow Tint – the yellow tint provides high contrast and reduced glare – great for low light conditions, e.g. fully overcast days, darkening storm clouds, and especially for safe driving of a boat at early dawn and dusk.
Summary of Reviews
This table summarizes the more detailed reviews below. We can’t emphasize enough, that the best sunglasses for you are a combination of the right tint/color to match your fishing conditions, fit, style, cost, and other features. So, choose the pair that will work best for you (which may be different than our top 3, noted with an asterisk*). Here you’ll find all the information you should need to make a great decision.
Detailed Reviews of Best Fishing Sunglasses
Each of our reviews is designed to provide all the information you will need, so you can be confident in your choice of the best fishing sunglasses. Many of these brands come with multiple lens color options, and some in both men’s and women’s models, so be sure to look at the details when ordering.
Practical Price Point
Based on our reviews, these sunglasses will do the job at a lower price point. While they may not be as durable or high performance as others we’ve reviewed below, if you are on a budget and currently don’t want to shell out a lot of your hard earned money, then these may provide a good option for you.
KastKing Skidaway Sunglasses
KastKing’s Skidaway model comes in 6 different color options for any weather conditions or style. The military and medical-grade Grilamid frames are impact-resistant, lightweight, and flexible. The frames have integrated hinges that are more durable than other hinge types.
- Grilamid frames
- Impact-resistant Triacetate (TAC) 1.0mm thick polarized lens
- Lightweight, durable, and comfortable frames
- Includes molded custom hard case for storage
- Ergonomic nose pad
The Skidaway has polarized lenses that exceed all US ANSI standards and tested for zero optical distortion. Ergonomically-designed nose pads provide comfort while securing the glasses on you. Moreover, when you purchase a pair of Skidaway sunglasses you’ll also get a hard case that protects it while in storage or on the go.
Be wary of scratching or cleaning the lens with chemicals as the coating on the lens is fragile. We also noticed hairline scratches after using it for 2 weeks. Furthermore, disinfecting the lens with Lysol and wiping them also wipes off the coating.
- Practical price
- Tested for zero optical distortion
- Lightweight and flexible
- Ergonomic nose pads
- Fragile lens coating
- The yellow on the inside of the frames can very distracting
- Coating starts to wear away even if you clean them with water and recommended wipes
Tifosi Jet Fishing Sunglasses
If you’re looking for the best sunglasses for fishing that’s incredibly lightweight, then you should check out the Tifosi Jet. This pair of fishing sunglasses is both affordable and fashionable with 6 color options.
- Grilamid TR-90 frame
- Shatterproof, decentered polycarbonate lenses
- Integrated hinge
- Hydrophilic rubber temple and nose pads
- 100% UVA and UVB protection
- Zippered hard-shell case included
Also, the lenses of these fishing sunglasses are shatterproof and have UV Protection Filtering. They are supported by a polycarbonate frame that keeps the product durable and lightweight.
The soft nose pieces and integrated hinges provide maximum comfort. Durable integrated hinges also help the Tifosi Jet withstand everyday use. Additionally, you’ll get a cleaning pack and a protective shell case when you purchase a pair of Tifosi fishing sunglasses.
But before thinking of buying these sunglasses, you might want to check the product and your facial measurement first. There are reports that the Tifosi Jet fishing sunglasses can run a little narrow.
- Six color options
- Lightweight and shatterproof
- Soft nose pieces
- Integrated hinges
- Shell and cleaning pack included
- Not polarized
- Light & very clear lenses
- Can run narrow
- Low contrast issues
Filthy Anglers Shawsheen Fishing Sunglasses
This polarized fishing sunglasses from Filthy Anglers provides excellent eye protection whether you’re into saltwater or freshwater fishing. The UV protection in the lenses prevents eye damage by blocking harmful rays of the sun. Its polarized lenses take away distraction from the sun’s unwanted glare.
- Composite frame
- Shatter-proof polycarbonate lens
- Made in the USA
- Microfiber pouch included
Moreover, the lenses of the Shawsheen fishing sunglasses are made of impact-resistant polycarbonate material. The impact-resistant quality in fishing sunglasses is vital as sinkers and lures can pose serious risks.
Take note that the Shawsheen sunglasses are not Rx-able. Meaning, you must wear these shades over prescription eyewear. While it may not last you forever, it is enough to get the job done.
- Great quality lens
- Good for sun-sensitive eyes
- Poorly designed frame/arms
- Fogs up easily with humidity
- Not durable as other options
Flying Fisherman Buchanan Polarized Sunglasses
The Flying Fisherman Buchanan is a sporty pair of sunglasses for fishing inshore and on the flats. The product is hard-coated for unmatched scratch resistance.
- Impact and scratch-resistant Polycarbonate frame
- Polarized triacetate
- AcuTint Polarized Lens System
- Clarifying optics
The AcuTint feature in the Flying Fisherman Buchanan is a patented technology that blocks harmful UV rays with maximum coverage of up to 400 nanometers. This feature ensures clear viewing in low light conditions and glare-free vision under intense lighting conditions.
Moreover, the Buchanan comes with impact-resistant polarized triacetate lenses for enhanced eye protection. Also, the wraparound style of the polycarbonate frame provides full coverage and a secure fit. Also, you’ll experience all-day comfort with its rubber nose pads and extended temple pads.
However, this product comes with a limited 1-year warranty and you can’t acquire them in the prescription form.
- Good quality lens
- Nose and temple pads
- Nose and temple pads can swell and fall off after days of exposure to sun and sweat.
- The arms of the glasses can pinch into the sides of your head.
- Not Rx-able
- 1-year warranty
Best Value Fishing Sunglasses
Based on our reviews, these sunglasses bring the most value per dollar spent, in terms of features, quality, and proven performance. They aren’t inexpensive, but you can be assured they will do the job and last a long time (if taken care of well).
Under Armour Ignitor 2.0 Sunglasses
The frames of the Under Armour Igniter are built for strength and maximum durability without causing any pain or discomfort. They are made of durable polycarbonate material with shock-absorbing hinges.
- Impact-resistant ultralight Grilamid-titanium frame
- Polarized polycarbonate lens
- Shock-absorbing cushion hinges
- UV Protection Coating
- Adjustable, three-point nosepad
- Soft case included
These pair of sunglasses are equipped with rubber nose pads that reduce discomfort on long fishing trips. There are also non-slip temple arm rubber pads that won’t pull your hair as most pads do.
The patented ArmourSight technology allows the lens to deliver 20% more undistorted peripheral vision. It also makes the lens 10 times stronger than regular polycarbonate lenses.
The lenses are also polarized for efficient glare reduction and enhanced image clarity. Meaning, you can see more clearly without straining your eyes.
- Stylish and lightweight
- Good fit
- Great optics
- Not prone to slipping off your nose
- Decent side-to-side coverage
- Not enough polarizing capabilities
- Paint or lamination can peel off after light use
- A bit pricey
Orvis Superlight Magnifier Sunglasses
If you’re the type of angler that often struggles to see what exactly you are doing, the Orvis Superlight Magnifier Sunglasses might be all that you need. This pair of magnifying sunglasses for fishing provides sharper contrast and clear colors.
- Earth-friendly bio-resin frame material
- High-quality polycarbonate lenses
- Magnification areas at the bottom of the lenses
- Glare and reflection reduction feature
- Ultra-light design
- Magnification factors: 2.00X und 2.50X
The polarized polycarbonate lenses let you see clearly when you’re tying knots and threading the tippet. They effectively protect your eyes from UV rays while allowing you to see even on super bright days.
What we love about these fishing sunglasses is that the top of the lenses provides shade from the sun while the bi-focal magnifiers sit at the bottom. And so, you don’t have to get your readers out for fiddly activities like changing flies and tippets.
- Magnifiers let you see clearly what you’re doing
- No need to switch from prescription sunglasses to reader glasses
- Great visibility in the sun
- Poor design
Orvis Deschutes Polarized Sunglasses
The Orvis Deschutes polarized sunglasses are a great addition to any fly fisherman as the product is equipped with Zeiss Vision lenses. The high-grade lenses work well at blocking out any horizontal light that shoots off the surface of the water and straight into your eyes.
- Matte tortoise plastic frame
- Optical grade anti-reflective back coating
- Polarized polycarbonate lenses
- Brown base lens with blue mirror
- Brinephobic coating
- Comes with microfiber bag/cleaning cloth and hard case
The matte tortoise frame forms comfortably well on anyone’s head. We didn’t feel any pain on our temple’s pressure points or the bridge of our noses. You’ll forget you’re wearing this pair of polarized sunglasses until you get back in your car.
The Orvis Deschutes is a pair of polarized sunglasses that offers protection, comfort, and unmatched clarity. This is arguably one of the best polarized sunglasses under $200.
- Fog resistant
- Repels water
- Non-static surface
- Does not completely block glare in certain conditions
Oakley Turbine Rectangular Sunglasses
If you’re the kind of fly fisherman that values style and performance, the Oakley Men’s Turbine Rectangular Sunglasses might be the one for you. The simple yet functional design of this model got its inspiration from their own Hijinks line of sunglasses.
- Made in the US
- Plutonite Lenses
- Patented High Definition Optics (HDO)
- O Matter stress-resistant frame
- Three-Point Fit system
- Unobtanium ear socks and nose pads
- Suitable for L to XL faces
The High Definition Optics rectangular lenses of the Turbine work well at magnifying images. They are also great at reducing the distortion of images across the whole field of view.
The frame is made from a nylon material that makes the sunglasses comfortable to wear and super lightweight. We love the three-point fit system as it aligns the lenses in a way that minimizes discomfort and pressure on the temples.
- Simple and functional design
- Comfortable and lightweight
- Less distortion
- Minimizes refraction
Oakley Fuelcell Sunglasses
The Fuelcell’s polycarbonate frames are flexible and lightweight. You can wear these fishing sunglasses all day without experiencing discomfort. Moreover, the lenses are made of high-quality plastic material that is hydrophobic and smudge-resistant.
- Flexible polycarbonate frame
- O-Matter stress-resistant frame material
- Patented High Definition Optics (HDO)
- Polarized plastic lens
- UV protection coating
- Includes a micro bag for cleaning and storage
If you are familiar with Oakley’s Gascan line, the FuelCell ones are relatively larger. Users with small to medium heads may find this product too large or loose-fitting.
The FuelCell Sunglasses don’t have the Unobtanium though. And so, they are ideal for lifestyle wear rather than wearing them under extreme environmental conditions.
- Hydrophobic lenses
- 00% UVA, UVB and UVC protection
- 3-point fit system
- Large fit
- No Unobtanium
- Looks and feels cheap compared to the same product manufactured 10 years ago
Smith Outback Chroma Pop Polarized Sunglasses
- Plastic frame
- Chroma Pop Polarized Blue Mirror lens
- Mirror Coating
- Hydroleophobic lens coatings
- Hydrophilic mogul temples & notepads
- Auto-lock hinges
- 8 base lens curvature
- Rx Compatible
- Evolve eco-friendly frame material
- 100% UV protection
The frame of the Outback runs medium to large and fits well for most face shapes. The rubber lining on the arms and nose piece keeps the sunglasses from sliding off your face.
The wraparound design and arm styling contribute to the product’s breathability. So the moment you start to heat up, the lenses won’t fog up easily.
Moreover, the 8 base lens curvature keeps out gusty winds and outside glare. Besides, this feature allows extra heat and moisture to escape.
- Decent glare reduction
- Auto-lock hinges allow consistent fit all-day
- Medium to large size fits most face shapes
- Great ventilation system
- Not as durable as other options
Maui Jim Banyans Sunglasses
Every fly fisherman knows that the best times to catch trophy fish are during dusk and dawn. The Maui Jim Banyans sunglasses could be all that you need if you’re into fly fishing. These sunglasses do not only provide protection and clarity, but they also give you better visibility in low-light conditions.
- Lightweight injected nylon frame
- PolarizedPlus2 lens technology
- HCL Bronze lenses
- High-Transmission (HT) technology
- MauiBrilliant advanced lens material
- Ultraviolet protection
- Blue light protection
High-Transmission (HT) lens allows contrast-associated light frequencies to pass through while blocking those that can damage your eyes. This feature is extremely helpful when you’re fishing on overcast days and when you’re in heavily shaded areas.
While most Maui Jim models have the HT feature, the frame of the Banyan model incorporates a wider, wraparound style for additional side protection.
- Allows you to see very clearly in low-light conditions
- Super lightweight
- Comfortable to wear all day long
- Readily available replacement parts
- Flimsy thin frame
- May not fit well on most users
- Not as scratch-resistant as advertised
High End Fishing Sunglasses
Based on our reviews, these sunglasses highest quality sunglasses, and bring industry-leading features, materials, design, construction quality, and performance. They can be expensive, but you can be fully confident they will perform under the conditions they are designed for, and last a long time if taken care of well. Most sunglasses at this level come with a case and care kit, and better warranty.
Costa Tuna Alley Polarized Fishing Sunglasses
Most sunglasses for fishing can block 100% of harmful UV rays. They are also impact and scratch-resistant. But what we liked about the Tuna Alley is the added light resistance feature that offers superior clarity in the lens.
- Co-injected bio-based nylon frame material
- Blue Mirror Polarized lens
- UV Protection Coating
- Made in the US
- Includes a limited lifetime warranty
The frame of the Tuna Alley is made of TR-90 nylon. It is a lightweight and durable material that can withstand a wide range of temperatures. The frames are held together by integrated hinges to ensure protection against loss and a tight fit for added comfort.
Another feature that you won’t find in most polarized fishing sunglasses is their patented ventilation system. This ensures no fogging occurs when the product is exposed to humid weather. And for this reason, we consider the Costa Tuna Alley as one of the best fishing sunglasses available.
- 20+ frame and lens color combo options
- High-quality material and construction
- Tested under real-world conditions
- Designed specifically for anglers
- Impact-resistant and 100% UV blocking lens
- Difficult to choose the right pair since there are many lens/frame combinations available.
- Not ideal for anglers with smaller heads
Costa Permit 580P Polarized Rectangular Sunglasses
The Costa Permit is a sturdy pair of polarized fishing sunglasses that gets you through a fishing excursion. From reeling in a trophy fish to relaxing on the sand, this tough piece of fishing equipment will have you covered.
- Available in both tortoise green and amber tints
- Co-injected bio-based nylon frame
- 580 Polycarbonate lens
- Mirror Coating coating
- Blue Mirror Polarized
- UV Protection Coating
- Co-injected Hydrolite nose and arm rubber lining
- Side vents
The Hydrolite grip not only holds the sunglasses in place but also provides optimum comfort along with your temple and around your nose. These Rx-able sunglasses are available in polycarbonate and glass lenses.
Based on testing of the 580P polycarbonate lenses and the 580G glass lenses, the glass lenses are a bit heavier but they have exceptional clarity. On the other hand, polycarbonate lenses are lighter but are extremely durable.
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Won’t slide or move on your face
- Side vents handle humidity quite well
- No spring hinge
- Frame not as large as advertised
Costa Del Mar Blackfin 580G Sunglasses
- Made in the U.S.
- TR-90 nylon frame
- Polycarbonate lens
- Blue Mirror Polarized
- Co-injected bio-based nylon frame material
- Lifetime warranty
The Blackfin fishing sunglasses are made with TR-90 nylon frames that make the product resistant to both cold and heat. Also, the frames are well-fitting and very comfortable as they are molded into Costa’s wraparound shape system.
The lenses are clear, impact-resistant, and lightweight as they are made from polycarbonate material. But what’s truly unique about Costa Del Mar’s fishing sunglasses is the 580-Lightwave glass technology. Between layers of glass are encapsulated mirrors that make the lenses scratch-proof.
One thing you should take note though is that the Costa Del Mar Blackfin has 6 types of lenses that are best suited for specific types of environment. So before making a purchase, make sure to choose the one that suits your personal needs.
- Polycarbonate Lens
- 580G – Lightwave glass
- Good visibility
- Comes with 6 types of specialized lens
- Can fog up easily
Buying Guide: What Goes Into A Quality Pair Of Fishing Sunglasses?
Buying Guide: Best Sunglasses for Fishing
When shopping for the best fishing sunglasses, it’s crucial to determine what type of fishing you’ll be doing as well as the type of environment you’re in. Here are some important terms to look out for:
- Polycarbonate frames are the industry standard. They are durable and lightweight.
- Metal frames are heavier. They are also prone to corrosion and deterioration.
- Acetate frames are lighter and corrosion-resistant. But they will deform in both hot and cold temperatures.
- Nylon frames are also the industry standard. They are stretching or breakage-resistant and don’t easily deform when exposed to a wide range of temperatures.
- Glass lenses offer zero distortion and crisper vision. They are highly scratch-resistant but they weigh and cost more.
- Polyurethane lenses are superior in most aspects such as clarity, impact-resistance, and flexibility. However, they cost more and are prone to scratches.
- Polycarbonate lenses cost less than polyurethane and glass. They are exceptionally durable and lightweight.
- Acrylic lenses are lightweight. They are the lowest quality lenses for sunglasses.
Safety is the most important factor to consider when choosing a pair of fly fishing boots. Hi-top boots provide better ankle support. Rubber soles are versatile, they are suitable in both wading and hiking activities.
Furthermore, you have to remember that water can get in as long as you submerge the boots in the water for hours. And thus, it’s wise to pick those that have a good drainage system.
If you haven’t picked a product from our list, we recommend the Korkers Greenback Wading Boot. It’s a hi-top, versatile wading boots with a decent drainage system.
Stay tuned for our upcoming articles on wading shoes, ice fishing boots, simms boot, orvis boots, field and stream wading boots, and more!
By Mark Velicer
An avid fly fisher for over 40 years, Mark has lived and fly fished WA, MI, CA, PA and NY along with countless trips to other places. He can’t get enough of the water; white water kayaking, rafting, drift boating, and hiking to alpine lakes.
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