7 Best Sunglasses for Sailing

Best Sunglasses for Sailing | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

September 29, 2020


Whether you're on the water or onshore, wearing the right sunglasses for sailing is vital in protecting your eyes and making you feel comfortable so that you can enjoy your sailing adventure. Here are the best sunglasses for sailing.

Synonymous with style and personality, sunglasses are one of the most common accessories in any wardrobe. Besides their unquestionable aesthetic importance, sunglasses are essential in protecting your eyes by minimizing the possible impacts of ultraviolet rays. Unfortunately, your typical street sunglasses might not be the best for sailing. You certainly need well-designed sunglasses that can properly protect your eyes from damaging UV rays while improving your comfort and visibility by mitigating the intensity and glare of the sun. And because the damage caused by harmful UV rays when sailing today can last for your lifetime, investing in a quality pair of sailing sunglasses is paramount.

What kind of sunglasses do sailors need? The best sunglasses for sailing should be non-bulky, lightweight, enhance your visibility, and comfortable to wear for long hours. They have to be attractive and effective by offering UVA and UVB protection, polarized lenses, and bifocal options. They should be impact resistant and have non-slip pads on the nose to keep them in place.

Although sunglasses are personal accessories that you want to suit your style and tastes, we'll show you the best sailing sunglasses that give you a good starting point if you're looking for sail-specific eye protection. But before going through the best sunglasses for sailing, let's go through some important factors. 


Table of contents for this article

Importance of Having the Best Sunglasses for Sailing

The sun, wind, and salt spray are all essential in having a perfect day on the water. Unfortunately, they can have significant impacts on your eyes. Combined with reflections and glares from water, sails, and polished fiberglass hulls, direct sunlight can be scorching on your retinas and this is something that you don't want. This is essentially why having the best sunglasses for sailing is of great importance. A good pair of sailing sunglasses can protect your precious eyes from the sun's harmful UV rays while improving your visibility and comfort.

Besides the harmful UV rays, the unfiltered glare that results when sunlight is reflected on the water and various parts of your sailboat such as sails, bright white decks, and windshields can impair your vision, which is potentially hazardous. Such glare can also cause visual discomfort, fatigue on your eyes, squinting, and headaches. With that in mind, the best sunglasses for sailing should be designed to reduce light intensity through coloring. That's technically why their lenses are colored in green, amber, gray, yellow, purple, and many other colors.

Factors to Consider when Choosing the Best Sunglasses for Sailing

There are a lot of important features to consider when choosing the best sailing sunglasses. 

Polarized Lenses

The glare that arises when sunlight reflects off a surface can be harsh and overwhelming to the eyes. Having polarized lenses is essential in filtering out the glare that can be harmful to your eyes. Polarized lenses are vital in protecting your eyes from UVB and UVA rays that can reduce visual sharpness while also causing degenerative eye diseases such as snow blindness, photokeratitis, pterygium, cataracts, and various types of eye cancer.

Lens Shape

The shape of the lens is a major factor when choosing the best sunglasses for sailing. Lenses with less angularity are typically much better in preserving the contour and contrast of various objects. On the contrary, they have less resistance to glare and may not be ideal for you if you're looking for sailing sunglasses that offer optimal visibility.

You should avoid flat lenses because they generally do not repel harmful UV rays that are reflected in the water. You can consider curved lenses as they prevent sunlight from reaching your eyes but offer worse sharpness.

Lens Color

The color of the lenses is not only important in reducing glare but also essential when choosing the best sailing sunglasses. While various colors can be essential, our favorite color is gray because it offers a high level of visibility sharpness on sunny days.

Type of Material

You certainly want sunglasses that are designed from material that can withstand even the harshest sailing environment. The material shouldn't be corrosive and should be shatterproof to ensure that your eyes are protected from injury even when there's sudden collision or impact.

While glass is the most conventional material, going for sunglasses that are designed with polycarbonate is ideal. This material is very light and offers a great deal of functionality. It also does not splinter or shatter so your safety in the event of an impact is guaranteed. Better still, it's a lot easy to clean. 


Needless to say, you certainly do not want to buy those cheap sunglasses that will break down the minute you set sail. Of course, your sunglasses should be well-designed to withstand any form of punishment while sailing. They should be shock-resistant and serve you for many years to come. Remember, some sailing sunglasses are quite expensive so it's only appropriate to ensure that they are very durable.


While this may be a matter of personal preference, an ideal sunglass for sailing should be lightweight but some people may prefer heavier options. 

Fit and Size

It is important to make sure that you buy the right sunglasses that can perfectly fit your face. This is vital for both your comfort and style. Sunglasses are generally available in multiple sizes so you should choose the perfect size and fit based on your gender.

Style and Design

The fact that you'll be sailing doesn't mean that you have to leave your stylish part at home. You need to be stylish at all times even when out there on the water! Just don't settle for sunglasses that make you look ugly.


You'll be generally using these sunglasses on the water so you want them to be waterproof and can cope with the corrosive power of seawater. This may come back to the material used to manufacture the sunglasses, but it's still an important thing to consider.

7 Best Sunglasses for Sailing

This is the part that you've been eagerly waiting for, so we'll jump straight in.

Maui Jim Ho'okipa Polarized Sailing Sunglasses

Maui Jim sailing sunglasses are among the best in the industry and the Ho'okipa is a testament to this. These sunglasses come with a rimless frame, polarized lenses, and blue tint, which make it a perfect pair for your sailing escapades on the open water. This pair offers superb protection, ultimate comfort, and doesn't compromise on durability.

The frame is somewhat rectangular and looks good in a wide range of face shapes. In terms of protection, the polarized lenses can 99% glare and 100% UV rays. This is vital in delivering the highest possible protection for your eyes, as well as excellent visibility while on the water. The Blue Hawaii coloration is perfect for most sailing conditions while the polycarbonate and nylon material makes it lightweight, durable, rugged, and resistant to bangs, drops, and impacts. 


  • Lightweight
  • Offers your eyes maximum protection from UV rays and glare
  • Anti-fog lenses
  • Beautiful design


  • The sizing options are limited

Costa Del Mar Brine Sailing Sunglasses

Designed to be perfect for medium-wide and large faces, the Costa Del Mar Brine is an aviator-style sailing sunglasses that sits comfortably on your face and won't fall off even when the action becomes intense. This pair is not only stylish but also functional thanks to its gray polarized polycarbonate lenses.

With these sunglasses, you'll easily have your eyes protected from harmful UV rays and glare without compromising on the much-needed visibility. Its durability is up there with the best and can take a lot of beating without breaking down. That's why the manufacturer offers you a lifetime warranty with the option of replacement or repair at a small nominal fee.

The frames are available in a wide range of colors and sizes and can be customized to suit your preferred style.


  • Lightweight
  • Offers maximum eye protection
  • Available in a wide range of sizes
  • Very durable and shock-resistant
  • Waterproof


  • The lifetime warranty doesn't cover all damages

Smith Wayward Basecamp ChromaPop Sailing Sunglasses

This is an utterly comfortable and lightweight pair of sailing sunglasses. Designed with voyager-style shape, the lenses are not only nice but are big enough to offer a lot of coverage. This pair is available for both narrow and wide heads, which make them comfortable and well-proportioned.

The sunglasses are designed with polarized lenses to ensure maximum protection for your eyes. They're made from bio-based materials, which is a win for environmentally-friendly sailors. The pair also comes with anti-reflective coating to prevent glare and are made with ChromaPop lenses, which are oil and water repellant to make them waterproof and durable.


  • Lightweight
  • ChromaPop polarized lenses offer the best glare protection
  • Anti-reflective coatings
  • Water and oil resistant
  • Durable
  • Anti-slip nose pad for a comfortable fit


  • The auto-lock hinges should be improved

Oakley Holbrook Sunglasses

Widely known for creating stylish and functional sunglasses, Oakley delves into the sailing world through its Oakley Holbrook sunglasses, which are sleek, stylish, and very functional for sailing adventures. Available in a wide range of lens colors and frames, these sunglasses are lightweight and are designed with polarized polycarbonate lenses that offer 100% protection from glare and harmful UV rays.

With these sunglasses, you can attain a razor-sharp vision thanks to its high definition optics. The stress-resistant frame is a sure guarantee that the sunglass will remain solid throughout even the most intense sailing activities. The comfort that you achieve from the sunglasses is on another level.


  • Look great on almost anyone
  • The polarized lenses are high-quality
  • Available in a wide range of colors and frames
  • Well worth the price
  • Very durable and stress-resistant


  • The frames may let you down

Sungait Polarized Sailing Sunglasses

If you've been looking for highly comfortable sailing sunglasses, the Sungait polarized sunglasses may be what you've been looking for. Designed with perfect spring hinges that conform to almost any face, you can wear them for hours on end without feeling tired or infringed. The sunglasses have incredible temple joints that offer gentle and snug fit while still offering room for small adjustments.

These sunglasses are designed with a UV400 polarized lens, which is one of the best in protecting your eyes from glare and those harmful UVA and UVB rays. The sunglasses metallic frames are durable and among the best out there. They're strong, stress-resistant, and yet very light.


  • Designed with quality polarized lenses
  • Spring hinges are skin-friendly and comfortable
  • Very affordable
  • Durable construction
  • Flexible temples
  • Lightweight, stress-resistant, and very strong


  • Some options are non-polarized

Oakley Men's Five-Squared Rectangular Sunglasses

As a top brand that offers quality sunglasses, Oakley will rarely disappoint you when it comes to sailing sunglasses. The Oakley Men's Five-Squared Rectangular Sunglasses is another top-notch sailing sunglass that you can find on the market today. The value that it gives you is unparalleled thanks to its Plutonite polarized lenses, which will protect your eyes from the harmful UV rays.

These sunglasses are designed to have a three-point fit design for maximum comfort and precise optical alignment. The sunglass also has high definition optics to ensure that you have a superior and razor-sharp vision from all angles.


  • Available in various frames, Very lightweight but durable
  • Offers a sophisticated and modern look
  • Offer maximum eye protection
  • Comes with a unique case


  • Can be too bright

Bolle Tetra Python Sailing Sunglasses

Designed with offshore blue for harsh glaring light and inland gold for high glare, Bolle Tetra is a premium sailing sunglasses that offers more than 20 times protection than most sailing sunglasses.

Its hydrophobic and oleophobic exteriors make this sunglass three times lighter and its anti-fog internal surfaces offer impeccable vision clarity and the utmost protection. It is also designed with anti-reflective coatings and photochromic technology to darken and lighten the lenses, which is perfect for varying conditions.

More importantly, it has an interchangeable system that's meant to optimize it according to your specific needs. For example, it gives you the possibility of inserting prescription adapter lenses. This pair of sailing sunglasses may look like your everyday street shades but it has marine-specific characteristics that make it one of the best sailing sunglasses on the market today.


  • Offers one of the best eye protection in the market
  • Very durable and lightweight
  • Very technologically advanced
  • Versatile
  • Available in a wide range of sizes and fits
  • Sleek and gorgeous


  • Frame color will fade after a few months

To this end, we hope that this list will help you find the best sailing sunglasses that fit your style and preferences. You should never go out there on the water with good sailing sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays while making your adventure enjoyable and worthwhile.

Happy sailing!

7 Best Sunglasses for Sailing

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