Gear

The Best Sunglasses for Sun, Snow, and Après

Skiers demand a lot of their sunnies. Our top picks deliver.

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Play outside, complete your après look, or throw some serious shade—choose your own adventure with these versatile sunnies that do it all. Featuring polarized lenses and performance-forward technology in sleek designs, these are the best sunglasses for skiers and they definitely win our approval for any and all slopeside adventures.

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Dragon Ultra Sunglasses

Dragon Ultra Sunglasses
Dragon Ultra Sunglasses. Photo: Courtesy of Dragon

Dragon throws it back old school with the Ultra, adding just enough design tweaks to create a timeless new look with plenty of tech reinforcements. The plant-based resin frame is lightweight yet durable, and a new shape around the temples gives it some attitude. The oversized lenses employ Dragon’s Lumalens technology for clear, vibrant vision while also blocking out all UV rays.

Check Out: What’s Great (and What’s Not So Great) About the Dragon Ultra Sunglasses

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Bliz Lina

Bliz Lina sunglasses
Bliz Lina sunglasses. Photo: Courtesy of Bliz

Bliz is known for its performance-sports specs, but a new lifestyle lineup of polarized sunnies will make you think twice. With a thin tortoiseshell frame, the Lina is a fashionable option where performance is not sacrificed: The polarized lenses promise 100-percent UV protection and glare-free vision. You’ll also do a double-take at the price tag.

  • Bliz Lina: $65; bliz.com
  • Coverage: Medium/Large
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Serengeti Rafaelle

Serengeti Raffaele sunglasses
Serengeti Raffaele sunglasses. Photo: Courtesy of Serengeti

The Rafaelle brings back the classic round frame and combines it with a keyhole accent for a retro look. But unlike yesteryear’s shades, the Rafaelle’s lightweight acetate frame is fitted with an ultralight mineral lens that’s 20-percent slimmer than the norm. Bonus: photochromic technology that darkens in bright light and lightens in the clouds. Good looking and smart.

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Smith Lowdown Core 2

Smith Lowdown Core 2 Sunglasses
Smith Lowdown Core 2 Sunglasses. Photo: Courtesy of Smith Optics

The Lowdown’s durable frame is made from recycled water bottles and its lenses from 53-percent bio-based materials, so you can play hard without fear of destroying them—or the Earth. But they don’t skimp on performance thanks to polarized lenses with anti-reflective and hydroleophobic coatings that won’t smudge. Sunnies with a positive global outlook.

Shop for the Smith Lowdown Core 2 on evo

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POC Define

POC define sunglasses
The POC Define Sunglasses in blue. Photo: Courtesy of POC

POC’s Define shades combine performance with stylish silhouettes. The Grilamid frames are exceptionally lightweight, with hydrophilic rubber inserts on the nose and temples to keep them in place, while the Carl Zeiss Clarity lenses eliminate reflection and enhance definition. What’s more, the arms break away for safety during an accident but easily pop back on.

Buy now on Backcountry

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Sweet Protection Ronin RIG Reflect Sunglasses

Sweet Protection Ronin Max RIG sunglasses.
Sweet Protection Ronin Max RIG sunglasses with a Bixbite lens. Photo: Courtesy of Sweet Protection

The secret to the performance of these Sweet Protection sunnies is the lens. Built from 2.2mm-thick Toric material, then coated in oleophobic, hydrophobic, and antifog coatings, the Ronan RIG Reflects maintain clear vision during high-output (read: sweaty) activities. The lenses also include Sweet Protection’s RIG technology, which boosts contrast and minimizes color distortion. The lightweight frames are made from Polyamid plastic, which provides durability, and TPR molded rubber on the nose and arms keeps these sunglasses exactly where they need to be on your face.

Read the full review of the Sweet Protection Ronin RIG Reflect Sunglasses

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2020’s Best Sunglasses for Skiers

Zeal Optics Divide and Aspen

Zeal Optics Divide
The Zeal Optics Divide sunglasses.Photo courtesy of Zeal

The coolest thing about these sunglasses is what Zeal uses to make the frames. Constructed with a combination of recycled plastic bottles and “true grasses,” including hemp, flax, rice, and straw, these sustainably-made sunnies are good for the environment and have a very cool tactile texture in hand. One thing that should not be overlooked, however, is the amazing performance and design. The very polarized lenses significantly reduce glare on snow and water, and the stylish design looks great during ski days, bike rides, and during socially-distanced outdoor après.

Julbo Rush

Julbo Rush Sunglasses
The Julbo RushPhoto courtesy of Julbo

The best-case scenario for technical glasses is that you put them on forget about them. The Rush passes the test and then some. Vented lenses keep just enough air flowing on climbs to stay comfortable and prevent fogging while three different adjustable components—plus grip—allow for a customizable fit along the temples, curves, and ears to ensure shades stay put. A wide lens surface offers plenty of space to spot surprises in both the side and bottom peripheral, and photochromatic lenses are worth considering— it saved us from eye fatigue and strain.

  • Julbo Rush: $160, julbo.com
  • Coverage: Medium

Pit Viper Grand Prix

Pit Viper Grand Prix Options
The Pit Viper Grand Prix comes in many amazing styles.Photo courtesy of Pit Viper

These shades may look like they’re straight out of a Miami Vice reboot starring Borat, but like all Pit Viper sunnies, the Grand Prix is surprisingly functional. Featuring polycarbonate lenses that offer 100 percent UV protection, an ANSI Z87+ safety rating, and removable side shields, the Grand Prix is built to accommodate all kinds of athletic adventures—from days skinning the high alpine to pond-skimming in jorts. The Grand Prix are big shades best suited to big faces and even bigger personalities. Available in six different colors, so you can find a pair that best matches your persona.

Watch: Pit Viper Presents Grand Prix

Native Griz

Native Griz Sunglasses
The Griz features Native’s largest frame size yet. Photo credit: Däg Larson

Named after the burly and untamed Grizzly bear, the Griz sunglasses embody that creature’s active spirit. Featuring Native’s largest frame size yet—and the first to incorporate side venting at the temples to help prevent lens fogging—the Griz is designed for men looking for all-day comfort and performance when answering the call of the wild. Thanks to bio-based high-performance materials, the Griz is lightweight yet durable enough to withstand all kinds of adventures.

Bliz Fusion

Bliz Fusion Sunglasses
The Bliz Fusion offers 100 percent UV protection in a frame that just looks fast. Photo credit: Däg Larson

Bliz may be a new name to most this side of the Atlantic, but the Swedish brand is well known across the pond for its protective sports gear. Fusion, the newest addition to Bliz’s eyewear line, features unbreakable polycarbonate lenses offering 100 percent UV protection in a frame that just looks fast. Plus: Bliz’s unique Jawbone technology allows the wearer to ditch the bottom half of the frame in favor of more ventilation and a maximized field of view.

  • Bliz Fusion Sunglasses: $95, bliz.com
  • Coverage: Large

Dragon Baile H20

Dragon Baile H20 Sunglasses
The Dragon Baile H20 was designed in collaboration with three-time World Champion surfer Mick Fanning. Photo courtesy of Dragon

In five to 10 years, what’s cool in surfing will be cool in skiing, so skip the wait and grab the Baile H2O sunglasses now. Designed in collaboration with three-time World Champion surfer (and guy who punched a shark in competition) Mick Fanning, the Baile H2Os are made with injection-molded Grilamid frames, meaning these stylish sunglasses float in case you frequent rivers or oceans with the same sunglasses you like to ski with. The polycarbonate lenses offer 100 percent UV protection, and only had a little bit of glare when the sun was setting behind us as we traveled east after an epic day in Colorado’s Gore Range. Best for medium faces, the Baile H20 is a fashionable choice for guys and gals looking for a pair of do-it-all lifestyle sunglasses.

Some of these sunglasses originally appeared in print in SKI’s 2020 Gear Guide. View 2020’s best ski gear across the board on SKImag.com’s Ski Gear Review channel. 

Costa Rinconcito

Costa Riconcito
The Costa Rinconcito feature 580 polarized glass lenses. Photo courtesy of Costa

The Costa Rinconcito are awesome go-to sunglasses year-round, but especially in the spring and summer when ski days are followed up by time near lakes and rivers. Featuring 580 polarized glass lenses, the optical clarity is second-to-none, making them great for skiing, fishing, and more. The classic frame is suitable for small to medium-sized faces, but don’t worry if you’ve got a big head—the Rinconcito’s big brother, the Rincon, works great for medium to large faces. Both versions use Costa’s sustainably-developed Bio-Resin to cut down on the use of petrochemicals, a practice we hope all sunglass companies start to use in the near future.

Kaenon Anacapa Summit

Kaenon Anacapa Sunglasses Black Glacier
The Kaenon Anacapa, part of the brand’s Summit Series, hits the mark crystal-clear optics in snowy high-alpine environments.Photo courtesy of Kaenon

California-based Kaenon has been making sunglasses for almost two decades, and their Summit Series hits the mark for crystal-clear optics in snowy high-alpine environments thanks to the SR-91 Ultra Black Mirror polarized lens. The cool semi-translucent black glacier frames look especially neat, and the frame’s full wrap-around coverage makes these sunglasses not just stylish, but smart.

  • Kaenon Anacapa Summit Sunglasses: $179-$209, kaenon.com
  • Fit: Large

Native El Jefe

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The Native El Jefe are clutch in bright conditions on snow. 

During an extended skiing and sailing trip with SeilNorge, the El Jefe sunnies were clutch in the very bright conditions on snow, the ocean, and the fact that the sun never actually set during the whole trip. The N3 lenses block up to four times more infrared light and selectively filter out UV to boost contrast and definition, and the frames are built from eco-friendly materials. Native’s Reflex mirrored lenses are really beneficial for everyone: the person wearing the sunglasses gets enhanced visual light transmission with reduced glare, and everyone else can check their look thanks to the very reflective nature of the mirror. They fit and look great on large to extra-large faces, which can be hard to find from some brands.

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The Best Sunglasses for Skiers 2018-2019

SunSki Treeline

SunSki Treeline Sunglasses
The SunSki Treeline offers removable plastic side panels and round polarized lenses. Photo courtesy of SunSki

If you want a similar look to the Vuarnet Glaciers but don’t want to take out a loan to buy sunglasses, the SunSki Treeline is a solid choice. They offer removable plastic side panels, classy round polarized lenses, and even offer rubber built into the nose that keeps them locked onto a sunscreen-covered face. During testing with SeilNorge and also around town in Boulder, Colorado, the Treelines proved to be especially durable despite a few accidental drops on a variety of hard surfaces. The sidewings are capable of reducing glare while on snow, but be sure to take them off if you’re headed on a town bike ride for your own safety—peripheral vision can be handy in close quarters with others on bikes. Taking off the panels is a snap, anyways.

  • Sunski Treeline Sunglasses: $89, sunski.com
  • Coverage: Medium

Julbo Aerospeed

Julbo Aerospeed Sunglasses
The Julbo Aerospeed sunglasses are the ultimate quiver killer for alpine starts. Photo courtesy of Julbo

Featuring REACTIV photochromic lenses that adjust to changing light conditions throughout the day, the Julbo Aerospeed sunglasses are the ultimate quiver killer for alpine starts, epic multisport days, and just looking fast at all times. During testing that started with skiing off Rocky Mountain National Park’s Trail Ridge Road and ended with a 10-mile mountain bike ride just a stone’s throw from Lyons, Colorado, the Aerospeed never slipped thanks to fully adjustable nose pads and an elastomer shock absorber built into the super-lightweight frames. With a gigantic lens that provides a huge field of vision but looks like a windshield for your face, these might not be anyone’s first choice for “lifestyle” sunglasses, but they are a top pick for the racer in all of us.

  • Julbo Aerospeed: $130-$190, julbo.com
  • Coverage: Large

Smith Optics Roam

Smith Optics Roam Sunglasses
The Roam features Smith’s signature ChromaPop lens that filters color crossovers for greater definition. Photo courtesy of Smith

If you use shades as a shield from recognition as much as the sun, these are not the pair for you. If, however, you’re trying to stand out on the après scene, we say, go roam. Featuring Smith’s signature ChromaPop lens that filters color crossovers for greater definition, a classic frame upgraded with fun design detail, flexible metal temples, and rubber at the bridge, these shades are your one-stop-shop for style and sun protection.

Native Eyewear Sixty-Six

Native SixtySix Sunglasses
Native’s N3TM polarized lens technology blocks up to 4x more infrared light than regular polarized lenses.Photo courtesy of Native

Who says you can’t be pretty and smart? The Native Sixty-Six sunglasses prove naysayers wrong by delivering a stylish frame with sleek lines and some of the most advanced polarized lenses on the market. Native’s N3TM polarized lens technology blocks up to 4x more infrared light than regular polarized lenses and provides crisp visual definition at the same time. The medium-fit frame also provides more, not just better, protection.

Get it on Amazon: Native Eyewear Sixty-Six

Vuarnet Ice

Vuarnet Ice Sunglasses
These pilot-shaped glacier glasses have the tech specs to keep your eyeballs shielded from the elements.Photo credit: Vuarnet

Spend the morning on the glacier and the afternoon on the bar deck with the Vuarnet Ice, just remove the side shields and bridge insert—unless you’re trying to make a statement. These pilot-shaped glacier glasses have the tech specs to keep your eyeballs shielded from the elements and trendy aesthetics to boot. Vuarnet’s signature mineral glass lenses come at a price, but trust us, the quality optics and definition are worth it.

  • Vuarnet Ice Sunglasses: $320, vuarnet.com
  • Coverage: Large

Uvex lgl 35 Colorvision

Uves Igl35 Colorvision Sunglasses
Uvex is paving the way with its Colorvision lenses that come in three categories: Urban, Outdoor, and Daily. Photo courtesy of Uvex

Color-enhancing lenses are all the rage in goggles, so why not apply the technology to sunglasses as well? Uvex is paving the way with its Colorvision lenses that come in three categories: Urban, Outdoor, and Daily. Each is optimized to help you see brighter colors and more brilliant contrast in your chosen environment. The combo of Outdoor lens and a sporty frame in the Igl 35 makes for a great pair of all-rounders.