They aren’t cheap, but sunglasses can communicate a personal flair and a sport-specific functionality that outdoors-loving men and women need. The result: significant shades of difference designed for golf, hiking, mountain and road cycling, running and water sports.
Golfing, hiking and more
Crit by Tifosi: Racy semi-rimless glasses with green-colored, golf-specific lens, from low-cost sport sunglass maker.
What we like: Bargain price, cool aerodynamic style and interesting tech. Tifosi claims you’ll read golf-course greens, track balls and even see hiking trails better with its color-enhancing Enliven lens, which filters light in such a way that blues, greens and reds “pop with definition.” An Enliven polarized/mirrored model designed for water and snow runs $79.95.
Info: $49.95. tifosioptics.com
Smith Attack MTB: Oversize wrap-around shield-style glasses with two lenses included.
What we like: The large frameless polycarbonate shield, strengthened by a plastic bridge, provides mud/dust/branch protection and unobstructed peripheral vision — necessities on the trail. Its two lenses — dark and low-light clear amber — swap out in less than a minute. Good visual clarity may be due to Smith’s ChromaPop, a light-filtering technology said to amplify detail and colors. Looks cool too.
Info: $249, smithoptics.com
Maui Jim Lighthouse: Ultralight polarized rimless polycarbonate sunglasses.
What we like: With a freakishly light weight for frame and lenses (about a third of an ounce), you forget you’re wearing them. No bobbing as you run. The polarization cuts glare. The neutral gray lens offers good light reduction, rich colors and sharp contrast.
Info: $169, mauijim.com
Oakley Flight Jacket: Pavement-specific shield.
What we like: Rimless on top, this shield does not obstruct the view of roadies, who must look up while hunkered down over the handlebars. The streamlined nose bridge can be opened or closed to facilitate airflow and stop fogging. Its Prizm lenses are designed to increase contrast and boost visibility.
Info: $226, oakley.com
Boating and skiing
Kaenon Arcata SR: Semi-rimless polarized glasses with 3/4-inch-wide section at the frame’s temple/hinge area.
What we like: Great visibility, especially on water and snow, because of the rim-free bottom; wide, sun-blocking side profile; and glare-cutting polarized lens. Classy look too. Not light, but durable at about 1.5 ounces.
Info: $249, kaenon.com