How to Choose the Best Sunglasses for Your Needs

Mar 23rd 2021

White Water Rafting in Sunglasses

Sunglasses are an everyday accessory many people take for granted. Most of us have multiple cheap pairs stashed in various places, and we don’t pay much attention to them as long as we have a pair handy to comfortably and safely enjoy the outdoors. This approach is fine for reducing eye strain through general daily use, but it doesn’t maximize your ability to see well in your particular environment, and it certainly won’t help protect your eyes from long-term damage.

Each of us gets only one pair of eyes, so we recommend investing in sunglasses that will help protect them for the long haul. With that in mind, let us teach you everything you need to know before purchasing your next pair of sunglasses.

Shape & Style

Shape and style are two of the primary factors driving people toward certain sunglass models while completely avoiding others. There is no right or wrong answer for why someone picks one pair over another. It’s just important that they look good and work well.

Angler in Sunglasses

Aviator

Aviator shades are an iconic sunglass design that never seem to go out of style, and they go well with most wardrobes. We offer a few different models by Wiley X with aviator-style design cues, though they do have sportier profiles than traditional aviator sunglasses. Whether you want to stick with the typical rimmed lens or go with a more modern rimless aesthetic, there’s a pair of aviators to suit your needs.

Open Format

Open format sunglasses are great for overcast and moderately sunny days. Open format designs are still sporty, but their reduced coverage and mass tend to create a slightly more professional appearance. This style is a great all-around design if you need one pair of shades for both work and recreational purposes.

Wrap-around

As the name implies, wrap-around sunglasses deliver increased coverage. This style is great for filtering sunlight through a lens or completely blocking out sunlight with a solid frame. They also protect the eyes by blocking out debris on windy days. This utilitarian clothing accessory can be found in a wide variety of both full-rim and half-rim designs.

Breathability

The breathability of sunglasses ties directly into their shape and styling. Sunglasses with open designs will improve air flow and reduce lens fogging. Wrap-around designs offer better peripheral protection, but they are more likely to trap moisture that leads to lens fogging. You must consider the environments in which you’ll be wearing your sunglasses. In warm environments, you can more easily take advantage of wrap-around designs without having to contend with fogged lenses. In colder environments, consider steering toward a more open design for increased breathability to help moisture dissipate.

Cold Weather Fishing in Sunglasses

Impact Protection

One of the least considered attributes for sunglasses is impact protection. Though anglers do not contend with a ton of threats for eye injury due to impact, there are still enough potential hazards to warrant consideration. In particular, fishing with friends can create situations in which rod tips and even hooks can be whipped astray in ways that seem impossible until they actually happen. Anglers who weave their boats through dense vegetation must also be wary of tree branches that can cause permanent damage. These scenarios are rare, but it only takes one split-second mishap to lose sight in one or both eyes.

We recognize these potentialities, and that’s why we like Wiley X’s sunglasses. All of their lenses meet or exceed ANSI Z87.1 specifications[EH1] . The strict requirements for meeting these safety specifications ensure all their models meet the industrial standard for high-mass and high-velocity impact protection, so you won’t have to worry about a stray object puncturing your lenses.

Fly Fishing in Sunglasses

Lens Color

One of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is which lens color you want for your shades. Lens color is more than a fashion statement, so careful consideration is required to make sure you select the color that performs best for your environment and activities. Lens color impacts light transmission, color contrast, and glare perception.

Clear

Clear lenses are the most basic lens color you can purchase. However, that’s not to say they don’t have a place in your rotation. Clear lenses are ideal for early mornings, late evenings, and overcast days in which you don’t need to contend with high amounts of glare. Clear lenses offer nearly 90% light transmission for times when you want protection but need something that won’t inhibit your ability to see in dim settings.

Amber

The amber subcategory includes lens colors ranging from yellow to brown. All of the colors in this range excel in creating color contrast, but their variable light transmission values mean each shade excels in different lighting conditions. The amber color class consists of yellow, light rust, gold, crimson, and brown. Yellow lenses offer the best light transmission for overcast days, while brown lenses offer the least amount of light transmission for ultra-bright and reflective environments.

Green

Green tinted lenses will be one of the best options for anglers. Along with blue and purple, green lenses excel at absorbing reflections across mirrored surfaces such as water and glass. So, the visual benefits are obvious if you plan to spend much time on the water. Green lenses are ideal for extremely sunny conditions or highly reflective environments, without distorting colors.

Gray

If you’re still not sure which color to select, we recommend going with whichever shade of gray strikes your fancy. Gray lenses are the perfect middle ground option if you need a pair of shades that perform well in all settings. Aside from clear lenses, gray lenses are the best at providing true-to-color representations of what you’re seeing.

Polarization

If you have spent much time outside, then you likely know the benefits of polarized lenses. Certain lens colors are better than others at reducing glare, but that’s not enough to maximize your enjoyment of the great outdoors. Polarized lenses absorb reflective horizontal light waves while still allowing vertical light waves to deliver the color, depth, and clarity we need to accurately perceive our surroundings. Due to the benefits polarized lenses offer, anglers are better able to see into the water for sight fishing and shallow depth navigation.

Fishing in Shades

Passing the Eye Test

For outdoor enthusiasts, sunglasses are more than a fashion statement. The right pair of sunglasses can offer long-term eye protection, improved performance, and allow us to spend more time doing the things we love with the people we love. No matter which shape, style, lens color, level of protection, or amount of breathability you desire—there’s a pair of sunglasses for you. To say our products pass the eye test would be an understatement. Peruse our sunglass lineup to find your ideal pair today!