You might already know that I’m a fan of these affordable shades. But during winter, when I have to keep my eyes protected from the eye-melting New Mexico sun and the headache-inducing snow glare, I opt for something more robust, like the Sunski Treelines ($89).
Yes, they look a little absurd, but the Treelines are hands down my favorite all-around winter sunglasses for everything from backcountry skiing to driving. Most important, they come with side panels that block most incoming light, which give them a modern take on classic glacier glasses. The protectors don’t make a big difference if you’re outside for just a few minutes, but if I’m on the skin track all day, my eyes feel significantly less fatigued when I get back to the car. The same is true when I’m on the road. Freeway driving in the sun and snow is way better with protection on all angles.
The Treelines cost $89—significantly less than glacier options from other companies—yet they come with nearly every high-end feature. They have polarized lenses that cut glare, anti-scratch lens coating, polycarbonate frames, steel hinges that can take a beating (I’ve accidentally dropped and smashed mine during daily use and they’re still kicking), and rubber nose pads to keep them from slipping off my face. If I break them, Sunski will replace the frames for free and the lenses at a discount.
Many old-school glacier glasses were notorious for fogging, because the side shields—often made from leather—didn’t vent very well. Not a problem here; the panels are perforated to dump excess heat, even if I’m skinning up the mountain and really working up a sweat. I’d buy a more technical pair with even more eye coverage if I were heading to the Himalayas or Denali, but these are perfect for anything less than an expedition.
In terms of style, the shape is pretty out there and might scare some of you away. At first glance, I thought I’d never wear them, but then I tried them on and realized the stern nose bridge and noncircular lenses actually look pretty good on most faces. And I can easily remove the shields if I don’t need them and don’t want to look like someone who just wandered off a glacier.
Other Outside-Approved Winter Shades
If you want a more traditional set of glacier glasses, look here. The leather side pieces block almost all incoming light, and you’ll turn heads with the old-school round frames.
They don’t have shields, but the large lenses on the Knoxville XL create lots of coverage. The rubber grippers on the nose and temple ensure they never fall off—even if you’re skiing bumps.
The Wildcats are perfect for both skinning up and skiing down because of the goggle-like coverage. Swap in the included clear lens for cloudy days.