I’m often tempted to buy the cheapest sunglasses at the corner store and make them work for the situation at hand. But much like different snow conditions require different skis, different sports call for different shades. I spent more than a month putting each pair on this list through the paces. I wore them on ski trips to Colorado, bike rides through Pisgah National Forest, runs around the city, and river floats down the French Broad. These glasses perform well in their sport of choice, and a few are so good (and good-looking) that I find myself wearing them even when I’m just running errands around town.
Best for Running: Roka Halsey ($95)
Roka helped redefine sport-specific shades by releasing fashion-forward frames that are light enough for marathoners. The Halsey is my favorite of its offerings because, while designed for running, the timeless style of these glasses means you can wear them to the office, happy hour, or a wedding. That versatility has made the Halsey my daily pair over the past year. It also performs well on runs, thanks to the frames’ weight (26 grams) and nose and temple pads that keep the glasses stuck to your face when you’re sweating and moving fast.
Best for Skiing: Julbo Camino ($75)
Julbo says it built these glacier-style sunglasses for multi-day hikes, but I like the Camino for bluebird ski days. The side panels cut down glare, but the glasses also have a slight wraparound shape, which means you don’t lose much peripheral vision to those shields, a bonus when you’re charging downhill. But my favorite feature is the integrated retainer cord, which you can tighten to give yourself a goggle-snug fit. The polycarbonate lenses are polarized, which helps with the reflection off the snow, but they’re dark, so you’ll only want to wear these on the brightest days.
Best for Hiking: Sunski Treeline ($90)
If you haven’t noticed, glacier-style sunglasses are in right now, and I’d argue that Sunski’s Treeline is the most stylish of the lot. The glasses were originally built for trekking through high-alpine and snowy environments in full sun, equipped with shields to block glare from snow. On the Treeline, side panels work in tandem with polarized lenses, but you do lose some peripheral vision. It’s not a big deal if you’re moving slow, so I like these for hiking on bright days. You can remove the shields entirely if you don’t dig the tunnel-vision effect.
Best for Biking: Bliz Fusion ($95)
The Fusion has an aggro style borrowed directly from the ski-goggle world. I like the complete coverage of these wraparound shades for mountain biking—especially when tree limbs are trying to poke my eyeballs out. Vents near the eyebrows cut down on fogging (I’ve ridden with these for a month and haven’t had to air them out once), while impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses and super flexible Grilamid frames make them almost indestructible. The temples even have a rubber wire core that you can bend and adjust for an even tighter fit. Pick your frame color and lens tint; my lenses are dark, but I was impressed with how well they performed under tree cover on rides—I never felt like I was biking at dusk.
Best for Paddling: Rheos Coopers ($50)
You can spend a lot more money on glasses designed for water-based activities, but thanks to the Coopers, you don’t have to. Their large, square frames provide generous coverage in a classic shape that won’t go out of style next year. The polarized lenses have antifog and anti-oil treatments (to resist fingerprints and fish guts), and tight arms provide a no-slip fit. Best of all, these glasses float, a result of the superlight polycarbonate frame and nylon lenses, so if you eat it while paddleboarding, you won’t have to dive to find your shades.
Best for Everyday Use: Goodr Super Fly ($35)
Goodr has made a name for itself by providing glasses with high style and decent performance at gas-station prices. The Super Fly is the pinnacle of the brand’s lineup, with polarized lenses, no-slip nose pads, and bendable earpieces that provide a super snug fit—all wrapped into a package that’s really light (just 20 grams). The lenses won’t last forever (they do scratch easily), but I’ve worn these to run, bike, ski, and drink for the last month and haven’t been disappointed. There are plenty of colors and tints to choose from, but I like the black and green Dirk’s Inflation Station model for its 1970s movie-producer vibe.