The Best Sailing Sunglasses

Whether you're on the water or on shore, every sailor needs a good pair of sunglasses.

September 6, 2017
Costa Del Mar Kiwa sunglasses

Costa Del Mar Kiwa

Model: Costa del Mar Kiwa
Frame Color Tested: Matte Black Teak
Lens Color Tested: Grey Polarized Polycarbonate
Costa Del Mar

Suited to medium-wide and large faces, the aviator-style Costa del Mar Kiwa sits comfortably on the face and won’t fall off when the action picks up. The Kiwas are both functional and stylish – perfect for a day on the water, and shoreside activities afterward. The Grey Polarized Polycarbonate lenses tested cut glare off the water, without sarificing color intensity and vibrance. With the wear and tear of days on the water sure to take a toll on your eyewear eventually, the Costa del Mar warranty can’t be beat. Every pair is backed for life, and in the event of a defect or damage, Costa del Mar will replace or repair your pair for just a small processing fee.

The Kiwas are available in numerous frame colors including tortoise and matte black, with both glass and polycarbonate lenses. The Kiwa can also be customized with prescription lenses. • $169

Kaenon Avila sunglasses

Kaenon Avila

Frame Color Tested: Driftwood
Lens Color Tested: B-12 Gold Mirror

The Kaenon Avila is a versatile pair of sunglasses that will suit a variety of face types and shapes. While designed for women with a medium to full face, the slim fit keeps them snugly on your face – even after a full day of racing – without feeling like they are stuck. The B-12 Gold Mirror lenses does an exceptional job reducing glare, making it easy to see approaching puffs on the water. The lens color is easy on the eyes, eliminating the need to squint through your glasses, even in bright sunlight. The large lenses block peripheral light like a wrap frame, ensuring a full field of vision without full wrap styling. The Avilas are covered by a one year warranty from Kaenon in the event of damage to the lenses or frames.

The Avila is available in Matte Tortoise, Black and Driftwood, with grey, rose, and gold lenses and can be customized with prescription lenses. • $199

Revo Otis sunglasses

Revo Otis

Frame Color Tested: Brown
Lens Color Tested: Green Water Serilium

The Revo Otis sunglasses fit perfectly on an average face size, and are extremely light. The large, rounded lenses offer exceptional coverage of your field of vision, blocking out any peripheral light. The Green Water Serilium lenses are made of a shatterproof polycarbonate, specifically coated to repel water and sweat. The mirrored coating uses the same technology to reflect light that NASA uses to protect satellites to keep your eyes safe. The lenses greatly reduce glare, and also enhance color, making these sunglasses valuable even on cloudy days. Revo offers a two-year warranty on its glasses in the event of damage, and has partnered with the Brien Holden Vision Institute to donate $10 from every purchase to protect against vision impairment in children and adults.

The Otis is available in brown, black and grey frames, with blue, green, brown and grey serilium lenses available. • $189

Smith Wayward sunglasses

Smith Wayward

Frame Color Tested: Matte Black
Lens Color Tested: Polarized Bronze Mirror + Chromapop

The Smith Wayward is a very light and comfortable pair of sunglasses. They have a Wayfarer-style shape with nice big lenses that provide a lot of coverage. Testers with both wide and narrow heads (also both male and female) found them to be very comfortable and well proportioned. The Waywards are “Evolve” frames, made from 53% bio-based materials – a win for the environment, and your eyes. The Polarized Bronze Mirror lenses are ideal for inshore sailing, when you are looking for fish below the surface, or spotting coral heads in an anchorage. The front mirror reflects light, while on the inside, an anti-reflective coating prevents glare from the sides. The ChromaPop lenses also are water and oil repellent, making them more durable than other Smith lenses. The Waywards feature Smith’s unique lifetime warranty; send your damaged glasses back and if they can’t repair them, they’ll give you a discount on a new pair.

The Smith Waywards are available in matte black, black, and tortoise frames, with a variety of polarized lens colors. • $169–$249

Under Armor Assist Storm sunglasses

Under Armor Assist Storm

Frame Color Tested: Shiny Black
Lens Color Tested: Grey Polarized
Under Armor

The Under Armor Assist Storm sunglasses were made for activity. The medium-sized sunglasses fit well and sit snugly on the face through a day or sailing, boating, or golfing. The sunglasses are equally at home off the water, too, and a versatile enough style to wear on shore to your next summer soiree. The grey polarized lenses suppress glare well, even when salty from spray, but do slightly reduce the clarity of vision. The Under Armor sunglasses also feature a lifetime warranty. Overall the glasses are great for a highly active person looking for a versatile pair of glasses to wear both on and off the water, with a great price tag.

The Under Armor Assist Storm sunglasses are available with black frames and grey polarized lenses. • $75

Maui Jim Swept Away sunglasses

Maui Jim Swept Away

Frame Color Tested: Ruby
Lens Color Tested: Maui Rose
Maui Jim

The Maui Jim Swept Away glasses are a good fit for wider faces. The glasses are snug but not tight, and secure no matter how much they are bounced around. The Swept Away frame is a stylish design and offers a large field of vision, but does lack side protection from additional glare. The SuperThin glass lenses provide crisp and clear views, both up close and at a distance. The trade off for the improved optics comes at the cost of heavier glasses. Maui Jim offers a 30-day money back guarantee if you shop on their website, plus a two-year warranty. They are renowned for their excellent customer service and repair support. Overall the Swept Aways are a great looking pair of glasses more at home ashore, but perfect for a calm day on the water as well.

The Swept Away is available with blue-grey, blue-pink, tortoise, and ruby frames, and grey, bronze and rose lenses. The Swept Away can also be customized with prescription lenses. • $299

Oakley Sliver sunglasses

Oakley Sliver

Frame Color Tested: Black
Lens Color Tested: Prizm Shallow Water Polarized

The Oakley Sliver is a modern, classy pair of square sunglasses. The Slivers rate high in both comfort and style. The frames are light and sit high on the temple and have a good grip on the face. The square frames are ideally suited to big-boat sailing, where the risk of snagging your sunglasses on a small line are minimal. The light-grey tones of the Prizm lenses brought great accents in low-light scenarios, and helped our tester’s ability to clearly see wind on overcast days. The blue-sky bright sun sparkle off the water was reduced, but still intense after a long day. Definition was good and glare negligible. The Shallow Water lenses are best suited to a mixed-cloud cover day. Overall, the Oakley Slivers are a solid set of shades for big-boat sailors that can serve double purpose for the boat and the yacht club. Given their strength in the mixed-cloud setting, they’re a good all-around package.

The Oakley Slivers can be customized to suit your specific needs, and are also available in a variety of preset options for both frame and lens color. • $180

Gill Squad Junior sunglasses

Gill Squad Junior

Frame Color Tested: Blue
Lens Color Tested: Blue

The perfect pair of sunglasses for any junior crew member. The Gill Squad Sunglasses sit comfortably on the face of our 9 year-old tester. The blue lenses reduced glare, and offered wrap-around protection on the sides. Reading and spotting puffs on the water were all made easier through the polarized Gill lenses. A key feature of the Squad Sunglasses is the built-in floatation. With built-in buoyancy, you will never lose these sunglasses overboard. In addition, once our tester saw how cool he looked in them, they stayed on all day!

The Gill Squad Floating Sunglasses are available with a blue frame and blue polarized lenses. • $70


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