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Sunglasses are essential when hiking, they guarantee comfortable vision and protect your eyes even in action!~Here are some tips to help you make your choice...
To keep enjoying the view on your hikes year after year, protect your eyes! But not with just any pair of sunglasses. Which category to choose? How do you know if a pair of glasses protects you from UV rays (UVA and UVB)? Which shape provides the best protection for your eyes on your hikes? We explain everything so that you will find the pair of sunglasses that will go with you everywhere on your next nature adventures.
The main function of sunglasses is to protect your eyes against the sun’s harmful UV rays. This is therefore the first criteria to take into account when you're looking for the best hiking sunglasses. 100% anti-UV treatment (including UVA and UVB) is therefore essential for your hikes or any other outdoor activities as the sun can quickly become your enemy if you're not equipped correctly. By the way, don't mix up tint and UV protection: transparent lenses protect extremely well against UV rays but not against glare... Combine both for hiking!
100% anti-UV glasses and polycarbonate lenses
At Decathlon, we assure you that all our hiking glasses are 100% anti-UV! They also all have polycarbonate lenses. This lightweight material is the best option for hiking glasses.
Your sunglasses should fit perfectly on your face for outdoor sports. Your hiking glasses should not move when you climb, jump or cross an obstacle. Basically: they should be forgotten about without ever falling off (or you falling)!
The rubber tips on the arms of the glasses encourage good support by stopping the glasses from sliding on your face. If you can’t find the "style" that fits your face then you can always add a retention strap.
As well as different models in various colours, there are 4 categories of sun protection for glasses lenses. Each category corresponds to a higher or lower tint intensity that adapts to specific weather conditions and different light. To choose the best hiking sunglasses, you need to assess the terrain of your next adventure.
Which glasses to go hiking?
The hiking sunglasses developed by our teams all have category 3 or 4 lenses:
- category 3: glasses with category 3 lenses are designed for optimal lighting comfort on bright sunny days (intense UV rays). This protection is perfect in summer and for hikes on uncovered ground (open-air trails, ridge paths, etc.) and more generally for outdoor activities.
Which sunglasses for the mountains? And if it snows?
- category 4: glasses with these lenses are used for extreme sunlight (extremely intense UV rays) such as on a high mountain or glacier hike. These lenses filter 92 to 97% of brightness to reduce glare as much as possible. The lenses are therefore very dark in colour.
Note that it is prohibited to drive a vehicle with category 4 lenses.
Categories 1 and 2 are more rare and not recommended for hiking as you risk being blinded. The lightness of their tint is more suitable for cloudy weather with weak sunlight.
You can also go for a pair of glasses that adapt to the brightness level with photochromic lenses with varying tint depending on the intensity of the UV rays!
The higher you go, the more exposed you are and it is recommended you choose sunglasses with a covering frame: the wraparound shape protects your eyes, even at the sides.
Combined with wide arms, the covering frame stops low-angled sun rays getting in the edges of the glasses.
Another advantage: this also protects you against insects, splashed, the wind, as well as against branches and brambles on particularly narrow trails.
Glasses with polarising lenses immediately take you to a different level of performance and superior quality. But are they really better sunglasses? Contrary to what you may believe, sunglasses with "polarising" lenses don’t protect you from the sun more than any others! Choosing a pair with polarising lenses helps you to better distinguish landscapes, perspective, outdoor elements and colour contrasts. In effect, they reduce glare. The principle is simple: a “barrier” of microscopic crystal stops the reflected light getting through the lens. This type of lens is particularly effective on a stony path or in the snow.
Their only weak point: polarising lenses make reading screens difficult, such as mobile phones, as the polarising treatment restricts the screen brightness. But in the end, isn’t that a good excuse to disconnect from your phone for a hike and fully enjoy the landscape?
It may seem a strange question for some: are there glasses specifically designed for women and others for men? Well, the shape of the face around the eyes is different for everyone generally, not just between men and women. In general, Quechua and Decathlon sunglasses are unisex. So now it's up to you to choose the design and colour you like!
However, if you see sunglasses with the word "women" or "men", it’s more a question of "aesthetics" and not ergonomics. To sum up, choose the design that you like as a person! In truth, the sunglasses are unisex. You can filter our hiking sunglasses by face shape on our website!
There are many brands of sunglasses for outdoors in general and hiking in particular. It's normal to get lost in their different ranges and models. Rather than looking for THE brand of hiking glasses, for the sake of your precious eyes, it’s often more reliable to rely on standards. Lens tint categories (categories 1 to 4 being the highest) and UV protection are regulated by standards and must meet specific criteria to be sold on our territories. This stops you falling for the charm of counterfeit sunglasses, often very attractive but poorly performing.
• Look for the ISO 12312-1 standard on the classification of tinted lenses for their category.
• Look for the ISO 12312-1 standard for UV protection
To look after your glasses and stop them getting damaged, remember to store them in a case and clean them with an appropriate wipe! The biggest enemy of your sunglasses is the scratch. It marks your lenses and hits your style in the heart. The good news is that scratches won’t reduce the UV protection of your lenses. To protect the lenses’ aesthetic, store your glasses in a flexible case, or a stiff case if your bag is often full and they might get squashed under your other belongings.
Also, avoid cleaning fingermarks on the lenses with your usual clothes that could damage the lens. Furthermore, remember to wash the wipe from time to time (alas, it is not self-cleaning...).