August 03, 2023 by James Kell

Sailing in Style: Top Brands for Sailing Sunglasses

 When sailing on the open sea, vision remains one of the biggest challenges due to the bright sun, blinding reflection on the water, strong winds, and saltwater splashes, making it challenging to see. To protect the eyes and improve visibility, more people are purchasing polarized sunglasses. According to a report by Consegic Business Intelligence, the polarized sunglasses market reached $6,866 million (£5,377 million) in 2022 and is expected to be at a rate of 5.2% from 2023-2030.


Given this rising demand, more brands are adopting new technologies and expanding their sunglass collection. With plenty to choose from, it can be tricky for sailors to find the best kind of glasses that fits their needs. To help you find the perfect pair, here are some of our choice brands for sailing sunglasses:

Good Citizens

Our favourite pick, and one that holds a special place for us at Sailing Virgins, is the Sydney-based brand, Good Citizens. This brand is making waves not just for its superior protection but for its unparalleled commitment to sustainability. Each pair of Good Citizens sunglasses is made entirely from recycled materials – specifically, discarded single-use plastic bottles. That's right, a single 600ml plastic bottle is upcycled to create the frame and hinges for each pair of these uniquely eco-friendly sunglasses. Beyond the creation of the sunglasses, Good Citizens ensures that their ethos of 'untrashing' permeates every aspect of their business – from design and manufacturing to packaging, shipping, and even their own ocean cleanups. For instance, with each purchase, Good Citizens and their ocean clean-up partner, ReSea, remove 7.75 bottles from the ocean. But it's not just about the planet – these sunglasses are also designed to protect you. Equipped with CAT3 UV400 lenses crafted by Carl Zeiss Vision, they offer excellent protection from the sun's harmful rays. The frames, made in Sydney, are not only sustainable but also modular, allowing for easy swaps and repairs. This Australian brand ensures that neither people nor the planet are exploited in the entire manufacturing process. So, when you sport a pair of Good Citizens sunglasses, you're not just making a style statement, you're also taking a stand for our planet. Now that's sailing in style.


When thinking of sunglasses, there’s no other brand as iconic as Ray-Ban. Their glasses are made best for people who want to look fashionable in classic designs, including sailors. Ray-Ban’s collection of polarised sunglasses offers some of the best glare-blocking features with improved clarity and contrast alongside 100% UVA and UVB protection. A bold choice is the Mega Clubmaster, which has since evolved to amplify the frame’s signature brow line and paired with extra-wide temples. Compared to their popular Aviators, which may look good on boats like yachts, Clubmasters are built with plastic— preventing too much heat from being absorbed and avoiding burning the user’s face.

Costa Del Mar

For a quality pair of sunglasses that can withstand rocky trips and give protection from the glaring sun, Costa del Mar is a reliable brand for all sailors and boaters. The brand is known for its lightweight glasses, which are comfortable even for those who don’t like sunglasses as much. In late 2022, Costa Del Mar released the Jose PRO as part of their PRO series in honour of the legendary waterman, Jose Wejebe, with upgraded styling and performance additions, such as reduced fogging and the ability to keep frames locked in place, even when the waters get rough. These sunglasses are equipped with Costa’s polarised 580® lenses, which can cut through the haze and blur to enhance key colours for clarity.


Blenders provide quality but affordable sunglasses with unique frame shapes. They have a range of extra features users can add, from saltwater protection to polarisation— but one aspect that stands out best for sailors is floating frames. Their floatable sunglasses FLOAT₂O is an ideal choice for sailors who are also water sports enthusiasts for all-day wear on or near water, as it's equipped with 100 UVA/UVB protection and anti-saltwater coating. Furthermore, the eyewear is made of TR90, a thermoplastic that can float and remains incredibly durable, flexible, and lightweight. As with most of their eyewear selection, the FLOAT₂O model types come with splashes of colour that allow users to make a fashion statement while protecting their eyes from the sun.


While lesser known than the brands above, Gill still has effective eyewear that makes an impact. Their eyewear is designed to be unisex and optimised for use on the water, making them the perfect choice for sailors. One recommended model is the Gill Race Vision Bi-focal sailing glasses, designed to give 100% UV protection, polarised, and coated to repel water, fingerprints, and oil. As the name suggests, these sunglasses come with bi-focal lenses in strengths +1.5 or +2.5, allowing users to use them for other daily activities. With sunglasses from every price range and with different features, it’s worth taking the time to find what you’re looking for to get the perfect fit. If you’re interested in getting other sailing gear, visit our “Gear” category for more equipment tips and guides for suggestions.

Looking for a Sailing Course? Sailing Virgins offers courses that cater to all experience levels in the best sailing destinations around the world! Check out our full list of courses here or contact us to orangize your dream course. 


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