In fishing, sunglasses are talked about a lot. People realize their multi-pronged importance and consider it a key piece of equipment.
Just for the record, you do need sunglasses whether you are boat fishing, surf, or bank fishing for various reasons. These include because they work to reduce glare off the water. I have to say glare is a nuisance, it impairs your depth perception, and can distort your view and colors.
Sunglasses also are your only line of defense against the harmful effects of sun rays on your eyes. Ultraviolet (UV) rays have long been known to be associated with different forms of eye disorders. These include but not limited to macular degeneration and cataracts.
In the rather surprising benefits of fishing sunglasses, we see that they can protect against accidental injuries from different pieces of flying tackle or fish.
So, fishing sunglasses are important and you need them to be good. We can demand them to have good lenses and be comfortable, durable, and fit securely. However, all of these characteristics come at a price. It is not uncommon for fishing sunglasses to cost in excess of $250-300.
However, we can still find some quality budget options if we look hard enough and this is what this piece is all about. We have spent quite a few hours on research to find some of the best pairs of sunglasses on a budget. They have quality polarized lenses, comfortable frames, and are user-friendly.
Bird’s-Eye View Of 10 Best Fishing Sunglasses Under 100
I would like to point out that most of the fishing sunglasses come in a rectangular shape. Rectangular sunglasses provide better eye coverage and this is what our options are.
1. Oakley Men’s OO9014 Gascan Sunglasses – Best Value Fly Fishing Sunglasses
Oakley is one of the most known brands of sunglasses. We start off our list with one of their most affordable series, the Gascan. It comes in both polarized and non-polarized variants. As indicated before, for fishing, always go for the polarized ones.
To start off, Gascan incorporates Oakley’s patented Plutonite lenses. These are essentially a type of high-grade polycarbonate lenses that are highly impact-resistant. Plus, they are thinner and lighter than most plastic lenses.
The best thing about Plutonite lenses is that they provide ultimate protection against sun rays, specifically ultraviolet (UV) rays. Not only do they stop the most common radiations, but they also stop other wavelengths including UVA, UVB, UVC, and HEV (high energy visible) which are blue light waves.
Please note that Plutonite lenses provide 100% UV protection. Plus, they limit the blue light of up to 400 mm.
I would also like to mention that both the lenses are cut from the curve of a single lens shield. This works to provide perfect optical alignment. Also, they taper the thickness of the lens from the center to the edge. What this means for the user is lower light refraction at the periphery and this compensates for the prismatic effect of the curvature, cool isn’t it? Oakley describes this as XYZ Optics.
Another of Oakley’s jargon is the O-matter frame. What this essentially means is a nylon-infused plastic that is injection molded. One good feature of injection molding is flexibility which enhances the impact resistance of the frame and also makes the frame more comfortable. Another good thing about this frame is its matte finish. This is good because when you are fishing, you are putting the sunglasses to extensive use and that can lead to scratches and smudges. With a matte finish, these scratches are less visible and your sunglasses remain new for longer, at least visually.
In terms of color, the most common options are available. But, in Oakley Gascan, my personal favorite is the grey. Grey-colored lenses are your all-around lens, so you can use them for both inshore and offshore fishing. With a grey lens, you are not going to get much of pop from color contrast, but it is going to help reduce glare.
2. Wiley X Saint Sunglasses – Best Sunglasses For Saltwater Fishing
Wiley X produces a range of protective goggles and sunglasses. The good thing about Wiley X eyewear is that all of them are impact rated and some of them even ballistic rated. This means that a 1/2 oz jig flying and impacting your sunglasses is not going to destroy your eyeball like some of the non-impact-rated sunglasses. The Saint sunglasses are one of their most popular series around.
The best thing about Saint sunglasses is that they are the only frames that are semi-rimless but are still safety rated. Plus, it has an interchangeable lens system, which means that you can use more than one pair of lenses with them.
In addition, you would be glad to know that WX Saint’s are ANSI Z87.1 certified. This actually translates into fact that both lens and frames are impact resistant. Plus, it provides protection from non-ionizing radiation and chemicals. Lastly, this certification means that the glasses can withstand flammables and corrosion, impressive, right?
So, in short, you have a pair of sunglasses that are good enough for on-the-job safety. Plus, unlike most safety glasses, they are not eye-sore to look at and are still stylish enough for your recreational activities like fishing.
As they are corrosion resistant, you can use them for your saltwater fishing without any trouble.
For a hot day when you are sweating and it is hard to keep your sunglasses from slipping, WX Saint’s have a non-slip rubber nose piece and temple. So, these things stay in place. These rubber pieces also have texture on them which adds to their non-slipperiness.
Another good thing about these glasses is that you can get them as prescription glasses with safety ratings.
As far as frames are concerned, these frames are made up of one of the most sought-after materials in sunglasses, the TR90 nylon. This material is known for its durability, flexibility, and comfort. These are made up of special thermoplastic material and because of their special molecular structure, they are extremely lightweight. Let me say, they are so lightweight, you will forget you are wearing any sunglasses at all.
When we talk about lens color, we have the polycarbonate lenses in smokey grey color. Of course, as these lenses are interchangeable, you can always add another colored lens to them. Polycarbonate lenses are thinner and lighter than plastic lenses and they provide 100% UV protection. So, you are good for all-day fishing without worrying about the damaging effects of sun rays.
3. Costa Del Mar Men’s Fantail 580p – Become A Fan Of Costa’s Craftsmanship
If you know anything about fishing sunglasses, it would be hard to believe that you don’t know about Costa. They are arguably the best recreational sunglasses around but they are expensive. They come in a lot of different series and most of them cost upwards of $250. Fantail is one of their least expensive series and comes at around $100 point.
If you are lucky, you might find them at around the $90 mark but mostly they would cost you $5-10 more than $100. But, it would be unfair and cruel to leave them out for $5-10, what do you think?
Fantail’s are part of Costa’s core collection which means they incorporate Costa’s patented 580 lenses. These lenses are designed to filter out harmful yellow light and shortwave blue light. Also, they enhance the red, green, and blue hues which makes them perfect for on and around water and great for sight fishing. These features not only make these safer by preventing cataracts and macular degeneration but also makes your vision sharp and clear.
Another impressive feature of Costa’s core collection is that the entire line is of polarized sunglasses. They say they have the highest polarization efficiency of 99.9%, which, frankly, we do not have any way to measure exactly, but in reality, I have to say they do provide an efficient glare reduction. They are easily best-polarized sunglasses for sight fishing.
One noteworthy point is that Fantail comes in both 580G and 580P variants and they differ in terms of the lenses they incorporate. The 580G’s have glass lenses and cost around $60-80 more than the 580P lenses which are the polycarbonate lenses. They differ in that glass lenses are more scratch-resistant but they are prone to get shattered on impact. This is opposite to polycarbonate lenses that are impact-resistant but probably not best at scratch resistance. Costa Fantail makes it into our list of the best fishing sunglasses under 100 has 580p lenses.
4. Kate Spade New York Women’s Annika – Best Women’s Polarized Sunglasses Under 100
The next entry on our list is essentially from a women’s luxury fashion brand which produces a whole range of fashion accessories. Annika is one of their budget options in sunglasses. But, can you use them for fishing, yes you can because they are polarized. They might not provide the best of fits for fishing, but if you can adjust to that, they are as good as any.
They incorporate polycarbonate lenses which, we know by now, are very good at impact resistance. Additionally, they are thinner and lighter in weight than most plastic lenses. Plus, they provide 100$ UV protection. So, don’t worry if you are out on the brightest of days like in Southwest Florida.
I do need to tell you that they are full-rim sunglasses and come in an oval to round shape and that suits most women. One advantage of that is they provide adequate eye-area coverage. If you have a small face/head and most eyeglasses look huge on you, try these.
They come in a number of different frame colors, but the lenses are either brown and gray. Brown lenses are good for sight fishing and as they block blue light they are great at enhancing contrast. Increased contrast enables you to see objects underwater more easily. Gray lenses, on the other hand, are your all-around lenses and they are good at reducing eye fatigue.
What adds to value is that they come with Kate Spade’s branded hard case and cleaning cloth. Some customers have complained about not coming with these accessories. However, in most cases, they are there unless you are getting them on some hefty discount.
5. Oakley Men’s OO9096 Fuel Cell Sunglasses – Classic Model With High-End Features
Fuel Cell is one of Oakley’s old designs that are still widely available and comes at an affordable price. It has most of the major features that we see in Oakley’s high-end lineups. First things first, Fuel Cell sunglasses are polarized, so they are suited for your fishing adventures.
We talked about Gascan and how they provide great value, but Gascan’s are medium-fit sunglasses. Fuel Cell is essentially another name for Gascan but it comes with bigger dimensions and is better for people with large heads. Just to put things into perspective, Fuel Cell has a lens height of 39 mm as opposed to 35 of Gascan and has a nose bridge of 19 mm versus 15 of Gascan. But, it is noteworthy that both have similar lens width.
Fuel Cell with its greater lens width gives greater peripheral coverage and enhances your field of view.
It incorporates Oakley’s patented Plutonite lenses which are known for their greater impact resistance than standard plastic lenses. They provide protection against different classes of ultraviolet rays and also harmful blue rays. You can get the lenses in a number of flashy colors and the regular subdued ones. For fishing, on a normal day, I would always go with gray. In Fuel Cell, you can get gray in a lot of different frames.
Fuel Cell also features Oakley’s O-Matter frame which basically is TR-90 nylon. The frame is flexible and comfortable and can take prescription lenses. Moreover, this frame also has Oakley’s proprietary three-point fit which includes your bridge and temples and provides maximum comfort level. It holds the pressure points behind the ear and holds lenses in optical alignment. The arms are streamlined but they are very thick
6. Wiley X Gravity Polarized Sunglasses – Durability Meets Versatility
The next entry on our list of best fishing sunglasses under $100 is part of Wiley X’s Climate Control Series. Along with Gravity, this series has some of the best-selling frames Wiley X has on offer. The basic attribute of the Climate Control Series is the presence of a foam gasket.
This foam gasket is good for blocking wind, dust, and debris from getting into your eye. This can be a real help on some dusky days. However, if you do not need it, you can always pop the gasket out of the frame and wear them just as regular wrap sunglasses. Nonetheless, the foam is soft and comfortable.
One feature I don’t like about Gravity glasses is that they have short temples. At 119 mm, they have the smallest temples on our list. This can lead to less of a secure fit. However, these WX sunglasses have holes in the temples. With these holes, you can attach a T-peg elastic strap that comes with them. With this T-peg strap, you can tighten them on your head, they fit better and basically work as goggles, cool, right? This feature makes them highly versatile.
Nonetheless, other than short temples, lens width, lens height, and bridge are on the large side. Basically, they are good for medium to large fits. And because of its rectangular shape, it suits both males and females.
Like WX Saint, Wiley X Gravity sunglasses are also safety rated and that says a lot about their impact resistance.
7. Costa Del Mar Fisch Sunglasses Black – Make Large Impact With This X-Large Fit
The common perception of Costa’s is that they are expensive and that is right to a great extent. However, it is not uncommon for them to be on sale and discounted. So, if you are lucky enough and look hard enough, you can find one that comes at a more reasonable price. The same can be said about our next entry.
Fisch from Costa starts at around the $180 mark. However, our experience says that on Amazon you can get some pairs for around $100 and that too from Costa itself, cool, right?
To start off, I believe you would like to know that these sunglasses are made up of a bio-resin TR90 and it is biodegradable. If you are into fishing then I bet you love nature and this biodegradable frame ensures that you are not damaging mother nature.
Costa also has infused this frame with Hydrolite, which is rubber, on places such as nose pads and temples. What it does is that it prevents slippage. So, whether you are sweating on a hot day or just had a splash of water, these glasses will hold their place no matter what.
Please also make note that they are large to extra-large fit and look good on big-headed guys. Basically, from temple to temple, it is 137 mm, lens width is 64 mm with a height of 41 mm. Moreover, the bridge is 17.6 mm. The arm lengths might seem short at 121 mm but they wrap nicely at the ends.
Like Fantail, Fisch is also part of Costa’s core collection. This means that they have the patented 580 lenses. These lenses make Costa arguably the best sunglasses for fishing and watersports. They keep out yellow and shortwave blue light. Plus, they amplify the red, green, and blue colors which are good for on and around water.
At the $100 mark, you are likely to get the 580p lenses which are the plastic ones and are lightweight and impact resistant. However, they do catch scratches rather quickly as opposed to 580G which are highly scratch-resistant.
8. BNUS Corning Glass Lens Sunglasses – Quality Sunglasses In A Budget
Oakley and Costa are brands that have been around for a while now. However, as we know, brand names have value and that translates into higher prices of products, right? The next entry on our list of the best fishing sunglasses under $100 may not have that brand worth, but it is a gem waiting for greater recognition.
There are quite a few things impressive about these glasses. First of all, they are made up of glass lenses, yes, you read that right. To come up with glass lenses at this price is truly remarkable. What further adds to the value of these glasses and what makes them make our list is that they are polarized.
Actually, they come in a number of different configurations and styles. You can get polarized or non-polarized. Plus, you can get a blue light block polarized option which takes polarization to a better level. Also, there are striped styles polarized options available and you can get your hands on the impressive nerve shedding mirror coating. They do come at different prices, so keep that in mind when going about buying them.
With Costa and Oakley, we see that each of their different styles comes at a specific size and that limits your options of choice. Not with BNUS sunglasses. You can get all the different size options in every style and I find that quite cool.
We said, they have glass lenses that are particularly impressive at being scratch-resistant. Glass lenses, as you can expect, don’t have the best impact resistance, but if you can avoid impacts they provide a whole different experience. However, that’s not all to it. These glasses have different layers of lenses and each of them serves a different function. Among these, we have an anti-oil layer that prevents water or skin oil from sticking on the glasses and reduces your visual clarity.
Nonetheless, all of these layers don’t increase the thickness of the lenses and we have 1.8 index lenses in these sunglasses. The less thickness of lenses results in improved appearance and visual comfort.
As far as the frame goes, we have a bio-based nylon frame. This frame is co-injected with rubber and that increases its flexibility and comfort. Frames come in different colors and you do get the option of getting a matte finish. The fit of the frame may not be the best for aggressive fishing, but good enough for sight fishing.
9. Tifosi Tyrant 2.0 Dual Lens Polarized Sunglasses – A Blend of Sports and Lifestyle
If you want your next pair of sunglasses to be versatile and stylish, then Tifosi’ Tyrant 2.0 is a perfect choice. It comes in a rimless design that is trendy looking and gives you the option to change your lenses to a different color. Tyrant 2.0 lenses are available in smoke, brown, and red colors and you can interchange them as per your preference. However, you will get the sunglasses with one pair of lenses and will have to pay for any additional lenses.
The lenses themselves are of polycarbonate and these lenses are thinner and lighter than plastic lenses. Plus, they are extremely efficient at providing UV protection and are impact resistant. However, they are prone to getting scratches, so they need extra care to prevent them from scratching.
The frame is made up of Grilamid TR90 and if you pay attention you will see this material in a lot of sports equipment. This is because of its durability and indestructible quality. It can tolerate extreme temperatures, both hot and cold. Moreover, it contours, twists, and bends, all without snapping. Moreover, the frame is lightweight and chances are you will forget that they are on your head.
The nose pads and earpieces are co-infusion with hydrophilic rubber and this helps in a secure fit and prevents slippage. Another cool feature is that nose pads are adjustable meaning you can adjust them to better fit you. I have to say they are quite comfortable, especially around the bridge.
10. Costa Del Mar Men’s Cat Cay – Great Eye Protection With 580 Lenses
Costa arguably makes the best sunglasses for fishing, so it is probably right that we end our list with one of their sunglasses.
Cat Cay is part of Costa’s core collection meaning it incorporates Costa’s patented 580 lenses. These lenses have great efficiency at reducing harmful yellow and shortwave blue light. Plus, they enhance the red, green, and blue hue and that makes them great for any water sports including fishing.
Another good point about the core collection is that all of their models are polarized. This adds to this suitability for fishing. They reflect the light and are great for bass fishing when they are hiding in the banks.
However, at the $100 mark, you can get your hands only on the 580P lenses instead of the 580G, which denote polycarbonate and glass respectively. The polycarbonate lenses are impact resistant but not so good at scratch resistance. But, you can always get the 580G ones at a higher price.
Cat Cay comes in a medium to large fit and I would have said this is a size that would fit most heads. You can get this in copper-colored lenses which are an option in shallow waters.
What makes them good for all-day use is their frame construction which utilizes TR90 nylon. This material is highly flexible, lightweight, and comfortable. However, all of this does not come at the expense of durability. The frame is tough and hard-wearing. So, it can take a few hits from your baits.
At the under $100 mark, you need to consider your options carefully. If you are an intelligent buyer and do your homework, you can get some pretty decent fishing sunglasses at this price.
However, this price point also has some absolute junk. Therefore, it is good to educate ourselves and make better decisions in this regard.
Make Sure They Are Polarized
If I had to limit this section to one point it would have been this, polarized lenses. Make sure your lenses are polarized if you are buying them for fishing. So, what are these polarized lenses?
Polarized lenses have a special chemical treatment applied to them and this filters out light. It sort of acts as a miniblind and you only see the light which is allowed through it. Polarized lenses create vertical openings for light, so any light that enters the lens vertically can get through, but it blocks any horizontal light waves.
Thus, the image with a polarized lens is darker but crisper and clearer. Therefore, people with polarized lenses do not have to constantly battle with glare bouncing off the water and they have less eye strain at the end of the day.
Besides, they also protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays. Most polarized lenses are able to restrict 100% of UV rays. So, you can fish all day without getting eye strain or eye damage.
Lens Material – Glass Vs Polycarbonate
Sunglasses lenses come in different materials. Some of the companies have their patented materials. However, in sunglasses, it generally all boils down to two options. They are polycarbonate or glass. Each of them has its pros and cons.
Glass lenses are pretty good at scratch resistance. Scratch resistance is important in sunglasses because any scratch can distort your vision and impair your view. It also does affect your focus because you are having to look through the scratch. However, glass lenses, as we can expect, are not good at impact resistance. We know glass to be fragile and the same is true for glass lenses.
In addition, glass lenses are generally heavier and because of this, they have a tendency to slide down your face. However, you can get a retainer, so they are snug to your face.
I have to say glass lenses are certainly better if you can keep them away from impacts as that can get them shattered. Glass lenses are also generally costlier than its counterparts.
Polycarbonate lenses are lighter and thinner than glass lenses. Plus, they have great impact resistance. Stats say that they are as much as 250 times more impact-resistant than glass which is impressive. However, they have a tendency to get scratches. So, they are essentially the opposite of glass lenses.
In short, both glass and polycarbonate lenses have their fair share of pros and cons. Glass lenses have better optics but they are relatively heavy and prone to breakage on impact. Polycarbonate lenses are impact-resistant, but scratch-prone and probably not as optically correct as glass lenses.
Lens Color – Defined By Your Environment
The right lens color is going to help things pop out better as you are looking into the water. There are a lot of different lens colors and they all act differently and produce different optics.
We all fish in different environments, so it is better to know which lens color is good for which environment.
Among lens colors, we have gray lenses that are neutral and do not provide the best of contrasts but they are great at glare reduction. They are all-around lenses and you can use them for inshore and offshore fishing.
Opposite to gray lenses is the copper/brown or amber-colored lenses. They provide great contrast and are good for overcast days and for inshore fishing where there are a lot of shadows.
Other similar options are the yellow-colored lenses and they are good for low-light conditions, like when the sun is going down or early in the morning. The yellow color is going to brighten up everything, so you can see better in low-light conditions.
Blue is probably the color you see more than any other on anglers. The interesting thing about blue lenses is that they are not actually blue, they just have a blue-tinted mirror coating. However, this mirror enhances the light reflection off of the lenses and this is what you need on hot summer days, so they block the harmful rays more efficiently. If you are into clear water and deep offshore fishing, blue lenses are the best options.
Green lenses are the opposite of blue lenses in terms of the environment you can use them in. They are good at blocking light and are perfect for bed fishing. They provide high contrast and are good for inshore fishing.
Frame Material – Important For Durability of Your Glasses
Frame material for sunglasses can be broadly classified into two categories, plastic, and metal. And there are further sub-categories for both of them. However, at under $100, you are mostly going to find plastic frames, so it would be prudent that we only discuss its subcategories.
Cellulose acetate is the most inexpensive form of plastic frames. They are easy to work with and come in a lot of different colors and textures. However, they tend to get brittle with time. They are most commonly referred to as Zyl frames. They are present in those $10-20 sunglasses.
Nylon is the type of frame material you are going to see in quality but not aggressively expensive sunglasses. It is lightweight and flexible. What adds to its popularity is that it is virtually unbreakable. Therefore, it is widely used in sports and safety equipment. In this, you are going to find material names such as gliamides, grilamid, or trogamid which are essentially synthetic polymers. These materials have good tolerance against extreme hot and cold and are easily molded.
Cellulose propionate, Kevlar, and Optyl are some other forms of plastic used in sunglasses frames. Cellulose propionate is lightweight and good for intricate designs. Kevlar is great at impact resistance but has limited flexibility. Optyl is hypoallergenic and is good for people with sensitive skin. But, they are difficult to make and come at higher costs.
Style and Fit – Determine Your Comfort
If you wear anything that is loose-fitting or tight-fitting, it is a pain and the same can be said for sunglasses. Thus, make sure you get the right fit for your head.
Size is mostly depicted in eye size or the lens width. Lens width or A measurement refers to the horizontal width in millimeters of the frame lenses.
So, how you can get your eye size. You need to get a measuring tape and measure from temple to temple as shown in the figure below.
This will give you a measurement in inches. Correspond your measurement with the below chart and get the right sunglasses for you.
Face Size (Temple to Temple)
Suggested Frame Size
115 mm or 4.5”
127 mm or 5”
130 mm or 5.125”
135 mm or 5.25”
140 mm or 5.5”
146 mm or 5.75” mm
152 mm or 6”
You can find the size of our picks in the comparison table.
As far as the style is concerned, in fishing sunglasses, try to go for the wraparound style. This provides the extra layer of protection against glasses falling down when you are moving fast. However, it is best that you add some sort of retainer to make it more secure.
The importance of quality fishing sunglasses can’t be over-emphasized. From your own safety against harmful ultraviolet rays to substantially increasing your fishing ability, they are an important fishing tool. Thus, you want them to be good.
However, when you begin your search for quality sunglasses, you are set back by their atrocious prices. But, you can begin your search for some budget sunglasses which can serve you well enough. The $100 mark is a wise decision, you can find some quality sunglasses at this point. Some of the best in the business may be available at discounted prices and make your day.
Plus, spending $300 on sunglasses that can have anything happen to them is unwise. You can break or crack them anytime or they can fell in the river never to be found. So, it is a wise decision on your part to go for this price point.
We spent quite some time finalizing our picks and present you with the options which give the best bang for your bucks. Costa’s, Oakley’s, and Wiley X’s, they are all there and that too in your set budget. Do go through them to find your next favorite pair of fishing sunglasses.
If you still can’t find one, sift through our comprehensive buyer’s guide to make a well-educated decision.
I hope you found this content to be helpful. If you still have any confusion, do ask us below and we will love to respond.