5 Best Sunglasses for Rowing

Reviewed by:
Samuel Wallace

Rowing under the blazing sun can be a challenge, especially when the sun’s glare reflects off the water, making it hard to see. It’s like trying to read a book with a flashlight shining directly into your eyes.

Not fun, right? That’s where the right pair of sunglasses comes into play. Just as you’d wear the right shoes for running or the perfect gloves for winter, choosing the best sunglasses for rowing is crucial.

Spoiler Alert – Overall Best Picks for Best Sunglasses for Rowing

Among the best round sunglasses on the market are Costa Del Mar Round Sunglasses. On the other hand, if you’re watching your wallet but want to maintain quality, the Franklin Sports Sunglasses are a stellar budget pick.

Franklin Sports Pickleball Sunglasses – All Sport UV Glasses for Tennis, Pickleball, Cycling, Rowing + More – Athletic Shades with Headband + Carry Bag, Red
  • LIGHTWEIGHT AND DURABLE: The lightweight polycarbonate frames and lenses are impact resistant and built to last season after season
  • UV PROTECTION: Perfect for protecting your eyes from damaging UV rays and preventing glare from getting in the way of your game

Best Sunglasses – Our Top Picks

  1. Costa Del Mar Round Sunglasses – Best Overall
  2. Franklin Sports Sunglasses – Budget Pick
  3. Maui Jim Wrap Sunglasses
  4. Oakley Radar EV Path OO9208 Sunglasses
  5. Tifosi Tyrant 2.0 Sunglasses

The Importance of Quality Sunglasses for Rowing

Rowing demands clear vision. Quality sunglasses protect eyes from sun, glare, and hazards, ensuring a safer rowing experience.

1. The Dangers of UV Exposure on Water

Rowing on shimmering waters might seem like a dream, but there’s a hidden danger: UV rays. These sneaky rays bounce off the water, hitting your eyes with more force than on dry land. It’s like sunbathing twice at the same time! This double exposure can lead to some nasty eye issues. 

For starters, your eyes might feel sore and turn red, like they’ve been rubbed with sandpaper. This is the cornea, the eye’s front part, crying out for help. Over time, the eye’s clear lens can get foggy, a condition called cataracts.

It’s like trying to see through a dirty window. And here’s a scary fact: the skin around our eyes can get a dangerous skin cancer called melanoma.

2. The Role of Sunglasses in Eye Safety and Performance

Now, here’s where sunglasses strut onto the stage like a hero. Slap on a pair with UV 

protection and those harmful rays get blocked out. It’s like having a shield for your eyes. And for rowers, there’s a special type of sunglasses: polarized ones.

They’re like magic glasses that cut down reflections on the water. So, instead of squinting against bright light, rowers see clear, vibrant colors.

It’s like turning up the contrast on a TV. With these on, rowers can spot a floating twig or a sneaky wave easily. It’s not just about seeing better; it’s about rowing better and safer.

3. The Impact of Glare and Reflections on Rowers

The sun’s rays hit the water and bounce right into a rower’s eyes. It’s blinding and confusing. But with the right sunglasses, this mirror effect gets toned down. 

The water becomes more transparent, and rowers can see what’s beneath the surface. It’s like having x-ray vision, spotting obstacles way before they become a problem. 

In short, good sunglasses make the water less tricky and rowing a whole lot safer.

Top 5 Best Sunglasses for Rowing – Reviews and Comparison

We conducted extensive research while navigating the enormous world of eyewear, analyzing elements such as UV protection, design, and user feedback.

Based on our thorough research, we’re excited to present the “Top 5 Best Sunglasses for Rowing” to help you improve your performance and protect your eyes on the water.

1. Costa Del Mar Round Sunglasses – Best Overall

Costa Del Mar Men’s Blackfin Round Sunglasses
  • Frame Type Full Rim
  • Polarized
  • Product Dimensions: 62 / 17 / 120
  • Frames have a direct impact on your face shape – to give balance and proportions to the face, the frame shape should be in contrast with the face shape. This Phantos model looks best on Oval-Heart-Square-Round faces
  • Durable frames are resistant to heat and cold.
  • Crystal clear vision with effective glare reduction.
  • Enhanced underwater visibility due to polarization.
  • Natural-looking lens color.
  • Comfortable fit, often feeling like you’re not even wearing them.
  • Risk of losing them without a strap.
Click here to get your pair of Costa Del Mar Round Sunglasses

Costa Round Sunglasses are a rower’s shield, offering unmatched UV protection and clarity during those intense rowing sessions.

First up, these glasses are like a fortress for your eyes. They block out 100% of those harmful Ultraviolet rays, ensuring your eyes are shielded from sunburn and other nasties. That’s like having an invisible barrier, only for your eyes!

Then there’s the magic of the Costa 580P polycarbonate lenses. These aren’t your average lenses. They filter out the blinding yellow light and the bad blue ones, letting the good colors shine. It’s like seeing the world in high-definition, making every rowing session vibrant and clear.

And for those super sunny days on reflective waters? The Blue Mirrored lenses come to the rescue. They’re tailor-made for those harsh sun conditions, ensuring you don’t miss a thing, whether you’re navigating tricky waters or just enjoying the view.


  • Durable frames are resistant to heat and cold.
  • Crystal clear vision with effective glare reduction.
  • Enhanced underwater visibility due to polarization.
  • Natural-looking lens color.
  • Comfortable fit, often feeling like you’re not even wearing them.


  • Risk of losing them without a strap.

Click here to get your pair of Costa Del Mar Round Sunglasses.

2. Franklin Sports Sunglasses – Budget Pick

Franklin Sports Pickleball Sunglasses – All Sport UV Glasses for Tennis, Pickleball, Cycling, Rowing + More – Athletic Shades with Headband + Carry Bag, Red
  • LIGHTWEIGHT AND DURABLE: The lightweight polycarbonate frames and lenses are impact resistant and built to last season after season
  • UV PROTECTION: Perfect for protecting your eyes from damaging UV rays and preventing glare from getting in the way of your game
  • MULTI SPORT UTILITY: While these sunglasses are built primarily for court sports, they are also perfect for cycling, rowing, skiing, or any other outdoor sports
  • HEADBAND INCLUDED: These sunglasses come with an easy-attach head strap to ensure a snug, comfortable fit during games for peak performance
  • CARRY BAG: These sport sunglasses also come with a carry bag included, so you can take them on the go and store them away with ease while protecting against scratches and other damage

Franklin Sports Sunglasses are the rower’s trusty shield, blending durability, UV protection, and a design tailored for outdoor sports.

Made with PVC and framed in TR90, these glasses are like the sturdy boat you row – built to last.

Now, let’s talk about those lightweight polycarbonate frames and lenses. They’re not just light; they’re tough. 

So, even if your oar decides to give them a little tap, they’ll hold their ground. And the UV protection? It’s like having a mini umbrella for your eyes, keeping those harmful rays at bay.

But here’s the kicker: while they’re perfect for rowing, they’re also your go-to for cycling, skiing, or any outdoor adventure. So, for every rower who loves versatility, these sunglasses are your perfect mate on sunny days.


  • Comes with an easy-attach head strap for a snug fit, ensuring optimal performance during games.
  • Includes a carry bag for easy transportation and protection against potential damage.
  • Designed to fit close to the face, eliminating distractions from edges or light.
  • Comfortable silicone nose piece.
  • Lightweight and impact-resistant, making them suitable for sports like pickleball and tennis.


  • Ear arms lack a rubbery texture, which might cause slipping.

Click here to get your pair of Franklin Sports Sunglasses.

3. Maui Jim Wrap Sunglasses

Maui Jim Men’s Local Kine Polarized Wrap Sunglasses
  • Click the Maui Jim link above to visit our brand store, where you can find our entire catalog of sunglasses
  • All Maui Jim sunglasses feature PolarizedPlus2 lens technology that go beyond shielding your eyes from glare and harmful UV rays by enhancing colors to reveal the true beauty of the world around you
  • Enjoy ultimate UV protection combined with premuim style, incredible durability, glare-free vision, and color-boosting patented technologies
  • Blue Hawaii – Our blue mirror coating provides a stylish new look that offers the same amazing color enhancement and clarity as all other Maui Jim lenses.
  • Frames constructed from lightweight, injected nylon, designed for extreme comfort and extended wear time

Maui Wrap Sunglasses are every rower’s dream, blending UV protection with a splash of style and color-boosting technology.

Rowing involves not only using your muscles and maintaining a steady rhythm but also taking the time to appreciate the surrounding scenery. And that’s where the Maui Jim Sunglasses shine. These aren’t just any sunglasses; they’re like a magic filter for your eyes. 

With the PolarizedPlus2 lens technology, they don’t just block out the pesky glare and harmful UV rays. Oh no, they take it further by enhancing the world’s colors. It’s like watching your favorite movie in HD, making rowing a visual treat.

But wait, there’s more! These sunglasses are the perfect blend of style and function. They’re tough, glare-free, and come with the MAUIGreen mirror coating. This isn’t just any green; it’s a shade that complements nature, making you feel one with the waters.


  • Made from injected nylon, the frames are lightweight, ensuring comfort even during prolonged wear.
  • The polarization offers clear vision, even in intense sunlight.
  • Proven UV protection is evident from the user’s sunburn “mask”.
  • The blue mirroring effect adds a stylish touch.
  • Glass lenses provide better clarity and refraction compared to plastic ones.


  • The nose pieces tend to fall off, requiring frequent replacements and adjustments.

Click here to get your pair of Maui Jim Wrap Sunglasses.

4. Oakley Radar EV Path OO9208 Sunglasses

Oakley Radar Sunglasses are the rower’s trusty sidekick, blending style, protection, and Oakley’s signature frame technology.

These shades come with the authentic Oakley EV Patch OO9208 design in a sleek Polished Black/Prizm Black look. It’s like wearing a piece of art on your face!

But it’s not just about looks. These sunglasses are packed with features. Worried about keeping them safe? They come with a handy Peeper Keepers sunglass chain, a special Eye-Max spray to keep those lenses sparkling, and a soft microfiber cloth.

The Prizm Deep Water Polarized lenses are a rower’s dream. They cut through water reflections, making sure you see every ripple. And the frames? Crafted from Oakley’s O Matter™, they’re built to last, no matter how intense the rowing gets.


  • Optimized for sports with features like lens shape, nose pad material, and arm design.
  • Super lightweight yet highly durable, can withstand accidental hits.
  • Wide field of vision, ideal for team rowing.
  • Arms are designed to grip the back of the head, reducing pressure on the ears.
  • Nose pads and grips are made from Oakley’s Unobtainium rubber, which becomes grippier with sweat.


  • Pricier compared to other sunglasses, though the quality justifies the cost.

Click here to get your pair of Oakley Radar EV Path OO9208 Sunglasses.

5. Tifosi Tyrant 2.0 Sunglasses

Tifosi Tyrant 2.0 Sunglasses
  • Shatterproof, optically decentered polycarbonate lenses

For every rower who’s battled sun glare while skimming the water, the Tifosi Tyrant 2.0 Sunglasses might just be your new best friend.

Rowing is not just about strength and rhythm; it’s about clarity of vision, especially when the sun is glaring down. Made from Grilamid TR-90, they’re designed to be the sturdy shield every rower needs. 

Flexible but strong, lightweight, and protected against both chemicals and UV rays, this material is the unsung hero of boats.

Now, let’s talk fit. When you’re rowing, the last thing you want is your sunglasses diving into the water. Thanks to the hydrophilic rubber on the ear and nose pieces, these glasses cling on, no matter how intense your session gets. 

And if you’re thinking, “But will they fit me perfectly?” – the adjustable pieces ensure they will. Plus, those vented lenses? They’re a game-changer, keeping your vision fog-free as you row against the steam.


  • Blocks wind excellently, protecting eyes during rowing.
  • Extremely lightweight and comfortable, making them perfect for extended wear.
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty on frames, ensuring long-lasting use.
  • Offers three lens options (Smoke, GT, EC) for varied conditions, enhancing versatility.
  • The EC lens specifically enhances vision in low-light conditions like dusk or cloudy days.


  • Might not be dark enough for activities with intense sunlight, such as skiing.

Click here to get your pair of Tifosi Tyrant 2.0 Sunglasses.

What To Look For When Buying Best Sunglasses for Rowing?

There are numerous crucial factors to consider while selecting rowing sunglasses to ensure eye safety and the best performance on the water. Let’s see some of them.

1. UV Protection: Shielding Eyes from Harmful Rays

When you’re out on the river, rowing in the sun, your eyes are like an open book, taking in everything. But here’s the catch: the sun not only illuminates your path, but it also emits damaging UV rays. 

Consider UV rays to be the sun’s sly little arrows. You can’t see them, but they can cause eye strain over time. It’s like boating in a gorgeous lake with some jagged pebbles hiding beneath. 

You wouldn’t want to run into those rocks, would you? As a result, UV protection in sunglasses acts as a safety net for your eyes. 

It keeps those pesky UV rays at bay, protecting your eyes from problems like inflammation and even more serious concerns like cataracts. So, when picking sunglasses for rowing, always make sure they’re like a sturdy boat that offers 100% UV protection. 

2. Polarized Lenses: Enhancing Vision and Reducing Glare

When sunlight bounces off the water, it creates a blinding glare. It’s like reading a book with a flashlight in your face. Not fun! That’s where polarized lenses come to the rescue. 

These special lenses act like magic filters. They cut down the pesky glare, making the water look clearer. It’s like turning down the brightness on a too-bright TV. With the glare gone, colors pop out more, and everything looks sharper. 

For a rower, this means spotting obstacles or changes in water currents becomes a breeze. So, choosing sunglasses with polarized lenses is like giving your eyes superpowers.

3. Frame Design: Ensuring Comfort and a Wide Field of View

A good pair of rowing sunglasses feels almost like a part of you. They’re light, so you barely notice them. They fit snugly, hugging your face, ensuring they don’t dive into the water. 

The wrap-around shape gives you a full view of the water, horizon, and obstacles. And those little vents at the temple? They’re like tiny air conditioners, keeping the lenses from fogging up during those chilly morning rows.

4. Additional Features: Anti-fog, Scratch Resistance, and Floating Capabilities

Besides strength and rhythm, rowing requires clarity and vision. And while the water’s beauty is undeniable, it can also pose challenges for our eyes. 

Let’s dive into some features that can make a world of difference.

  • Anti-fog Coatings: During a cool morning rowing session, you exert yourself, but the air remains cold. This contrast can cause your sunglasses to fog up, blurring your vision. But with anti-fog coatings, that misty veil disappears, ensuring clear sight no matter the conditions.
  • Scratch-resistant Coatings: Rowing can be intense. You’re moving, and adjusting, and sometimes, your sunglasses might get bumped or scraped. A scratch-resistant coating acts like a shield, protecting your lenses from those unexpected scuffles. It’s like having an invisible guardian for your glasses, ensuring they stay clear and unblemished.
  • Floating Capabilities: We’ve all had those heart-stopping moments when something valuable slips towards the water. But with floating sunglasses, that panic becomes a thing of the past. Drop them, and they bob on the surface, waiting for you to scoop them up. It’s like they have their little lifebuoy.
  • Detachable Straps: Rowing demands focus. You don’t want your sunglasses to break or fall apart. Detachable straps are like seat belts for your glasses, keeping them snug and secure, so you can concentrate on your strokes.

The Science Behind Lens Colors

Different lens colors serve unique purposes, enhancing vision in various lighting conditions.

1. Orange and Yellow Lenses: Clarity in Foggy Conditions

For those rowing days when the fog rolls in or the sky is overcast, orange and yellow lenses come to the rescue. These colors boost contrast and filter out blue light.

This means rowers can spot details even when the light is low. Spotting those subtle movements on the water’s surface is a breeze.

2. Brown and Amber Lenses: Ideal for Sailors and Rowers

When the sun’s out and the water sparkles, brown and amber lenses shine. They’re champions at enhancing contrast and depth perception.

So, whether you’re sailing or rowing, spotting objects on the water becomes easier. And if you’re navigating darker waters, these lenses help you see distant details without squinting.

3. The Role of Tint in Enhancing Vision on Water

Tint matters too. While grey lenses keep things neutral, brown, rose, and violet ones add a touch of drama, making colors stand out and reducing eye strain in bright light.

Red and rose lenses? They’re your buddies for driving, highlighting details like a pro. And for those cloudy days or twilight rows, yellow, orange, and gold lenses step up, offering top-notch depth perception and contrast.

The Rise of Polarized Lenses in Water Sports

Water sports enthusiasts, especially rowers, are catching onto a trend that’s making waves: polarized lenses. 

These lenses are not just a fad; they’re a game-changer when it comes to improving vision on the water. Taking a closer look at the benefits and science of these lenses, and also highlighting a minor hiccup, let’s dig deeper.

1. How Polarization Works: A Technical Insight

So, what’s the magic behind polarized lenses? These lenses are like superheroes, equipped with a special film that blocks those pesky horizontal light waves causing glare, especially on reflective surfaces like water. 

By doing so, they let the good vertical light wave in, giving you a clearer view. And there’s a bonus: they amp up color contrast, making it simpler to spot differences in the water.

2. Benefits of Polarized Lenses for Rowers

For rowers, polarized lenses are like a trusty sidekick. They:

  • Slash that annoying glare, helping you see better.
  • Boost vision clarity by cutting out reflections.
  • Make colors more vibrant, so spotting objects becomes a cinch.
  • Act as a shield, protecting your eyes from the sneaky UV rays that lurk around water.

3. Potential Drawbacks: Reading Digital Screens

Now, every superhero has a weakness. For polarized lenses, it’s digital screens. If you’re trying to glance at your phone or check a GPS device, these lenses might make the screen look a bit off, either darker or a tad distorted. 

It’s because the lens’s filter and the screen’s light don’t always play nice. Some smart lens makers have found a workaround, adding non-polarized spots to help you see screens.


Rowing, a sport that combines strength, endurance, and a connection with nature, presents unique challenges when it comes to eyewear.

While we’ve delved deep into the science of lens colors, the advantages of polarized lenses, and the importance of frame design, there’s another equally crucial aspect: durability and value for money.

Among the best round sunglasses on the market are Costa Del Mar Round Sunglasses. They encapsulate all the essential features, ensuring optimal performance and eye safety, making them a rower’s dream.

On the other hand, if you’re watching your wallet but want to maintain quality, the Franklin Sports Sunglasses are a stellar budget pick. They offer many of the benefits of higher-end models without the hefty price tag.

In essence, when choosing sunglasses for rowing, it’s about balancing functionality, comfort, and cost. And with the right pair, you’re not just protecting your eyes; you’re enhancing every stroke and gaze across the water.