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A guide to tinted lens colours for sunglasses

A laughing couple having drinks next to some palm fronds. The man wears cool aviator shades and the woman wears large butterfly sunglasses. A laughing couple having drinks next to some palm fronds. The man wears cool aviator shades and the woman wears large butterfly sunglasses.

When deciding on which colour lenses to have for your sunglasses, you will want to consider your personal style as well as your lifestyle needs. Some people like to make a fashion statement with their sunglasses, others seek more practical uses. All sunglasses filter light and keep you protected from UV rays, but each of the lens colours is designed for different purposes. We will discuss their uses and guide you through how to decide on the best option to suit your needs.

What are the different sunglasses lens colours?

A black and a brown pair of sunglasses with grey lenses lying on a wooden table

Grey or ‘black’

Grey tints are ideal for general-purpose use and will keep you protected in almost all weather conditions. Grey-tinted lenses are the most common type of sunglasses tint. They are very dark and therefore reduce the amount of light that reaches your eye. Lenses that are grey allow you to perceive colours in their purest form. Grey lenses are sometimes described as black but this is very deceptive. A pure black lens would be difficult to see out of and therefore completely impractical.

Brown or amber

Ideal for sunny weather, brown or amber tints will maximise contrast in bright conditions for improved visual acuity. These types of lenses are best suited to driving and outdoor activities. They are a warm, reddish hue and offer improved depth perception, helping you to judge distance and identify objects in the landscape. Brown tints are also exceptionally good at enhancing contrast against blue skies and green landscapes.

A pair of gold metal sunglasses with brown lenses
A black Ray-Ban wayfarer frame with green tinted lenses lying on a rocky beach


Green tints are very versatile and ideal for general, everyday use. They provide improved contrast in both bright and low-light conditions. Green-tinted lenses are also able to brighten shadows and preserve colour accuracy. These tints are most suited to outdoor leisure activities.

What activities are each colour of sunglasses most suited to?

Each of the different coloured sunglasses tints is suited to particular sports and leisure activities. Find out which colours match your lifestyle requirements.

Cycling - green lens

Keen cyclists should ideally choose a green tint, but grey is a great alternative for those who are more light-sensitive. Green and grey tints are very practical and can function well in most weather. They will both keep you protected in bright sunlight, helping you to avoid any distractions and keep focused on your performance. Grey and green-tinted lenses even maintain true colours so you can see clearly. Green lenses also have the added benefit of being able to improve your vision in shady or shadowy areas, which is perfect if you cycle outdoors, especially in forests or woodland.

Driving - brown lens

Are you a driving enthusiast? Or perhaps you are always offering people a lift? Either way, if you are behind the wheel a lot it is important to be safe. We would recommend our Transitions® Drivewear® lenses, which are specifically designed to offer an optimal driving experience. These lenses are a green-olive colour in overcast conditions and darken to a copper colour behind your car windshield. They also keep you protected in bright sunlight. As an alternative, gradient tints are also well-suited for driving because they are darker at the top and fade to a lighter shade. The top part of the lens shields your eyes from overhead sunlight while the bottom makes it easier to view the dashboard. If you choose to wear standard sunglasses whilst driving, a brown tint is ideal. Note that sunglasses are not suitable for driving at night. You are much safer using a clear glasses lens in the evening.

Fishing - brown lens

Do you enjoy going fishing? Brown tints are ideal, especially in sunny weather because they enhance contrast and improve depth perception. This is an ideal feature to have, especially when you are fishing inshore. It will mean that you accurately cast your line and track the fish under the surface of the water. Grey lenses make a good alternative in very bright conditions because they are darker and will therefore prevent you from straining your eyes as much. They are better for use in open water when the ability to block light is more important than improved contrast. Polarised sunglasses are especially ideal because they cut reflected glare, allowing you to see clearly and avoid eye fatigue.

Sailing - grey lens

Do you love sailing and water sports? Grey-tinted polarised sunglasses are ideal whether you are setting sail or surfing the waves. They reduce the amount of light that gets to your eyes and minimise glare reflected off the surface of the water. Grey lenses allow accurate colour recognition so you will be able to perceive colours in their purest form.

Golf - brown lens

If you love to practise your swing on the golf course, we would suggest you try brown tints. They improve contrast and depth perception for more accuracy and precision in your game. Brown-tinted lenses are also great for distance vision. This colour tint will help you keep an eye on your ball whether you are reading the green or watching the golf ball as it sails into the blue sky and onto the fairway.

Hiking - brown lens

Do you see yourself as an intrepid explorer? If you love the outdoors and go hiking regularly, you will want a reliable pair of polarised shades. Polarised lenses are essential if you are exploring in bright sunlight, snowy environments, or hiking close to lakes or the sea. We would recommend brown-coloured tints because they will enhance the natural scenery and offer improved depth perception so you can read the terrain. Brown tints also enhance contrast allowing you to see the little details in the landscape more clearly.

Shooting - brown lens

Do you enjoy clay pigeon shooting or target shooting as a pastime? Brown tints are ideal in open fields or outdoor environments as they increase contrast making it easier to see your target. They will also protect your eyes from bright sunlight.

Tennis - brown lens

Are you an ace at tennis? Brown tints are probably your best bet in sunny weather as they provide colour contrast enhancement, perfect for spotting a bright green tennis ball as it flies through the air!

Skiing - grey lens

When skiing or exploring snowy environments, we would recommend a pair of grey polarised sunglasses. These will protect you from blinding glare reflected off the snow, especially in very bright conditions.

Everyday - grey and green lens

The best sunglasses lens colours for day-to-day use are grey and green. Grey lenses will protect your eyes from bright sunlight and help to reduce eye strain. With both grey and green lenses, you will be able to see colours more accurately. Green lenses provide good contrast in low-light conditions and enhance your vision in shaded areas. They make a trendy everyday alternative to classic dark-tinted sunglasses.

What colour sunglasses tints can I get from Glasses Direct?

We have a range of tint options for your sunglasses. Designed for different uses, they all provide 100% UVA/B protection, including dark tints, gradient tints and polarised lenses. Dark-tinted lenses are ideal for everyday use and protect you from bright sunlight. They are available in brown, green or grey. Meanwhile, gradient tints come in either brown or grey and are dark at the top, fading gradually towards the bottom of the lens. Finally, polarised sunglasses, which also come in brown and grey, feature a laminated filter that blocks horizontal glare from water, such as the sea or wet roads. They are best suited to outdoor activities like driving during the daytime and navigating snowy landscapes.

You can also try our photochromic lenses, which transform from a pair of clear glasses indoors to stylish sunglasses when you head outdoors in the sunshine. Our most basic light adaptive lenses provide full UV protection and are available in brown and grey. As an alternative, you can try Transitions® Light Intelligent Lenses™ which seamlessly adapt to changing light conditions. Transitions® Signature® GEN8™ is our fastest-reacting photochromic lens, available in seven trendy style colours. Choose from amber, emerald, sapphire, amethyst, brown, grey or green. As for Transitions® XTRActive® lenses, they go extra dark outdoors and even darken behind your car windscreen. You can choose from brown, grey or graphite green.

Can different colour sunglasses tints change your mood?

The world is made up of an abundance of colours from the natural landscapes we explore to the fashion we wear and the art we admire. Colours brighten our day in many ways and lots of people believe that they even alter our mood.

Sunglasses are traditionally appreciated for their function over their ability to make a fashion statement. This is why lots of people go for classic brown and grey lenses as recommended by their optician. However, over time different coloured tints have become increasingly popular for their stand-out appearance and ability to reflect our unique sense of style through the colours we choose. As the old saying goes, seeing life through rose-tinted glasses makes you an optimistic person. But can coloured lenses really change your mood?

Research by ZEISS indicates that different colours can impact you emotionally and psychologically. Green can make you feel calm and relaxed. Yellow boosts concentration and feels you with joy, while blue is revitalising and refreshing. Finally, red can feel you with emotion and give you a motivational boost.