By Deirdre Carroll: Senior Editor

Mountaineers, climbers and winter sport enthusiasts, ‘80s ski-movie super-villains named Gunther, welders and assorted other factory workers, Kurt Russell and Stargate fanboys, motorcyclists, Thunderdome’s Master Blaster, Tupac and all those who appreciate the “California Love” aesthetic.

Mountaineers call it “dazzle” but most of us probably know it better as snow blindness. Apparently it was quite the problem in the mid-19th century and gave rise to the advent of glacier glasses. Glacier glasses, or alpine goggles as they are also known, usually feature round lenses in metal rims with leather side shields and were designed to protect against dangerous UV rays, wind and weather that might sneak in to a wearer’s periphery. Due to their functionality, they were subsequently adopted by those in arid climates, motorcyclists and factory workers during the Industrial Revolution as a form of safety glasses. This season, their popularity is on the rise again as many eyewear designers reintroduce the vintage style into their current collections as a high fashion item.

(L to R) Diesel DL0028 from Marcolin pairs a modern acetate aviator shape with faux leather side shields for the perfect balance of modern and vintage. The Fendi FS5215L from Marchon just screams “take me on safari!” with its chic marriage of a classic gold aviator and khaki leather flaps. The Gant by Michael Bastian GWS Round style from Viva stays very true to the original alpine goggles with its teashade shape, leather blinders and cable temples. Its one concession to modernity? The frame’s bright pop of electric blue. The Thom Browne TB-018A from Dita is a total mash up of old and new. The very now rectangular, bold acetate front is capped with flexible cable endpieces on the temples and perforated metal side shields. Riveted leather side flaps weren’t enough for the Paul Smith PM 4057-S from Oliver Peoples, they had to take it one step further by adding a removable leather bridge wrap to the mix.

As the cultural references—snow bunnies, rap icons, dystopian heroes—suggest, glacier glasses are a widely recognizable eyewear style that conjures up a number of different connotations. From a practical standpoint, the perforated metal shields or riveted leather flaps on the sides of the glasses protect the eyes while allowing free air flow and often the leather blinders are removable allowing for versatility. These glasses are still a favorite of explorers, climbers, skiers and backpackers but now the fashion set and urban adventurers have begun adopting them because whether on a motorcycle, bike, snowboard or simple walk down Main St., U.S.A., they are stylish, durable and full of attitude.