When it comes to lenses, glass tends to be better for scratch resistance, but it can get heavy—which is why most sunglasses use lenses made of some kind of plastic, e.g. nylon. Good sunglasses should not only provide shade to your eyes, they should also offer UVA and UVB protection. Polarized sunglasses use a special coating to cut glare, reducing eye strain. Polarized lenses are usually more expensive than non-polarized lenses, but if you’re in the MLB, price isn’t much of a concern.
What are the best sunglasses for your face shape?
There’s a glut of commentary surrounding face shape and sunglass shape, each one attempting to explain and triangulate the most flattering sunglasses for your unique shape. While it can be helpful to know, it’s more of an old-fashioned notion that people tend to worry about too much. Perhaps what’s more important is getting the right size sunglasses for your face.
Unlike clothing, eyewear does not come in small, medium or large sizes. Instead, eyeglasses and sunglasses are sized in millimeters in three dimensions: lens width, bridge width, and temple length. These measurements are often labeled on the inside of the temples, and look something like “46 x 24 x 125”. Sometimes, brands will also include the frame width, which helps to determine whether a pair of sunglasses will fit your head properly.
The Best (and Most Iconic) Sunglasses
Overwhelmed by the sheer number of options available? Start here. The Ray-Ban Wayfarer is a failsafe buy that’ll always be in style—today, tomorrow, and ten years from now. They were the cherry on top in that one scene from Risky Business, but you don’t have to be Tom Cruise to wear ’em. Ray-Ban Wayfarers are the eyewear equivalent to a pair of Levi’s 501 jeans in your drawer—they’re insanely popular, look great on just about everyone, and can sync up with just about any style. This isn’t exactly a competition, but if the sunglasses emoji is a pair of Wayfarers, you know you’ve got the most classic frames there are.
The Best All-American Sunglasses
Randolph Engineering has been the standard issue shades for the American military since the ‘80s. Thanks to the brand’s military-grade precision and craftsmanship, their aviator sunglasses have been outfitting military personnel since the 1980s. Each pair is crafted in the USA in Randolph, Massachusetts in a process totaling over 200 steps (military spec, and all that!). They come in a variety of metal frames including 23k gold and gunmetal as well as polarized lenses with total UV protection.
The Best Moodboard-Famous Sunglasses
Would a sunglasses roundup be complete without a reference to Steve McQueen? We’re not about to find out. Persol’s aviator shades are iconic for racing through San Francisco hills atop McQueen’s mug in Bullitt and have been the go-to for professional racecar drivers for decades. Despite the asphalt-burning ties, the Persol’s Italian-made shades were originally designed for sky-high endeavors as a way for pilots to protect their eyes leagues into the air. The tear-drop design crucially expanded sun-coverage while the innovative Meflecto temple design allowed for a flexible and comfortable fit. In tandem with the acetate tortoiseshell frames and you’ve got one of the most stylish sunglasses ever.
The Best Sporty Sunglasses
Leave it to the tireless churn of the fashion cycle to make the sunglasses you wore warming the bench on your middle school volleyball team look like the coolest thing in the world again. Call it a quirk of Y2k’s resurgence, or a draft riding in on the gorp wave. Wherever these sporty shades are coming in from is besides the point. The right pair of sunnies will look just as killer with a vintage hoodie and offbeat jorts as they do with a tailored black suit like you’re secondary character in The Matrix. Oakley’s Radar EV Path are the go-to for baseball players shagging fly balls on clear, sunny days and cyclists zooming through open roads, thanks to the maximum coverage of the shield-type lenses, the lightweight frames, comfortable nose pads, and glare-cutting clarity. Like most fashion classics, these shades were built entirely for functionality and, over time, have become menswear canon.
The Best Budget Sunglasses
The best part about the treasure trove of sunglasses available right now? You no longer need to spend big to snag a pair that’ll make you look like the star of your own summer blockbuster. Because, hey, you’ll probably lose them anyway. Warby Parker offers some of the best quality-to-price sunglasses out there thanks to the brand’s direct-to-consumer business model. They’ve got a grip of options from cat-eye shades to square frames to round sunglasses, and they offer a variety of lens options including prescription lenses. Warby Parker’s silhouettes lean toward the classic end and the Latrell’s wayfarer-style square shape with subtle chiseling feels both timeless and fresh.
The Best Absolute Steal Sunglasses
California-based brand Akila is a fresh face in the eyewear game, especially compared to the stalwarts like Ray-Ban and Persol. But the indie label has been making waves with its modern branding, bold and sophisticated designs, and constant stream of collaborations with today’s coolest brands. But they’re also giving high-end designers a run for their money when it comes to quality. Thick, hand-carved acetate, metal core temples, riveted hinges, and on and on—Akila’s sunglasses often put many designer shades to shame. While they’re not the cheapest frames out there, the modest pricepoint is packed with a dizzying amount of details you’d only expect to see on sunglasses worth several times more.
The Best Grail-Worthy Sunglasses
Spending near a grand on sunglasses seems a whole lot more reasonable when said shades are painstakingly crafted from some of the choicest materials on the planet—and look like it. Jacques Marie Mage is one of the best eyewear makers on the planet and are true end-game frames—just ask Jeremy Strong. Each pair of JMM frames is made from top-shelf materials like super thick acetate, lightweight titanium, even real turquoise inlays, and crafted using artisanal techniques to produce some truly fine spectacles. The details down to the intricately engraved wirecores and pins ascend Jacques Marie Mage sunglasses to rarified air, with a price point to match. One way to make sure you don’t lose your sunglasses in the back of a cab? Make sure you forked over an egregious amount of money for them.