As someone with sensitive eyes, I’m a year-round sufferer of squinty face. So, quality sunglasses are a necessity. And with the dangers of UV light higher than ever, this is true for all eye colours and types.
However, it’s not easy for any of us to find the best sunglasses. Ones that are durable, stylish, fairly priced AND give our eyes the protection they deserve.
Thus, using a lifetime of experience and a bucket load of research, I’ve compiled, what I would say, is the most comprehensive compendium of sunglasses for (almost) everyone’s sunglasses specification.
I’ve included all types of sunglasses, everything from the most durable, to the most stylish, to the best polarized sunglasses for fishing — and everything in between. This list includes sunglasses for both guys and gals but if you are looking for the best sunglasses for men we've also got you covered.
So, whether you’ve got a big face and a small budget, or a small face and a big budget, you’ll find the top sunglasses for your needs right here.
Keep reading to discover:
- Which sunglasses are best for (almost) every situation
- My process for building this guide
- What you should pay attention to when buying sunglasses online – Buyers guide
- The best frames for your face shape
- My choice for best overall sunglasses
Top 27 Sunglasses in 2020
Ray-Ban’s wayfarers have been around for over 80 years and have always been popular sunglasses (reaching its peak of popularity in the ‘80s thanks to Tom Cruise in Risky Business). And there was only one brand that could improve on this classic design — Ray-Ban. These new wayfarers are the perfect all-around choice, great for (almost) every occasion — and this reviewer’s Top Pick for best sunglasses for men and women.
These unique aviator style glasses by Dior are all the rage right now with social media influencers setting eyewear trends all over the world. So, if you're looking to up your facebook fame, snapchat supremacy or instagram influence, then you should be looking at these spectacular spectacles. Their angular and round shape means they work for most face shapes, meaning these are the best sunglasses to invest in if you want to make an impact online.
The most recent trend is to wear sporty oversized glasses. The bigger the better. This model by Gucci is a perfect example of the newest in-style eye-wear. These way-oversized sunglasses include cute star elements on the frames, and you can wear them with everything bar a prom dress. Don't worry about the size — the trend is following this fashionable pair of sunglasses.
Randolph has created some of the best military sunglasses. These near-indestructible glasses (thanks to Randolph’s handcrafted, 23k gold-plated frames and double-baked lenses) are considered the best sunglasses for men and women who take to the sky. These non-polarized lenses give your eyes full coverage, and Randolph’s signature temples fit snugly under helmets and headphones. Perfect for the cockpit.
Sports men and women will absolutely love Under Armour’s Igniter. Their Armoursight® lenses enhance contrast which allows you to see every detail, making these one of the best polarized sunglasses for the money. At the same time, their ArmourFusion frames are built for both durability and a no-slip comfortable fit which inclines me to recommend them as the best sunglasses for running.
If you’re a bit of a clutz and don’t spend a lot because you lose and/or break them often, then Carfia’s Polarized Sunglasses may be just what you’re looking for. Easily some of the best cheap sunglasses around, they are built to last. Three barrel hinges mean these can be sat on, pulled apart and squished in your bag without losing their aesthetically pleasing shape.
Stand out in the city with these luxurious and functional shades. For the more angular faced Ray-Ban fans, I introduce to you Ray-Ban’s round metal sunglasses. Keep the style, comfort, durability and protection of Ray-Ban’s renowned aviators and wayfarers without making your face look like a rubik's cube. Not to mention the price, which makes these some of the best value sunglasses.
Probably the most stylish glasses you can wear on the day-to-day for the price. These scratch-resistant frames carry the signature Burberry checked pattern that is sure to attract attention without you having to do a thing. Comfortable enough to be worn all day, these are perfect for the modern day woman (or man).
The ‘70s come crashing back with these retro-grade shades, armed with modern tech in the form of Plutonite lens material and Prizm Ruby Lens tint. Designed for seeing high contrast colors, these are one of the best tints for sunglasses. Recommended for athletes and anyone who wants to see the world in a new light, safe in the knowledge that you have some of the best sunglasses for eye protection.
These mirror sunglasses will bring out your inner nerd — but not the rejected nerd from those ‘80s movies. Think more the twitch streamer followed by millions. Illesteva handmakes their frames from high-grade materials, and their unique patterns are inspired by their surroundings, making them a truly unique set.
Carrera has given these retro style aviators a rock-chic look and soft pilot shape putting them way up there for best aviator sunglasses for women (although, by no means exclusively). Standing out from the crowd with a unique double metal bridge, making them one of the most comfortable metal framed glasses on your nose. Not only that, but these are also some of the best cheap sunglasses on Amazon.
Gucci is not shy about being one of the most expensive sunglasses brands in the world. and for good reason. This ‘90s retro classic model with a beautiful green color and thick frames is a must right now and will knock your style gauge up to 12. For a (relative for Gucci) affordable price you will be the queen (or king) of retro fashion.
These cool sunglasses for men and women need little introduction. There’s not much to say about the aviator — it’s been one of the most popular styles for nearly a century and shows no sign of stopping. And for the highest quality aviators, look no further than Ray-Ban. With Military grade lenses and superior metal frames, these icons are also one the most durable sunglasses.
Sporting Ray-Ban’s revolutionary Photochromatic lenses, this angular take on the classic aviator style will stop your eyes burning in the sun while letting you maintain eye-contact. Darker lenses don’t give you more UV protection, but they can reduce strain on the eyes. Ray-Ban are one of the best sunglasses brands for polarized lenses and these shades prove you don’t have to sacrifice style for function.
Built for all-day comfort. Oakley’s half jacket’s O Matter frame increases its grip when you sweat. This gives these shades the edge when it comes to sport. The model also gives you the option to swap out the lenses. This means you can customize your look with a range of Oakley’s revolutionary Prizm lenses. And with one set made especially for the golf course, I have to recommend these futuristic frames for the best sunglasses for golf.
These devilishly classy classics will really sharpen the contours of your face — giving you that ‘model’ look. But these cat eye frames aren’t just for the catwalk; you’ll attract attention wherever you go with Prada’s glamorous style. And don’t think you have to suffer to look good, Prada has subtly added nose pads so these angular frames will sit comfortable on that gorgeous face of yours.
Casual sophistication is the name of the game here. Featuring Oakley’s incredibly light alloy frames and plutonite lenses with Prizm tech. Wearing these will not only make you look cool in any situation, but also let you see in as much detail as you would with any of Oakley’s products. This makes these wire frame shades some of the best Oakley sunglasses for day-to-day use.
If you’re after a small accessory with a large impact, then Dior’s Hypnotic2 sunglasses are perfect for that minimalist hippy look. Affordable, sleek, and durable, these are the perfect sunglasses for small faces and flowers in the hair.
Drive in style with some of the best mirrored sunglasses from Ray-Ban. Everything you love about Ray-Ban’s classic aviators with the aloofness of mirror sunglasses. With Ray-Ban being one of the best polarized brands, you can drive with the confidence of clear and protected vision, no matter the conditions. Making these my choice for best driving sunglasses.
Transparent plastic frames are the height of fashion right now. If Gucci is out of your price range but you want to rock that ‘80s retro look, then Celine’s Lola round sunglasses are the best affordable sunglasses for you. Comfortable, lightweight and sure to turn heads.
If you’re looking for the best sports sunglasses on a budget, or to get down and dirty in the wild — the Bevi’s Polarized sport sunglasses are right up your alley. TAC lenses rank with those of the best expensive sunglasses, ensuring zero optical distortion. Their TR90 frames are durable, flexible and lightweight. So, whether you’re running, jumping or climbing, you won’t lose any concentration worrying about them.
These chic, thick rimmed, rectangular shape shades are some of the best budget sunglasses for the party goer. Stylish and exquisite, they are ideal for both modern and retro styles and come in a wide range of colors that won’t break the bank. Why not grab a few pairs for every outfit?
‘Wirecutter’ named Maui Jim as the top choice for travel. And after seeing these punchbowl rectangular sunglasses we have to agree that these are easily one of the best luxury sunglasses for the beach; they’re durable, waterproof, polarized and lightweight. Compliment your awesome swimwear with these cosmopolitan sunglasses and enjoy the sea and sand in their full glory with Maui Jim’s PolarizedPlus2 color enhancing (and fully protective) lenses.
These shades just scream Versace — elegant, distinctive, and innovative. Show off your strength of character with these versatile Versace’s. Perfect for looking your most luxurious every day. Feel empowered in every environment with these subtly seductive shades.
If Audrey Hepburn were alive today, these would surely be her choice of shades. Ray-Ban have combined the iconic elongated cat-eye style with their trusted durable frames and famous G-15 lenses — all at a reasonable price. Perfect for anyone looking to recreate the iconic style of ‘50s era Hepburn.
Transparent plastic frames are very popular right now, and Miu Miu have designed the perfect square framed sunglasses for big faces. Channel the art-gallery look through these violet frames that are far away enough from the norm to stand out, but subtle enough to pair them with (almost) any outfit.
Illesteva’s ultra-lightweight metal framed aviators are some of the best sunglasses for men and women looking to rock that hipster look — the perfect accompaniment to a bow tie, curled moustache, or tweed jacket. Unique but classic, these shades are great for any occasion. Their angular yet curved shape means they will suit (almost) any shaped face.
How I Evaluated the Sunglasses
Knowing how much thought I must put into choosing sunglasses, I wondered how nice it would be if there was a list I could browse to find the best sunglasses that meet my criteria.
There wasn’t one good enough, so I decided to build my own. But rather than a list of ‘My favourite sunglasses,’ I chose to write more of a function and style guide to help you find your face’s favourite accessory (and hopefully find my perfect pair along the way — Spoiler alert: I did!).
- I first searched the internet to inform myself of the components that quality sunglasses should consist of.
- I researched lens advice from top eye care professionals. Organizations such as the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Eyecare trust, The Discovery Eye Foundation and The Mayo Clinic.
- I gathered information on how glasses should fit and look through fashion experts like Bespoke Unit, StreetStylers, Sunglass Warehouse, and LovetoKnow.
- I used this information and my own experience to compile an initial list of great eye-wear.
- I expanded on my list by gathering recommendations from various people with different face shapes, eye colors, genders, hobbies, professions and styles.
- I spoke to athletes, fashionistas, sun-worshipers, drivers, (motor)cyclists, fishermen/fisherwomen, servicemen/women, and the clumsy to get their top rated sunglasses.
- My list at this point was around the 60 mark, so I used the internet to my advantage and scoured sunglasses reviews for each pair on my list.
- Using these reviews I narrowed down my list to the number 1 of its type, aiming for the top 10 sunglasses.
- I quickly found that 10 was not enough to cover everyone’s varying preferences.
- I ended up with 27 of the best of the best types. Each pair the number 1 sunglasses in their field.
Buyers guide – What to look for when buying sunglasses
When buying sunglasses online, you’re missing out on a useful factor for deciding on the right ones for you — trying them on. However, with a bit of knowhow and measuring tape you can ensure the glasses you order will be the perfect match for you without ever having to enter a store.
The right size for your face
If you have some sunglasses that fit you perfectly already, then lucky you, take the measurements from those (usually found on the inner part of the arm).
If you’re not one of the lucky ones however, take a look at this frame guide to help you find the best sunglasses for your face shape.
The full width of the frame should very slightly extend past your cheekbones. Unless of course you want to make a fashion statement with under or oversized frames — then go right ahead you fashionista!
Measurement: Place one finger on each of your temples and measure from finger to finger.
The arms should lightly touch the side of your head only at the point just in front of your ear. From this point the sunglasses should curve around the ear (unless designed not to).
Measurement: Measure from the point in front of your ear to in-line with the bridge of your nose. Then add 30-40mm to account for the curve behind your ear and you’ve got the length you need.
The bridge should fit snugly, neither too tight to block your sinuses nor so loose that the sunglasses will slide.
Measurement: Most metal framed glasses have adjustable nose pads for a more comfortable fit, but most plastic ones don’t — for these, your frame measurements will need to be more accurate to your bridge. For bridges that sit below your pupils and/or are narrow, you’ll want to go between 15-18mm. For higher and wider bridges you should look between the 19-21mm range.
The Right Shape For Your Face
As a general rule, if you have a large face/head then thicker frames will work better for you, as to not make your face look even bigger. As you may have guessed it’s vice versa for smaller faces/heads, as thicker frames will overpower your face.
Square faces will better suit curved frames that balance your angular lines. Try aviator, cat-eye, round and oversized styles.
For round faces, you would suit angular lenses such as square, wayfarer or sport frames.
Heart shaped faces with narrower chins suit frames that bring attention downward. Aviator, cat-eye and round styles will help lengthen your face.
If you have an oval face, then frame shape is a moot point for you, most will suit you, so this is not a factor you need to consider too much when choosing sunglasses.
The right lens for your eyes
Keep in mind that the color and darkness of the lens have no impact on UV protection. For ultimate eye protection, look for lenses that block 99% to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays and cover 75-90% of visible light.
Polarized Lenses vs. Non-Polarized Lenses
Polarized lenses are designed to reduce glare and can help with eye strain, but they can distort some vision, especially electronic screens. This means there are some cases when polarized lenses are not recommended.
Polarized are great for:
- Driving: Actually they are essential for driving; glare can be very dangerous, especially when the sun is low in the sky.
- Fishing: Water obviously reflects a lot of light, so for the best fishing experience you want to be able to see the water as clearly as possible.
- Most outdoor activities: Polarized lenses simply offer a more pleasant experience on your eyes.
Non-polarized are great for:
- Skiing: Glare can help the skier determine what is ice and what is snow, meaning non polarized in this situation is safer.
- Flying: Polarized lenses can make it a little more difficult to see and with many screens and controls in the cockpit, it’s better to sacrifice a little eye comfort in exchange for clearer vision.
- Operating heavy machinery: For a similar reason, being able to clearly see controls and screens is paramount.
Final verdict – My Overall Best Sunglasses
My choice for top in the world has to be Ray-Ban Rb2132 New Wayfarer Sunglasses — this twist on a long-time classic is unrivaled in my opinion. Wayfarers look great on most face shapes and can be worn in (almost) every situation, and nobody does them better than Ray-Ban.
If you’re looking for a pair of sunglasses for all-around use and want to balance top quality frame material and ‘barely-even-notice-you’re-wearing-them’ comfort with military grade lenses that give you complete UV protection and color intensifying clarity, then this is the pair for you.
Q: Which is the best brand of sunglasses?
A: Although a subjective question, and a lot depends on what you want from your shades, I’d have to say Ray-Ban. As you can see by their frequent appearance in my list.
Created in 1936 by the American company Bausch & Lomb, they have been front-and-center iconic sunglasses for their entire existence — with a little help from Tom Cruise.
They pioneered transitioning lenses, have unrivaled frames for comfort and lead the way in fashionable trends — although their timeless classic wayfarers and aviators will never go out of style.
You can’t go wrong with a pair of RBs.
Q: What are the top 10 sunglasses?
A: With so many types for every situation, it's a tough task narrowing them down to 10 (it was hard enough getting it to 27) but if I had to choose I'd say:
- Ray-Ban Rb2132 New Wayfarer Sunglasses – Timeless classic sunglasses
- DIOR OBLIQUE – Sunglasses for the insta-influencer
- Gucci GG0540S STAR Over-sized Mask Rimless Sunglasses – Sunglasses for trend setting attention seeker
- Randolph Matte Chrome Classic Aviator Sunglasses – Best sunglasses for flying
- Under Armour Igniter Sunglasses Oval – Best running sunglasses
- Carfia Polarized Sunglasses – Most durable sunglasses for butter fingers
- Ray-Ban Rb3447 Round Metal Sunglasses – Stylish sunglasses for the city
- Burberry Women's 0BE4278 – Most modern day sunglasses
- Oakley Men's Oo4136 Chrystl Square Metal Sunglasses – Most color enhancing sunglasses
- Illesteva Women's Leonard Mirrored Sunglasses – Popular sunglasses for the Geek Chic
Q: What are the most popular sunglasses right now?
A: There isn’t just one specific pair of sunglasses that are most popular now, as different ones are more popular than others for particular situations.
However, there are a few stylish shades from designer brands that are leading the fashion trends. Brands like Ray-Ban, Randolph, Moscot, American Optical, and Persol have been people’s top choice for many years. While newcomers such as Warby Parker, Mykita, IC Berlin and MessyWeekend have more recently made a name for themselves on the “most popular sunglasses” scene.
Q: When were sunglasses invented?
Forms of sunglasses have been around since prehistoric times, made from ivory disks with slits in them to reduce exposure to the sun. However, sunglasses as we know them were invented in 1913 by Sir William Crookes. By infusing glass with cerium he created lenses that would block ultraviolet light.
By 1929 inexpensive ones were being produced and sold and in 1936, we were introduced to polarized lenses.
Q: What brands are owned by Luxottica?
A: Luxottica's monopoly on the glasses market is apparent with them owning the following top eyewear companies: Ray-Ban, Oakley, Vogue Eyewear, Persol, Oliver Peoples, Arnette, Costa del Mar and Alain Mikli, as well as licensed brands including Giorgio Armani, Burberry, Bulgari, Chanel, Coach, Dolce&Gabbana, Ferrari, Michael Kors, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Tiffany & Co., Valentino and Versace.
That’s a large chunk of the eyewear industry
Q: What are the best sunglasses for the money?
A: This is a subjective question and it depends on your needs. If your goal is to be the most on trend right now, then Gucci GG0540S STAR Over-sized Mask Rimless Sunglasses would be the best value for your money. However, If functionality is your top priority then I would recommend Oakley Men's OO9154 Half Jacket 2.0 XL Rectangular Sunglasses at nearly half the price as being the best choice for your money. My point is, each pair on this list could be considered the highest value depending on your preferences.
Q: What is the best way to clean sunglasses?
- Ensure your hands are clean and dry
- Rinse glasses gently under room temperature water
- Add a drop of lens cleaning solution to each lens
- Gently rub both sides between your fingers
- Rinse lenses thoroughly
- Gently shake the water from the glasses
- Carefully dry the lenses with a lint-free towel
Last update on 2021-01-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API