Sunglasses with Style and Purpose

Shades that flatter your face, improve your look and protect those peepers.
SunglassesGear and Gadgets

When it comes to venturing out into the sun, the main priority is to protect yourself from damaging UV rays that can cause permanent damage to your eyes and wreak havoc on your skin. And just like your skin needs sunblock, your eyes need sunglasses. That’s right, sunglasses aren’t just an accessory to make you look cool by the pool—they serve a critical purpose.

Prices and availability may vary.

We sported a number of shades and got the firsthand lowdown on the latest and greatest.

Sunglasses are the best line of defense for your eyes apart from your own eyelids, so when choosing a pair you need to take into account just how much time you will be spending in the sun—and if you’ll be doing sporty activities like sailing and fishing or just lounging at the beach. Finally, you’ll need to find a pair with the most comfortable fit and style that best represents your fashion sense, because, let’s face it, sunglasses are cool even in the hottest of heat waves.

Solid and Sleek
Solid and Sleek
The gradient lenses in these sunglasses offer 100% UV protection. The acetate plastic frames themselves are also built as solidly as the tough customers for whom they’re named. So while you definitely won’t forget you’re wearing them, you’ll also feel adequately “covered” and sheltered from that merciless summer sun.

These shades are also stylishly intriguing—they sport a diamond-shaped design on the temple, making them surprisingly multifunctional, and therefore worth the money. They’d be fully appropriate for a day of sandy beach activity, as well as the oceanside afternoon party that follows.— Mack Dresden, Contributing Writer

Cinzia Gladiator Sunglasses; $150; Available at cinziadesigns.com

Top of the Line Design
Top-of-the-Line Design
This new luxury model from Schneyden Precision Eyewear fuses a cedar rolled composite frame with hypoallergenic temples. And not only do they feature top-quality fashion—they also know how to perform. The Revelry Composite Hybrid Frame is simultaneously sturdy and flexible enough to provide comfort to a variety of head sizes. We were actually astounded that these chic shades offered such snugness, allowing them to perform whether running, golfing and most activities in between.

Speaking of activity, these sunglasses can be fitted with Schneyden’s distortion-free, scratch resistant CR-39 lenses, which make them great for carrying out precision activities in the sun. They also sport a hydrophobic coating that repels water and perspiration, and several layers of magnesium hexafluoride to diffuse ambient light and protect pupils from harsh reflections.

Revelry Composite Hybrid Frame; $259 - $309; Available at scheyden.com

The Sporting Type
The Sporting Type
Aviator sunglasses have really made a comeback in the past couple of years with their oversize vintage look that harkens back to the days of CHiPS Patrol and '70s B-movies. But Ray Ban has given aviators a makeover and nailed it. The frames are shapelier, wrapping slightly around your field of vision, as opposed to standing flat across your nose. The amber-tinted lenses are slightly smaller, curved and polarized, which makes these shades great for boating, biking or lounging by the pool.

The Ray Ban Warrior Aviators can be dressed up with a button-up, blazer and khakis for a summer wedding or combined with cargo shorts and a ringer T-shirt, so you don’t have to worry about buying more than one pair of shades. All in all, you’ll be part of the whole aviator craze while getting expertly crafted sunglasses that protect just as great as they look. —Jason Carpenter, Men’s Editor

Ray-Ban Warrior Aviator (RB3342) Sunglasses; $120; Available at Amazon.com

Uni lense Hip
Uni-lense Hip
Even though these Burberry 3012 sunglasses are all about style, they'll also protect your eyes efficiently against the sun’s harmful UV rays. They feature a single-lens visor design, reminiscent of the old clip-on sunglasses. Yes, these ironic glasses are all about the big black lenses, as the frames themselves are quite minimal and slight. In fact, there is little, if any rim at all around the lenses themselves. As such, these are not the sporting type of shades, but you will no doubt turn heads by the pool, at the beach or when riding the Ferris wheel at the amusement park. —Jose Noia, Contributing Writer

Burberry 3012 Sunglasses; $160; Available at Shadesemporium.com

Updated Classic
Updated Classic
I see why they call these shades Crosshair Pilots—they sport a classic aviator design, which is enhanced using 21st-century ingenuity. The cutting-edge features include Oakley's XYZ Optics for optimal clarity at any vision angle and plutonite lens material, which blocks out harmful UVA, UVB and UVC rays.

What I like about aviators is the full wrap-around coverage that shades even your peripheral vision. I found the fit to be a little snug at first, but after five hours of outdoor chores, I was glad to know these frames wouldn’t be slipping off my face whenever I looked down at my lawnmower or started to sweat. As sunglasses go, this pair is definitely on the weighty side, but that’s a plus—not only are they solidly made, but you also won’t forget you’re wearing them. All in all, these are very sturdy, sharp-looking shades. —Jamie Gerardi, Assistant Men's Editor

Oakley Crosshair Sunglasses; $150; Available at Oakley.com

Flexible Frames
Flexible Frames
When I first checked out these Maui Jim Makaha sunglasses, I was impressed by the stylish yet simplistic design. The frames are semi rimless, meaning your view is almost completely unobstructed, and the weight is extremely light. One of the things I love the most about Maui Jim sunglasses is that they all come with a rugged zippered case, meaning you can pack them for a trip without worrying about breaking or bending.

Speaking of packing, I was thrilled when I found out the lens treatments were also saltwater safe, making them great for lying out on the beach. The lenses are also layered with a silicon-based hard coat, which makes them virtually scratch-proof, once again great for sandy excursions. These shades have all the stylishness you would expect from a top sunglasses manufacturer, but they’re also more flexible, so you don’t have to be ultra delicate with them. —Monty Gamble, Contributing Writer

Maui Jim Makaha Sunglasses; $159; Available at mauijim.com

Compact Protection
Compact Protection
My biggest problem with sunglasses is forgetting to bring them with me when I need them. When I first saw the Nannini fold-up Flat Specs, I was surprised that such a compact package could offer 100-percent UV protection. Here’s how it works: the hinges on the frames move 45 degrees, allowing them stay flat when not in use, and lie correctly on your face when you need them. The sunglasses themselves weigh less than 1 ounce, while the case is only a half-inch wide.

Not only do these little glasses take up far less room than ordinary shades, they’re less than $25 a pop—perfect for keeping one in a briefcase and another in a car. Now I’ll have absolutely no excuse not to keep my eyes protected this summer. —Laurence March, Production Coordinator

Nannini Solemio $20.99; Available at flatspecs.com.
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