- Buyer's Guide
Seeking sun protection with sharp style, sustainability, or adventure-ready ruggedness? Scope out the best sunglasses for men…
Sunglasses are ubiquitous with EDC. It doesn’t matter where in the world you are, what season it is, the sun still rises and blinds you temporarily when driving! Certain sunglasses have become iconic in different arenas – whether it’s a president, a superstar from Hollywood, or the next Olympic champion, people spot the shades.
As with many industries and product lines that we see in the market today – and innovation has not passed over sunglasses – this list is full of unique companies. From traditional ones with a time-honored process to inventive folks trying to do something new.
We believe that the sunglasses on this list will last you a long time, keep the sun from your eyes and set you forth on the next adventure.
Price: $219 – $359
Carryology Credential: The classic of all classics – USA-made.
Best for: Everyday wear.
Randolph Engineering, from Massachusetts, are one of the old-school names in eyewear. Each pair takes six weeks to make and goes through a 200-step process that has been followed for 45 years – all in the USA! The Aviator has continued to be their best-selling style since 1973 and it’s easy to see why once you have a pair in your hands. From the hard case, to the microfiber cleaning cloth, to the subtly embossed “RE” on the arm – everything about these sunglasses is classic, understated, and intentional. These very glasses are relied upon by pilots across the armed forces – they are quite literally battle-tested – not many sunglasses can say that!
At Randolph, there are variants within each design – frame finish, lens color, lens technology, and more. We tested their non-polarized AGX SkyTec glass lens – which is an excellent all-rounder for your daily routine! We also tested their SkyTec Polarized Cobalt glass lens – this was ideal for days on the water or trail where it provided a bit more contrast when needed. All of their SkyTec lenses have 100% UVA/UVB protection along with an anti-reflective coating.
While I wish I was a Top Gun pilot on occasion, I have finally accepted in my thirties that it’s an unlikely career path for me. But fear not – you can still wear these epic shades and feel just as important as Maverick. The Randolph aviators are equally tough and lightweight. There isn’t anything here on these glasses that needn’t be there. They have an elegant design that is comfortable to wear all day, even with headgear on (more likely inspired by pilots and their helmets than my baseball cap!). These truly mesh with any outfit and any situation too. Plus, with a lifetime guarantee, these could become your next family heirloom.
Carryology Credential: Don’t lose your glasses ever again!
Best for: Watersports.
I’ve lost too many pairs of sunglasses in lakes, rivers, and oceans the world over. It’s always a humbling moment to be reminded how stupid you are – but not anymore! The clever folks at Dragon Alliance have assuaged your fears and created floating sunglasses that will always rise to the surface! These impressively lightweight sunglasses are made from a low-density thermoplastic that allows them to float, even when fully submerged! I tried this with great trepidation in a sink first, then a swimming pool, then a lake, then the ocean! It is now a favorite party trick to watch them float to the surface and back into your hands.
The lenses themselves are also excellent – with both hydrophobic and oleophobic coatings (they’ll repel water, dirt, dust, and oil). These were made for your summer adventures!
Carryology Credential: Sustainable bio-based frames.
Best for: LAPIS® lens technology
New on the block are Bajío (Spanish for shallows). A sunglasses company who are dedicated not only to high-quality eyewear, but also protecting the places they love the most – the saltwater flats (check out their Odyssey program!).
The bioplastic frames are 100% plant-based, making them incredibly lightweight and comfortable over long days on the water. Not only are the frames recycled, but the packaging is made from recycled paper, the leather case is made from waste product, and they are even in the process of making bamboo and coconut frames for their future collections.
Their LAPIS® lens technology reduces blue light from the world’s biggest source – the sun! Combined with polarization you get a crystal clear view – whether on the water or not. The oleophobic coating makes these easy to keep clean. The Calda are a classic frame style that fits most faces and comes in an energetic Tinta Matte frame that screams summer! The Trevally lens tint is the darkest they offer, and while meant for fishing out on the flats, it is perfect for beach days too. Bajío are creating great products, and a better ocean – that’s something worth getting behind!
Carryology Credential: Stylish lightweight frames that are supremely comfortable.
Best for: Every adventure out there.
It’s okay to admit that wearing sunglasses is sometimes about the look. We all know it, and they can be a valuable addition to your style! I’ve received so many compliments on the Maho Charleston 2 and it’s easy to see why. Slender handmade acetate frames in a rich tortoiseshell fit with any summer outfit, while the polarized blue Trivex mirrored lenses keep the sun at bay.
However, these good looks aren’t the only thing going for the Charleston 2 – far from it! These are an updated sportier version of the original, and you can tell when wearing them. Exceptionally lightweight and extremely comfortable, these charming sunglasses are actually ready for all the activity you can throw at them! The rubberized Zuma™ fit and retention system make these I think the most comfortable sunglasses I’ve worn. They ‘hug’ your skull rather than crush it, the rubber nose pads don’t leave welts on your nose, and they weigh next to nothing. These sunglasses present excellent value for money, paired with a winning design – that’s a tough-to-beat combination.
Price: $35.40 (on sale!)
Carryology Credential: Lightweight, good value, unisex.
Best for: Living in the car.
Eddie Bauer always, always comes up with the goods – with an excellent knack for providing great products at great prices when you least expect it. The Preston is one such example, coming in under $40 for a brilliant pair of sunglasses – polarized too!
These are lightweight, and have a great fit thanks to the rubber end tips, while the polycarbonate lenses provide both UVA and UVB protection. The included carry case is spring-loaded, and quick to open/close, but also slender enough to slip into a bag/car door without worrying about damage. The frame and lens size are unisex and fit most faces well. I found them a little narrow for my stupid Anglo Saxon head, but my wife found them to be great on her!
Carryology Credential: Look, Mum! No arms!
Best for: Taking a beating.
Sometimes, it’s easy to get precious about a pair of sunglasses. Once you’ve shelled out a few hundred dollars, it’s only natural to be protective of them, worrying about every scratch or every drop, and hoping the lenses are still intact!
These glasses are perfect for those of us who are a little more rough and ready. Firstly, they’re carbon negative, twenty trees are planted for each pair sold. That’s quite the commitment to a better planet, and one we can get behind! Secondly, they have hard-coated, hydrophobic, and oleophobic Zeiss® polarized lenses! These lenses are crispy clear and UVA/UVB protective. The frames are hand carved from cellulose acetate, which means they are incredibly robust. You can stand on these glasses and the frame and lenses will not crack. You can even stick them in your back pocket, sit on them for twelve hours and they’ll be fine!
The real genius though is the no arms cord. With no screws to snap, or arms to break apart, the recycled Japanese nylon cord sits around your head and is easily adjustable. This means you can dial in your fit in a way that you usually can’t with sunglasses – these are 100% customizable. I also love how you can just loosen the cord so that they hang around your neck – this is great in practice as opposed to taking on/off every two moments.
The neoprene slip case that partners the sunglasses is just as brilliant. There’s a built-in microfiber cloth that you’ll never lose, and at 3mm thick you’ll have enough protection without adding bulk. Ombraz’s sunglasses are made for adventure – get after it!
Carryology Credential: Premium sunglasses that make you feel like James Bond.
Best for: Island Hopping Vacations
If James Bond (Roger Moore era) took a pair of sunglasses to defeat his next nemesis, these would be them! Maui Jim started on the Hawaiian beaches and are known for their exceptional lens quality, particularly for those who fish. But now their expertise is spreading into their lifestyle range more each year.
The Cruzem is a perfect blend of modern technology and timeless style with its PolarizedPlus2® glass lenses that are exceptionally thin, while still providing glare and UV protection. The tortoiseshell design will suit anyone – from linen-wearing spies to casual beer drinkers in flip-flops. The lenses have a slight bronze tint – making them good daily wearers and providing great versatility. Not only are the glasses innovative – the tri-fold case is too! It folds completely flat and can slip into your pocket – no more asking your wife to “hold” the case in her purse/bag! The rubber nose pads keep them on your face comfortably and reduce the nose marks of old – leaving you ready to explore beaches and save the world.*
This selection of some of the best sunglasses for men highlights the innovation throughout the industry. From crushproof glasses to 100% recycled frames, the future is bright and there are adventures to be had! Carry on!