Looking for men's sunglasses? We selected 15 pairs to test side-by-side, spanning a full range of technologies and prices. We put them to the test on snowshoe adventures and beach days, in midday beer gardens and westward drives at sunset. We checked their fit across men's faces, scrutinized their construction, and asked a full panel of our friends to judge their comfort and style. From international vacations to neighborhood dog walks, these shades saw it all. Whether you're after the coolest glasses around, the pair that can do it all, or the budget-friendly option you won't feel bad losing, we're here to help you find the perfect pair.Related: The Best Sunglasses for Women of 2021
The Best Sunglasses for Men of 2021
$199.00 at Amazon
|$229.99 at Amazon||Check Price at REI||$202.66 at Amazon||$79 List|
$79.00 at REI
|Pros||Incredible lenses, secure fit, great coverage||Lightweight, superb comfort, great coverage||Protective lenses, secure fit, great coverage||Wide lenses, stay put very well, great all-around performance||Solid all-around performance, great style, comfortable|
|Cons||Sportier look, expensive||Large fit, sportier vibe, pricey||Very sporty look, expensive||Very sporty, bag doesn't clean lenses well, expensive||Just okay coverage, can slip when sweaty|
|Bottom Line||Outstanding shades with comfortable and protective lenses, excellent coverage, and a secure fit||Absurdly flexible shades that are super light and ridiculously comfortable, with great coverage||Comfortable and sporty sunglasses with excellent bright light lenses and a secure wrap||Great all-around shades with extra grip for anyone who's sick of glasses sliding down their nose||Cool, comfortable, and stylish sunglasses at a reasonable price that we love wearing|
|Rating Categories||Kaenon Burnet Mid||Maui Jim Red Sands||Costa del Mar Rinco...||Smith Riptide||CAMP Eyewear Trail|
|Lens Quality (30%)|
|Style And Versatility (20%)|
|Frame Quality (15%)|
|Specs||Kaenon Burnet Mid||Maui Jim Red Sands||Costa del Mar Rinco...||Smith Riptide||CAMP Eyewear Trail|
|Lens Tested||Ultra Grey 12||HCL Bronze||Blue Mirror 580P||ChromaPop Glass Polarized Bronze Mirror||Basic Polarized Grey|
|Visible Light Transmission (VLT)||12%||12%||10%||11%||12%|
|VLT Protection Index||Category 3||Category 3||Category 3||Category 3||Category 3|
|HEV/Blue Light Protection (claim)||0%||"HEV reduction"||100%||0%||0%|
|Infrared Protection (claim)||0%||0%||0%||0%||0%|
|Lens Material||SR-91 Resin (proprietary plastic)||MauiPure (proprietary plastic)||Polycarbonate||Glass||Triacetate Cellulose|
|Coatings and Lense Treatments||Hydroleophobic, Anti-Scratch||Mirror, Anti-Scratch||Mirror, C-Wall (Anti-Scratch, Hydroleophobic)||Mirror, Hydroleophobic, Anti-Reflective||None|
|Prescription Lens Compatible?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Case Included||Semi-rigid zippered and soft/cleaning bag||Semi-rigid trifold magnetic case||Semi-rigid zippered case||Semi-rigid zippered and soft/cleaning bag||Sleeping bag with zipper|
Best Overall Sunglasses for Men
Kaenon Burnet Mid
The Kaenon Burnet Mid sunglasses can truly do it all, and they're our favorite lenses to wear. We've tested both grey and brown lenses, and both are outstanding. They offer top-notch clarity, superb color rendition, and heightened contrast without distorting reality. They also manage to have almost zero back reflections, which is a seriously impressive feat. The Mid-size we tested offers a secure fit on most average-sized heads, gripping comfortably with a protective, face-hugging wrap. If you've got a larger head, the Burnet also comes in an XL version.
The worst thing we can say about these glasses is that their rectangular lenses look a bit sporty. Yet, they're still not the most sporty-looking shades we tested, and our panel of testers all liked the look of these. They're also on the expensive end of the spectrum, but that extra dough does buy you a really great pair of shades.
Best Bang for Your Buck
CAMP Eyewear Trail
We love the cool detailing on the CAMP Eyewear Trail, which upgrades them from just another pair of wayfarers to glasses we're excited to put on and wear outside. They have solid all-around performance, with comfortable, crisp lenses and only a hint of blue to enhance contrast. They're very smooth and glossy, with an excellent shape that was comfortable and pleasing to wear for all our testers of varying head sizes. They'd be easy to love even without the wooden bows, but with them, they're just plain fun. The wood not only looks good, it also helps to balance the glasses on your face, keeping them from sliding during casual use.
However, the lack of any rubber sections can be problematic when you're hot and sweat — they just don't stay put quite as well as some others we tested. The Trail also have the standard coverage flaws of just about every pair of modern wayfarers, with Medium lenses and a fairly flat frame that allows sunlight in the sides, bottom, and, depending on where you wear them on your face, over the top. Despite these relatively minor drawbacks, there's still so much to love about these unique, budget-friendly glasses.
Best on a Tight Budget
Merry's Polarized Aluminum
The Merry's Polarized Aluminum performed far better than their shockingly low price would suggest. The dark lenses are great on a bright day, while the larger size adds both coverage and extra style. Even our friends who aren't normally into this type of look found themselves enjoying the vibe they got while wearing these shades. The keyhole bridge is just the right amount to add a little flair to this already pretty cool pair of sunglasses. They also come with two cases and a cleaning cloth, all of which are great quality, adding even more value to this impressive budget pick.
Dark lenses are only ideal when the clouds roll in or you step beneath the canopy of the forest, and the Merry's predictably fall a little short when it comes to low light situations. They're not outstanding lenses, though they're not distorted or cloudy like some other models we tested at this price point. The hinges on ours loosened at slightly different rates during the several months of our testing, but they're easy to adjust and retighten. If you need a solid pair of shades for a very low cost, these are the ones we'd pick any day.
Best for Supreme Comfort
Maui Jim Red Sands
We almost can't believe just how flexible the Maui Jim Red Sands are. These nylon frames are exceptionally thin and ridiculously bendable, all without distorting. This supreme flexibility makes them insanely comfortable to wear, as they grip your head without ever feeling tight. Adjustable nose pads are an unexpected upgrade that help you find the perfect fit for your nose. The lightweight lenses lose nothing in clarity, contrast, or color rendition and are comfortable and easy to wear. The large size and adjustable fit also helps these shades to provide top-notch coverage.
Some of our testers felt that these lenses were a bit large — though they're meant to be, and advertised as such. They're also a tad sporty, though not nearly as much as some others we tested with angular rectangular lenses and mirror coatings. They're still some of our favorite glasses to wear and were always the pair we reached for when comfort was paramount.
Best for Dressing Up
Vuarnet Legend 06
If you've ever gotten all dressed up to head to an outdoor function and felt like your sunglasses aren't doing your three-piece suit justice, the Vuarnet Legend 06 is here to save the day. These seriously stylish shades look fantastic with any collared shirt or blazer — it's no wonder they're featured as James Bond's preferred sunglasses by actor Daniel Craig. Beyond just style, they have some of the most impressive-performing lenses we tested, keeping the eyes comfortable and classy. They fit very comfortably on smaller faces, with their sharply angled, flexible bows.
However, this narrowness has pigeon-holed them to only fitting well on narrow heads. The men on our testing team with average and wider faces found the fit to be odd, perpetually sliding down the nose. And they don't need the help — as one of the very few pairs we tested with glass frames, the Legend 06 is remarkably front-heavy. They balance and fit well enough on narrow heads to make the weight distribution mostly unnoticeable, but those with average+ heads found them almost unbearably imbalanced. These would be a good pair to try on before fully committing. If you've got a slender face and a desire for luxurious style, these are the perfect shades to upgrade your wardrobe to elite status.
A Timeless Classic
Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer Classic
The Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer Classic has truly never gone out of style, looking as great today as they did when they debuted in 1952. They uniformly look great on every face and with every style, giving off that cool-as-a-cucumber laidback vibe so many of us love. They work just as well with board shorts as they do with a polo shirt — even a lot of women love these glasses. Though no sunglasses are truly unbreakable, these are hefty and robust, lending a serious level of credibility to their durability — backed up by an almost unheard of seven-barrel hinges on each side.
This beefiness does come with a cost — the Original Wayfarer are heavy. Don't get us wrong, they're very comfortable to wear, with glossy smooth frames that feel great, IF you're down with their not insignificant weight. Made in the OG of wayfarer style, they have a very exaggerated forward slant to the lenses, which looks really cool but leaves a pronounced gap over the tops of the lenses, lessening their coverage. But if you've got your heart set on this look, you won't be disappointed with the performance of these classic shades.
Why You Should Trust Us
This review is spearheaded by our consultant, Bradley Nichols, and Senior Review Editor, Maggie Brandenburg. Bradley has been an outdoor adventurer for years, living and recreating in Reno, Nevada, one of the sunniest places in the United States. From hitting the slopes in the winter to backpacking in the summer, Brad always keeps his eyes protected and comfortable wherever he roams. Maggie has been leading backcountry trips for over 15 years, in some blindingly bright environments, from kayaking the Caribbean and snorkeling the Galapagos to rafting the American West and backpacking the Sierra Nevadas. As a glasses-wearer since the young age of four, Maggie is a self-professed "glasses junkie," demanding a lot from her eyewear. She also leads our women's sunglasses and sport sunglasses reviews and has been testing for GearLab since 2018. She and Brad enlisted the help and critical eyes from a slew of friends, family, and coworkers to test and rate these shades.
We sifted through hundreds of pairs of the best men's sunglasses to choose these most promising models. After purchasing them, we wore them incessantly. We went on snowshoe hikes and neighborhood walks, out to run errands, and to relax at outdoor cafes. We put them to the test driving, hiking, walking, and hanging out. We compared their fit across face sizes and put their lenses literally side by side to tease apart the differences.
Related: How We Tested Sunglasses
Analysis and Test Results
We demand a lot from our sunglasses and think you should too. To test every pair, we assessed their competence and performance across five metrics. While the combination of these weighted ratings gives each pair their overall score, in what follows, we break down the metrics and discuss which pairs perform best and why.
When it comes to sunglasses, like many types of gear, a higher price typically imparts a better performance. However, this relationship is far from perfect, and we found several pairs that buck this trend, offering exceptional value.
The CAMP Trail is one such pair with terrific value. Great lenses in frames that feel great, these sunglasses come with a price tag lower than their impressive performance would lead us to suspect. The Merry Polarized Aluminum is another such pair. These shades punch far above their weight, with good quality build and materials for a shockingly low cost. They Suncloud Mayor are also a solid purchase — the more-than-fair price gets you a nice case, good lenses, and great coverage.
The most important aspect of any pair of glasses is the quality of their lenses; otherwise, why bother wearing them? We tested lens quality by comparing every contender side by side and ranking how well they performed in challenging lighting conditions, how they rendered colors, and how comfortable they kept our eyes after hours of direct sun exposure.
Hands down, the best lenses we tested come in the Kaenon Burnet. The Ultra Grey 12 lenses are everything we never dared to dream a grey lens could be. Not only are they crystal clear, but they're also versatile, performing equally as well in both bright and low light. They have almost no reflections off the backs of the lenses and manage to increase contrast by boosting colors in ways we normally associate with brown lenses. The Costa del Mar Rinconcito has nearly as impressive of a performance. Their Blue Mirror lenses are excellent in clarity and provide very true-to-life colors, with just a hint of blue-ish increased contrast. They have nearly no reflections from the backs of the lenses, and do extremely well in bright lighting conditions, though not quite as well in lower light situations.
The Vuarnet Legend 06 Polar Blue glass lenses would earn top marks across the board, but for a pillar of glare that appears in each lens at just the wrong angle of light. Other than that, these are some of our favorite lenses for their clarity, versatility, and superb color rendition. The Maui Jim Red Sands HCL Bronze MauiPure lenses are also excellent, with fantastic clarity and just the right amount of color-enhancing contrast. These polycarbonate lenses have just a bit of back reflection and are just average to wear in low-light environments. The Smith Riptide ChromaPop Glass Polarized Bronze Mirror are superb lenses as well, with top-notch clarity and excellent versatility across lighting conditions. They're like the Red Sands, with just a little more back reflection than we want, and lean a little into the neon realm of color rendition, though this provides great contrast.
Also notable are the CAMP Eyewear Trail Basic Polarized Grey triacetate cellulose lenses, with their excellent clarity, true-life colors, and versatile lighting usage. The Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer original G-15 glass lenses are also excellent, with just enough of a green tint to highlight the natural world and great performance in bright light. We enjoy wearing the Native Eyewear Flatiron Green Reflex lenses as well. Their darkly protective Visible Light Transmission of just 11% are surprisingly versatile with excellent clarity.
Ensuring your sunglasses are comfortable enough to wear all day is not a task we take lightly. We considered as many aspects of comfort as we could think of, measuring every pair and testing their balance different-sized faces. We wore each pair for hours to see if they became tight, heavy, or uncomfortable. We noted where they touched our faces and if that changed as different people wore them.
When it comes to comfort, it's tough to beat the flexible nylon frames of the Maui Jim Red Sands. They bend and flex on a whim without warping out of shape, easily accommodating every possible size and shape of head. Adjustable nose pads add another layer of personalization to these sunglasses that are so comfortable we could sleep in them.
The Kaenon Burnet Mid are also a very comfortable pair of glasses to wear, with a snug, secure fit that feels good (and comes in a larger size for wider-than-average faces). The Costa Rinconcito and Smith Riptide are both impressively comfortable, too, with frames just flexible enough to accommodate varying head shapes and perfectly placed rubbery padding to keep them in place without squeezing.
The CAMP Trail are another very comfortable pair, with glossy frames that are well-balanced with long wooden sections. They sit comfortably and easily on a wide range of faces, with the ideal tension in their flex hinges to indulge light overextension without compromising security. The Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer has a similar-fitting style, though they are quite heavy and don't have the over-extendable hinges. They also have an exaggerated forward slant of the lenses that not everyone loved.
The Vuarnet Legend 06 are similarly flawed, feeling very comfortable on slender heads but too narrow and front-heavy to be comfortable on most average faces. The goodr OG, however, are a crowd-pleaser. They're flexible, very lightweight, and easy to wear — if you like their style.
Style and Versatility
Though style is subjective, some sunglasses look good on a lot of people and in a variety of situations, while others only seem to fit a few and have limited fans. We asked as many men as we could wrangle up to tell us how they liked the look of every pair. We also considered how well they work in different scenarios, from lounging in the hammock to hiking in the local park.
If style is your number one priority, it's hard to go wrong with the timeless look of the Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer. These classics have been practically unchanged since they were first introduced in the 1950s. They seem to look good on everyone — no matter the gender — and have a look that goes with every outfit in just about every situation.
If you're looking to match the level of your sunglasses style to that of your new tailored vest or pressed polos on your European vacation, the Vuarnet Legend 06 are the perfect pair, always on point with premier wardrobe choices. The CAMP Trail earns high marks for style, too, with their mostly-wooden bows and excellent take on a modern wayfarer style.
Some of the highest-performing sunglasses overall fell slightly behind in style, trending toward a more sporty look, with rectangular lenses and (often) mirror coatings. However, they're not unstylish and have the added versatility of handling lots of movement and staying put on sweaty faces. The Kaenon Burnet Mid and Maui Jim Red Sands both fall into this category, with the Costa Rinconcito and Smith Riptide not far behind. Finally, though slightly more specific style-wise, the Tifosi Schwae and Merry's Polarized Aluminum are great-looking shades that many of our testers didn't expect to like as much as they did.
Since no one wants something that's just going to break or fall apart after a few months, we scrutinized every frame. We looked into construction materials and inspected hinges. We checked the fit of lenses and the overall flexibility of each model. We also scoured the internet for recurring complaints from other users to see if we could replicate their issues.
Two glasses stand out here, with seriously beefy, durable frames: the Kaenon Burnet Mid and Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer. Both are thick and feel strong and sturdy in hand, with wide hinges and very solid builds. Though slightly less burly, several more flexible pairs also stand out, including the Costa Rinconcito and Smith Riptide. Both of these shades have durable-feeling, if slightly thinner frames, rubbery pads that are well-attached, and flexible spring hinges that accommodate overextension.
The Maui Jim Red Sands feel alarmingly thin at first but are impressively flexible. We were shocked and amazed by their almost ludicrous level of bendability, yet this proved to be the seat of their strength during our testing. They also have adjustable nose pads held on metal arms that can flex before bending, furthering the high level of pliability.
The CAMP Trail frames are thick and solid, with treated wood making up a portion of the bows around a stabilizing metal skeleton. They also boast some of our favorite over-extendable hinges, both in their exaggerated beefy build and with their ideal pressure that's both comfortable and secure.
Leaving large gaps around the edges of lenses can completely defeat the purpose of wearing sunglasses in the first place. We tested coverage across various face sizes and shapes to see which ones keep you covered and which ones don't quite cut it. We also tested how well they stay put once you start sweating on a hot summer day.
Models with the most coverage combine large lenses, face-hugging curves, and a close-fitting frame. We found the best, most consistent coverage with the Kaenon Burnet Mid, Costa Rinconcito, and Suncloud Mayor. All three of these sunglasses have large, rectangular lenses in frames that wear comfortably close to the face, nearly sealing edge gaps without any of them being full wraparound models. The Maui Jim Red Sands and Smith Riptide are nearly as good with large lenses, though they both have slightly different fits that allow sunlight to filter in along the sides (Red Sands) or bottoms (Riptide). All five of these pairs are shaped and balanced in ways that help them to stay on your head better than average, even when you're sweaty and moving.
The Vuarnet Legend 06 have the right combination of wider lenses and close-fitting shape to provide excellent coverage — but only if they fit your face. We found these glasses to be rather narrow, with a specific inward bend in the bows that makes them difficult for average+ sized faces to wear properly. The Native Flatirons have a similar issue — their lenses are a bit smaller than their frame size would suggest, creating just okay coverage for medium and large heads but great coverage on smaller faces.
Modern wayfarer-style sunglasses like the CAMP Trail and Sunski Madrona provide pretty good coverage, with wider frames and medium lenses, though they leave obvious gaps around their edges because of their flatter shapes.
Because we want our sunglasses to last, we also examined what comes with every pair. From zippered cases to tiny cleaning cloths, we noted the included accessories and how well they do their intended job.
Many of the glasses we tested come with semi-rigid zippered cases, including the Kaenon Burnet Mid, Costa Rinconcito, Smith Riptide, and Native Flatirons. The Vuarnet Legend 06 and Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer are accompanied by semi-rigid snap-top cases, while the Merry's case is similar but with a magnetic closure instead of a snap. The Maui Jim Red Sands come in a magnetic trifold case that folds flat into a compact rectangle when empty.
The CAMP Trail slides into a tiny puffy sleeping bag-like case with a zippered top that we love. They also come with a leash to keep them attached to your neck. All other pairs of sunglasses we tested come with at least a microfiber drawstring bag that helps prevent scratches and can be used for lens cleaning.
We know there are a TON of sunglasses out there to choose from. We spent months wearing, testing, and comparing the ones in our lineup to help you find an ideal pair for your lifestyle and your budget.
— Maggie Brandenburg
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