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You’re encouraged to wear sunglasses anytime you’re on the road to shield your eyes against glare and UV radiation. In addition to ensuring you get better visibility, they’ll reduce eyestrain and improve road safety.
We know getting a good pair of shades—especially if you don’t know what to look for—can be difficult. Therefore, we decided to scour the market on your behalf and compile a list of sunglasses that should be at the top of the food chain, complete with in-depth reviews.
|Best Overall||Gargoyles Victor Sunglasses||
|Best Value||OTIS Life On Mars Sunglasses||
|Premium Choice||Oakley SI Double Edge||
|Serengeti Corleone Sunglasses||
|William Painter “The Hook” Titanium||
|Lens Width||3.2 Inches|
|Frame Color||Matte Dark|
The Gargoyles Victor sunglasses are our top choice overall for driving. The lenses are made of polycarbonate material and exceed the ANSI Z87.1+ visual protection requirement. That’s just a technical term used to describe its zero optical distortion ability.
To ensure its premium quality, they added chemical layers on both lenses. This made them anti-glare and very difficult to scratch. Gargoyles also included the Tri-Tech Oleophobic treatment on all sides, to make cleaning easy. The frames are made of metal and have rubber temple tips that work in tandem with the unobstructed spring hinges to guarantee a comfortable experience.
|Lens Width||2.2 Inches|
This is what you should be going for if you’re looking for a product that offers great value for money. You see, while other brands were busy using materials that are known to be harmful to the environment, OTIS went for the safest option—mineral glass.
Mineral glass is a product of two natural elements: soda ash and sand. It doesn’t contribute to any kind of pollution to the environment or negatively affect humans and animals. Moreover, it’s been proven to lack distortion and has a high degree of resistance to scratching.
These “Life On Mars” sunglasses have tinted lenses that are meant to maintain a depth of perception and true color, block harmful UV light, and reduce eye strain. It has frames made of TR90 Grilamid, which is a polymer material that’s durable, resistant to various chemicals, shape-retaining, and very light.
The hinges are Visottica and the screws are stainless steel. Those are the best hinges and screws in the market, designed for brands looking to boost their frames’ corrosion resistance.
|Lens Width||2.7 Inches|
The Oakley SI Double Edge is a model designed for law enforcement. That’s why it features technology that’s not typically found in ordinary sunglasses. The lens is made of plutonite, which is a high-grade polycarbonate material. They usually deliver razor-sharp focus and uncompromised clarity. UV protection is also on the table, in addition to the Prizm technology that fine-tunes vision.
The frames are O-matter, making them durable, lightweight, and resistant to stress. Unobtainium nose pads have been tasked with increasing grip during perspiration, and the three-point fit feature eliminates pressure points for all-day comfort.
We came to learn that the brand offers prescription and Prizm sports lenses for those who prefer working with such options. But is it really worth it considering it’s not polarized or photochromic? Well, we’ll let you be the judge of that.
|Lens Width||2.3 Inches|
The word “Serengeti” is an African term that describes a vast ecosystem in the east-central region of that continent.
This Corleone model has some cool features and specifications. It’s been designed to be used by both men and women and has photochromic polarized lenses meant to deliver the ultimate user experience. Once you put them on, your vision will be enhanced significantly whether you’re outside exposed to glare, or indoors with limited lighting.
The frame material is made of nickel silver, which is 20% zinc, 20% nickel, and 60% copper. It looks like silver, but it’s not. Its durability should not be an issue given this material can survive almost anything. If you have to worry about something, worry about the lens material. Compared to plastic, glass is more scratch-resistant but less shatterproof.
The temples on this model are thinner than the typical kind to provide a sleek appearance and guaranteed comfort.
|Lens Width||3 Inches|
The Hook Titanium from Willian Painter has frames made of titanium. So you’re promised durability and a pair that fits comfortably. They’re hypoallergenic, as well. That’s to say, it doesn’t react with skin unless you’re sensitive or allergic to titanium itself. The arms are thin to ensure they remain lightweight, easy to clean, and more importantly, easy to maintain.
These lenses are polarized, made of nylon, and medium-sized. These are all features that make it a great fit for drivers looking to filter out glare and block excessive light. Its lenses are scratch-resistant, and you’ll have a cleaning wipe together with a hard case added to the package.
Is it pocket-friendly? Nope. And the temple tips are tinier than usual.
|Lens Width||4.7 Inches|
In case you didn’t know, Torege is one of the most trusted brands in the market. And they didn’t disappoint when they gave us a model that’s so versatile. It can be used by trekkers, runners, skiers, racers, and of course, drivers.
The lenses are made of polycarbonate but are non-polarized. Don’t worry though, as they have a UV protective coating that has the ability to block both UVA and UVB rays while restoring true color.
You can wear this Torege pair for an extended duration of time even on a motorcycle. It has a superlight frame and a soft rubber nose pad. Those frames are almost unbreakable, but the brand will be ready to provide replacements, should you have an issue. That’s why they are often quick to remind us that they offer a lifetime breakage warranty on frames.
|Lens Width||2.7 Inches|
This model has what’s referred to as the TAC polarized lens. “TAC” is an abbreviation for triacetate, and it’s one of those materials that are not only durable but also scratch and impact-resistant. The polarization bit is a reminder that it eliminates scattered light, and blocks UVA and UVB rays. Duco’s lenses are considerably wide to protect users from sunlight trying to get through.
The frames are AL-Mg metal alloy, making them super light for outdoor activities like climbing, skiing, cycling, mountaineering, and driving. In the package, you’ll find a microfiber cleaning cloth, a case polarization test card, and several other accessories.
The company offers a lifetime breakage warranty and impeccable after-sales service. Our only issue was with how the frames got loose after a while.
|Lens Width||2.4 Inches|
For the record, the “Boyfriend” in the name doesn’t mean that these sunglasses are only supposed to be worn by men—they happen to look stylish and cool on women as well. The lenses are non-polarized, but you’ll still be protected from the harmful UV rays by some coating applied to them. In addition, they are prescription-ready.
Using plastic as a construction material was definitely a mistake, though. Yes, the frames and lenses are strong, light, and shatterproof, but maintenance is not easy. They scratch easily and thus will look terrible in the long run. The good thing is that they fit comfortably and complement round or oval-shaped faces.
|Lens Width||2.2 Inches|
This brand is famous for producing some of the best male sunglasses in the industry. But this time around, they decided to make something that can be worn by anyone, men or woman. The Loreto Aviator is an adventure-friendly pair and an essential accessory for drivers and casual wearers.
The lenses are totally polarized and the frames have been designed to be corrosion-resistant. A thin layer of UV-protection coatings was added to the equation to shield users from those harmful rays and reduce eyestrain. The lens material is plastic—more impact-resistant, but less scratch-resistant—and the frames are entirely metal.
Before buying anything, it’s always wise to take into consideration the features and specifications. This section will walk you through some of the items that should be part of your checklist.
The frame is the backbone of any pair of sunglasses. It’s the structure that holds everything together. So, if you’re looking to get yourself a cool pair for driving, you should start thinking about the material that will suit you best.
We can’t tell you which material is perfect since it’s more of a personal preference. What works for us, might not work for you. Nonetheless, we might have a few ideas that might get you started.
Acetate frames have been our go-to frames for as long as we can remember. Their smooth texture, fascinating patterns, and ability to cling to a wide variety of colors, are the reasons why they are so popular. Assuming you’re not an acetate person, you could always settle for nylon. It might not be as good as acetate, but it’s decent nonetheless.
Nylon material is great at ensuring the frames hold their shape under extreme conditions. “Holding shape” means you won’t have to worry about waking up the next morning and realizing that your glasses are one size too large!
The least versatile frames are made of metal. Metal is not the type of material that provides adequate wraparound designs. It’s certainly lightweight, but is that compromise worth it? Only you could answer that.
The temple tips as well as the rubberized nose pads are not as important as the frame material—some brands don’t even list them while describing the features and specifications that come with their products.
However, if you’ll be spending the whole day on the road or using that same pair while relaxing at the beach, you should go for sunglasses that have these two things as part of their design. And, they should ideally be made of hydrophilic material, as it’s notoriously known for getting sticky when it comes into contact with any kind of moisture. In our case, that moisture is sweat.
Lens conversations usually revolve around two materials: polycarbonate and glass. Any pair that’s made of polycarbonate lens material won’t easily shatter into tiny pieces if dropped, or make you feel as though you’re wearing a brick on your face! They are known to be more resistant to impact and lightweight. The downside is that they don’t offer the best clarity and can get scratched easily.
Glass, on the other hand, doesn’t scratch easily and guarantees the best optical clarity. Sadly, they are heavy and less impact-resistant.
Driving sunglasses are usually different from the kind you’d typically use outdoors. They tend to have wider lenses in addition to their wraparound designs to block sunlight from peeping through. That small amount of light is all it takes to obscure the vision of any driver and cause an accident. You could go for a flat or six-base frame if you’re striving for a chic, casual look.
The minute the light from the sun hits the earth’s surface, it’s either absorbed or reflected. Reflected light is our primary concern as it’s blinding to all drivers. It’s also the reason why polarized lenses were invented in the first place.
Polarized lenses are a special type of lenses, in that they’ve been treated with a chemical that has the ability to filter out light of any kind. In that chemical, you’ll find molecules that work around the clock to ensure only an adequate amount of light gets the chance to pass through the lens. If you like, you could think of it as a miniblind that we often use on our windows.
Quick disclaimer: Polarized lenses don’t do well with digital dashboard displays, for obvious reasons. So, keep that in mind the next time you go out shopping.
Well, that’s a wrap, folks! But before we finish, we’d like to remind you what our top picks were. The product that we loved the most is the Gargoyles Victor. It had everything we needed in a good pair of sunglasses, and then some. The OTIS Life On Mars offered value for money, and that’s really what every customer wants. If you’re looking for a premium pair, go for the Oakley SI Double Edge.
Featured Image Credit: laradsv, Pixabay
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Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.
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