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14 Best Sunglasses For Every Outdoor Adventure (2023): Le Specs, Sunski, And More

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Before You BuyHow to Pick the Perfect Sunglasses

What Does Polarized Actually Mean?The Facts

Our Favorite Cheap SunglassesSojos Small Round Classic Polarized Sunglasses

Read moreSunglasses are a must for any time of year. They protect your eyes from UV light and reduce the chance of conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration. They also reduce eyestrain when it’s bright outside, and they eliminate disorienting glare while driving. Plus, they help to shield your eyes from wind, rain, and flying debris.

Any cheap pair of UV glasses will work—you can find decent options at drugstores or discount stores like T.J. Maxx and Ross—but we’ve tried dozens of pairs of sunglasses while we ran, hiked, swam, walked, lounged in the sun, and drove. These are our favorites.

Updated June 2023: We’ve added new sunglasses we love from Pair, Pit Viper, Lucyd, and Sun God.

Photograph: Richard Newstead/Getty Images

Before You BuyHow to Pick the Perfect Sunglasses

Sunglasses are a necessity, but they’re also a fun accessory. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Look for glasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. Just as sun exposure can cause skin cancer, UV exposure contributes to cataracts and possibly macular degeneration. All of our picks are rated at 100 percent.

Try virtual fittings. Allure’s guide is a good place to start if you have no idea which frame shapes flatter your face. Many retailers also offer similar selection tools.

You probably need polarized and unpolarized options. We get into this more below.

Photograph: Tifosi

What Does Polarized Actually Mean?The Facts

When browsing for sunglasses, you’ll see some labeled as polarized. Put simply, a polarized lens has a chemical layer to reduce glare. You’ll also see crisper details.

“The chemical’s molecules are lined up specifically to block some of the light from passing through the lens,” according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “Think of it like a mini blind hanging in front of a window. Only light that passes through the blind’s openings can be seen.” So on a sunglass lens, vertical light rays will reach your eyes, but horizontal waves, which come from the sun bouncing off of ice or a body of water, do not.

If you’ve ever driven during a snowy winter, you know it can feel far too bright. Polarized lenses could make it easier. Conversely, the lenses could reduce the glare so much that you don’t see ice on the road until you’re driving over it. That could be dangerous.

You’ll probably want non-polarized lenses if you’re working on a laptop outside. It’s not a bad idea to have a good pair of polarized and non-polarized on hand.

Photograph: Tens

Instagram Lenses IRLTens Sunglasses

Tens sunglasses are all about the ~vibes~. Developed by photographers, the lenses are available in five styles, all tinted to apply a filter to your field of view. The Original adds warmth, while Boulevard makes pink and violet hues pop.

An important caveat is that the Tens are not polarized. That means they’re not a great pick for driving, snowboarding, or boating. They also don’t filter out as much light as traditional sunglasses. But they look cool on your face, and they make everything look infinitely cooler without drastically altering what you see. Each lens comes in multiple style options, and there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Photograph: Amazon

Our Favorite Cheap SunglassesSojos Small Round Classic Polarized Sunglasses

Fancy, expensive sunnies are great until you misplace them. (Or leave them in a chair so a friend accidentally sits on them, and your triple-digit shades shatter—just like your heart.) WIRED associate editor Parker Hall swears by these cheap sunglasses from Amazon.

After buying and losing multiple pairs of Ray-Bans, he gave these a shot. The Sojos shades look and feel exactly like their much-pricier counterparts. If you’re concerned about their quality, consider that you’re probably just used to drastically overpaying for sunglasses.

★ A Slightly Higher-Priced Alternative: If you want more variety, Goodr makes cheap glasses in cool styles and colors that we’ve liked for years, like the OGs for $25 and Sand Trap Queen golf glasses for $35. However I find Goodr frames mostly run small, so if you have a wider face, check out its (so thoughtfully named) section of frames for “huge” heads. I particularly like its flamingo CEO Carl and the brand’s general goofy vibes, and it’s also a member of 1% for the Planet.