Whether or not summer is in full swing, you should always make sure that your eyes are well protected from the blinding rays of the sun.
More than just protection, sunglasses have long become a fashion staple for us men.
But the problem is that sunglasses are becoming more and more expensive.
This review will help you look "cool" under the sun without a high price tag.
You can easily enjoy UV protection, comfort, and enhanced charm without hurting your bank account.
My Top Picks!
Are you having trouble finding a good pair of sunglasses for not a lot of money?
Check out my top picks below!
Keep on reading to learn why these sleek and inexpensive sunglasses have made the list.
UV Protection and Polarization
Ultraviolet rays or UV is electromagnetic radiation transmitted by the sun.
You get a tan or a sunburn thanks to the UV light.
But too much exposure to this particular type of electromagnetic radiation can cause serious damage on both the skin and eyes. Even if a mere 10% of the sun's entire emitted light is ultraviolet, with just a third of it being able to penetrate our atmosphere, continued exposure from this radiation can cause all kinds of damage, even cancer.
And exposing your naked eyes to these harmful rays can cause damage to your retinas.
Prolonged exposure to the sun's harmful rays can dramatically increases your risk of acquiring certain eye conditions like cataract, macular degeneration, pterygia, photokeratitis, and eye cancer.
To help protect your eyes from these potentially damaging UV rays, you need to wear sunglasses with UV protection every time you go outside. Most sunglasses these days are equipped with special coatings that block harmful UV rays. These sunglasses are usually labeled with 99-100% UV protection or 400nm UV absorption. Both plastic and glass lenses can be coated with these special protection strips.
So when you are looking to buy a pair of sunglasses, be sure to look for UV protection label.
Did you know...?
Did you know that UV light is also good for the eyes?
Yes! With regulated UV light, light-sensitive cells that are found in our eyes are able to produce a certain type of hormone called melatonin. This special hormone plays a great role in regulating our sleep-wake patterns.
As they say: Everything in moderation.
Sunglasses frame size
Frame size refers to the overall dimensions of the three major parts of the sunglasses - the bridge, the eyes, and the temples.
The size of the frame should be able to provide appropriate coverage over the user's eyes and right across through the ears.
Overall dimension of the sunglasses is listed as the measurement of the three main parts (eyes/bridge/temple).
To get the best fitting pair of sunglasses, it helps to know your numbers.
Not all manufacturers of sunglasses provide such information on their products. Unless you are buying from a local store where you can freely try them on before purchasing, I suggest you consider options with specified frame dimensions.
Watch this video to learn more about how to choose the right size sunglasses:
Just because the sun's light isn't bothering you, it doesn't necessarily mean that you are better off wandering the outdoors without a pair of sunglasses.
Ultraviolet rays, which can potentially damage both our skin and eyes are invisible to the naked eye and are strongest from 10am to 2pm.
So if you plan on getting sun roasted, make sure to put on a comfortable pair of sunglasses with UV protection.
Not all sunglasses offer this special type of retinal protection.
Sunglasses equipped with a special type of anti-UV coatings have such special product feature indicated on their labels. Glasses that offer UV protection are either 99% or 100% effective.
Don't be fooled! Darkness of the lenses doesn't indicate the level of UV protection the sunglasses offer.
Sunglasses frame material differences
Finding the right pair of sunglasses doesn't just depend on the shade of its lens and the level of UV protection that it provides. Your sunglasses should be durable and comfortable to wear. The material used in the frame construction plays a critical role in the overall appeal, performance, longevity, and price of the sunglasses. More importantly, different frame materials vary significantly in the level of comfort that they provide to the wearer.
- Plastic - Plastic is a very popular frame material since it is cheap and light. Sunglasses with plastic frames are comfortably lightweight, which can significantly lessen eye fatigue. The material is also fashionably versatile since it can be easily molded into different styles and colors. A lot of people prefer sunglasses with plastic frames because they are hypoallergenic. The most popular types of plastic used as a frame for sunglasses are Acrylic and Polyurethane.
- Polycarbonate - Categorically speaking, polycarbonate is a special type of plastic - only tougher. Typically, sports and safety sunglasses have polycarbonate frames because they can literally take a beating. The downsides however are that they can be quite uncomfortable to wear because of their rigidity and they can be quite expensive.
- Metal - If you are looking for durability on your sunglasses, I'd recommend those with metal frames. Common types of metals used on eyeglass frames are aluminum, stainless steel, titanium and flexon. For those who prefer the uptight corporate look, aluminum is the way to go. Aluminum delivers a sleek look matched with great longevity while both flexon and stainless steel are lightweight, corrosion resistant, and hypoallergenic.
- Nylon - This material is a cost-effective alternative to polycarbonate. It is flexible and durable but cheaper. Nylon is a great choice for sports enthusiasts since it can withstand sudden and extreme temperature fluctuations and they don't break.
Choosing the right color when buying
Sunglasses have different lens colors which play an important role on how they aid your eyes under various lighting conditions. And the shade of your eye wear can help you enhance your overall look - from bold and crisp, to retro and funk.
Gray, smoke, and green shades
These lens colors are perfect for most outdoor activities when the sun is shining brightly overhead. The shades are effective in reducing the sun's glare without changing the wearers perception to the surrounding's colors. Gray and green lens colors help improve contrast and depth recognition.
Gold and amber
Have you ever wondered why skiers and snowboarders love wearing sunglasses with gold or amber shades? This is simply because such lens colors are considered as light amplifiers and they deliver crisp contrast making them the perfect weather under snowy weather. These colors however are not ideal on bright sunny days because they're incapable of blocking the sun's glare.
Just like the colors gold and amber, brown helps improve light intensity. Although such color aids in your depth perception, the shade can also result to color distortion.
Vermillion Rose is an ideal choice of lens color for moderate to low light conditions. The color is gentle to the eyes which makes the sunglasses with such shade comfortable to be worn in longer periods of time. The shade enhances contrast and is a great choice for most day time activities.
Considering your face shape
Sunglasses come in a wide variety of shapes.
The most common are the classic aviator, aviator teardrop, wayfarer, oval, wrap, geometric, round, and brow line.
The problem is that not all styles of sunglasses would sit perfectly on your face. Finding the ideal sunglasses also means knowing your face size and shape. This will help you land on a pair of sunglasses that will deliver a comfortable fit and stylish look.
But before you try considering the shape of your sunglasses, it's best to determine your face size and shape first.
You can simply do this by looking at the mirror or ask a friend if your face is round, oval, heart, or square. After this, you can easily find the sunglasses that can best complement the contours of your face.
Heart shaped face
A heart shaped face is usually wide at the center with the jawline as its narrowest point. The ideal lens styles that would best match such a face shape would be the ones that have wider dimensions at the top. These include the cat-eye, retro square, and wrap or sport style lenses.
Round shaped face
People with round shaped face are widest across their cheekbones. On the other hand, the jawline and the forehead are significantly narrower. A round shaped face is best complemented by square, aviator, and wrap style sunglasses.
Oval shaped face
If you have an oval shaped face, you can consider yourself lucky. Why? People with an oval shaped face can practically wear almost any type of lens style. Just steer clear from round and oval sunglasses.
Square shaped face
A person with a square shaped face has a virtually equal forehead and jawline width accented by a flat chin. The cheekbones usually have the widest dimension with both cheeks running straight through the sides. A square shaped face is best matched with aviator, wayfarer, browline, oval, round, and wrap sunglasses.
My cheap sunglasses picks
Now that you are all set into finding the ideal pair of sunglasses for your face shape and lifestyle, here are my top picks:
If you have a thing for motorcycles and leather jackets, this LEUNEX pair is one of the best cheap men's aviator glass you can find. You can literally look hot and cool at the same time with this sleek and light aviators. Polarized and with 400nm UV protection, it's easy to smile back to the sun without the need for a right hand shade.
If you are looking for something a little more retro in design but still gives that 100% UV protection, JOOPIN's semi-rimless sunglasses could just be the best choice for you. These lenses are some of the best polarized ones for the money. They'll help you can enjoy all your outdoor activities even when the sun is high up. It is lightweight so you can wear it without a strain even while you are cycling or trekking.
This list wouldn't be complete without an entry from the wrap type sunglasses. DUDUMA sunglasses are perfect for bikers, runners, trekkers, and the likes. Another pair of some of my top favorite polarized sunglasses, these bad boys also look sharp with its 7 layered Tac polarized lenses. It provides good protection, strong appeal, and amazing fit.
Another cool pick for the extra active and sports minded men, ATTCL Polarized Driving Glasses offer the ideal functionality, durability, and style for running, cycling, driving, fishing, racing, skiing, mountain climbing, and trekking. It feels so light so it doesn't put that much strain across your eyes. It is also significantly sturdy thanks to its aluminum magnesium metal alloy frame.
Aviator sunglasses are an all time favorite, which is why I have two of them in this list. This pair of sunglasses by J+S presents that classic aviator look topped with high quality polarized lenses. Its all black style makes it aesthetically versatile for all types of outdoor activities and sports.
My top pick for cheap men's sunglasses
Finding that perfect pair of sunglasses can be a very challenging task. You may have to comb through thousands of choices and read a couple of reviews like this one before you can come up with a confident decision.
You may have your own set of good candidates for an ideal eye wear, but my expert hunch tells me that your best option would be the ATTCL Men's Driving Polarized Sunglasses. It's game changing aluminum magnesium metal alloy frame makes the eyewear incredibly light but durable. It offers complete eye protection with suave semi-rimless design.
Written by Robert Ordway
Raised in the small mill town of Lake Station, Indiana, Robert’s blue collar upbringing exposed him to little if any of the clothing industry. Robert has been following the menswear industry for over a decade and has been significantly influenced by the book, Dressing the Man by Alan Flusser. From 2009-2012, he worked in retail sales at both Brooks Brothers and JCrew. In 2015, Robert received the Custom Clothier certification from the Custom Tailor and Designers Association (CTDA), the oldest continuously operating trade organization in the United States. He is the former owner of Rusted Oak, a men’s retail clothing store in Valparaiso, Indiana.
Today, Robert's mission is to teach men of all shapes and sizes about grooming care, general life style tips, and of course male fashion stemming from his deep career in the fashion industry.