The Ultimate Guide to Sunglasses

So you’re in the market for a pair of sunglasses but you’re not exactly sure what to look for? If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that question, well I’d have a lot of nickels that’s for sure. Whether you’re looking for sunglasses for biking, golf, general outdoor activities, hunting or even fishing, there’s a specific frame and lens tint to match.

 

Frame

 

Full Frame

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-By and large, this style is going to be the most stylish of the three frame designs. Along with its good looks, a full frame also tends to be much more rigid than half rim and rimless offerings due to the increased structural material. What full frame sunglasses gain in strength and fashion, they lose in versatility because most on the market do not offer the ability to switch out lenses.  With that being said, you better make sure you like the lens tint that’s on the full frame sunglasses.

 

Half Rim

half rim sunglass photo

-This style tends to be the one that most people associate with military and law enforcement and for good reason. This is the choice for many MIL/LEO because of its robust protection from debris and huge selection of ANSI rated safety lenses, which is really important for the battlefield or during firearm use. However there are plenty of outdoor enthusiasts who swear by this style for its excellent field of view and protection from various conditions. One thing worth noting is that many if not all of half rim frames allow for interchangeable lenses of varied tints.

 

Rimless

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-Characterized by a thicker lens where the temple frames snap/screw into each side of the lens. This style of sunglass is the go-to choice for cyclists and mountain bikers everywhere. Why? For one because there’s no frame on the top or bottom, you have an awesome field of view which is ideal for bikers that need to pay attention to the road in front and prepare for turns/obstacles ahead of them. Another excellent feature of this style is nearly every rimless sunglass lets you easily switch out different lenses to fit your exact lighting and or location conditions.

 

Lens Materials

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CR39

A fancy name for basic plastic, these lenses can be found in your cheap gas station sunglasses. I would avoid glasses with lenses made of CR39 because it lacks UV protection, anti-scratch coatings and has the potential to shatter.

Polycarbonate

One of the most commonly used lenses on the market. The reason for this being its superb impact resistance, optical clarity, and resistance to temperature.

Glass

-By far the most expensive lens material. Glass lenses are considerably heavier than polycarbonate and C39 counterparts of the same shape and size. Often titled “Crystal” or “Mineral” lenses, a glass lens has the highest scratch resistance and overall optical clarity.

 

Coatings

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Polarized

-This is the end all be all finish for defeating the glare of the sun, especially on or near water. Sunglasses with polarized coatings are the premier choice for fisherman, surfers and watersport aficionados.

 

Photochromic

-These miracle lenses darken according to the intensity of sunlight. Why go with a lens like this? When your sport or activity requires constant eye protection, these allow you to move seamlessly from shade to sunlight without the glare of the sun.

 

Mirror Coating

-When it comes to reflecting glare, a mirror coating excels at shielding your eyes from extremely bright conditions. Second only to polarized lenses, this coating provides high value glare deflection.

 

 

Tints

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Colors:

Rose- Best uses are cycling, shooting, mountain biking

Yellow- Best uses are cycling, shooting

Brown- Best uses are cycling, driving, golf, baseball

Gray- Driving, cycling

 

 

I know this is a lot to take in but I promise you it’s the bare minimum of what’s needed to make an informed decision on you next pair of sunglasses. Not step back from your computer or smartphone, take a long deep breath and revel in the fact you’re now that much closer to giving your eyes the performance and protection they deserve.

 

Still lost when it comes to all things sunglass selection? Post your questions below!

 

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4 Responses to The Ultimate Guide to Sunglasses

  1. Rick says:

    What is the best method to clean polarized lenses made by Wiley?

  2. Rodney says:

    Do you offer over the glasses sun shades. The ones that fit over your regural glasses?

  3. David says:

    I’m looking for shooting glasses that protect from the side as well as the front. I’ve tried several of the wraparound Oakley’s and Costa’s but they do not seem to fit my face well. There is to much space between the upper part of the frame and my face which would let dust and debris in. Are there measurements I can take and buy a well fitting pair of glasses. I need a pair that will stay on my face but not give me a headache. The lighter the better, but side protection is needed. A matt black frame is also a desired trait.
    Your suggestions would be appreciated

  4. Alaskan Bob says:

    What would you suggest for very sunny day on the water boating. I have had expensive sunglasses that killed my eyes and brain at the end of sunny day on the water with the UV radiation that reflected back through the lens. Suggestions on what to look for would be helpful and thank you for a great article.

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