Buying Guide
By Austin Parker
on 7.3.13

With the latest heatwave glaring down on us, it’s important to remember the basics. No, we’re not talking about getting in a few bottles of water a day — though that is essential if you want to stay upright on your summer adventures. We mean the perfect pair of sunglasses, that underrated adventurer’s friend. They’re more than just and accessory; the correct pair can save you a lot of discomfort and separate you from the mass of tourists soaking up the sun at any and every hip spot around. Whether you’ll be spending your summer hitting the roads on two wheels, kicking back and enjoying the beach life, or hiking into your favorite backcountry hideaway, we’ve got the best sunglasses (along with similar, more affordable options) for your summer adventures.

MORE MADE IN THE SHADE Best Aviators | Warby Parker Shades | American Optical’s Original Pilots

Maui Jim Black Corral

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Best golf sunglasses: Inspired by the Hawaii state gem, the Black Coral line from Maui Jim offers distortion-free optics so you can stare down even the longest fairways on the Big Island. Polarized glass lenses cut the glare out whether you’re dealing with a few pesky water hazards on the course or the surf at the beach-side grill after eighteen holes. The frames are tested to withstand corrosion, deforming, and just about anything else you can throw round at the solid build. A tropical marbling on the temples adds just the right dash of personalized flavor.

Budget Alternative

Rudy Project Magster

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Best road cycling sunglasses: The Magster is Rudy Project’s all-conditions flagship. The photochromic lenses adjust to ambient light, so your eyes are protected whether you’re on a steep hill climb at midday or competing in a twilight criterium; available IMPACTX lenses provide 100% UV protection and are rated to be bulletproof — they’re made of the same material that airlines use on armored cockpit doors for passenger jets. The skeletonized frames are the lightest on the market, and aerodynamically tested. Throw on these puppies and you’ll certainly look the part on your next group ride, regardless of whether you sprint like Cavendish or a dead fish.

Budget Alternative

Kaenon Hard Kore

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Best running sunglasses: Rubberized temple tips and extra beefy springed hinges keep the Hard Kores in place no matter how your body moves. (As a side note, we openly apologize for their name.) The SR-91 lenses are made from an extra scratch-resistant polycarbonate blend that’s both lightweight and durable, so while these glasses may look overbuilt — and believe us, that’s a good thing if you’re planning on taking them on a longer run than just around the block — they weigh next to nothing. Meet your new best friend for long days pounding miles out on your local trails.

Budget Alternative

Oliver Peoples DBS

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Best beach sunglasses: The DBS by Oliver Peoples is a homage to earlier days when all you needed was a pair of classic wayfarers and a stiff drink in your hand to command a little respect. Molded acetate frames in understated colors and polarized gradient lenses are finished off with Oliver Peoples’ signature three-pin detail on the end pieces. There’s no mistaking these iconic glasses for anything less than perfect.

Budget Alternative

Randolph Engineering Sportsman

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Best sunglasses for around town: Whether you’re out for brunch with your better half, or nursing the after effects a weekend’s worth of parties, there’s nothing better than a good pair of aviators to ensure you don’t look like you just rolled out of bed — or worse, are about to pass out on the floor again. Randolph Engineering’s Sportsmans are made in the U.S.A. and provide just the right amount of classic styling to set you apart from the crowds toting a pair of gas station knock offs. You can’t hate on Don Draper’s style choice, can you?

Budget Alternative

Oakley Racing Jacket

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Best mountain biking sunglasses: So you want to customize your sunglasses to match your team jersey? The Racing Jacket can do that. You need easily swap-able lenses for any light condition? Done. Bombproof construction that will keep them in one piece after your last over-handle-bars crash? Yep. These iconic glasses have been the weapon of choice for athletes everywhere from the Xterra off-road triathlon world championships to the punishing Badwater Ultra-marathon. High Definition Optics and frames, along with lenses that meet ANSI impact standards, mean you could even wear them in a combat zone if you had to (we don’t recommend it).

Budget Alternative

Julbo Trek

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Best mountaineering sunglasses: If you’ll be spending summer above the treeline, investing in a good pair of sunglasses should be at the top of your gear list. Whether you’re fast packing through the sawtooths or on a summit mission to the top of Rainier, protecting your eyes is a key element at altitude. The Julbo Treks are optimized to keep out harmful reflection and glare during glacier and snowfield travel. Detachable side shields can be removed when you’re off the mountain so you don’t have to walk around wearing what look like creepy safety goggles.

Budget Alternative

Costa Del Mar Corbina

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Best fishing sunglasses: Sharp angles and wide lenses are the hallmark of Costa Del Mar, and the flagship Corbinas continue the company’s tradition of high-end polarized eyewear for the discerning angler. Oversized polarized lenses cut glare to a minimum so that you can spot your next scaled foe — be it a hulking tarpon or a tiny wild brookie. The integrated hinge system protects the more delicate parts of these glasses so that they’ll stick with you as long as your favorite secret spot.

Budget Alternative

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