Five Tips for Finding the Perfect Sunglasses

Aug 5, 2010
Outside Magazine

Finding the right pair of sunglasses can often be a tricky game of hit or miss, involving a blend of science, fashion and comfort. Below are five tips for finding the perfect shades.

1. UV Protection

According to Dr. Kevin Beebe of the Brainerd Eye CareCenter, the most critical factor is UV protection. Look for a pair of sunglasses that blocks 100% UVA and UVBradiation, which will help prevent cataracts, surfer eye andmacular degeneration. If you’re wondering how the UV light iswhere you live, check out this UV index map, updated twice daily.

2. Lens Color

Amber lenses work well for hazy light conditions because they offer high contrast. Grey shades work well for driving because they provide most accurate color perception. Pinkhelps absorb light in foggy conditions, strengthening depth perception. Blue orpurple, while fun, not recommended as they actually serve to boost thedistorting effects of blue light. Brown, my favorite, retains all the benefitsof grey lenses but with the added nuance of removing some of the blue light,and amping up contrast and depth perception.

3. Fit

Balance and proportion are the two most important factors in finding the right frames. To ensure a flattering fit, lookfor frames with opposing features to the natural shape of your face. For instance,if you have a round shape face go for square frames. For a  square face, try softening up strong featureswith oval shaped glasses, or if you have an oval shaped face lucky you, almost  every differentstyle works. For a heart shaped face draw attention away from your chin with upward slanting frames. 

4. Lifestyle

Are you the type to sit on your glasses, leave them uncovered at the bottom of your backpack or take them on the river? You might think about  bendable frames, or scratch resistant lenses. Croakies, a neoprene security strap are a must for boaters and river guides and extra insurance your new shades won't end up lost in the drink. 

5. Price

The sky is the limit with sunglass prices, with some designer brands reaching up to a staggering $600 per pair. It doesn't help that many cheaper sunglasses use a material called triacetate rather than the more protective (and more expensive polycarbonate) which only absorbs about 40 percent of UV light. While its true that the better made the sunglasses, usually the more expensive,  there are some steals out there for quality shades at bargain prices. Suncloud Optics is one of my favorite brands for affordable well-constructed sunglasses. 

--Shauna Sweeney








Filed To: Gear

More at Outside

Elsewhere on the Web

Not Now

Open a World of Adventure

Our Dispatch email delivers the stories you can’t afford to miss.

Thank you!