The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Vuarnet District Medium Round Review

These shades are protective, clear, and very cool.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $265 List | $171.50 at Backcountry
Pros:  Great lens clarity, universally flattering style, surprisingly comfortable, durable build, good eye protection
Cons:  Not polarized, heavy, large, case not overly protective, expensive
Manufacturer:   Vuarnet
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 22, 2019
  • Share this article:
86
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 11
  • Lens Quality - 25% 9
  • Comfort - 25% 8
  • Coverage - 25% 8
  • Frame Quality - 15% 9
  • Style and Versatility - 10% 10

Our Verdict

The Vuarnet District Medium Rounds are a pretty great pair of shades with a lot of spunk. But they don't perform well enough to win them any awards this time around. Their mineral lenses are clear, protective, durable, and great for bright light situations. Their heft and front-heavy design work against them, but we found them to be quite comfortable. We liked wearing them even though they lack soft pads on the nose rest or arms. Our favorite thing about the Districts is their looks. Nearly everyone who put them on loved their stylish vibe.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

We tested sunglasses from coast to coast and around the globe to learn which ones are truly the best. Keep reading to learn why the well-loved Vuarnets didn't score any awards this time.

Performance Comparison


The Vuarnets are great on a bright day.
The Vuarnets are great on a bright day.

Lens Quality


The Brown Lynx lenses of the Vuarnet District Rounds we tested are made of mineral glass, providing natural scratch resistance, shock resistance, and clear images. They're also very protective of your eyes, blocking out 97% of HEV or blue light, 93% of infrared light, and 91% of visible light in general. These are the darkest glasses we tested by far and are an excellent choice in bright light.

Brown Lynx Lenses
  • Not polarized
  • 100% UV protection
  • 9% Visible Light Transmission (category 3)
  • 97% HEV/Blue light blockage, 93% Infrared Blockage
  • Color: Amber/Brown, Material: Mineral Glass
  • Impact resistant with silver bi-shade mirror coating and anti-reflective back

The Vuarnet District Rounds are the only non-polarized pair of everyday sunglasses in this review.
The Vuarnet District Rounds are the only non-polarized pair of everyday sunglasses in this review.

However, these lenses aren't polarized — the only everyday sunglasses in our review that aren't. The dark tint, anti-reflective back, and bi-shade mirror coating help block out excessive glare, but also keep a lot of light from entering the lenses. This is a plus on a clear summer day at 2 pm. But when the sun starts to set or an afternoon shower rolls through, these lenses are a bit too dark for us.

We also found that their mirror coating picks up smudges and grease fairly easily. They're easier to clean with a microfiber cloth than the Ray-Ban Clubmasters though, which seem to pick up dirt and filth from mysterious places. Overall, we think the quality of the Brown Lynx Vuarnet lenses are good, but their inability to handle variable lighting and lack of polarization is less impressive than the competition.

For sunglasses without any padding  we think the Vuarnets are pretty darn comfortable!
For sunglasses without any padding, we think the Vuarnets are pretty darn comfortable!

Comfort


The District Medium Rounds are a surprisingly comfortable pair of sunglasses for having no soft pads anywhere on the frame. The large lenses touched some of our testers' cheeks, but it was rare. Mostly they rested comfortably across the bridge of our noses. These specs have standard barrel hinges, which don't flex to accommodate a face wider than the frames. Since the Rounds are a large pair of glasses in general, we didn't find that to be an issue with their comfort.

At 37 grams, these glasses are fairly heavy. They are also imbalanced. The weight of these shades is all in the front of the glasses, which lets them easily slide down your nose on a hot, sweaty day or when you look down. It also prevents them from being very secure when pushed on top of your head. All in all, the Vuarnets are pretty comfortable, but they have a few faults that we don't love.

The large District Medium Round lenses add coverage to these otherwise flat-framed glasses.
The large District Medium Round lenses add coverage to these otherwise flat-framed glasses.

Coverage


With relatively large lenses, the District Rounds provide good coverage from front-entering light. However, they're also much straighter across, without the face-hugging curves of the Editors' Choice Maui Jim Kahis or Oakley Holbrooks. This straight frame leaves large gaps on the sides for sneaky light, reflections, or even straight up debris to get in your eyes.

By wearing the Vuarnets close to your face, you can add a bit of coverage due to their overall size and width. Still, they're just not as protective as the ergonomic Holbrooks or even the much smaller Native Highlines.

Acetate over metal adds strength to these thin bows.
Acetate over metal adds strength to these thin bows.

Frame Quality


The District's frames are different than any of the other everyday glasses we tested. Rather than being flexible with springy hinges, these glasses are quite rigid. They're made of acetate, and you can see a metal rod stiffening the arms of the Black frames we tested.

Despite having thin arms and a rigid frame with fixed hinges, the Vuarnets seem solidly built. They withstood being tossed in a car, crammed in a suitcase, and grabbed with a handful of keys. Vuarnet also offers a 24-month warranty against manufacturer's defects and has a repair program you can pay for if you do manage to bust your pair.

Heck yeah.
Heck yeah.

Style/Versatility


Most of our testers were surprised by how much they liked the style of these hip, flattering shades. Even testers who were dubious of their look liked them once they had them on their faces. They seem to be a hit across all face sizes and shapes on both men and women. One tester proudly declared, "I look fantastic in these!" Yes, we love the look of these stylish specs from Vuarnet.

Case Quality


The Vuarnets come with a single-snap case that's semi-rigid at best. It will help protect your shades from obvious scratches but is unlikely to make much of a difference if you sit on your sunglasses. It also comes with a thin, medium-sized cleaning cloth

It's slightly more rigid than the case that comes with the Ray-Ban Clubmasters, but is nothing compared to the monstrously protective Maui Jim rigid clamshell. This case offers enough protection to toss it in a beach bag or backpack side pocket, and we appreciate the included cleaning cloth. It also weighs just 54 grams.

The Vuarnet case provides a little structure but mostly scratch protection.
The Vuarnet case provides a little structure but mostly scratch protection.

Best Applications


With dark lenses and superb clarity, the District Medium Rounds are a good fit for bright light conditions, such as driving or meandering around town on a sunny day. The non-polarized Brown Lynx lenses aren't the best choice for high-glare activities like boating. But, the dark tint and mirror coating helps block extraneous light. The District Medium Rounds are also available with Grey Polar and Blue Polar lenses that are, yes, polarized.

If you're after a pair of shades that's better in variable lighting, you might consider the Maui Jim Kahis, our Editors' Choice. The Costa Hinanos offer top-notch performance on the water. But for a solid and stylish pair of everyday shades, the Vuarnets are a good choice.

Value


Retailing for around $265, the Vuarnets are among the most expensive sunglasses in this review. For sheer performance, we think you'll get more for your money with the Maui Jim Kahis or Costa Hinanos. If price is a sticking point for you, you might consider our Best Buy winners, the Native Highlines. But for quality lenses and sunglasses that don't compromise on style, the District Rounds are those shades.

Cool enough for city lyfe.
Cool enough for city lyfe.

Conclusion


Though they are a fairly high-performing pair of shades, the Vuarnet District Medium Rounds couldn't quite lock down an award this time around. Their crisp, contrasting Brown Lynx lenses offer excellent protection, but aren't polarized and are too dark for lower light conditions. Their large, durable frames provide reasonable coverage but their lack of curvature, heft, and front-loaded imbalance prevent them from being a truly versatile pair of glasses.

And yet, these shades made our testers feel stylish, cool, and chic, no matter what size or shape their faces were. If you're unwilling to give up performance for style, the Vuarnets might be the perfect blend for you.

Other Versions and Accessories


The District Medium Rounds can be purchased in several other frame and lens colors than the Black frames and Brown Lynx lenses we tested. The Grey Polar and Blue Polar lenses are polarized options.

Vuarnet outfits their many sunglasses with blue, brown, grey and yellow lenses. They also have a wide variety of additional coatings and features that come with these various colors. Note that all of their Polar lenses are polarized, reducing glare.

Vuarnet also sells over 120 other styles of sunglasses available with one of their many lens styles, all of which can be fitted with prescription lenses.


Maggie Brandenburg