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Vuarnet District Medium Round Review

These shades are protective, clear, and very cool.
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $265 List | $245.00 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  ⋅  Sep 11, 2019
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75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 12
  • Lens Quality - 30% 7
  • Comfort - 25% 7
  • Frame Quality - 20% 8
  • Style and Versatility - 15% 9
  • Coverage - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Vuarnet District Medium Rounds are a pretty great pair of shades with a lot of spunk. Combining quality materials, an excellent performance, and some serious style, they're our Top Pick for Stylish Function. 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 like 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.


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Pros Great lens clarity, universally flattering style, surprisingly comfortable, durable build, good eye protectionGreat clarity, excellent contrast with little color distortion, flexing frames, works for most facesExcellent protection, great clarity, extremely comfortable, good for active endeavors, good for many facesExcellent eye protection and coverage, durable design, great contrast with minimal color distortion, superb caseGood contrast, superb clarity, excellent protective coatings, stay in place, lightweight, all-day comfort
Cons Not polarized, heavy, large, case not overly protective, expensivePeripheral coverage not ideal, cleaner bag a little stiff, may be sporty-lookingDeveloped a slight lens defect, fit is less secure, coverage could be betterHeavy, large overall size and fit, expensiveNot very stylish, lighter tint suffers in bright light, copper lens distorts colors, too small, expensive
Bottom Line These shades are protective, clear, and very cool.A high-quality blend of functionality, versatility, and style.Great protection and amazing comfort, but not completely perfect.A high-performing pair of shades with great coverage and exceptional lens quality, though a bit heavy.These incredibly lightweight glasses have high quality lens and perform well, especially for water-related sports.
Rating Categories Vuarnet District Medium Round Kaenon Clarke Costa Del Mar Spearo Maui Jim Kahi Costa Del Mar Hinano
Lens Quality (30%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
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9
Comfort (25%)
10
0
7
10
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8
10
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9
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7
10
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8
Frame Quality (20%)
10
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8
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8
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8
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7
Style And Versatility (15%)
10
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9
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7
10
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7
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6
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3
Coverage (10%)
10
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7
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7
10
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7
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8
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5
Specs Vuarnet District... Kaenon Clarke Costa Del Mar Spearo Maui Jim Kahi Costa Del Mar Hinano
Lens Tested Brown Lynx Grey 12 Pacific Blue Mirror Blue Mirror HCL Bronze Copper 580P
Ideal Activity everyday water sports water sports everyday everyday
Ideal Lens Light Conditions Medium to bright light Bright light Bright light Medium to bright light Low to bright light
Polarized No, but it is available Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fit Medium-Large Medium-Full Medium-Large Large Small
Weight (grams) 37g 29g 29g 40g 25g
UV Protection 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Visible Light Transmission (VLT) 9% 12% 10% 15% 12%
VLT Protection Index cat 3 cat 3 cat 3 cat 3 cat 3
HEV/Blue Light Protection 97% not specified 100% 95% 100%
Infrared Protection 93% 0% 0% "infrared effective" 0%
Neutral/Contrast Increased contrast Increased contrast Increased contrast Increased contrast Increased contrast
Lens Material glass - mineral glass plastic - "SR-91" polycarbonate glass - 580 Polarized (polycarbonate available) glass - "SuperThin Glass" glass - 580 Polarized
Impact Resistance Yes Yes No No No
Protective Coatings Anti-reflective back, silver bi-shade mirror Anti-reflective back, hydro-oleophobic, mirror Anti-scratch, hydro-oleaophobic, mirror Anti-reflective on front and back Anti-scratch, oil repellent, water repellent, naturally scratch resistant
Can take prescription lens? No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hinge type Standard/barrel Standard/barrel Spring/flex Spring/flex Spring/flex
Case Included Semi-rigid flex case and cleaning cloth Rigid zippered and soft/cleaning bag Rigid zippered and soft/cleaning bag Hard rigid clam case and soft/cleaning bag Rigid zippered and cleaning cloth

Our Analysis and Test Results

We tested the Vuarnet Districts with Brown Lynx lenses, best for everyday, casual wear. They're a size medium-large and come with a semi-rigid flexible case and a microfiber cleaning cloth. They are currently not available with prescription lenses.

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 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 a few of the others though, which sometimes 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.

Style/Versatility


Most of our testers are surprised by how much they liked the style of these hip, flattering shades. Their rounder lens shape is both flattering and timeless and the bi-gradient mirrored finish adds a splash of cool. Though we saw pictures of them online before getting ours, we still didn't think that we would so universally love the look of these stylish specs.


Though they may not be the ideal pair for active endeavors, as they tend to slide down a sweaty nose, we couldn't find a single casual encounter that we felt wasn't enhanced by these amazing glasses. 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, and we're giving them an award about it.

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

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 easily 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.

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 many of the other pairs we tested. 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 any of the pairs with a base curve of 8 or even 6.

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

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.

Value


The Vuarnets are among the most expensive sunglasses in this review. For sheer performance across a wide range of activities, we think you'll get more for your money with some of the options that stay in place better while you sweat. But for quality lenses and sunglasses that don't compromise on style, the District Rounds are those shades.

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.

No matter what we are doing or what else we're wearing  the Vuarnets always make us feel cooler.
No matter what we are doing or what else we're wearing, the Vuarnets always make us feel cooler.


Maggie Brandenburg