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

Le Specs Armada Review

A solid pair of shades with a neat take on the oversized lens fashion without being too big
Le Specs Armada
Photo: Le Specs
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $59 List | $58.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Oversized fashion, interesting lens color, cool case
Cons:  Narrow bows may squeeze, hinges wear unevenly
Manufacturer:   Le Specs
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 9, 2021
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
59
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 15
  • Lens Quality - 30% 6
  • Comfort - 25% 5
  • Style and Versatility - 20% 7
  • Frame Quality - 15% 5
  • Coverage - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Le Specs Armada are a pretty cool-looking pair of large lens fashion, if you're into that. They offer decent performance, with interestingly purple-ish lenses and a hint of cat-eye that many of our testers loved. Their Medium-sized frames are a solid fit across the board, though the narrow bows can become a little uncomfortable for some over hours of consistent wear. We also noticed our hinges loosen at different rates, though they're easy to fix with a small screwdriver. Though they're not outstanding in any particular area, the Armada is a neat take on the oversized style.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Le Specs Armada
This Product
Le Specs Armada
Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award Top Pick Award 
Price $58.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$153.00 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$249.99 at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
$152.12 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
59
84
82
79
73
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Oversized fashion, interesting lens color, cool caseGreat lens quality, excellent gradient, very comfortable, versatile style, good caseGreat contrast, comfortable, easy style to loveProtective lenses, good contrast, secure fit, versatile use across lighting and activitiesBold style, great narrow fit, adjustable nose pads, good protection, sturdy build, cool case
Cons Narrow bows may squeeze, hinges wear unevenlyNot polarized, may be loose on top of headA bit small, translucent frame magnifies light, expensiveMay be tight, mirror lenses collect smudges, case is a poor cleanerNarrow fit, not great directly into sun
Bottom Line A solid pair of shades with a neat take on the oversized lens fashion without being too bigExcellent quality shades that are protective and stylish, offering top-notch quality for a reasonable priceThese are great quality sunglasses with excellent contrast and a superb face feelA sporty yet chic pair of cute, comfortable shades that can keep up with you from casual brunches to afternoon hikesA great set of aviators for smaller faces with good protection and a brazen style
Rating Categories Le Specs Armada Ray-Ban Erika Maui Jim Honi Smith Caper Chromapop Costa del Mar Fernandina
Lens Quality (30%)
6
8
9
8
7
Comfort (25%)
5
9
8
8
7
Style And Versatility (20%)
7
8
8
8
9
Frame Quality (15%)
5
9
7
8
8
Coverage (10%)
7
8
8
7
4
Specs Le Specs Armada Ray-Ban Erika Maui Jim Honi Smith Caper... Costa del Mar...
Lens Tested Smoke Gradient Grey Gradient Blue HCL Bronze Opal Mirror ChromaPop Green Mirror 580P
Polarized No Yes Yes No Yes
Fit Medium Standard Narrow Medium Narrow/Small
Weight (grams) 26g 22g 35g 27g 32g
UV Protection 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Visible Light Transmission (VLT) Not specified Not specified 12% 15% 10%
VLT Protection Index Cat 3 Cat 3 Cat 3 Cat 3 Cat 3
HEV/Blue Light Protection (claim) None None "HEV reduction" None 100% HEV blockage
Infrared Protection (claim) None None None None None
Neutral/Contrast Neutral Neutral Increased contrast Increased contrast Increased contrast
Lens Material Polycarbonate Polycarbonate SuperThin glass Carbonic Mineral glass
Impact Resistance Yes Yes No Yes No
Protective Coatings None None Anti-reflective, anti-scratch, hydroleophobic Anti-reflective,hydroleophobic resistance, mirror coating C-WALL (anti-scratch and hydroleophobic), mirror
Can take prescription lens? No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hinge type Standard Standard Flex Standard Standard
Case Included Yes; canvas bag with pocket and clam-shell top, microfiber cleaning cloth Yes; semi-rigid snapshell case and microfiber cleaning cloth Yes; rigid triangular collapsible case, microfiber cleaning cloth Yes; microfiber bag Yes; cork box, microfiber bag

Our Analysis and Test Results

We tested the Le Specs Armada with Smoke Gradient lenses. They're a Medium fit and come with a canvas case with a clamshell squeeze top and a microfiber cleaning cloth.

Performance Comparison


We like the unique fashion of these large shades.
We like the unique fashion of these large shades.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Lens Quality


The Smoke Gradient lenses we tested for the Armada are grey with a hint of blue. We appreciate this, as it stops them from having that "cloudy day" look when wearing. They're not polarized, but they perform pretty well in medium and bright light.

Smoke Gradient Lenses
  • Not Polarized
  • 100% UV Protection
  • Unspecified Visible Light Transmission (Category 3)
  • 0% HEV/Blue Light Blockage, 0% Infrared Blockage
  • Color: Grey Gradient, Material: Polycarbonate
  • Impact Resistant

These gradient lenses transition from dark on top to lighter on the bottom. For the most part, it's a fairly smooth transition, but the very bottom of the lenses is a bit too light for our liking. Though lacking any anti-reflective coating on the back, these do alright in most lighting. As they're larger lenses, we saw some reflections around the edges but it wasn't overly distracting.

These lenses have a hint of purple.
These lenses have a hint of purple.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Comfort


The Armada are large, verging on oversized, standing on the nose rather than wrapping around the face. They touch the eyebrows just a bit in the center but don't squish them. Because they sit a little bit higher than most, they don't really touch the cheeks unless you're smiling. They weigh 26 grams putting them around the middle of the range of weights for sunglasses we tested. Their medium frames are less flexible than most, making them less accommodating to different-sized faces. Narrow bows can add to this discomfort for those who find themselves needing a little extra width from their frames. They weren't uncomfortable for most of our testers, but we'd like to see them be a little more accommodating.

Not a bad fit, though less accommodating than some.
Not a bad fit, though less accommodating than some.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Style and Versatility


The Armada have big round lenses and just a hint of cat-eye shape in the corners. They're not enormous — though on some of our smaller-headed testers, they look a bit oversized. The roundness has almost a vintage vibe to it and appeals to those of us who enjoy certain eras of throwback styling. They looked a bit out of place on some of our testers who have different personal styles that don't include period pieces — and during more active endeavors.

A day at the lake in the Armada.
A day at the lake in the Armada.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Frame Quality


The polycarbonate frames of the Armada, as we mentioned before, are far less flexible than most other frames we tested. While we feel this is a detriment to their overall comfort and durability, these frames do feel quite solid and sturdy, winning them back some points in this arena. They have standard three-barrel hinges made of metal that are a touch beefier than average hinges. Over our months of testing, the two hinges on our pair loosened at different rates. Of course, this is simple to fix quickly with just a small screwdriver.

These polycarbonate frames are less flexible than most.
These polycarbonate frames are less flexible than most.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Coverage


The lenses on the Armada are some of the largest we tested, providing decent coverage. However, unlike many others that have face-hugging shapes to help block out light from the sides, these are quite flat. As fairly tall lenses, they provide pretty good top and bottom coverage. Lacking any rubber padding to help hold them in place, these shades can bounce and slide on the nose under trying conditions. Otherwise, when we weren't sweaty or trying to run from place to place, the long bows help bring the balance backward, keeping them fairly stable.

Large lenses look cool and help provide more coverage.
Large lenses look cool and help provide more coverage.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Case Quality


The Armada come with a unique case that we really liked. It's a canvas bag with a single exterior pocket. The top is held shut by two covered strips of metal that open by squeezing the sides together. This makes it one of the easiest cases to use. Also included is a small, thin microfiber cleaning cloth.

Though it's not rigid, we like the canvas case that comes with these...
Though it's not rigid, we like the canvas case that comes with these sunglasses.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Value


In a sea of high-priced options, the Armada is available for a more affordable price. They're not our favorite pair for impressive eye protection or a versatile fit. However, they offer a neat aesthetic and still perform pretty well among some stiff competition. If you like the look and need just the basics in protection, these just might be the perfect pair for you.

Conclusion


The Le Specs Armada are a fashionable pair of shades that offer an attractive, vintage-inspired look. The gradient lenses are cool-looking and functional, if not outstanding. They're a pretty solid fit for a medium head and come with a neat case for a fairly reasonable price.

This just may be the look for you.
This just may be the look for you.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Maggie Brandenburg