Reviews You Can Rely On

How We Tested Sunglasses

By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor
Thursday November 11, 2021
We wore these sunglasses in some of the sunniest places around -...
We wore these sunglasses in some of the sunniest places around - like snowshoeing in the mountains.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

We spent months wearing sunglasses on all kinds of adventures, both near to home and on far-flung adventures. Along the way, we noted how well we liked each pair across all five of our testing metrics. Then, we compared them all side by side, testing their details and ability to withstand all we could throw at them. Curious how we did it? You've come to the right article.

Lens Quality


To test lens quality, we compared each pair across identical lighting conditions. We assessed them in the midday sun and the harsh horizontal light of golden hour. We considered their protectiveness, including polarization, visible light transmission, and any manufacturer's claims that they block other wavelengths of light (like HEV or infrared). We considered their rendition of colors and how well they maintain, enhance, or detract from contrast. We checked their clarity and noted how much of our own faces we could see staring back at us. We considered how comfortable each pair kept our eyes too. And we noted which ones are easy to clean and which seem to collect dust or fingerprints at a higher rate.

Hanging out with dogs and relaxing with comfortable eyes.
Hanging out with dogs and relaxing with comfortable eyes.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Comfort


We asked our whole team of testers to give us feedback about the comfort of every frame. We weighed them all and checked their balance points, testing to see if they would slide off the nose due to their design. We wore them for hours at a time to see if they became too tight or created pressure points. We took note of where they touched our faces and how they felt when that happened. And we evaluated other features that can influence comfort, like rubber nose pads, flexible frames, and winged bow tips.

We wore them while driving at all different times of the day.
We wore them while driving at all different times of the day.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Style and Versatility


While style is a personal choice rather than an objective measurement, we gathered as many opinions as possible. We asked our full panel of men to tell us which pairs they liked, noting trends along the way. We considered popular components and recorded any trends that emerged following general lines — like pairs that are enjoyed by men with certain sized faces. And as a bonus, we also considered models that can easily cross into activewear glasses without looking out of place.

How stylish will these sunglasses make YOU feel?
How stylish will these sunglasses make YOU feel?
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Frame Quality


We wore these glasses a LOT, evaluating and testing their frame quality. We checked every piece with a critical eye, examining hinges, connection points with rubber pieces, and scrutinizing materials and build. After several years of testing dozens of pairs of sunglasses, we put our vast experience with different quality frames to use to evaluate the shades in this review. We noted which ones scratched easily and which ones became wiggly or loose in their hinges. We also combed through hundreds of reviews online to find common complaints about every pair and see if we found similar issues.

Wearing them on all our outings to see how well they withstand the...
Wearing them on all our outings to see how well they withstand the trials of everyday use.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Coverage


We first checked the base curve of every pair of shades in our possession. We noted which ones have a better, more face-hugging wrap and which are flatter, with larger gaps around the edges. We asked our entire team of men to tell us where the sun still crept in around the frames. We also tried wearing each pair when sweaty to see which ones can maintain their coverage when the going gets tough.

Checking coverage in some exceptionally bright conditions.
Checking coverage in some exceptionally bright conditions.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Case Quality


Though it doesn't factor into our scoring of the sunglasses themselves, we also made a note of what every pair comes with. From cases and cleaning cloths to keychain screwdrivers and glasses leashes, each accessory was assessed by our team.

Staying covered during a day at the lake.
Staying covered during a day at the lake.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

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