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

How We Tested Sunglass for Women

By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor
Wednesday June 9, 2021
Putting these shades through their paces.
Putting these shades through their paces.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

We put our sunglasses through months of rigorous testing, wearing them on bright high alpine days, paddling missions, long days of driving, and spending the afternoon out on the town. Our panel of female testers put these shades through their paces across six different metrics to evaluate each and every component.

Lens Quality


To test lens quality, we compared every pair side by side in identical lighting conditions. We considered polarization and other protective qualities, like blue light blocking layers or mirror coating. We checked how easily we could see our faces reflected back at us from the backsides of the lenses while we wore them. We tested them at midday and during golden hour when the light can be extremely harsh. We compared the contrast and clarity each pair provides and scrutinized color shifts based on lens hue. We also noted which pairs get dirty more easily and which are difficult to clean.

Checking performance on the water.
Checking performance on the water.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Comfort


An entire panel of women evaluated every pair of glasses for their comfort. We considered details like where they touch the face, if they're adjustable, and how they feel. We wore each pair for hours to see if they became too tight or annoying. We weighed them all and then tested each one for balance, judging if they slide easily off the nose or hold fast even on a hot summer day. We considered other features that may add or detract from their comfort, like cushioned rubber patches and flexible frames.

They may look cool, but can we wear them all day?
They may look cool, but can we wear them all day?
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Style and Versatility


Though style is a subjective matter and personal choice, we asked a slew of different women to rate how they liked the look of every pair. We took note of trends — like some that look best on wider faces or rounder faces. We polled regarding specifics, such as favorite aspects, annoyances, and noted which were popular (or not) across the board. To a lesser extent, we also rated versatility across activities, taking note of which contenders also work for activewear.

We asked a bunch of ladies to rate how much they like each pair's...
We asked a bunch of ladies to rate how much they like each pair's style.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Frame Quality


To test frame quality, we wore these glasses a LOT. We scrutinized every component and checked to see how easily they work and how well they hold up to regular use. We analyzed hinges and tested for overextension. We considered composition and tested frames for flexibility. We gauged the overall feel and look, based on our extensive experience testing sunglasses for several years now. We noted which ones got scratches and had their hinges wiggle loose. We also scoured the internet searching for common complaints about each pair and then noted if we found similar issues.

Gauging the versatility of fit for every pair
Gauging the versatility of fit for every pair
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Coverage


Testing coverage starts by checking each pair's base curve to see how flat or face-hugging it is. We compared lens sizes to gauge eye coverage. We had many women with different face sizes and shapes wear each pair and note where the sun could creep around and get in the eyes.

Checking coverage at the beach.
Checking coverage at the beach.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Case Quality


Though less important, we also evaluated the quality of the cases and accessories every pair comes with. From rigid shells to floppy bags and microfiber cloths to tiny screwdrivers. Everything that comes with each set of glasses was carefully cataloged and assessed.

Some glasses come with more protective cases than others.
Some glasses come with more protective cases than others.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg