Searching for the best women's sunglasses available today? We hunted through hundreds to find and test the top 16 on the market. We paddled lakes, played in parks, drove long distances, and went for hikes and runs in various weather and conditions. We wore them midday in high mountain towns, walking directly into the sun at dusk, and on snow and water adventures. We checked their fit on different face sizes, their ability to stay put and keep us protected, and gauged their likeability and style across preferences. No matter your personal fashion or face shape, we've lined up some of the best sunglasses for your lifestyle and budget.Editor's Note: We updated our women's sunglasses review on April 7, 2023, to add in new offerings from Kaenon, Maui Jim, Ray-Ban, and Dragon.
The 6 Best Sunglasses for Women of 2023
$274.99 at Amazon
|$124.00 at Amazon||$125 List|
$125.00 at Amazon
|$151.20 at Backcountry||$250 List|
|Pros||Great contrast, comfortable, likable style||Great lens quality, excellent gradient, very comfortable, versatile style, good case||Easy comfort, great lenses with minimal glare, stylish twist on a versatile frame, secure, more affordable||Protective lenses, good contrast, secure fit, versatile use across lighting and activities||Upscale style that works for most, excellent lenses, beefy construction, great coverage|
|Cons||A bit small, translucent frame magnifies light, expensive||Not polarized, may be loose on top of head||Lenses let in more light than some, no hard case included, not a bold style||May be tight, mirror lenses collect smudges, case is a poor cleaner||Not polarized, slightly tight, expensive|
|Bottom Line||These are great quality sunglasses with excellent contrast and a superb face feel||Excellent quality shades that are protective and stylish, offering top-notch quality for a reasonable price||The comfort we want for all day wear with excellent performance and the looks to keep us feeling fresh along the way||A sporty yet chic pair of cute, comfortable shades that can keep up with you from casual brunches to afternoon hikes||The Dude's glasses throw down some serious vibes and have the quality lenses and exceptional coverage to back it up|
|Rating Categories||Maui Jim Honi||Ray-Ban Erika||Kaenon Rockaway||Smith Caper ChromaPop||Vuarnet Legend 03|
|Lens Quality (30%)|
|Style and Versatility (20%)|
|Frame Quality (15%)|
|Specs||Maui Jim Honi||Ray-Ban Erika||Kaenon Rockaway||Smith Caper ChromaPop||Vuarnet Legend 03|
|Lens Tested||Blue HCL Bronze||Grey Gradient||Brown 12||Brown Polarized||Greylynx|
|Visible Light Transmission (VLT)||12%||Not specified||12%||Not specified||10%|
|VLT Protection Index||Category 3||Category 3||Category 3||Category 3||Category 3|
|HEV/Blue Light Protection (claim)||"HEV reduction"||None||0%||None||93%|
|Infrared Protection (claim)||None||None||0%||None||90%|
|Neutral/Contrast||Increased contrast||Neutral||Increased contrast||Increased contrast||Increased contrast|
|Lens Material||SuperThin glass||Polycarbonate||SR-91 Resin (proprietary plastic)||Carbonic||Mineral glass|
|Coatings and Lense Treatments||Anti-reflective, anti-scratch, hydroleophobic||None||Hydrophobic, oleophobic, scratch resistant, anti-reflective||Anti-reflective,hydroleophobic resistance, mirror coating||Antreflective, bi-shaded mirror|
|Prescription Lens Compatible?||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Case Included||Rigid triangular collapsible case, microfiber cleaning cloth||Semi-rigid snapshell case and microfiber cleaning cloth||Microfiber storage and cleaning bag||Microfiber bag||Semi-rigid snapshell case, microfiber cleaning cloth|
Best Overall Sunglasses for Women
The Ray-Ban Erika provides excellent quality and great style. Their lenses are crisp and clear, offering protection in bright light while still maintaining their functionality in medium to low lighting. Though many pairs we tested have gradients, the Erika sets the bar for what a gradient should be. They're dark and protective on top, without being too dark for lower light, and they transition smoothly to a lighter shade on the bottom without totally losing their protection. The glossy fronts and flexible metal bows feel comfortable, familiar, and secure on the head. They're fairly lightweight at 22 grams, even though their medium-large lenses and width offer above-average coverage and a style our entire panel of testers loved.
Though the particular Grey Gradient lenses we tested aren't polarized, the Erika come in a wide variety of colors — in both lenses and frames — many of which are polarized. The flexible metal arms are comfortable on the face but are a tad bit loose for securely wearing on the top of your head. The grey lenses appeared more of a purple hue, though we found ourselves enjoying the extra style and contrast they provide. Though a bit pricey, these shades delivered a top-notch performance across the board for less than many others
Best Bang for the Buck
CAMP Eyewear Trail
Though they may seem at first to be "just another" pair of wayfarers, we found a lot to like about the Camp Eyewear Trail — including their modest price. As one of the pairs of shades we tested that look good on all genders, our whole team of testers found themselves fighting to wear these sunglasses. They offer solid, all-around performance with quality lenses and comfortable frames. Their glossy finish and wooden bows make for a great look and a fit that works well on a wide range of head sizes and face shapes.
Of course, this glossy finish can be a detriment if you're hot and sweaty, as they may slide down during movement. Additionally, as wayfarers, the Trail have the standard coverage pitfalls of this shape of sunglasses. Medium lenses and relatively flat curvature allows sunlight to sneak in around the edges of the glasses. But despite these minor flaws, we love a lot about these unique, lower-cost glasses.
Excellent and Comfortable Shades
The Kaenon Rockaway is a very comfortable pair of sunnies that proved great in almost every situation. They manage to be secure without feeling tight, even on our testers with wide faces. They're lightweight and well-balanced, with rubbery nose pads that keep them securely in place even on sweaty and windy runs. Good quality lenses keep back glare to a minimum, and the Brown 12 lenses we tested enhance contrast and color in a very natural way. Our testing team also liked the look of these shades — they're a light upgrade to a very classic and versatile style.
On the other hand, the Rockaway aren't exactly pushing the bounds of fashion if that's something you're after. We find them easy to like — one tester referred to them as the "safe" option. The Brown 12 lenses we tested have a protective VLT of just 12%, yet they somehow feel a bit lighter to look through when compared to other lenses with the same VLT rating. This didn't hamper our vision, but it was noticeable compared to other models. We're also bummed that, unlike other Kaenon glasses we've tested, the Rockaway didn't come with a zippered hard case; just a microfiber drawstring bag. But at the end of the day, we love the fit, feel, and function of these easy-to-wear sunnies — and the price isn't bad either.
Best for Trail to Town Transitions
Smith Caper ChromaPop
The Smith Caper ChromaPop is an admirable pair of sunglasses in both performance and style. They fit very securely on the face, with snug bows, rubber nose pads, and a head-hugging form. This level of stability makes them a reliable set of shades for life on the go — whether that's hiking up a mountain or peering over the edge of a canoe. The ChromaPop lenses we tested add just a hint of increased contrast without distorting colors. The higher VLT (Visible Light Transmission) of 15% make them easy to wear without obscuring your view in lower light situations. The polarization and mirror coating both cut out distracting glare from other surfaces, making these a great choice for super bright days.
The snug fit of the Caper was a bit too snug for some of our testers. This seemed to be less based on head size than skull shape and where the bows happen to hit above the ears. Some of our widest-faced testers loved wearing them all day, while some with slender faces found them to squeeze after a few hours. Their mirror lenses show smudges easily. And the simple microfiber bag case these sunnies come with is too shiny, making it almost stick to the lenses without really cleaning anything off of them. A regular microfiber cloth does the trick, but you'll have to provide your own. At the end of the day, these shades' fit, protection, and stylish fashion make them our favorite for both grabbing brunch in the morning and hitting the trails in the afternoon.
Best for Bold Style
Costa del Mar Fernandina
For those with slender and smaller faces, the Costa del Mar Fernandina are the shades for you. Many of our testers have wanted to find a pair of aviators that look awesome without being too large or not quite right for their faces. Enter the Fernandina, with their versatile and appealing shape. The dark, polarized lenses and mirror coating provide superb protection from the sun. While nose pads are notorious for getting caught in the hair, the intensely squishy pads on these easily bend and are even made to pop out (and then easily back in again) under pressure. These shades fit firmly and securely on even our smallest-headed tester, with a sturdy build that can keep up with steady wear.
The only area in which the Fernandina fell a bit short is when heading directly into a low sun. At this angle, the rays of light seem to reflect around inside the Green Mirror 580P lenses we tested, creating an illuminated layer in the lens that made it difficult to see with clarity. Those with wider faces lamented the narrow build of these small frames, while those with slender faces found them unicorns among women's sunglasses. For most of our testers, though, any time we wanted to feel bold, fashionable, and downright cool, we put on the Fernandina.
A Timeless Classic
Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer Classic
The Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer Classic has been in style for decades, looking as fly today as they did when they were first released in 1952. Across the board, these shades look good on everyone who tried them and with every fashion, from dresses to board shorts and ripped jeans to three-piece suits. They're built to last, with a whopping seven barrels on each hinge and some serious heft to their robust frames.
However, the cost of all this sturdiness is that the Original Wayfarer is one of the heaviest pairs of sunglasses we tested, at a staggering 45 grams. If you can get over just how heavy these are on your face, they are quite comfortable to wear. As the OG wayfarer shades, they have an exaggerated forward slant to their lenses which contributes to their style but also leaves an oversized gap at the top of the lenses. These things aside, if you've been coveting this look, we think you'll be happy with the performance of these classic shades.
Why You Should Trust Us
We spent hours researching the most promising pairs on the market before choosing these top contenders for head-to-head testing. Over the past several years, we've taken test pairs all over the world to every kind of environment, from the equator to the North Pole. We've driven across the country and back, gone out to brunch, paddled across lakes, napped on beaches, and hiked up peaks, all to help hone in on the best sunglasses for your lifestyle and budget.Our testing of women's sunglasses is divided across five different metrics:
- Lens Quality (30% of overall score weighting)
- Comfort (25% weighting)
- Style and Versatility (20% weighting)
- Frame Quality (15% weighting)
- Coverage (10% weighting)
Lead testers Maggie Nichols has been wearing glasses since she was 4 years old and knows what constitutes the right fit and look for a pair of frames. She's obsessed with protecting her eyes, as she's been working in sunny outdoor environments for over 20 years, from being a kayak guide in the Caribbean and leading students snorkeling along the equator to backpacking the sunny Sierra Nevadas and researching wildlife on the African savannah. Maggie has been our lead sunglasses tester — from running and paddling to summer vacations and gardening — since 2018.
Analysis and Test Results
To thoroughly analyze contenders, we divided our assessments into five separate metrics. By combining the outcomes of tests in each metric, every pair of women's sunglasses ends up with an overall score that makes them easily comparable. Here we tease apart each metric and discuss the top contenders in specific areas.
Finding a great pair of women's sunglasses doesn't have to cost a fortune. While, in general, clearer, more protective, and better-contrasting lenses cost a little more, there are plenty of high-performing shades that buck this trend.
The Camp Eyewear Trail have excellent lenses in quality frames that provide outstanding comfort without sacrificing fashion — all while costing less than most. The Native Eyewear Acadia also offers great value. Their more stylish shape, quality lenses, and secure fit make them a great choice for functional fashion. While the Ray-Ban Erika are a bit pricier, they still come cheaper than many others, were our favorite to wear, and have scored the highest in our tests for multiple years now. The Kaenon Rockaway are an excellent pair of performance shades that are comfortable to wear, and the Tens Classic are a solid, classic-looking contender — both at a fair price. We've also tested a group of top-ranked cheap sunglasses if you want to find other budget-friendly options.
Lens quality is the single most important aspect of any pair of glasses. To test this, we considered a wide range of attributes. We compared our lineup of sunglasses side-by-side in bright and harsh lighting, noting clarity, contrast, and color distortions. We also checked each pair for back reflections, that annoying phenomenon of seeing your face reflected back at you.
The Maui Jim Honi have some of the most protective and pleasant lenses to look through. The shade of brown we tested has just a hint of color and contrast enhancement. We tested the Hawaii Lava lenses in the Maui Jim Kawika, which proved to be polarizing. Though they offer excellent clarity and protection, and minimal back glare, they are blue-grey on top and amber on the bottom, which some of our testers didn't mind and others found distracting. We love the lenses of the Maui Jim Lighthouse, which are part of Maui Jim's more recent line of non-glass lenses that still maintain the top-notch quality of the rest of their lineup.
The Vuarnet Legend 03 lenses are another favorite. Though they're not polarized, they're a superb shade with excellent mirroring and a dual gradient (darker on top and bottom for sun and glare), making them protective and comfortable. The Ray-Ban Erika is another pair with excellent lenses. Their Grey Gradient lenses that we tested also aren't polarized but are a clear, contrasting shade of blueish grey with precisely the top-down gradient transition that feels good to our eyes.
The Kaenon Rockaway have great lenses, with enhanced contrast that still looks natural, good protection, and minimal back glare. The Smith Caper also has lenses we love, with color-enhancing shades of brown and protection that's comfortable and clear to wear. Not far behind are the Smith Lowdown 2, with a slightly darker tint and a touch less "pop" to their ChromaPop. The Tens Classic lenses are designed by photographers and are a very pleasing shade to look through. Their subtle gradient helps cut down glare, while their overall darker hue makes them an excellent choice for very bright days, despite not being polarized.
The Camp Eyewear Trail also have solid lenses in a comfortable grey color without any major flaws. The Ray-Ban Aviators also have good lenses — we tested the Green Classic G-15, which appear quite grey. They felt darker than many others, though that may be due to the contrast between the lenses and the open sides. Still, they're good lenses with very minimal back glare — a difficult feat for a pair of shades with so much open space for the sun to sneak in. The Native Acadia is also notable for above-average lenses with crystal clarity, 100% polarization, 94% protection from blue light, up to 40% infrared blockage, and a middle-ground amber color that increases contrast without making things look strange. We also like the lenses in the Costa Fernandina in most situations outside of heading directly into the setting or rising sun. At these low angles of light, we found it very difficult to see much through these lenses. But they excel at midday sunlight angles.
Our entire panel of testers evaluated every pair of sunglasses in our lineup to assess comfort. We noted where each pair touched the face and if it was distracting. We checked which are adjustable and how well that adjustability lets each wearer dial in their unique comfort needs. We also considered rubber cushioning and special nose pads and wore every pair for hours to see if they squeezed or fell off.
We're very impressed by the easy comfort of the Kaenon Rockaway. These unassuming shades provided a secure fit on every tester who tried them, thanks to a comfortable grip, light weight, and great balance. Rubbery nose pads keep them pleasantly perched on the nose even when sweaty. Another one of the most comfortable pairs we tested is the Ray-Ban Erika. The lightweight nylon frame rests comfortably on the face, and their metal bows are flexible enough to offer security and a versatile fit. These are truly a pleasure to wear, and our entire team of testers loved the feel of these sunnies. The Maui Jim Honi frames have perfectly placed embedded nose pads, flexible hinges to accommodate a variety of sizes of heads, and a shape that's easy to forget you're wearing. The Smith Caper ChromaPop are also impressively comfortable, with a more snug fit and fully rubber nose pads to keep them securely in place.
The Tens Classic are comfortable in the way of the best wayfarers we've tested, with the added bonus of a silky matte finish that feels oh-so-good on your face. The Maui Jim Kawika are far more comfortable than we expected for a pair of sunglasses with adjustable nosepads and such a bold frame. They're well-balanced and a delight to wear. It's also hard not to love the featherweight feel of the almost absurdly light Maui Jim Lighthouse. Even without any adjustability of their nose pads or bows, these hyper-flexible shades seem to fit everyone. The Persol PO3108S also fit very well (on small-medium width heads), with adjustable nose pads and three lines of added "Meflecto" flexibility to each of the bows. The Costa Fernandina are surprisingly comfortable and secure, especially for a pair of aviators, though they also fit narrower heads best.
Style and Versatility
While there's no true test for what's "stylish," we asked our panel of testers which sunglasses they preferred. We noted trends — where they existed — of pairs that were well-loved or those that weren't. We assessed which were best for certain face sizes and which were just great all-around glasses. We also considered versatility across different activities, checking to see if each pair stayed put when sweaty or if they just became annoying.
Though the majority of our panel of testers have never been big "aviator people," all of us adored the Costa Fernandina. They have slightly thicker bows than average aviators, with a splash of funky patterning, shorter lenses, and an attractive shape. If you like the classic shape and oversized look of old-school aviators, the Ray-Ban Aviators may be more your vibe. The Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer also made every member of our testing team feel as though their whole look just went up two style points.
The Persol PO3108S and Maui Jim Kawika are also both impressively stylish, though not quite as universally loved as the Fernandina and Original Wayfarer. The Persol look is bold without being "too much" and works just as well with cut-offs as it does with a cocktail dress. The Kawika has distinctive spring break vibes when paired with the red mirrored Hawaii Lava lenses we tested and a frame that one of our testers described fondly as "nerd chic."
The Ray-Ban Erika and Camp Eyewear Trail are well-loved styles by all who tried them on. Though they're two different vibes, both of these shades look good on a wide variety of face sizes and shapes. The Maui Jim Honi adds fashion to function, though their smaller size relegates them to work best on smaller and narrower faces. The Dragon Waverly brings a very distinctive look to the lineup, with a thick-framed style that one tester described as "hippie gone modern."
We found it hard to hate the Tens Classic on pretty much any face or gender. Though they lack the flair of the Camp Trail wooden bows, the Tens Classic look is still a step above your "average" wayfarer and is a great size that most people find appealing. Even the Smith Caper, though slightly sportier in their appearance, was a crowd favorite, with enough security of fit to back up their use even across active endeavors.
A good pair of frames goes a long way toward making your sunglasses last. We poked, prodded, and pulled every part of these glasses, checking screws and wiggly bows. We examined them for scratches and assessed their flexibility. We also turned to the vast sea of testimonials online to see if we noticed any of the many reported issues.
The Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer Classic have some of the sturdiest, beefiest frames we tested. The Ray-Ban Erika also have excellent quality frames that offer just the right level of flexibility and solidity. They feel good and easily stood up to all our testing without any harm. The Vuarnet Legend 03 and Kaenon Rockaway aren't far behind, each sporting solid construction that stays tight throughout use with just the right amount of flex. The Tens Classic and Camp Eyewear Trail once again stand out as above-average wayfarers that perform consistently on many faces, in bags, on top of heads, and chucked on the passenger seat of the car.
The Smith Caper ChromaPop and Native Acadia are also both solidly built, with plastic frames that flex, rubber pads to improve grip, and well-attached sections. The Smith Lowdown 2 lack the rubber nose pads, but are similar in construction to the Caper. The Maui Jim Kawika look like they have delicate components, with their adjustable nose pads and wire bridge, but they're deceptively strong. They also have flex hinges, which allow for overextension without breakage. Though we don't expect it from glasses with such thin wires, the Costa Fernandina are also impressively durable. They're reinforced in typical aviator weak points, like the bows and hinges. They also have unique nose pads that are extremely flexible and made to pop in and out of the frames easily, so they never get seriously tangled in your hair.
A few pairs that we tested have some minor but potentially large flaws that we feel are worth mentioning. The Maui Jim Lighthouse has extremely lightweight, flexible frames that we greatly enjoyed wearing, but we worry about their longevity. We found many other user testimonies of these breaking where the bridge connects the two lenses, and their intensely pliable frames make us fear that we'll accidentally crush them. And while we love the quality of the Maui Jim Honi frames, they lose some points due to the tendency of the translucent frames to create a blinding glare below the lens in certain angles of light.
To evaluate coverage, we looked into the base curve of each pair of glasses to see how well they hug the face or if they leave large gaps. We considered lens size and effectiveness. And we asked people with different face shapes to note where the sun could sneak around the edges and creep inside.
We found the best coverage in glasses with large lenses and curved frames that sit close to the face. Both the Native Acadia and the Vuarnet Legend 03 fit this profile. If coverage is your number one concern, these are the best in our lineup. The Maui Jim Honi combines more reasonably sized lenses with a close-fitting face-hugging curve, helping to keep the eyes decently covered. Though they're not as curved as the others we've mentioned, the Ray-Ban Erika have larger lenses than many others that provide extra coverage — just not from the sides, as they're both flatter and have very narrow bows that do little to block side light. Similarly, the Dragon Waverly have large lenses and thick frames that add more protection but are on the flat side, still letting some light creep in the sides.
The Kaenon Rockaway have a lightly curved shape with decent coverage, but they let some light in the sides if the sun hits you at a harsh angle. Though they're a little flatter and have slightly smaller lenses, the Smith Caper ChromaPop provides a shape and fit with decent coverage. Many of the wayfarer styles we tested are the next best regarding coverage, including the Tens Classic, Smith Lowdown 2, and Camp Eyewear Trail. These three have similar lens sizes and shapes, as well as similar fits that offer solid coverage, but have the same downfalls as one another — open sides and a high potential for gaps on the top and bottom (depending on how you prefer to wear them).
There seems to be an endless sea of sunglasses out there to choose from, and it can be challenging to evaluate the style and effectiveness just by scrolling through websites. Sunglasses can be a tough purchase depending on your face shape, style preferences, and lens needs. We did our best to put every one of the frames in this review to the test to bring you an accurate and thorough picture of which pairs perform the best and which will look best on your face.If you're on the hunt for some new sunnies, we've got you covered from multiple angles. From the best sunglasses for men to the best cheap options and the top sport sunglasses, we're here to help you feel great without squinting your way through the day. Spend most of your time on a bike? We've tested the best cycling sunglasses too.
— Maggie Nichols
Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.Learn More