Sunglasses recommendation
July 13, 2012 10:34 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend a brand of affordable and durable wayfarer sunglasses? Is there any reason why I shouldn't buy cheap Walmart sunglasses?

My current sunglasses are the ones I got for free and look like they came from the dollar store.

I want an upgrade to something that offers more protection (UV and polarized) with really dark, black lens, and doesn't feel like plastic. I really do not care about high-end brand labels and so I don't want raybans or oakleys or anything that has a really high markup. I'm willing to pay $20-$40.

I read somewhere that the same company that makes higher end sunglasses use the same materials to make low-brand/no-brand sunglasses too. If that's true, I kind of want to know why people are willing to shell out hundreds of dollars on high-brand sunglasses. Even if it's not, as long as the sunglasses have the stickers for UV and polarization and look/feel sturdy, is there any reason why I shouldn't buy sunglasses from Walmart?

Anyway, if Walmart is not the answer, does anyone have recommendations for more affordable and durable wayfarer sunglasses?

Oh P.S. before people warn me against polarized lenses, I don't drive and will be buying these for a trip where I'll basically be walking everywhere.
posted by bluelight to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Is there any reason why I shouldn't buy cheap Walmart sunglasses?

All sunglasses give 100% UV protection. Polarized lenses only really come with high-quality frames.

If you don't want polarized lenses, and you like the look of the glasses, then whichever ones you buy will be fine. Once you're committed to polarized lenses, you're committing yourself to spending money on a certain threshold of quality that might not get at Wal-Mart (though if you can find it at Wal-Mart, go for it).

If you're willing to pay the money for the build quality, you can't go wrong with these guys.
posted by deanc at 10:37 AM on July 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

naw...i'd say go for it...i have heard before (many years ago) that sometimes the uv labels on cheap sunglasses are b.s., but i think that's become a thing of the past.
um, don't shop at walmart b/c they're assholes?
that being said, my current pair, going on a year, dollar store...the pair before, $150, broke in a week. some things are just no-win/butter-side-down situations...the uglier the sunglasses, the longer they will last. :/
posted by sexyrobot at 10:42 AM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

REI currently has a bunch of polarized lens sunglasses on sale, though there are only a few that are under $40.
posted by rtha at 10:42 AM on July 13, 2012

oh! do you live in a city with a wholesale district? buy a case of ones you like...usually around $3-6 each in bulk...
posted by sexyrobot at 10:44 AM on July 13, 2012

You can buy great sunglasses for your price range in places like Macy's or EMS on sale. Try Serengeti Sunglasses which can be purchased for around $35 on sale. Raybans and Oakleys are very good sunglasses. Sure, they are slightly overpriced, but Raybans have glass lenses on some of their models, the polycarbonate polarized lenses are expensive. Material used to produce the high end sunglasses are different than your Walmart type store brands, but they are much more affordable now than before.

The reason not to buy $1 sunglasses is if they are just colored plastic, the light will be refracted into your eyeballs causing fatigue. My work requires my eyes in a major way so I spend the extra money on better sunglasses and I do notice a difference between the less expensive lenses.

Enjoy your trip!
posted by Yellow at 10:47 AM on July 13, 2012

I had these for many years and they were great. It looks like they have some styles that would be more like what you want.

I would take a solid step up from what you'll find at Walmart (also 'cause Walmart is horrible in a general sense) but not a huge step.

The sunglasses I bought most recently I found at an Eddie Bauer store and then found the non-Eddie Bauer branded version on Amazon.
posted by VTX at 10:48 AM on July 13, 2012

The problem with really cheap sunglasses is that the plastic lenses will scratch almost immediately (and become less clear over time) and/or the coating that blocks UV A&B will physically wear off (in which case they will be worse for your eyes than wearing no sunglasses). Expensive sunglasses that are well made have stronger poly- or glass lenses that should last longer by avoiding scratches.

If you do buy cheap sunglasses, at least look for UVA and UVB (basically anything sold not on the street in the U.S.).
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:52 AM on July 13, 2012

Love these shades:

Durable and inexpensive enough that you can buy multiple styles and colors for summer!
posted by ejazen at 11:25 AM on July 13, 2012

For any sunglass imported & sold in the US, the Food and Drug Administration requires that the lens should not shatter into crystalline dagger-like shards when you drop a stainless steel ball bearing directly onto the lens. ==> any reputable retail environment should meet this standard. street kiosks and sidewalk vendors not so much.

There is an international set of standards for sunglasses called ANSI Z80.3. These standards specify that the lenses should allow red and green to be discriminated, that the lenses are without distortion that alter depth perception. In addition, ANSI sets performance standards like cosmetic, general usage, and sports, based on the amount of UVA/UVB light is transmitted. ===> if the sunglasses have a genuine ANSI sticker, they should have decent quality optics. "Sports" grade is much better than cosmetic, but cosmetic will still protect your eyes better than wearing nothing.

Polarized lenses break up the multi-directional reflection of light, filtering out the random glare and only passing through parallel lines of light. ===> nice feature for beach or snow, nice feature if you work around computers a lot
posted by ohshenandoah at 3:46 PM on July 13, 2012

Expensive sunglasses will also be way more comfortable and cover your field of vision more completely. Also, your eyes are super-important; don't skimp out on protecting them. If you typically keep up with your possessions, even really high-dollar brands are still a really good deal if you consider how much use you get out of them.

Native has some silly marketing, but they're the best sunglasses I've ever owned. They're about the same price range as Oakley, but less over-the-top in terms of design. They also have an awesome return policy: if they break and you still have the pieces, they will replace them for free.
posted by cirgue at 1:17 AM on July 14, 2012

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