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Best Sunglasses for Driving: Find Something For All Your Style and Safety Needs
The best sunglasses for driving that can change your whole driving experience
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BY KRISTIN HITCHCOCK / LAST UPDATED ON JUNE 11, 2021
Driving relies largely on sight. If you can’t see, you can’t drive, at least not safely. But when the sun is low in the sky on the way home from work, many people have trouble seeing where they’re going. Luckily, driving sunglasses can help combat this problem so you can drive safely. Of course, not all driving sunglasses are the same. When your safety depends on it, it is essential that you get the best of the best. To help you choose the right sunglasses, we’ve put together this guide featuring some of the best driving sunglasses available.BEST OVERALL
Maui Jim Peahi Rectangular SunglassesCHECK LATEST PRICE LEARN MOREBEST VALUE
Oakley Holbrook SunglassesCHECK LATEST PRICE LEARN MOREHONORABLE MENTION
Ray-Ban Aviator Classic Polarized SunglassesCHECK LATEST PRICE LEARN MORE
Benefits of Sunglasses for Driving
- See properly. Sunglasses for driving around have one main job: They help us see in the daylight. While you won’t always need sunglasses to drive, they’re definitely a must-have on those sunny, early morning drives. No matter how resistant your eyes are to the sun, sunglasses can improve driving viewability.
- Drive in comfort. No one likes looking directly into the sun. Sadly, depending on the time of the day, looking at the road might just mean looking at the sun! A pair of sunglasses designed for driving can help your eyes stay comfortable.
- Protect your eyes. Just like our skin, our eyes also need to be protected from the sun. Sunglasses can help reduce eye strain and protect the eyes when facing the sun while driving.
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Types of Sunglasses for Driving
Wayfarers were first introduced by Ray-Ban in the 1950s. This type of sunglasses features a trapezoidal frame, which is unique to this style. Because they are usually made out of plastic, these sunglasses are often very lightweight.
This popular type of sunglasses was first given to military pilots to help protect their eyes from the sun. Since then, they have become increasingly popular and are one of the most common types of sunglasses today. The teardrop shape of the lenses prevents light from entering at all angles, which can be helpful while driving. Many variants of this type also exist with slightly different lens shapes.
The cat eye sunglasses are almost exclusively worn by women, though there are some styles out there for men as well. These sunglasses feature lenses that are pointed along the outside edge, much like a cat eye.
This is a very common style that is utilized by many for practical reasons. They are most common among the military, bodyguards, and other outdoor professions. The clean and minimal lines are also very stylish and are becoming increasingly popular.
Round sunglasses are a vintage style that is making a comeback. While these sunglasses usually don’t help block the sun much, they are chosen by many due to their style. In some cases, you will find driving sunglasses in this design, though it is rare.
Shield sunglasses wrap around the wearers head. This feature makes them popular for outdoor sports and other activities where normal sunglasses might fall off. The goggle-like design helps provide maximum coverage from the sun, making them very useful as driving glasses.
Rimless sunglasses are a relatively new style that is very minimalistic. The frame is mostly hidden or non-existent. This design is smaller and thinner than most, however, so they don’t do much to help your vision.
This sunglasses manufacturer was founded in 1980 in Hawaii; it is currently based in Illinois, however. In 2015, it was the largest sunglasses manufacturer in the world. It sells over 135 different pairs of sunglasses and has its own polarization technology called PolarizedPlus2. Its Makaha unisex glasses are particularly popular.
This company primarily produces eyewear and is currently owned by the Bushnell Corporation. It was originally founded in 1984 and was bought by the Bushnell Corporation in 2000. It produces and develops a number of technologies related to eye protection, including polarized lenses. People seem to particularly like its Aviators sunglasses.
Oakley is owned by the Luxottica Group and is currently based in California. It produces a variety of different products, including sunglasses, backpacks, and even shoes. Currently, it holds over 600 patents. Originally, it was founded by James Jannard in 1975 and started by producing a special type of motorcycle grip. The name “Oakley” was also the name of Jannard’s dog. Oakley is specifically known for its Holbrook Iridium Sport Sunglasses.
Sunglasses for Driving Pricing
- Under $50: Any pair of sunglasses under $50 are typical “knock-offs.” They are not produced by a major brand and are usually only designed for style purposes. They are rarely polarized or designed for UV protection. They are also normally made of plastic, lenses included.
- $50 – $150: In this range, sunglasses often come with tinted or even polarized lenses, which is nearly impossible to find with cheaper sunglasses. They are also made of high-quality materials, such as acetate.
- Over $150: These sunglasses typically have all the features of the moderately-priced options with a few more add-ons. They might be made with new, more effective polarization technology, or they might just be bigger. The more material a pair of sunglasses has, the more expensive they will be.
It is essential to purchasing a pair of sunglasses that are made with high-quality material. For driving, your average plastic glasses just aren’t going to cut it. Instead, choose sunglasses that are made of a suitable metal or high-quality plastic.
Sunglasses should protect your eyes, plain and simple. Preferably, a pair of sunglasses should have a UV-protection rating of 100 percent. Otherwise, they aren’t protecting your eyes properly. You should also ensure that the pair of sunglasses you purchase protects from UVB and UVA rays. Just because a pair of glasses says “100-percent UV protection” doesn’t mean they protect from both kinds of UV rays.
The bigger the lenses, the more light they will block. Lenses that don’t cover your whole eye area aren’t going to block all the light coming in. For this reason, we recommend choosing sunglasses with larger lenses for driving.
Polarized sunglasses are designed to eliminate glare caused by bright, shiny surfaces. A lot of car accidents are caused by glare, so this is an important feature for most driving sunglasses. Still, not everyone benefits from polarized lenses. Some car displays are difficult to read through polarized lenses.
- Comfort: Some sunglasses are more comfortable than others. The material, fit, and weight all factor into how comfortable the sunglasses are. While comfort might not be a huge deal if you only commute ten minutes to work every day, it can be essential if you plan on wearing these sunglasses a lot.
- Durability: Much like comfort, how durable a pair of sunglasses depends on a variety of factors. The materials are perhaps the biggest factor. However, weight and craftsmanship can play a large role as well.
MORE ON INTERIOR CAR ACCESSORIESThe Best Windshield Sun Shades: Block Out the Sun Inside Your Vehicle
Best Driving Sunglasses Reviews & Recommendations 2021
BEST OVERALLMaui Jim Peahi Wrap Sunglasses
These Maui Jim sunglasses are our top pick because of their lightweight and comfortable frame construction. The sunglasses fit snugly to your face yet are flexible, and the lenses are polarized. They protect your eyes from UV rays and provide quite a bit of clarity, even on the sunniest days.
The small details helped propel these sunglasses to the top of our list. While they might be more expensive than some other options, the small details make them worth it. They provide comfort, durability, and style. Plus, they will last a long time.
Of course, though they are quite impressive, they are not perfect. The frames do not fit everyone’s face correctly, so you might end up with a pair of expensive glasses that don’t fit. They are also not completely scratch- and dent-resistant. If beaten up enough, they can and will break. Still, overall, these are one of the best sunglasses for driving.BEST VALUEOakley Men’s Holbrook Square Sunglasses
This pair of sunglasses by Oakley is another great option for driving. The classic design looks good on nearly everyone, so even if you aren’t a fan of most sunglasses styles, you might find something you like here.
These sunglasses are suitable for daily driving and are relatively durable. They also provide 100-percent UV protection. While these sunglasses are susceptible to wear and tear, you should still expect them to last quite a while.
Still, Oakley knows how to make a good pair of sunglasses. These driving sunglasses fit well on most people and are quite comfortable to wear. The frames are also quite flexible, making them harder to break and easier to wear. BEST AVIATORSRay-Ban Classic Polarized Aviator Sunglasses
This aviator option comes from Ray-Ban, and these metal sunglasses feature polarized lenses and were originally made for the military. They minimize glare and eye strain while promoting clarity. The glass lenses are also scratch-resistant. These Ray-Ban sunglasses provide 100-percent UV protection and are designed for both men and women.
These sunglasses are durable and are available in a variety of frame and lens colors as well as lens widths (55mm, 58mm, and 62mm). The 58mm option, for example, is ideal for a man with an average-sized face or a woman who wants slightly oversized sunglasses. The frame is sturdy, and they’re lightweight and stylish. They’re also comfortable.
The biggest complaint about these sunglasses is the blue may not be the shade that you expect. And despite the different sizes, many people find they look too large on their faces. They may also be slightly heavy for some people.BEST UNISEXMERRY’S Unisex Polarized Aluminum Sunglasses
These unisex polarized sunglasses feature an aluminum and plastic frame and are designed for both men and women. They have a polarized composite lens that reduces road glare, making them perfect for driving as well as snow and water sports. The glasses have a lens width of 56 millimeters, a temple length of 140 millimeters, and a nose bridge of 16 millimeters.
These sunglasses resemble Oakley sunglasses but are less expensive and come in a variety of different colors. They fit well even if you have a larger head and prefer wider sunglasses. The metal frame is lightweight, strong, and comfortable, and overall they look good. They are also surprisingly clear for being such an affordable pair of sunglasses. The manufacturer also provides a 30-day, money-back guarantee.
Unfortunately, they may not hold up well over time. The screws may loosen and fall apart after a short period of use. There have also been some complaints that the polarization rubs off rather easily.HONORABLE MENTIONJ+S Premium Military Style Classic Aviator Sunglasses
Here’s another pair of aviator sunglasses that you may like. The J&S sunglasses have a polarized and mirror lens that is lightweight and scratch-resistant as well distortion-free, which makes them great for driving as well as outdoor activities. The lenses have a high optical clarity and an optical coating to decrease glare for better visibility.
The lenses are 400UV rated and block 99-100-percent of UVA and UVB radiation. The durable frame is made of metallic alloy with spring-loaded hinged legs and nose pads for comfort and flexibility. They are lightweight, so you can wear them all day without any issues. Overall, they are solidly constructed and comfortable.
However, there have been some complaints that these sunglasses are a little small. Also, they are so dark it may be hard to read the gauges on your dashboard. The lenses may also loosen in the frame after a short period of use.HONORABLE MENTIONSports Polarized Sunglasses For Men
These plastic frame sunglasses are polarized with composite UV400 lenses that provide 100 percent UV protection. They are designed to decrease glare and protect your eyes from harmful sun damage. The lenses are 62mm wide, and since they’re so lightweight, they’re great for driving, motorcycling, running, hiking, and more.
You get to choose from 10 different color combinations featuring a variety of lens colors, such as red mirrored, gray photochromic, and brown. The frame and lenses are polycarbonate to provide protection from impact and scratches. The company backs up its product with a 30-day, money-back guarantee if they don’t live up to your expectations. Plus, they’re a really good value for what you get. They come with a hard case, soft case, cleaning cloth, and lanyard.
One problem with these sunglasses is that they may not be as dark as you’d like in direct sunlight. There have also been some complaints that the lens has a tendency to fall out of the frame too easily. They may also be a little too small for some users.HONORABLE MENTIONDUCO Men’s Sports Polarized Sunglasses
These sunglasses have a polarized lens with a UV400 protective coating that blocks 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. The lenses are lightweight, durable, and impact- and scratch-resistant. They have a metal alloy frame that is just 25 grams, so you don’t feel them very much on your face. The width of the lens is 64mm, while the frame length is 144mm and the temple length is 135mm.
You get a choice of several frame and lens colors, including orange, blue, and gray lenses. The sunglasses come with a carabiner, pouch, microfiber cleaning cloth, and a polarization test card. They also come with a gift box if you want to give them to a friend or family member. DUCO provides all of its customers a 30-day, money-back guarantee as well as a “Lifetime Breakage Warranty.”
The nose pads can be uncomfortable for some users, but they can be adjusted. Also, the lens does not wrap enough around the side of your eyes to prevent glare or wind from penetrating. In addition, the edge of the lens may be visible in your peripheral vision.HONORABLE MENTIONSUNGAIT Men’s Polarized Sunglasses
SUNGAIT’s sunglasses are designed for driving, fishing, golf, and more. They have a metal frame and composite polarized lens that provides 100 percent protection against UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. The lens is 65mm wide, while the temple length is 135mm wide and the frame width is 146mm wide.
The frame is strong, lightweight, and is available in black, brown, and gunmetal. Brown, gray, and night lens options are also available. Despite their light weight, these sunglasses are well-constructed. They provide a good fit and finish and are solid but not heavy. Overall, they feel quite comfortable on your face. Plus, the manufacturer provides a money-back guarantee and a “Lifetime Breakage Warranty.”
However, the nose pads may dig into your face a little bit or may come off after a short period of use. Also, they may not reduce harsh oncoming light glare during night driving. In addition, the polarization isn’t as good compared to some rival sunglasses.
- Tinted lenses can distort colors and make driving difficult in some cases. They can make it difficult to see red lights clearly or notice emergency vehicles. We recommend selecting sunglasses with either a grey, green, or yellow tint for driving.
- Sunglasses shouldn’t be too dark, or you’ll risk not getting enough light to drive safely. The sunglasses you wear to the beach are not necessarily the ones you should wear while driving.
- Polarized lenses can make it difficult to read certain car displays. Your car’s manual should tell you the type of display your car comes equipped with, allowing you to figure out whether or not polarized lenses are the best choice for you.
Q: ARE POLARIZED LENSES GOOD FOR DRIVING?
A: In many cases, yes. Polarized lenses help block glare, which is a major component to many car crashes. They help you see more clearly, even when you’re driving into the sun. However, they can also interfere with some car dashboard displays, particularly if they are LED displays. This is because the displays release light in a similar way to glare.
Q: WHAT ARE THE BEST SUNGLASSES LENSES FOR DRIVING?
A: Some tinted lenses can interfere with seeing important colors while driving. Because of this, we recommend selecting green, gray, or yellow spectrum lenses (like brown, yellow, and copper) for your driving sunglasses.
Out of all the driving sunglasses we reviewed, the Maui Jim Peahi Rectangular Sunglasses were by far the best due to their high-quality lenses and construction. However, Oakley Holbrook Sunglasses were also quite good and cheaper. They feature extra flexibility and a surprisingly comfortable fit.MORE TO READ
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