If you don't yet own a pair of polarized shades, you're missing out. They'll help you conquer summerwhether you're cycling or running for miles on miles or just hanging on the beach or boat.
You see, when light hits a flat surface (like the road and water), it then reflects in every direction creating a harsh glare which can cause eye fatigue, headaches, or even temporary blindness. Polarized sunglasses include a special filter that’s applied or inserted into the lenses which ultimately blocks out that glare. Pretty important during a high-speed bike ride or run when the sunlight becomes boarderline blinding and you need to make a split-second decision in order to avoid collision or injury.
Having this special filter embedded into the shades may mean paying a bit more, but it’s worth it when you see the view. Not only do they better-protect your eyes from the glare, but they nearly all contain other lens technology to complement the polarized function which helps make colors appear sharper. (Go into a sunglasses shop and test it out for yourself by looking at a colorful object with the polarized shades on and then again with a regular pair.)
Rather than limiting our round up to one activity, we scouted out a bevy of pairs for your leisure needs and your active wants. The lifestyle shades can be found on slides 2 through 5 and include classic styles—some of which reflect this season’s hottest trends—in the top silhouettes like round, aviators, wayfarers, square, and clubmasters. The performance shades can be found on slides 6 through 10 and include options for running, training, cycling, hiking, mountain biking, and trail running.
Tom Ford did everything right with this sleek pair of aviators; the top bridge is thick but doesn't over power the shades thanks to its calm yellow hue, the outline of the frame gives off a masculine appeal while keeping things approachable with a sheer lens, and the carefully placed details like the signature "T" on the temple and orange temple tip, are minimal but add just the right amount of flair that exudes luxury.
Not only did Giorgio Armani master the circular silhouette (a huge trend right now) with these perfectly-sized frames that aren't too big or too small, but he also dipped them in a faint—but fine—tortoise shell shade that's ideal for summer, added a sharp set of rhomboidal rivets on the front to elevate the look, and even managed to top 'em off with a cool brow bar on top (another hot sunglasses trend).
This lifestyle pair of shades from Toms allows you to look sporty without even moving a limb thanks to their retro blue-hued lenses (a major sunglasses trend) and special RI-PEL coating that wicks any water or smudges that land on the surface. Every aesthetic factor from their lively tortoise shell shade to their strong square shape makes them a great go-to pair for hitting the beach. Plus, for every pair sold, the brand helps restore sight to those in need by funding sight-saving surgery, prescription glasse, or medical treatment.
If you’re not fond of the full-length frame hovering over your eyes, then go for a pair of clubmasters (which cuts the mounting in half) like the above style from Persol. Rather than keeping it all one tone, Persol made things interesting by color-coating the lenses with a light blue hue, and complemented them with a subtle, translucent brown frame to make for a lightweight color palette that couldn't match better.
The best part about the Ray-Ban wayfarer? Its slight diagonal slant (where the top extends forward) gives it an immediate strong-yet-edgy appeal, the silhouette looks terrific on nearly every face shape, and their overall classic style can be worn for years without worrying about staying on trend. So it makes sense to pay the extra $50 for a polarized pair.
Oakley - EVZero Path Matte Black With Prizm Daily Polarized
Prepare to upgrade your outdoor running and training experience to an elite level when wearing these cutting-edge Oakleys. Let’s talk about the lens; it’s constructed with top-of-the-line technology that blocks out a strong glare while still enhancing visual clarity and impact resistance, and is expanded into a rimless design offering a no-fuss unobstructed view. They're lightweight, durable, and will remain locked in place thanks to strategically placed pads of grip on the nose and temples that won't put too much pressure on your skin.
Take this pair of Tifosi shades to the mountain whether you’re biking, hiking, or running on it. The innovative technology infused into these lenses allows them to cut out glare, strengthen precision, reduce fog, and auto-adjust lens color to match the ambient light in a matter of 10 seconds. The rubber pads on the nose and temples will ensure a stay-put fit without feeling too tight thanks to its self-adjustable ear pieces. They’re highly flexible, sturdy, and are topped with a scratch and shatter proof finish.
Smith Optics - Wolcott with ChromaPop+ Lens Technology
Built with signature “ChromaPop+” polarized lenses, Smith Optic's top-of-the-line Wolcott sunglasses will keep glare at bay, provide a crystal clear view, and allow natural color clarity to still come through. The hydrophilic nose and temple pads will naturally grip to your skin and stick throughout wet conditions. Plus, they're lightweight and will remain comfortable after hours of use, and they look pretty sharp, too.
Interested in an unbreakable pair at unbeatable price? Meet REKs Optics, the up-and-coming sunglass brand offering quality performance shades at just $50. These sunglasses are built with shatter-resistant lenses and "memory-flex polymer" frames that can bend in every direction without breaking. Fit them under your helmet during a bike ride or try them on a run; their infused polycarbonate and polarized lenses will protect your eyes whilst offering supreme visual definition, while their lightweight feel and comfortable, secure fit make them perfect for any actvity. For that price, you still get a water-repelling finish to boot.
If you have a pretty active lifestyle but aren’t necessarily finishing races on the daily, opt for a pair of sunglasses like these from Costa Del Mar. They come with the technical specs that will eliminate unwanted glare and fog while keeping your vision sharp, and have a tough scratch-resistant finish to withstand whatever comes your way.