Clear skies might be cause for wide-eyed celebration, but squinting is no way to spend those precious sunny days. Want to embrace the weather in shaded style? You need a pair of the best sunglasses. Which is exactly what this guide is here to provide.
From cycling shields to recycled shades, the list below features our pick of the top sunglasses for every fairweather pursuit – whether that’s hiking up hills or perching in pub gardens.
There are frames fit for every face, taste and budget – plus some handy buying tips to help you pick the perfect pair. Sunshine sold separately.
Ill-fitting frames aren’t friends for your face. Some shades ship in different sizes, while others can be tweaked to fit your temples. Blessed with a bigger bonce? Check that the measurements can accommodate your cranium.
Clarity isn’t the only consideration when it comes to lenses. Polarisation reduces glare, while tints change the way you see the world. Some sunnies let you switch inserts for colour emphasis to suit different scenes.
Not all noggins are shaped the same. Keen to pick a style that compliments your kisser? Nothing beats trying frames for real. Failing that, many brands offer virtual fittings – or free returns for shades that make your mug look funny.
Active glasses are usually lightweight, hitting the scales at around 25g. Some classic styles sit heavier on the bridge of your sniffer, while smart specs can weigh 50g or more. Materials make a big difference.
Ray-Ban Stories Wayfarer
Google Glass may have prematurely shattered, plummeting from grace like some optical Icarus by reaching too far, too fast, but its spirit lives on Ray-Ban’s social shooter shades.
These rig up some of the brand’s iconic spectacle silhouettes with twin 5MP cameras, three microphones, two speakers and a tap-to-snap interface. It’s all discreetly done and, amazingly, adds only 5g to the weight of regular Ray-Bans.
Simply touch the frame’s right arm, and cameras will capture stereoscopic stills or 1184×1184 video at 30fps – while an LED glows to alert people that they’re being recorded.
With the glasses paired up to your phone, you can share your fresh content right away via the Facebook View app. That’s right, you’ll need a Facebook account for this, so Meta-haters might have to look elsewhere.
Image quality may not match up to the current crop of phone cams, but the Stories deliver results that are certainly good enough for social media – and you can also use them to make calls.
Sungod Renegades Surfers Against Sewage
These are about as eco-friendly as you can get: production is carbon-neutral and both the frames (100%) and lenses (50%) are made from recycled materials. The design is classic and rugged, with full UV protection.
Anyone planning an active summer full of surfing, boarding or swimming might appreciate these affordable sunnies’ big USP: they float. Losing a pair of pricey glasses could put the dampeners on any holiday, so these non-slip polarised shades are well worth a spot in any sporty water baby’s luggage.
Designed and made in the UK, these 1950s-style specs come in a rich transparent acetate with a gorgeous olive green tint. They may look bookish, but with their 8mm-thick frames these are durable heavyweights that’ll see you through many long summers.
While their angular design feels more divisive and less discreet than the Ray-Bans, these camera-equipped glasses are smarter: they can record 3D video at 60fps and come with GPS built in. But they’re not Snap’s long-awaited AR specs – maybe next summer.
‘Neko’ is the Japanese word for ‘cat’… and these feline-looking shades for women are bold but classy. The hypoallergenic, organic and biodegradable acetate used for
the frames means every pair is unique, while the lenses (made by Zeiss) offer 100% UV protection.
These lightweight unisex specs are perfect for the beach, the bar or (depending on your work’s dress code) the boardroom. And there’s a 30-day hassle-free return
Some squinters serially misplace their shades. Helpfully, these standout sunnies should be hard to forget. An angular take on a classic shape, they pair a marbled finish with sustainable sandalwood temples. And if you do lose your Sumas, you can at least feel free from eco guilt: their plastic-free frames can biodegrade within three years.
Angling for eco eyewear? Dangle a rod for long enough and you might reel in some jettisoned specs. Or if you don’t have time to trawl, try these lightweight frames – crafted entirely from recycled fishing nets. Saltwater-resistant and shipped in a cork case, each sea-saving pair also supports marine cleaning workshops. And if your green deeds leave you feeling big-headed, you can heat the Pentires to fit your inflated ego.
Bear Essentials Maverick
Most bears don’t wear sunglasses, but even Pooh needs ocular protection when he strays from the shade of the forest. These timber specs don’t betray his woodland home: hewn from sustainably sourced Zebrano and walnut, each hardwood frame features a unique natural pattern. Plus every pair purchased plants a tree, so you’ll be helping to expand the Hundred Acre Wood.
Bose Frames Tenor
Our Dumbo flaps bear quite the daily burden. These sonic sunnies reduce the load on your lugs by combining sound with sun protection. Polarised lenses take care of your peepers, while speakers in the arms supply the soundtrack. OpenAudio smarts also allow the outside world in, without sacrificing that fabled Bose quality – so you’ll be aware of any traffic trying to squash your private party.
Anker Soundcore Frames
As any fashionista knows, sunglass styles change with the season. Want specs you can switch in an instant? These smart glasses come in ten modular styles, so you can go from wayfarer to aviator as you like. Simply swap the front and keep the arms, which harbour flexible hinges, touch controls and a quartet of speakers for immersive OpenSurround sound.
The running wraps: SunGod Ultras
Squinting while sprinting is a shortcut to a stumble. See clearly while you stride with these streamlined jogging goggles. Featherweight and frameless, they sit light at 26g – yet four nose pad options guarantee a bounce-free fit. Recycled plastic arms reduce the environmental impact, while sharp 8KO Nylon lenses limit the risk of a 5K collision.
The revamped rings: Oakley Re:SubZero
Old-school shades are nothing new, but these multi-sport specs are more than a retro revival. Fronted by a single sculpted shield, the Re:SubZero are etched to echo the twin-lens originals of the Nineties. Distinctive by design and equipped with colour-boosting Prizm optics, they come in four gleaming schemes – though only the black variant will give you vintage Vin Diesel vibes.
The pedal peepers: Rapha Explore
Flair eyewear alone won’t improve your trial times, but these stylish cycling specs do more than look the part. Their classy chassis is capped by a one-piece panel which enhances contrast and adapts to changing light – ideal for spotting obstacles on dappled rides. A removable strap also means they’re down to dangle, while anti-fogging tech should stop hot air from blinding you on the climb.