How to Buy Sunglasses

SIZE, STYLE, & LENS GUIDE

When you only have to pull out the sunglasses for a few months each year, you often forget where you hid them last year. That being said, we know how hard it can be to find the right pair for your face, style, and emotional needs. This buying guide is designed to help you find the right pair of sunglasses for you.

UV PROTECTION

Although there’s no way to deny how great you look in that killer pair of shades, there’s a real reason to wear them! On top of being an awesome fashion accessory, sunglasses protect you from various forms of ultraviolet light, increasing optical clarity in bright conditions while reducing the risk of damage to your eyes.

Sunglasses are essential for people exposed to high levels of Ultraviolet (UV) light during activities like snowsports, watersports and driving in bright weather. When purchasing sunglasses, one of the most important things to look for is 100% ultraviolet (UV) protection. Even though the sun is 93 million miles away, the ultraviolet (UV) rays it emits can be a factor in causing cataracts, macular degeneration and growths on the eye, including cancer.

THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF UV LIGHT YOU NEED TO LOOK OUT FOR:

UVB Rays

UVB are super intense and the primary cause of sunburns and cancer, and can be very hazardous to the eyes. UVB Rays vary in intensity throughout the year and are much stronger in the summer months between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm – this is the time of year when the earth’s axial tilt is angled towards the sun, causing UVB Rays to be more focused. Although UVB rays are more intense in the summer, they possess the capacity to burn or damage skin and eyes year-round, and their effect is amplified by snow.

UVA Rays

UVA account for 95% of the UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. UVA rays do not vary in intensity throughout the year and although they are much less intense, they are 30-50 times more prevalent than UVB rays. In recent studies, UVA rays have also been shown capable of contributing to the development of skin cancer and photoaging, and have been linked to the development of certain types of cataracts.

FRAME SIZE

When picking out your new sunglasses the first thing to look at is face size. Sunglass frame size should closely mirror face size - smaller frames work better with smaller faces and vice versa. Frame size refers to the actual fit of the sunglasses. This is a general rule of thumb and not to be confused with the coverage of the sunglasses. They do make oversize stunner shade for small faces. For a more specific look at the size of a pair of glasses, look at the dimensions. This is often written as three consecutive numbers: (Eye Size) – (Bridge Size) – (Temple Size). Not every manufacturer provides this info, by we have tried to include in the specs of every pair of sunglasses we can on our site.

Eye Size

This is the horizontal measurement from the outside edge to the inside edge of one lens. Typical widths are 40–62 mm.

Bridge Size

The bridge is the distance between lenses. Typical widths are 14–24 mm.

Temple Size

This is the length of the temple piece, also known as the arm piece or ear piece. Typical lengths are 120–150 mm

FRAME MATERIAL

Choosing a frame material that suits your purpose is critical as it plays a huge role in the comfort, safety and functionality of your new glasses. Different materials lend themselves to different functions, price ranges and styles, and with each comes distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Metal

Metal is one commonly used material in the manufacturing of sunglass frames due to its malleability, corrosion resistance, and ease of adjustability, making it very easy to tailor to many face shapes and frame styles. Metal frames typically tend to be more expensive, less durable and are not ideal for action sports.

Nylon

Nylon frames should be your go-to for sports and performance activities. Nylon frames are very resistant to temperature fluctuations, and remain super flexible while still retaining the stiffness required for safety. Nylon frames tend to be less expensive, lightweight and stronger than traditional metal frames

Titanium

Generally found in higher-end sunglasses, Titanium frames are durable , scratch resistant, and tend to be on the pricier side of things.

Polycarbonate

This versatile, tough plastic offers serious impact resistance and can be found in many sport and safety glasses. Despite their durability, they tend to be rigid frames and are not very flexible. If you have a kid, a polycarbonate frame is a good choice for them as the frames can take a beating.

Acetate

Acetate is a plastic itself, but it is a little different. Compared to a standard plastic frame (usually Acrylic or Polyurethane), Acetate frames are stronger, more flexible and generally lighter. Acetate frames can come in a huge variety of colours and textures, and since the colour is imbedded in the material itself instead of painted on, the colour tends to stay.

Plastic

Sunglasses can be made out of a wide variety of plastic frames, from Acrylic to Polyurethane. Plastic frames are generally the cheapest frames available and can be a great option if price is an issue.

LENS MATERIAL

Optical Glass

Optical Glass Lenses are ground and polished to exacting standards to assure distortion-free vision. Optical glass is extremely durable and very scratch resistant. The primary advantages to optical glass lenses are high levels of distortion free vision and scratch resistance. The downside however is that they tend to be more expensive and when impacted sometimes spider or break, which can be a hazard for active sports.

Polycarbonate

Polycarbonate plastic lenses are the best bet for individuals who will be movin’ and shakin’ in their sunglasses. Polycarbonate lenses are made from a similar material to that of aircraft windshields and are virtually indestructible. Polycarbonate is light and scratch resistant (not scratch proof), offers a high level of optical clarity, and is 50 times more impact resistant than optical glass making for a very strong, distortion free lens. The only disadvantages are a slightly lower level of scratch resistance and optical clarity that’s not quite as good as optical glass or NXT.

NXT Polyurethane

This lens material truly is the top of the line. Combining all the benefits of optical glass with all of polycarbonates performance capabilities making NXT Polyurethane lenses the best choice for anyone willing to shell out the cash to get them. NXT lenses are made with Trivex, an advanced polymer material whose advantages include extreme impact resistance, superior optical clarity and ultralight weight.

Acrylic Lenses

Acrylic lenses are the go-to for an inexpensive sunglass solution, and an ideal choice for casual or fashion sunglasses. The primary disadvantage of acrylics is that you sacrifice some durability and optical clarity.

LENS TINTS AND COATINGS

Different lens colours add to the performance of the lens in different lighting conditions but do not contribute to increased UV protection. Different lens colours provide an array of different looks and cause your eyes to react differently to varying light making certain colours more suitable for certain activities and conditions.

GRAY/GREEN

These tints are colour neutral and cut down on the intensity of light without changing colours, providing crisper contrast. The darker tints in this group are made to cut glare while reducing eyestrain in slightly above average brightness situations and enhancing depth perception. These lenses are good for activities where colour can be important, like driving.

Frame Sizing Guidelines

Find the perfect sunglasses size for your face with our easy-to-use sunglasses sizing guide. Looking in a mirror, hold a ruler horizontally across your face. Measure in inches the distance between your left and right temples.

Then use the chart below to convert your measurement to a frame size that may suit your face.

Suggested Frame Size

Face Size (temple to temple)

49mm

115mm or 4.5”

52mm

127mm or 5”

54mm

130mm or 5.125

55mm

135mm or 5.25”

57mm

140mm or 5.5”

58mm

146mm or 5.75”

61mm

152mm or 6”

59mm(Raptor only)

140mm or 5.5”

(Please note: Wrap-style frames fit more snugly.)

Find your current frame size

You may also use a pair of sunglasses you currently own to determine your best size. Frame sizing is typically noted on the inside of either temple (see illustration below). The eye/lens size is usually first, then the bridge size, then temple size. Use the eye/lens size to determine the best frame size.

The eye size is typically going to be the most important size for identifying how a pair of sunglasses will look. The eye size number measures the width of the lens, measured from the bridge, in millimeters. The bridge width is the distance between the lenses in millimeters. And the third number is the length of the temple in millimeters.

Note: If the eye size is not indicated on the temple, look under the bridge.

SIZING CHARTS

Aviator

Concorde

 

Sportsman

Raptor, Intruder, P3

Crew Chief, Corsair