Sunglasses are the quintessential style accessory, and the right pair can transform your entire vibe. That's why every man needs a good pair of sunglasses—or seven.
But with every company under the sun offering some form of sunglasses, there’s a seemingly endless supply to sort through, leading to some serious analysis paralysis.
To make it a little easier to find your next pair of go-to shades, we’ve handpicked our 21 favorite sunglasses for 2021. From timeless classics like Ray-Ban Aviators and the Persol 649 to bold indie designers like Spitfire, there’s something for everyone on this list.
RAY-BAN AVIATOR CLASSIC
The Ray-Ban Aviator Classic is “currently one of the most iconic sunglasses models in the world.” Those are Ray-Ban’s words, but where’s the lie?
From Presidents Ronald Reagan and Joe Biden to Tom Cruise in Top Gun and Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club, Ray-Ban Aviators pair well with almost any style. They’re masculine and hip but not overly trendy. Wearing them portrays calm and steady confidence that says, “I’ll take care of it.” Whatever it is.
Ray-Ban offers more than one style of aviators, but we prefer the original teardrop lenses. They also have a wide range of frame and lens colors, but we’re partial to gold frames and green lenses. It’s timeless and pairs with most wardrobe colors.
RANDOLPH ENGINEERING 23K GOLD AVIATOR
The Randolph Engineering Aviators have been the standard-issue sunglasses for pilots in the US Armed Forces since 1987—that's a good start. These were also the sunglasses worn by Jon Ham as Don Draper in MadMen (we’ll overlook the fact that these sunglasses wouldn’t have actually been available in the 1960s).
If you’re looking for a classic gold frame and green lens pair of aviators, it’s likely going to come down to Randolph Engineering and Ray-Ban.
Randolph Engineering Aviators have a more square lens shape compared to the teardrop on the Ray-Ban Aviator Classics. The genuine 23K gold finish on these frames isn’t too shabby either.
You’ll pay a little more for these than the Ray-Bans, but they’re certainly worth the difference.
JACQUES MARIE MAGE JAGGER
Looking for aviators that make a statement? Look no further than the Jagger by Jacques Marie Mage. As JMM puts it, the Jagger “speaks to the hedonistic heyday of the late 70s.”
Here’s the kicker—these beauties aren’t named for Mick. They're named for Bianca Jagger. Yeah, this is model marries rockstar, divorces rockstar, launches acting career, turns diplomat, becomes humanitarian energy.
For wire-framed aviators, these hit hard, and the angles in the frame shape give these some serious attitude.
Price: $895 (limited production batch of 250)
OLIVER PEOPLES MP-2
Initially launched in 1987, the MP-2 helped put Oliver Peoples on the map as one of the premier eyewear brands. We love the combination of metal and acetate on the frames, and the ornate arms are some of the most gorgeous we've seen.
As for colors, we love the vintage green lens and gold frame, but all three color options are sleek.
OLIVER PEOPLES FINLAY
By now, you've probably figured out that we're all in on green lenses. But the combination of these vintage greens and an almost transparent acetate frame make the Finlay by Oliver Peoples a perfect blend of classic and new.
Other colorways are available, but there’s just something about a Coke bottle green lens on a clear frame that hits a little differently.
VUARNET EDGE 1613
When Daniel Craig handpicks a pair of sunglasses to wear as James Bond and calls them his favorite sunglasses, that’s a pretty good sign. Craig opts for the black-on-black Vuarnet Edge 1613, but we dig the tortoise frame and blue lenses the most.
With eight colorways available at under $400 per pair, it’s not too much of a reach to add a little 007 energy to your collection.
VUARNET LEGEND 03
What can we really say about the Vuarnet Legend 03? They were cool enough for Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski, and they’re still cool enough for you in 2021. The Dude abides. Just don’t go around drinking milk out of the carton at the grocery store.
Yep, these are Steve McQueen sunglasses, and they’re an awesome pair to have on rotation. We recommend opting for the Persol 649 and keeping a few bucks in your pocket over the more expensive foldable 714. When was the last time you wanted to fold your sunglasses, anyway?
Being able to add a 3 letter monogram for $10 is also a nice touch.
Price: $311 and up
DICK MOBY HANNOVER
Dick Moby is focused on creating “sustainable eyewear.” They do it well.
The Dutch eyewear makers use a biodegradable acetate made from wood pulp that allegedly biodegrades in 115 days when buried in compost.
The Dick Moby Hannover is a stylish acetate aviator with more squared-off lenses. They’re super lightweight and almost feel like you’re wearing nothing at all. But don’t worry, they’re definitely durable (just not in a compost pile).
We love the clean, minimalist design on these as well as the unique colorways. We have a hard time picking between the smoke frames with dark green lenses, blue lagoon, and mocca with brown lenses, but they're all solid choices.
DICK MOBY REYKJAVIK
The Reykjavik from Dick Moby is a metal-framed round lens pair of sunglasses that rival the Oliver Peoples MP-2 at a fraction of the price.
Ornate frames made from recycled metal and signature styling make these rounders rather eye-catching.
The Reykjavik is available in four colorways, but our favorite is the gold with brown lenses.
Based in LA, Akila produces handmade unisex sunglasses crafted from eco-friendly cellulose acetate.
Their designs definitely favor the bold.
We dig the Terra—a super narrow, super futuristic pair of black-on-black acetate sunglasses. They're part 3D glasses, part robocop, and a little bit of Easy-E style thrown in for good measure. The Terra should definitely be worn with attitude.
Spitfire is an independent brand based in London that isn’t afraid to challenge our preconceived notions about eyewear—or anything, for that matter.
Their designs blend past, present, and future. It’s pop meets punk but not in a cheesy pop-punk kind of way. This is something different. We like it.
The Deltoid is a completely flat top, rectangular lens pair of sunglasses that are just the right amount of edgy. There’s a Terminator vibe here that somehow also feels futuristic. This is Bart Simpson riding a flying skateboard sometime in the year 2321.
There are multiple color options, but we think these are best in the black-on-black colorway. These feel surprisingly sturdy for a $45 pair of shades, and the ornate arm decor is a nice touch.
SPITFIRE EUPH 2
For the even more adventurous, the Euph 2 by Spitfire delivers futuristic round lens sunglasses perfect for the apocalypse—or Burning Man.
TBD EYEWEAR TWILL
Italy might very well be the epicenter of designer eyewear, but that doesn’t mean you have to pay a premium for a pair of shades made in The Boot.
TBD Eyewear produces simple yet intelligent designs at a price point that leaves plenty of dough in your pocket.
We dig the Twill, made with Italian acetate and square lenses. There are three color options, but the champagne frames paired with bottle green lenses have just the right amount of pop and fizz.
ROKA is a pretty big name in performance sunglasses, particularly popular among triathletes, cyclists, and beach volleyballers.
Performance sunglasses typically lack versatility. But The Barton by ROKA is an ultralight pair of performance sunglasses that can be worn to the bar after you finish serving aces all over the beach.
These are solidly built square frames featuring ROKA’s trademarked GEKO fit—nose and temple grips that keep them from sliding off your face when you’re drenched in sweat or Gatorade.
What we really love is how customizable these are. You’ve got three frame options and 16 lens options, depending on your needs. Want a lens that makes golf balls more visible? There’s a lens color for that. Want better visibility on the trails? Yup, there’s a lens for that, too.
The Volo from ROKA is about as close as you can get to checking off the performance and style boxes in one pair of sunglasses.
These ultra-lightweight round lens titanium aviators come in three colorways. We like the rose gold mirror lenses the best.
Featuring anti-scratch, anti-reflective, and anti-fog lenses, the Volos are anti-ordinary.
WARBY PARKER GRIFFIN
The kings of minimalist, low hassle eyewear are undoubtedly worthy of a place on any list of best sunglasses.
We like the Griffin from Warby Parker, an understated pair of boxy acetate frames that keep it simple. There are three color options, but we dig the slightly transparent pacific crystal frames and dark lenses.
Wood sunglasses got really popular a decade ago as a more eco-friendly option. With the rise in more environmentally friendly cellulose acetates, the wooden frame trend has faded in popularity a bit.
That said, the Meraki, by the Australian brand, Grown, is an interesting enough take on the classic “clubmaster” style to pique our interest. Made from Californian walnut wood, the frame is lightweight yet sturdy, and the design simple and timeless.
ENEMY No. 1
Enemy is an upstart brand making quality sunglasses for less than $100 per pair. They keep it simple with 4 styles, each one inspired by some of the classics mentioned on this list.
We like the Enemy No 1, which plays on the original Ray-Ban Wayfarers. Made from Italian cellulose acetate from Mazzuchelli (the same cellulose acetate we use in Beardbrand Beard Combs), these frames are sturdy.
The Enemy No 1 features thinner arms than the Ray-Ban Wayfarers and bigger lenses, which we like. The arms are flexible, which helps prevent them from sitting too loosely on your face after years of wear. It’s a nice touch for a $95 pair of frames. There’s also a nose cutout more similar to a pair of Persol sunglasses.
It’s never a bad idea to have a few pairs of inexpensive sunglasses around for beach trips, river floats, or music festivals. You know, just in case you can’t remember where you put them last night... or can’t remember anything from last night at all.
We like the goodr OGs as a solid, good-looking pair of throwaways that won’t leave you sick to your stomach if you break or lose them.
There are plenty of options to choose from, but we dig Vincent’s Absinthe Night Terrors for the name alone.
Price: $25 and up
PIT VIPER ORIGINALS
You didn’t think we would talk about our favorite sunglasses without mentioning Pit Viper, did you?
Do yourself a favor and get a pair—any pair.
Price: $49 and up
THE WRAP UP
Keep on Growing.
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