Best sunglasses 2022: Our favourite shades for men and women


Whether you’re looking for a snazzy branded pair or an affordable option for your holiday, these are the best sunglasses on the market

When the sun comes out, you want to look your best. You don’t want to be squinting and blinking without any shades, let alone pulling a scratched and scruffy pair out of a dusty drawer. Most importantly, though, you want to make sure that your eyes are always protected from harmful UV rays.

Knowing how to buy sunglasses isn’t always that easy, though. Between high-street retailers, online outlets and opportunistic pop-up shops, it’s hard to know which offer the best sunglasses for your needs, and it’s even more difficult to know what’s a fair price. Are you paying for quality or just the brand name?

If you’re buying sunglasses but don’t know where to start, don’t worry – there’s no shame in that at all. Read on to discover our top tips for buying shades, and some expert picks of the best sunglasses on the market...

Best sunglasses: At a glance

How to buy the best sunglasses for you

There are numerous questions to consider before investing in a new pair of sunglasses. You shouldn’t rush into a purchase until you’ve found the perfect sunnies, which are those that match your budget and your individual needs and tastes.

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How can I tell if a pair of sunglasses are safe?

Sunglasses lenses use a variety of different tints that are labelled between category 0 and 4, with higher categories blocking more light. It’s therefore important to choose something that’s suitable for your intended activity – category 4 lenses should never be used when driving, for instance, because they absorb up to 97% of ambient light.

It's equally vital, however, that you pick sunglasses that offer sufficient protection against harmful UV rays. To check this, make sure they carry the CE mark, which means they meet the European Standard BS EN 1836:2005.

How much should I spend?

Whether you’re looking to spend less than £20 or £500, you’ll be able to find sunglasses to match your budget. If you’re prepared to spend more, you’ll find more designer brands and less generic designs on offer. However, equally, if you’re not worried about following the latest trend, you can find highly practical options that don’t break the bank.

Sunglasses can vary substantially in price according to the materials, size and colour you choose. A pair of Ray-Ban Sonnenbrille Clubmasters, for instance, can set you back anywhere from £76 to £270 depending on the colour and lenses you go for.

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Are polarised sunglasses better?

Polarised sunglasses are coated with a clever chemical that diminishes glare, allowing you to see better in bright conditions and helping to reduce the harmful effects of UV light. If you’re looking for a pair of sunglasses for driving, boating or any other outdoor activity, opting for a polarised coating is a wise move. Thanks to the glare reduction, you won’t have to squint and that leaves you free to focus on whatever it is you’re doing.

How long should a pair of sunglasses last?

Are you looking to make a one-off purchase to see you through the week, or are you looking for some long-term eyewear to tide you over for years? If you’re leaning toward the latter option, you’ll want to keep an eye out for warranties and insurance offers that can help to ensure you get the very most out of your new glasses. You should also remember that, bar some exceptions, well-known brands will probably produce sturdy glasses that last a little longer compared to the cheaper options.

What if I need prescription lenses?

A common problem faced by the bespectacled among us is that it’s not possible to simply wear any old pair of sunnies. If you’re a regular glasses wearer, you can either pop contact lenses in on a sunny day or have your sunglasses refitted with prescription lenses.

The good news is that most designer frames from brands such as Ray-Ban or Oakley can be refitted with prescription lenses (at a cost, of course). However, cheaper frames might be less well built and not necessarily compatible. As such, it’s always worth checking with the manufacturer.

Of course, another option is to buy clip-on/flip-up sunglasses. In recent years, these have become a very popular choice. If you’re a glasses wearer and don’t want to fork out extra for prescription sunnies, clipping a pair of sunglasses onto your existing spectacles can save you money and make you look cool. Going for a flip-up option also means you can switch quickly and easily between sunglasses and your normal glasses, which can come in handy when you’re driving or reading – or when the weather is changeable.

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The best sunglasses to buy in 2022

1. Ray-Ban Clubmaster Sunglasses: The best all-round sunglasses

Price: From £137 | Buy now from Ray-Ban

The Clubmaster range is ideal if you want to blend Ray-Ban’s iconic style with some unique colour splashes of your own choosing. There are 27 different colours to pick from, with both the lenses and the frames customisable to your own tastes. If you pick carefully, you’ll end up with a pair of sunglasses that are suitable for every kind of summertime engagement.

You’ll also get a sleek case to house your new shades in and a two-year warranty as standard. This warranty allows you to get a replacement pair if your glasses break due to a fault on the manufacturer’s part, which protects your purchase nicely.

Key specs – Warranty: 2 years; Case included: Yes; Polarised: No

2. CGID Wayfarer Sunglasses: The best budget polarised sunglasses

Price: From £24 | Buy now from Amazon

If you want a polarised pair of sunglasses but don’t want to break the bank, you won’t find a better option than these Wayfarer-style shades. Made with aviation-grade alloy materials, the CGID Wayfarer Sunglasses are ultra-light and very durable. Better still, they’re cheap, and especially so considering that they have polarised lenses that will block harmful UV rays and reduce glare. There are 17 designs to choose from, with different coloured lenses and frames, including vintage styles and more modern designs with sprung arms and removable rubber nose pads. In terms of protection and cover, you get a case included and a 30-day money-back guarantee to return the glasses if you’re not satisfied.

Key specs – Warranty: 30 days money-back guarantee; Case included: Yes; Polarised: Yes

3. Hawkers Dark Lax: The best affordable aviators

Price: £50 | Buy now from Hawkers

Ask anyone what their favourite type of sunglasses are and “aviators” are sure to rank high up that list. Originally developed by Bausch and Lomb for pilots to protect their eyes while flying, the style has been popularised by Ray-Ban, whose glasses often cost well over £100.

Thankfully, other brands such as Hawkers make aviators that look and feel great while costing significantly less. Indeed, owing to their rigid stainless steel frames and glare-reducing lenses (which offer 100% UV protection), Hawker’s Dark LAX are an excellent pair of everyday sunnies. Their Category 3 lenses are perfect for bright outdoor conditions, although we found them to be a touch too dark for when it was overcast.

The sunglasses come in a hard case with a microfibre cover to keep them from gathering dust, and they’re protected by a two-year warranty. Should you want polarised lenses, you’ll have to pay another £15 for the manufacturer’s Shadow Polarized Black model.

Key Specs - Warranty: 2 years; Case included: Yes; Polarised: No

Buy now from Hawkers

4. SunGods Ultras: The best sunglasses for sports

Price: From £130 | Buy now from SunGod

If you prefer to put your own personal stamp on your eyewear, it's worth checking out the offerings of British firm SunGod. In addition to giving you a lifetime guarantee on the frames, you can also customise the look of the glasses, down to the colour of the logo on the arm and the tint of the lenses themselves.

The SunGod Ultras are the latest in the firm's range of sports shades. They come with a lightweight, frameless design that's ideal for running but would suit use in pretty much any sport. SunGod's 8KO optics are clear, sharp and free from distortion plus the glasses come with a selection of four different sized nose pieces to ensure a good fit. With a choice of eight frame colours and ten lens types including two photochromatic lenses you're bound to be able create something to suit your needs. The only disappointment is that the glasses aren't supplied with a hard or semi hard case – all you get is a soft, microfibre bag.

Key specs – Warranty: Lifetime; Case included: microfibre pouch; Polarised: No

Buy now from SunGod

5. Cat Eye Sunglasses In Acetate by Celine: The best retro sunglasses for women

Price: £300 | Buy now from John Lewis

Cat-eye sunglasses are a very popular look for women at the moment, and you won’t find any snazzier options than these eye-catching sunglasses by Celine. They are designed to suit all face shapes and flatter the cheekbones, and they work great when worn with bold chunks of colour. Available from John Lewis, you have a choice of styles, from the classy black acetate frames pictured above to tortoiseshell and ivory designs. As well as looking good, they also protect from UVA and UVB rays.

Key specs – Warranty: 2 years; Case included: Yes; Polarised: Yes

Buy now from John Lewis

6. Gritin Clip-on UV400 Flip-Up Polarised Sunglasses: The best clip-on sunglasses

Price: £8 | Buy now from Amazon

The bad news is: they're clip-ons. They won’t win you any style awards, especially with that big giveaway clip between your eyebrows. The good news: everything else.

For under a tenner you get two pairs of UV400 protective lenses, including yellow “night vision” lenses designed to cope with the glare of oncoming headlights when driving. They’re slim and incredibly light, so you can take them anywhere and instantly transform your prescription glasses into sunnies when the clouds part. However, they’re also surprisingly robust, thanks to strong polycarbonate lenses and a durable clip that fits all kinds of specs frames and flips up with a smooth (and frankly quite enjoyable) action.

Key specs – Warranty: None; Case included: Yes; Polarised: Yes

7. Silhouette Titan Accent Shades: The best lightweight sunglasses

Price: £372 | Buy now from Otticanet

These screwless, hingeless Titan Accent Shades from Austrian brand Silhouette are easily the most lightweight sunglasses in our roundup, weighing only a few grams. The ultra-thin frame is made of extremely lightweight titanium and, once fitted, it almost feels as if they aren't on at all. Meanwhile, the non-hinged design ensures that the temples of the frame remain secured to the head at all times. This way, Silhouette guarantees that the Titan Accent Shades are one-size-fits-all; when removed, the tension in the metal returns the frame temples to their original position.

The Titan Accent’s polarised lenses use a high-impact polycarbonate coupled with anti-reflective coating on the rear and offer 100% UVA, UVB and UVC protection. Silhouette’s glasses certainly don’t come cheap but, with their incredibly lightweight screw-free design and unparalleled comfort, it’s easy to see why their glasses were selected for use in space. The Titan Accent Shades come with their own hard case and cleaning cloth and are covered by a two-year warranty.

Key specs – Warranty: 2 years; Case included: Yes; Polarised: Yes

Buy now from Otticanet

8. Michael Kors 5007 Mirrored Aviator Sunglasses: The best aviator sunglasses

Price: £114 | Buy now from Sunglass Hut

These pilot-pink gold sunglasses from Michael Kors are the coolest aviators this side of Top Gun, and not too pricey for a pair from a big-name brand. The rose-coloured lenses are even mirrored for an extra layer of aesthetic awesomeness. When bought through Sunglass Hut, you also get free shipping, custom fitting, a year’s warranty, free cleaning/adjustments for life and 30 days to return the product if you aren’t satisfied. There’s also a designer case included with the Michael Kors branding on it, so even if you have them packed away, these glasses will still look sharp. The only downside is that they aren’t polarised.

Key specs – Warranty: 1 year; Case included: Yes; Polarised: No

Buy now from Sunglass Hut

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