Which Type of Sunglasses Should You Wear?

BY Shinola Team

Like a well-made watch, a pair of favorite sunglasses can become a part of us. They’re not only an important fashion accessory to any look while outdoors, but also an added layer of protection for your eyes. But like any other fashion accessory, choosing the right pair that matches your unique style can be tricky. 

Here’s our guide to the different types of sunglasses and how you can be sure your next pair is the right one for you.

Why Do Sunglasses Matter? 

High-quality sunglasses can shield your eyes from harmful light like UV rays, protect them from the elements like wind or dust, and even prevent sun-related eye diseases. To make sure your sunglasses are protecting your eyes from harmful sunlight, look for labels that say something along the lines of “100% protection against UV.”

The Common Types of Sunglasses

There are many different types of sunglasses to choose from but most are distinctive by their lens type, the material they’re made out of, and their shape. 


Sunglasses lenses are one of the most important things to consider when it comes to the protective aspect of sunglasses. Different types of sunglasses lenses will lend themselves more protection in different circumstances. Here are some of the most popular options:

  • 100% UV Protection: This is the winner when it comes to protecting those eyeballs of yours. Ultraviolet, also known as UV light, is harmful rays that emit from the sun. While we can’t see them, they sneak into the earth’s atmosphere via UVA and UVB waves. Hence the “wear sunblock and sunglasses if you go outside” lecture everyone’s gotten at some point in their life. Investing in sunglasses that are labeled UV400 will stop all those harmful rays and keep your eyes golden for many years in the sun to come.
  • Polarized: Polarized sunglasses have a film in the lenses that removes glares by letting vertical light through but absorbing horizontal light. Horizontal light usually causes what we see as glares. Polarized sunglasses are a popular choice for those who love sailing, fishing, swimming, or other activities that involve water.
  • Gradient: Gradient sunglasses have lenses that are darkest at the top and gradually get lighter toward the bottom. Unlike polarized sunglasses, gradient lenses limit the intensity of glares from the light above while still letting light through the bottom. Gradient sunglasses tend to be a go-to for driving because they block out any lights above while still allowing you to see the road ahead.
  • Anti-Reflective: Many sunglasses, regardless of their type, come with an anti-reflective coating on the backside of the lenses. This is an added bonus for eliminating glares. 
  • Mirrored: Obsessed with the sun? Mirrored glasses might be the choice for you. These sunglasses reflect a high level of light because of their thin, metal covering on the lenses. Even the sunniest of conditions won’t bother your eyes with these bad boys.


What your sunglasses are made out of also plays an important role in their durability, style, and comfort. Knowing your options and the pros and cons of each material will help you decide what’s most important to you when it comes to the build of a pair of sunglasses.

  • Plastics: Sunglasses made from types of plastics are typically your most commonly used material. Zyl, nylon, and other similar plastics offer inexpensive, colorful, and lightweight options for sunglass wearers. However, they don’t tend to last as long as other higher-end materials such as acetate or metal.
  • Metals: Another popular choice, metal frames are typically made from nickel, stainless steel, aluminum, or titanium. Metal sunglasses are also viewed as a durable and lightweight option with neutral colors that can match any outfit.
  • Acetate: The newer but still popular kid on the block. Natural fiber acetate gives frames a raw, natural warmth that conventional plastic simply can’t replicate. It’s a plant-based material that is known for its lightweight and durable qualities. It’s also a popular choice amongst those with sensitive skin.
  • Wood: An eco-friendly but less common material, wood sunglasses are laser cut for a unique look. These frames offer a natural look that is non-toxic and typically allergy-free. 


When most people think of sunglasses types, they’re probably thinking of the many different shapes of sunglasses available. This is where choosing a pair of sunglasses can be the most fun because you can fit your style and personality to the shape you wear. Plus, if you can’t decide which one you like best, you can always get more than one pair for different occasions (we won’t tell anyone). 

Many shades get their names from where they originated or their actual shape. Some of the most popular shapes to choose from today include:

  • Aviators
  • Wayfarers
  • Square 
  • Round
  • Rectangular
  • Geometric
  • Sport
  • Browline
  • Cat Eye
  • Keyhole Bridge
  • Heart

While there is some advice on which sunglass shape will look best on each face shape (like round or oval sunglasses complement square-shaped faces and square and rectangle sunglasses look great on round-shaped faces), it really comes down to what shapes and style you prefer. But if you’re wanting a more sure fit, our sizing guide below can help you pick the pair that best suits your style and face shape. 

How to Choose the Right Sunglasses for You

As you can see, there are many factors to consider when choosing what type of sunglasses you should wear. A frame shape that suits your face shape and style, lenses ideal for your preferred outdoor activities, and materials that are built to endure everyday use are just a few of the things you’ll want to ask of your next pair of sunglasses. 

We took on this task of crafting an ideal pair of sunglasses for your protection, style, and comfort. Shinola’s first-ever original eyewear line offers three frames, designed in-house and made in the USA with premium imported materials. From the scratch-resistant and UV400 lenses to the custom hardware and riveted hinges, every last detail is thoughtfully crafted for the everyday hustle and bustle of life. There’s the Rambler, assertive and sporty. The Bixby, ultra-flattering on any face with vintage details and a keyhole bridge. And the Mackinac. A square lens shape that’s as smooth as the master musicians in the jazz clubs that inspired them.

Shop Shinola’s debut eyewear collection today to find the best sunglasses for both your style and your eyes.

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