The eyes might be the windows to the soul, but more than that they’re the things you use to see. With increasing heat on the surface of the Earth due to climate change, there is also additional light landing on the face of the globe, and that light bears UV rays that can permanently damage your eyes, leaving you blind if you do not protect them. That makes a pair of polarized sunglasses imperative whether going out for a drive in the summer sunshine, or dealing with the squint-inducing shine off winter snow. Furthermore, they guard against street glare or shiny pits in your windshield that can make visibility while driving a matter of life and death.
So that you can better avoid accidents, and cope with changing road conditions or alterations in the weather, we’ve found the 17 best sunglasses for driving. Each one helps stop shine from the road, limits visibility problems from windshield reflections, and guards against long-term damage from the vicious nuclear ball in the sky.
Most for the Money: You’ll need to shop in the land of the Union Jack, but it’s well worth it to get the Nectar. 100% UV protection and only 15% visible light transmission, the style is set away from your face to give you better peripheral vision with fewer blind spots, making for safer motoring.
Dolce & Gabbana Square Sunglasses
Semi-Pro: The look may make you wish for a pencil ‘stache and a velor jogging suit, but for kitsch frames that can stand up to elbows on the court, block out all the UV light you could want, and won’t slip or slide during hairpin turns, we found these were just…fun.
Oakley Plaintiff Squared
Homemade: Oakley is a California-based company that often creates eyewear for the military. The Plaintiff shows off this pedigree with a slight bend for better light protection from the sides, slender cut frames and lenses that won’t obscure vision, and titanium monoshock hinges meant for racing conditions.
Smith Optics Tenet
Hog Heaven: Driving doesn’t just take place in cars. When you’re riding high on a Harley, you can’t have just any optics on your face. The streamlined build of the Tenet cuts down on windshear and the multiple color options let you match these to your bike, while polarized lenses reduce glare and pamper your peepers.
Eyefly The Haight
New Twist: With slim temples and slightly rounded edges perfectly adapted for driving, The Haight from relative newcomer Eyefly modernizes aviator glasses with a lightly tinted look that’s better for taking the edge off hood glare or shine from wet roads than for staring right into the sun.
Serengeti Velocity Sunglasses 6935
Digital Age: A titanium frame rings a set of photochromic lenses that adjust to meet your needs, depending on conditions. Nearly indestructible, the inclusion of Ti gives these an airy feel that is compounded by the soft but gripping silicone nose pads that prevent slipping and sliding during any formula 1 heat.
Unflappable: Because aviator glasses were made for pilots, many driving glasses borrow heavily from the style, but none do it quite right; except Ray-Ban. The wiry body bends and flexes with grace, paying homage to the slim aviator cut. The only upgrades made to the Cockpit Classic are in color and lens options; the style remains untouched.
Cat’s Pajamas: The style hasn’t changed much since 1952, because there’s nothing that can compare to a real original. The Wayfarers come in any assortment of colors you wish, have a folding model for more compact everyday carry, and let you choose from a wide range of options to get the perfect look and feel for you.
Serengeti Brera 7930
Hip to be Square: Serengeti specializes in driving glasses, but the Brera break from the pack. The hipster thick black frames have a chunky, urban style that is light enough for constant wear, so those that work behind the wheel should take note. Copper beryllium hinges add abusable durability beneath the unflappable look.
The Red Pill: Sure to give you Matrix flashbacks, the alien-eyed look brings 90’s kids plenty of nostalgia, but that isn’t the purpose of the Raptor. Put them on and you’ll find they hug your face in a way that won’t interfere with eyeing the road; adding safety to the exceptional eye-protecting lenses.
Smith Optics Rockford
That’s a Wrap: If a set of aviators made a baby with sport wraparounds, this would be the gorgeous result. Fully adjustable nose pads give any face shape the right fit, while the extended curve of the lenses keep your peripheral vision intact so you’ll never get blindsided or T-boned, so long as your feet are fast enough.
Warby Parker Gellhorn
Well Rounded: The gap behind the lenses makes these work best if you have heavily tinted windows. Sun can sneak in the sides, but less material in your periphery helps avoid unforced errors on the road and the broad-spectrum light blockers at the front look smashing while also letting you see straightaways with perfect clarity, regardless of conditions.
Live the Dream: Steve McQueen, a motorist of legendary proportions and all-American hero chose Persol’s for his eyes because of their incomparable aviator style. Capturing that same look with lenses bearing the best of modern anti-glare treatment and polarization, the P02424S is where high-tech and old school meet.
Maui Jim Mavericks
Underappreciated: Maui Jim’s Wiki Wiki get a lot of attention, but for our money, the Mavericks are the choice for the smart driver. Exceptionally impact resistant and treated with PolarizedPlus2 technology, they wipe out glare almost completely and keep all UVA / UVB rays from getting to your sweet sockets.
Gas-Breathers: Autodromo is a brand for motorheads, by motorheads. Geared to help racers live an automotive lifestyle, a single pair takes 130 operations to make, and captures the enduring style of the Grand Prix by way of Parisian culture.
Tom Ford Marlon Square
Classic Mix: All the hits from yesterday and today, the Marlon Square from Tom Ford have a smoked look that allows you to decide how much glare to let in – depending on where you look through the glasses – and tortoiseshell accents next to modern chrome.
Garrett Leight Wilson M
Lennon Luster: Circular glasses done wrong let in too much light and cause blank spots in your vision that creates highway pileups. Thankfully, Garret Leight doesn’t do the Wilson M wrong. Angled to wrap your eyes and push the hardware out of your sightline, you’ll be able to see the whole road while taking your minibus out on the PCH.