The Best Sunglasses for Road Trips, According to a T+L Editor

Here’s what to look for — and what to buy.
By Scott Bay
September 07, 2020

I never leave the house without a good pair of sunglasses. I have many different pairs for different occasions — trail running, pool lounging, traveling, and yes, road tripping. And there’s a reason I have specific shades for each of these activities. Trail running requires a full-coverage lens that will protect my eyes from dust, while traveling calls for a stylish, less expensive lens that won’t break my heart (or my bank account) if something happens to them. 

From varying weather conditions to extended sun exposure, road trips have a lot of factors to consider when picking the perfect pair of sunglasses. The first is quality: You don’t want to start your trip out with a lens popping out of a cheap frame. Then there’s protection from damaging UV rays — long-term exposure to harmful UV rays has been linked to myriad eye issues. Look for a pair that has 100 percent UV protection, or even better, 100 percent protection and a polarized lens. The last thing to consider is the tint of the lens. Blue or light green tints make it hard to see some colors, like red traffic lights.

As more people than ever are hitting the road this year to visit national parks and other close-to-home escapes, make sure to add a pair of great sunglasses to your packing list. Below, we’ve highlighted a few excellent options across several price points for your on-the-road travels. 

Raen Remy 49

Courtesy of Backcountry.com

These unisex glasses are as stylish as they are functional. The vintage design is met with a modern refined construction to ensure a high-quality, hand-finished product. Its Zyl acetate frame material is impressively lightweight, making it extremely comfortable to wear on the road or at a Michelin-starred patio dinner. 

To buy: backcountry.com, $135

Ray-Ban Wayfarer

Courtesy of Sunglass Hut

A classic. This pair of sunglasses has been my go-to for a decade (yes, the same pair). They never go out of style and match every outfit I own. The polarized lens adds extra protection from direct UV rays and those bouncing off the road. Plus, they are comfortable all day long.

To buy: sunglasshut.com, $204

Quay x Lizzo Starry Eyed

Courtesy of Nordstrom

The timeless aviator gets a posh makeover in a collaboration with Lizzo. Its adjustable non-slip nose pads make the sunglasses super comfortable, while the embossed metal provides extra strength to the frame.   

To buy: nordstrom.com, $65

Garrett Leight Harding Round Single Bridge

Courtesy of Verishop

Inspired by Arthur Miller for writing in the sun, but they are also a great fit for road trips. Garrett Leight’s standard five-barrel hinges give the brand’s shades superior strength and function. The Hardings are no different, plus they offer a stainless steel core wire and UV protection.

To buy: verishop.com, $360

Rivbos Polarized Sports Sunglasses

Courtesy of Amazon

These sporty sunglasses have over 6,000 positive reviews on Amazon and come in at just under $20. The polarized lenses offer UV protection, and the frames are deemed “unbreakable.” Plus, Rivbos offers a full 30-day money-back guarantee. 

To buy: amazon.com, $20

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