Shades of Winter: A Guide to the Season’s Best Sunglasses
Although it will soon be the season of cool, that does not mean that you have to give up yours simply because there are fewer hours of daylight. The sun still shines in late fall and winter – and thus your eyes still need protection from it and its glare that is amplified by snowdrifts, mirror-like ice and those damned holiday-induced hangovers.
Here are some of The Manual’s current favorite winter sunglasses options – all in seasonally appropriate autumnal or wintery colors (except for a few sporty pops of color) – that will complement your face, along with your accompanying beat-the-chill outfit.
RAEN Optics Vale $95
Not only do these shades by Raen Optics mimic the setting winter sun and look good while doing it, they also protect your eyes against glare and haze–important for a bright day when the albedo effect is hitting hard. Made from acetate frames, these sunglasses won’t get nearly as cold as metal-framed versions, so your temples will stay warm, despite the drop in temperatures. They also come with a custom case–so you don’t have to worry about damaging the frames. Unless you drop them in the snow. That’s on you.
Randolph Engineering Aviator 23k Gold $150
You can’t go wrong with white and gold. And you definitely can’t go wrong with these Randolph Engineering Aviators. Each pair of Randolph Engineering sunglasses goes through over 200 production phases at their factory, so you know they’re as close to perfect as you can get. And with a frame made of 23K gold, these glasses are guaranteed not to tarnish, rust, or otherwise show any ill-effects from the winter weather. They also feature gray polarized lenses, which are excellent at reducing glare–again, that damned albedo effect.
Northern Lights Optic NL17 $135
Now, we know these come dangerously close to looking like those glasses the optometrist issues to old people after they’ve had cataract surgery, but trust us when we say that this design feature is one of the most innovative we’ve seen in a pair of sunglasses. With the streamlined wrap-around styling of these NL17’s by Northern Lights Optic, the slopes won’t know what hit them. If you’re the type who hates ski-goggles, then these sunglasses are the answers to your powder-loving prayers. Since the design contains nearly your entire field of vision, all glaringly bright light from the winter sun and snow-reflections are locked out–keeping your eyes attuned to one light level. Unlike traditional sunglasses that have gaps on the edges, which cause your eyes to constantly play a game of “to dilate or not to dilate,” the NL17’s have you covered, literally–reducing strain and keeping your eyes on the prize (at the bottom of the slope).
Leisure Society Adrina $650
Whether or not you condone the steep price for these shades, you have to admit they are cool as hell. A pair of these could have you feeling like an Italian playboy speeding along the curves of the Amalfi coast all while stuck in traffic in Chicago. And beyond the aesthetic cool-factor, these glasses are also hand-made in Japan, plated in real gold, and sport lenses that have more features than the latest smartphone. With a hydrophobic coating (read: water repellent), anti-reflective coating, 100 percent UVA and UVB protection, blue-light blocking, and an anti-scratch Diamond Cast coating, the Adrina glasses (named after a beach in Greece) by Leisure Society are the ultimate in outdoor eyewear. These aviators also come with Hook & Albert’s collapsible glasses case, which saves space while protecting these pricey frames.
Sunski Seacliffs $55
All winter sports deserve a spot of color. And these Sunksi Seacliff glasses do just that. With sea-green lenses offset by tortoise shell frames, these glasses are sure to stand out on the slopes. But, not only do these glasses look good, they do good as well. For all Sunski glasses, one percent of annual revenue is donated to Save the Waves and Leave No Trace charities–so you can feel good while looking it. And to top it all off, these glasses will be as equally at home in the sand at the beach as in the snow on the mountain–hence the name Sunskis–go from sea to mountain without changing your pair of sunnies.
Persol Calligrapher Edition $370
Persol derives its name from the Italian “per il sole,” meaning “for the sun” and in-the-know gents have been sporting these sunshades since the company’s nascent beginnings way back in 1917. Originally designed for early aviators and race car drivers, Persol is now one of the world’s leading producers of streamlined and light sunglasses–perfect for a winter’s drive or a little après ski. All four sunglasses below come from Persol’s new Calligrapher Edition, a collection that emphasizes the elegant, sweeping arcs of calligraphy in the earpieces of the glasses as well as engraved metalwork on the outer temples whose design harkens back to old-school pen-nibs. Each sunglass in the collection retails for $370 and, while not cheap, these frames are definitely a statement piece. As Persol says itself, they’re “more than just glasses, they are works of art.”
Article originally published November 12, 2015. Updated November 1, 2016 by Chase McPeak.