MADE IN THE SHADES
From convenience stores to mall kiosks, it's easy to find an attractive pair of cheap sunglasses. But sunglasses are more than fashion accessories -- they also protect the eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays. The National Eye Institute warns that long-term exposure can have damaging effects ranging from cataracts and macular degeneration to blindness. Before buying any pair of sunglasses, be sure they're labeled "100 percent UV protection," "maximum UV protection," or "UV400." This indicates that the lenses block all harmful wavelengths, up to 400 nanometers.
These 14 stylish sunglasses for men, women, and children offer the recommended level of protection for less than $35. According American Academy of Ophthalmology, cheap sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection are no less effective than high-end pairs. Many of the sunglasses featured here also have polycarbonate lenses, as opposed to glass, polyurethane, or acrylic, which makes them durable, lightweight, and suitable for physical activity. Wear sunglasses with a wide-brimmed hat for even better protection.
Also be sure to check out these previously reviewed brands:
JIMARTI JM01 SUNGLASSES (UNISEX)
Est. Price: $25 | Buy them on Amazon
JiMarti JM01 sunglasses have been one of Cheapism.com's top picks for a few years now. These wraparound shades, which come in a range of colors and tints, have earned an average of 4.3 stars from almost 900 reviewers. They feature a lifetime breakage warranty on the frame and the lenses, which are made from "shatterproof" polycarbonate.
J. CREW FACTORY RETRO FRAME SUNGLASSES (MEN)
Est. Price: $15 | Buy them from J.Crew Factory
Men seeking vintage style can check out J. Crew's Retro Frame Sunglasses. The gold-and-tortoiseshell frames with round, gray lenses are as sharp as a skinny tie out of a "fMad Men" rerun. The tinted lenses not only appeal to fashion-conscious shoppers but also help reduce glare. An optometrist writing for All About Vision recommends a gray tint to reduce overall brightness without distorting colors.
DUCO CLASSIC OVERSIZE POLARIZED SUNGLASSES (WOMEN)
Est. Price: $20 | Buy them on Amazon
For a dramatic pair of black sunglasses, try Duco classic oversize polarized sunglasses. Metal accents at the temples add flair, and more than 100 customers have rated the sunglasses an average of 4.5 stars. Made from high-quality, impact-resistant materials, they come with a lifetime warranty on the lenses and frames, as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee. The polarized lenses, an uncommon feature in cheap fashion sunglasses, help reduce glare from the sun.
COPPERTONE SUN READER (UNISEX)
Est. Price: $20 | Buy them from Walmart
Want to wear readers at the beach to focus on the hottest bestseller? Coppertone Sun Readers are no-frills sunglasses for farsighted sunbathers. Available in strengths from 1.5 to 2.5, the sleek, close-fitting sports frames have bifocal lenses that block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays.
MERRY'S CAT-EYE SUNGLASSES (WOMEN)
Est. Price: $12 | Buy them on Amazon
There aren't many styles as sassy as the cat eye. Merry's cat-eye sunglasses give the classic frame a modern twist with mirrored lenses, a streamlined metal frame, and an edgy bar across the top. The sunglasses come in six frame and lens combinations.
J+S ULTRA LIGHTWEIGHT RIMLESS SPORTS SUNGLASSES (MEN)
Est. Price: $15 | Buy them on Amazon
For lightweight sports sunglasses, consider a rimless style from J+S Vision. These sunglasses have adjustable silicone nose pads and scratch-resistant, polarized lenses, making them a good choice for driving or any outdoor activity that might be hampered by glare from the sun. J+S offers a one-year warranty on the frames and lenses, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
TORTOISE SUNGLASSES (WOMEN)
Est. Price: $15 | Buy them from Target
Tortoiseshell continues to dominate as a sunglasses trend. A pair from Target has green-tinted lenses, which reduce glare by filtering out some blue light and provide excellent contrast, along with maximum UV protection.
SEMI-RIMLESS SUNGLASSES (MEN)
Est. Price: $11 | Buy them from Sunglass.LA
Semi-rimless sunglasses from Sunglass.LA come in three color combinations and feature a fun, horned-rim half-frame. The UV400 lenses are made from durable, lightweight polycarbonate. This timeless style complements any summer outfit.
ATTCL 2016 OVERSIZE SUNGLASSES (WOMEN)
Est. Price: $17 | Buy them on Amazon
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends oversize sunglasses to keep UV rays from reaching the eyes from the side. ATTCL 2016 Oversize Sunglasses cover most of the face for added UV protection. The large polycarbonate lenses are shatterproof and polarized. Pair these dramatic sunglasses with a favorite polka-dot dress and pearls for vintage style.
ODODOS INTERCHANGEABLE SUNGLASSES
Est. Price: $23 | Buy them on Amazon
For active women and men who love to hike and bike, ODODOS Interchangeable Sunglasses feature five pairs of shatterproof lenses designed for different activities. For example, one enhances color contrast to improve the wearer's vision of the trail ahead. The lightweight frames are designed to be strong yet flexible.
REAL KIDS SHADES SURF SUNGLASSES
Est. Price: $13 | Buy them from Buy Buy Baby
Sun protection for kids doesn't stop with the skin. Real Kids Shades Surf Sunglasses feature mirrored, polycarbonate lenses and an allegedly unbreakable Wayfarer-style frame. These sunglasses fit children 2 to 4 years old and come in a variety of colors. The manufacturer offers a one-year warranty.
KOALA KIDS WRAP SUNGLASSES
Est. Price: $7 | Buy them from Toys R Us
To protect the sensitive eyes of babies and toddlers, try Koala Kids Wrap Sunglasses. They have a soft, foam strap that can be adjusted to fit snugly around the baby's head. In addition to offering 100 percent UVA and UVB protection, the sunglasses are guaranteed to make your baby look very hip.