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Best Sunglasses for Driving: Find Glasses That Work When You’re Going the Distance, Going for Speed

The best sunglasses for driving that can change your whole driving experience.

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BYJonathon Klein/ LAST UPDATED ON January 20, 2022

There’s a moment that we’ve all had. You get into your car, open up the garage, back out into the day, and as soon as you turn the wheel to head to wherever you’re off to, you’re blinded by the searing sun. Yep, you either forgot or don’t have a pair of driving sunglasses. Driving is already comprised of a thousand different distractions but one of the biggest is that great ball of fiery gas in the sky: the sun. And it can ruin a perfectly lovely drive through the mountains if you can’t see where you’re going. But with so many options available, where do you start?


You start here, with The Drive and our guide on the best driving sunglasses.

Best Overall

Dillon Optics Delta Polarized

Summary

When you need the best sunglasses around. 

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • NIR technology
  • Sharp clarity
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Only 30-day money-back guarantee
Best Value

Kaliyadi Polarized Sunglasses

Summary

An inexpensive set of three sunglasses that’ll do the job you need.

Pros
  • Inexpensive 
  • Polarized
  • Three-pack
Cons
  • Cheap lenses
  • Cheap frames
Honorable Mention

Chaps Square Sunglasses

Summary

A pair of sunglasses that look good and feel good too.

Pros
  • Scratch-resistant
  • Retro look
  • Case and cleaning cloth included
Cons
  • Somewhat expensive
  • Not a name brand
Best Sunglasses for Driving: Find Glasses That Work When You’re Going the Distance, Going for Speed

Our Methodology

I've owned a ton of sunglasses in my lifetime. Hundreds. Mostly due to my inability to keep them from getting scratched or broken or lost in the hundreds of cars I've been tasked at reviewing each and every year. I’ve owned inexpensive ones and expensive units and I know what to look out for. For this buying guide, I went with a handful I’ve owned in the past, a few I still own, and a select group that though I haven’t had in my hands, they're legit brands, and are sworn by left, right, and Sunday by folks who love driving as much as I do and I trust. 

Why Trust Us

Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

Learn more

Best Sunglasses for Driving Reviews & Recommendations

I chose these sunglasses from Kaliyadi, as I actually own them and use them for driving almost every day. This three-pack comes in a variety of lens colors and tints and is extremely affordable. They’re also reasonably robust in their design and these glasses have to take the punishment of someone who constantly forgets where he left them, which is when children find them and get their grubby paws on. 


These are polarized sunglasses and work extremely well reducing the overall glare of both windshields and water. By no standard or stretch of the imagination are they the best driving glasses out there, but their value and that they come in a pack of three makes them worth the inexpensive price of admission. And if you lose one, you have two more to select from. 

 

Product Specs:

  • 100 percent UV protection
  • Polarized
  • Three-pack 

Pros:

  • Inexpensive 
  • Polarized
  • Three-pack 

Cons:

  • Cheap lenses
  • Cheap frames

While you might know the name Chaps from the dad-spec shirts and slacks from your last trip to Kohl’s, the brand has more to offer than just clothing for the assistant to the regional manager, chief among them these sunglasses. With a more retro-inspired 1970s look, these sunglasses come with a UV coating to increase eye protection and are fully polarized to make for excellent driving conditions.


Both the frames and lenses are made of scratch-resistant plastic, which keeps them lightweight and durable. And a case and cleaning cloth come with the glasses to keep everything nice and shiny and non-scratched when not in use. They’re also relatively inexpensive compared to the Dillons, coming in at a middle-of-the-road price range.


Product Specs:

  • 100 percent UV protection
  • Polarized
  • Scratch-resistant

Pros:

  • Scratch-resistant
  • Retro look
  • Case and cleaning cloth included

Cons:

  • Somewhat expensive
  • Not a name brand

SPY Optic is one of the most well-known eyewear brands in the world, though not usually for its sunglasses. I know SPY Optic due to my love for all things action sports and have owned a few of the brand’s snowboard goggles, which have all been excellent. That’s here with the Helm 2s, too.


The lenses are polycarbonate, provide 100 percent UV protection, and are scratch-resistant, while the frames are made of Grilamid plastic to be both lightweight and strong, making them perfect for a long cross-country drive. SPY went for a retro look, but the color of the frames and lenses are customizable so you can get the right look for yourself. These sunglasses aren’t inexpensive though, so they are an investment. 


Product Specs:

  • 100 percent UV protection
  • Polarized
  • Grilamid plastic

Pros:

  • Name-brand quality
  • 100 percent UV protection
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Name-brand price
  • Not as customizable as others

I’ll be honest. These sunglasses from Ray-Ban are dope no matter your gender. I used to have a set and loved them and was very sad when they went the way of the dodo after a particularly long road trip. They were my constant companion in many a sports and supercar. As they’re Ray-Ban, the quality is impeccable and they’re fully UV-protected, as well as polarized.


The wireframes are robust enough to withstand short drops and won’t deform unless you really put your foot on them. And the lenses are scratch-resistant to a degree, as if you really want to, you can put scratches into the lenses. They also come with Ray-Ban’s name-brand price point, but you get what you pay for.


Product Specs:

  • 100 percent UV protection
  • Polarized
  • Wireframe

Pros:

  • Unisex design despite being women’s glasses
  • Ray-Ban quality
  • Fully polarized

Cons: 

  • Ray-Ban price tag
  • Can snap if you’re not overly careful

Outside of Ray-Ban, is there another sunglasses company that’s more widely known than Oakley? The brand has been producing high-quality sunglasses for decades and these Holbrooks are no slouch. With a vintage design that seems to be all the rage today, these glasses are engineered to fit an active lifestyle and support all your driving needs.


Both polarized and protected against the sun’s harmful UV rays, the Holbrooks are made with plastic frames and Oakley’s Plutonite lenses. They’ll even protect your eyes from the harmful effects of your device’s blue lights, which are increasingly encroaching your sightlines in your car's cockpit. Oakley also made sure the construction is designed for comfort, though there are options for the base fit, a standard three-point fit, XL, and one made of metal, so your options are extensive. 


Product Specs:

  • 100 percent UV protection
  • Polarized
  • Plutonite lenses

Pros:

  • Oakley quality
  • Multiple options for fit
  • Blue light protection

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Design may not be for everyone

Do you like keggers and partying it up? Are you an action sports athlete with a taste for Monster and killing tires? Well then, these Pit Viper XGeek sunglasses are the right choice for you. Pit Viper is a relative newcomer to the sunglasses market but it’s made waves by partnering with some of the biggest names in action sports. The glasses are impact-resistant for all you active lifestyle motocross folks, and fully UV-protected.


The frames are impact-resistant plastic with rubber nose and ear pads for increased comfort, and weigh very little for increased comfort over long periods of time. And the lenses are so large that they curve around your head for better peripheral visibility. Pit Viper also offers them in about 10,000 patterns and styles so you can find your perfect look. They’re also not super expensive, which makes them all the more attractive.


Product Specs:

  • 100 percent UV protection
  • Polarized
  • Full-width lens

Pros:

  • Great peripheral visibility 
  • Multiple designs
  • Impact-resistant

Cons:

  • Design is not for everyone
  • Lenses could be more scratch-resistant

Last but not least, as well as another pair of aviators, we have these sunglasses from Maui Jim. Called the Wiki Wiki model, these aviators are everything you’d want in a set of sunglasses with the best polarization around. Speaking of which, these sunglasses feature Maui Jim’s PolarizedPlus2 lens technology which “go beyond shielding your eyes from glare and harmful UV rays by enhancing colors to reveal the true beauty of the world around you.” That means when you pull up next to a Lamborghini, you're gonna see its real sparkly hues.


The lenses are composite and protected against UV rays, while the frames are titanium. They’re also a more updated design than the traditional aviator sunglasses and are more contoured to the person’s head. However, you’re gonna spend a healthy dime on these sunglasses as they’re the most expensive on this list.


Product Specs:

  • 100 percent UV protection
  • Polarized
  • Aviator-style

Pros:

  • PolarizedPlus2 technology
  • Updated aviator design
  • Contoured design

Cons:

  • Super expensive
  • Can scratch

Our Verdict on the Best Sunglasses for Driving

When you’re looking for the best driving sunglasses, you cannot go wrong with Dillon Optics’ Delta Polarized glasses. They’re sleek, made of military optical-grade glass, polarized, and extremely comfortable. But they’re expensive, so if you just want a set that you can wear every day and not care about, the Kaliyadis are perfectly adequate, too. 

What to Consider When Buying Sunglasses for Driving

Though you may have an idea of what you’re looking for in terms of the style and brand, sunglasses for driving have a host of features you should consider before hitting the Buy It Now button. To get you up to speed and your pupils protected, we put together this buying guide that details all you need to know about sunglasses construction, style, and key features. You’re welcome. 

Key Features

Fit 

Sunglasses that fit well not only look good, but they’re also very effective at blocking out harmful UV rays by keeping them on your head and not on your dashboard. The author has personally gone through several dozen pairs of sunglasses in an attempt to find the most comfortable for his nose. The sunglasses you get should fit snugly and shouldn't be too tight or uncomfortable and the frame shouldn’t be very wide, as UV rays may get in through the sides. The center of the lenses should align with the center of your eyes. 

UV Protection

The main job of your sunglasses is to protect your eyes from UV rays. Be sure to get sunglasses that offer 100 percent UV protection as they should protect your eyes from both UVB and UVA rays. 

Polarization

Also make sure that the sunglasses have polarized or anti-reflective lenses, which minimize glare. Polarization reduces glare caused by reflective surfaces like water or your windshield and can make driving easier on your eyes and more enjoyable. 

Tint

Tints can actually help you see further and more clearly, and aren’t just for aesthetics. Those with gray lenses reduce brightness without distorting color and are ideal for driving. Those with brown or amber lenses have the ability to reduce blue light and glare. Gradient lenses are similar to your car's windshield. They are usually darker at the top and gradually fade to a lighter tint. Like your windshield, they block sunlight from above but don't darken your view. Colored lenses can also increase contrast and may be useful for sportier driving.

Available Designs for Sunglasses for Driving 

Aviator

Bausch & Lomb introduced this design in 1936. The initial sunglasses were designed for U.S. military aviators. Classic aviator sunglasses feature a dark metal frame and smoke or reflective lenses. The lenses resemble large teardrops and block the sun from all angles. Aviator sunglasses look good on everyone and come in three styles: wraparound, colored, and mirrored.

Browline

Browline sunglasses were very popular in the 1950s and ’60s and have stood the test of time. They get their name from their thick top frame that runs along the brow, and have a thinner metal frame at the bottom. Browline sunglass frames feature hard plastic or horn-rimmed arms, and the upper part is connected to a lower wireframe. Spring hinges allow the arms to conform to your head for enhanced comfort.

Teashade

Teashade sunglasses are also known as John Lennon glasses, as he's the one who popularized them back in the 1960s. However, they are no longer as popular as they once were. These shades feature retro round metal frames and come in different colors to match your style. Teashade sunglasses usually have metal frames and plastic lenses. They are not polarized.

Wayfarer

These were created in the 1950s by Ray-Ban and now have a new shape. Their lens is almost similar to that of squared sunglasses but features a curve on the lower part. They offer full eye protection, fit most face shapes, and work well with different outfits. When they were first released in 1956, they were well-received, becoming an iconic product of that time. Unlike other sunglasses, they were made of molded plastic instead of metal.

Others

There are countless other designs available, including cat-eye, retro-futuristic, and more, but they’re honestly too numerous to detail here without a nice adult beverage in hand. 

Sunglasses for Driving Pricing

Driving sunglasses can range from hella cheap to holy crap expensive and depends on the brand, the materials, and its scratch resistance. If you’ve only got the dough for something cheap, you don’t have to spend more than $15 for a set of two on Amazon that’ll serve you well until you inevitably scratch the heck out of them. And then there are those sunglasses that cost what a good day at the track will be—in the several hundred dollar range. This just means you’ve got options. 

Other Considerations

  • Material. Most driving sunglasses are made using plastic, but the type of plastic can make a big difference. Strong plastics like CR-39 and polycarbonate are less likely to shatter or break and injure your eyes. Polycarbonate is lightweight and durable and is commonly used to make the lenses and frames of sunglasses. CR-39 is shatter-resistant plastic that’s used to make sunglass lenses.
  • Scratch-Resistance. While scratches may not affect the performance of your driving sunglasses significantly, they can hinder clear vision and cause you to lose sight of the road ahead. That’s why you should get shades with scratch-resistant lenses. Polycarbonate is the best material for lenses because it does not fracture or scratch like other materials. It is used for kids’ eyewear and rimless sunglasses whose lenses are connected to frame parts with drill mountings.

Sunglasses for Driving FAQs

You've got questions. The Drive has answers. 

Q: What is the difference between polarized and non-polarized lenses?

A: Polarized lenses are designed to filter out light and are treated with a special anti-blur and anti-haze coating. Non-polarized glasses reduce the overall brightness of all types of light but don’t reduce glare.

Q: What sunglasses for driving can I wear if I have prescription glasses?

A: If you wear prescription eyeglasses, you can find clip-on driving sunglasses that fit over your glasses or sunglasses that are to your prescription. An extra pair of prescription driving sunglasses are going to cost you more out of pocket, though. 

Q: What types of lenses are available with sunglasses for driving?

A: Get lenses that fit your lifestyle. There are polarized and non-polarized lenses as we mentioned above. Polycarbonate lenses are more impact-resistant and are good for those who are into sports, running, or biking. Progressive lenses are designed to help the user see farther away.

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