Finding the best men's polarized sunglasses can be difficult because there are so many options to choose from. Most people buy sunglasses for two distinct reasons: first for protection from the sun, and second to look good. Polarized lenses on sunglasses help cut out glare, which is useful on the water and when driving. There are many high-quality polarized sunglasses and manufacturers out there, and picking the “best” one for you depends on many different factors from your face shape to your fashion sense to what activities you will be engaging in. This list will highlight some of the best polarized sunglasses, but as always you should try before you buy.
Persol was founded in 1917 by Italian Giuseppe Ratti. This eyewear company, like many of its contemporaries, got its start by making high quality glasses and goggles for pilots and sports drivers. Persol 714’s are the iconic sunglasses which were made popular by actor Steve McQueen in movies such as the “Thomas Crown Affair.” Persol’s polarized lenses are also of high quality, ensuring fashion and protection. 714’s are a great stylish alternative to the more ubiquitous Ray Ban Wayfarers
American Optical was founded more than a century ago in 1826. However the company really took off during World War I and II, selling millions of goggles and sunglasses to army air force aviators and U.S. soldiers. Out of the needs of war came the aptly named “Pilot” line. In 1969, Neil Armstrong wore these sunglasses during the first ever moon walk. The Pilot model is very similar to aviator-style sunglasses, except they are a bit more rectangular. Though less iconic than the rounder aviators, they are fashionable enough that Jon Hamm wears them while portraying style icon Don Draper on AMC's "Mad Men."
Randolph Engineering is another company that has a military heritage. In fact, since 1982, Randolph Engineering has been the primary contractor for the United States Department of Defense for sunglasses. You can be sure that their products are built to be durable and that their polarized lenses meet high specifications. The “Sportsman” model is a beefier version of aviator sunglasses built for sportsmen (as the name implies).
Oakley is a newer company, compared to the others profiled above, founded in 1975 by Jim Jannard. Their sunglasses are sleeker, shinier, sportier, and generally more high-tech looking than those of other manufacturers listed here. Their models and lines change every year, and there isn’t one iconic style as with aviators or wayfarers, which is why there isn’t a specific model listed here (though you certainly would recognize a pair of Oakley’s if you saw one). If you are looking for sunglasses to wear while doing extreme sports, then Oakley’s might be your best option.
No list is complete without going through Ray Ban’s polarized models. Ray Ban was founded in 1937 by its parent company Bausch & Lomb to address the growing needs of America’s aviators. The Aviator style’s large, teardrop-shaped lenses help maximize protection against the sun. World War II helped solidify the aviator-style goggles as a staple of American pilots and as an icon of American style. The downside of the Ray Ban Aviators is its extreme popularity and ubiquity. Everyone, from police officers to celebrities, has a pair of aviator-style sunglasses. Real Aviators can be identified by their high-quality polarized lenses (noted by the “P” next to the Ray Ban logo).
The Wayfarer is another iconic, much copied, pair of sunglasses that have been around since the 1950’s. At the time, the plastic frame and the style itself were revolutionary compared to its metal counterparts. Wayfarers have been made famous by dozens of movies over their long history, even though their popularity with the general public has waxed and waned over the decades.
Ray Ban Clubmasters are sunglasses that originated out of the "Browline" style glasses of the 1950’s. This Browline style was worn by everyone from JFK to Malcolm X, though they fell out of style by the 1970’s. The Clubmasters are a more recent take on this once- popular style.