It’s no secret that when it comes to sunglasses, there are a LOT of options to choose from. (By a lot we mean a freaking ton!) From Ray Ban to Michael Kors, it seems like there are a million big companies selling expensive glasses that everyone wants. But what about the little guys? There are a growing number of small businesses emerging with creative styles, affordable pricing and best of all – efforts to do good. Being a small business ourselves, we decided it would be fun to shed some light on 5 of our favorite sunglass brands that you might not have heard of yet!
PSA: ALWAYS WEAR SUNGLASSES!
You might be asking yourself, why do I need to know about sunglass brands if I don’t even wear sunglasses? Well, believe it or not the sun can damage your eyes just like it burns your skin. Every year, 3.2 million people actually go blind from prolonged UV exposure. Do you want to go blind? We definitely don’t! Check out our blog about the dangers of UV exposure and the importance of sunglasses. If you’re not convinced that you need to go buy a bunch of sunglasses like right now…..give us a call and we’ll give you even more convincing. ????
Ok, now back to the fun stuff – SUNGLASSES! They’re trendy, they’re cool, and when you buy them from the following companies you might even contribute to the bettering of our world for generations to come. No pressure or anything….
1. Shady Rays
“We are for action-seekers who appreciate next-generation, innovative gear meant for everything life throws at you.”
Our first recommended American owned brand doesn’t just offer a kick-a** warranty program. Shady Rays also partners with Feeding America, donating 10 meals to fight hunger in America with EVERY order! Their sunglasses are durable, affordable and designed to keep you protected no matter what adventure you’re going on. Prices range from $40-$80, and are covered by the “Live Hard” warrantee. That means if you lose, damage or break your shades they will replace them for a mere $8.89 (in the US).
In addition to shades, they also sell prescription lenses, blue light, and even snow goggles. If you like to snowboard and constantly find yourself ruining your goggles, check out Shady Rays. The lenses are replaceable!
“For $25, we can put a smile on your face!”
Next on the list is one of the most colorful brands you’ll ever see – Goodr! Owned and operated right here in the USA, Goodr offers fun, functional, affordable shades at only $25 a pair. That’s right, everything they sell is $25! Currently they offer 6 styles, with each style having between 5 and 33 different color choices. As if lots of colors weren’t fun enough, Goodr gets even more funr with their product names. “How do you like them pineapples” and “Iced by yetis” for example. We know what you might be thinking – who cares about colors and names if they are cheap and break easily right? Wrong! Goodr sunglasses feel as strong and durable as any other top brand we’ve ever had the pleasure of testing out. $25 well spent!
On top of making awesome, fun glasses for the price of a few brews, Goodr also cares about the planet. As of 2019, through carbon offsets they officially became a carbon neutral company. To further their efforts, Goodr gives 1% of their annual gross sales directly to environmental nonprofits.
“Our mission is to build the world’s best eyewear for mission driven people.”
Next up we have a very sleek brand – Gatorz. All Gatorz products are American built, with performance and quality in mind. At a starting price of $180, Gatorz might not be the cheapest but are some of the most durable glasses around. Originally designed for skydiving and motorcycling, Gatorz products have evolved and are now used by Navy Seals. Their lenses can withstand wind force in excess of 100 mph, and the frames are built out of aerospace grade aluminum. Needless to say, they are hard to break! If you’re like some of us here who tend to break everything we touch, these glasses might be just what you need. Plus, who doesn’t want to rock the same gear as the seals?
To make them even more comfortable, Gatorz has stepped it up a notch by offering adjustability. You can tighten or loosen the frame and temple, as well as change the nosepieces to fit you like a glove. If that isn’t impressive enough, Gatorz also offers a lifetime frame warranty AND discounts for military & first responders.
“Centered around durable shades that are both practical and stylish, Knockaround provides high-quality sunglasses that won’t break the bank.”
Starting at only $15, Knockaround shades have knocked our socks off. They come in 11 different frame styles, with more color combinations than we could even count. (We tried…it was like counting sheep so we decided to take a nap instead) They also do special releases, where they offer 100% unique, limited edition sunglasses.
Their insane variety wasn’t what had us most impressed though – it was the ability to order customized glasses! For only $30, we were able to design our very own sunglasses. Can you guess what color we went with? ???? With free returns and a 100% happiness guarantee, Knockaround definitely is a one stop shop to find fun, affordable and unique glasses that you’ll never want to take off.
5. Dragon Alliance
“DRAGON symbolizes a quest for pushing our own boundaries while keeping the impact our adventures have on land and sea in sight.”
Last but not least on our list is Dragon Alliance – another American company that really cares about how it impacts the environment. They offer several unique products, including glasses made of plant based resin, upcycled plastic glasses, and floating glasses! They are also the creators of Lumalens® technology, which delivers superior color vividness, improves depth perception, and reduces eye fatigue.
In addition to their sustainable materials and high quality optics, Dragon offers Cross-Performance sunglasses that are tailored for specific outdoor activities such as surfing, hiking and skiing. With a laundry list of useful features, their glasses are the perfect high performance option for those of us who want to help preserve our environment.
Take care of your sunglasses!
Overall, we think it’s clear that these brands offer some sick shades at prices even Macklemore would approve of. Don’t take our word for it, though! Grab some pairs and put them to the test. Heck, grab 5 pairs while you’re at it! There’s no such thing as too many sunglasses, if you ask anyone here at #NMHQ.
And of course, don’t forget to keep your shades clean with some Nano Magic Lens Cleaner ! (We don’t want you to end up heads first in a snowbank from fingerprint-impaired-vision…) Grab a travel kit for your backpack or some towelettes to throw in your car. Taking care of your sunnies will keep you seeing safely for longer!