For better or worse, American manufacturing just isn’t what it used to be. The global market has made it easier for even small companies to source their manufacturing from overseas – helping them scale faster and provide great quality products for a lower cost. But there are a slew of companies bravely swimming against this tide.
American made sunglasses makers, for instance, have opted to invest in domestic manufacturing – buying their own equipment, setting up their own processes for assembling frames, and training a workforce to make all the trains run on time. This approach comes at a steeper cost. As a result of their decision to put cash into manufacturing domestically, these companies can’t grow as quickly as others. They’re not scaled to pump out huge numbers of shades, nor do they have the corporate support of brands owned by Luxottica. But don’t get us wrong – there is an upside. More than just appealing to the patriot in all of us, these American made sunglasses companies maintain more control over production – and they end up building more robust businesses with a more solid foundation. Whether you’re just curious about who is out there, or looking for a new pair of American made sunglasses – you can be sure you’ll find the best out there right here on our list.
Though they’re now based in Los Angeles, Dom Vetro didn’t get their start in the city of angels. The American sunglasses company was founded in the Italian alps – far from the balmy weather and bloated freeways of Southern California. Aside from being the only L.A.-based design and sunglasses manufacturer, what sets this brand apart from others on the market today is their penchant for customization. At the core of their ethos, Dom Vetro believes that sunglasses should be a reflection of personal style – so as a result, they make it easy for customers to pick and choose their preferred color acetate, lens, and detailing on the frames.
Location: Los Angeles, California
For Gatorz, durability is the name of the game. From the outset, the brand has been dedicated to building frames that are super tough – so they developed a special manufacturing method that uses a high grade 7075 Billet Aircraft Aluminum and started sourcing 2.0mm polycarbonate lenses with full UV protection. The whole process takes 22 separate steps. This dedication to toughness and building American has enamored people like Sky-divers, crossfit athletes, and military operators to the brand.
Location: Carlsbad, California
While Lowercase NYC is a young company, having only started in 2015, they have a decidedly old-school approach to producing eyewear. That is to say – above all else, they’re dedicated to quality. Based out of the Brooklyn Army Terminal, once the largest US military supply base, the three-man team produce frames for glasses and sunglasses using a special 30-step process. Whether you’re looking for something classic or a little more contemporary – they have what you’re looking for.
Location: Brooklyn, New York
The brand that you will find without fail on just about every site’s list of the best American made sunglasses is Randolph Engineering. Since the early 1980s the brand has been making classic American shades. Most of their frames are some variation on the classic aviator sunglasses, and all of them can be customized to order. That means you can grab up your preferred frames with custom lenses, frame finishes, and different temples.
Location: Randolph, Massachusetts
State Optical Co
Making glasses and sunglasses frames in the U.S. is not easy. It’s actually damn-near impossible. Or at least that is what March Franchi and Jason Stanley were told repeatedly before they started State Optical Co. It didn’t take them long to prove their nay-sayers wrong, though. Now, about 6-years later, their Chicago-based sunglasses and eyewear brand is healthy and growing. Their wide selection of styles and dedication to quality have set themselves apart from the pack and established them as one of the premier American made sunglasses companies out there.
Location: Chicago, Illinois