Sunglasses are one of the most important pieces of any guy’s stylish wardrobe, but they come with a few caveats. They’re small, easy to break, even easier to lose/misplace, and on top of it all, designer models can cost hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars. As you might surmise, these things don’t mix well. There’s nothing worse than buying a brand new pair of $300+ glasses, only to lose them, scratch them, or dismember them within a month of ownership. That’s why a lot of style-focused men have turned to the more affordable side of the genre to get their eyewear fix.
While low-cost eyewear was once shunned by the community due to bad taste, horrible design choices, and exceedingly questionable quality, advances in technology, material construction, and architecture have opened new doors for eyewear providers. Gone are the days where a sub-$50 pair of glasses will leave you high and dry after a handful of uses. Instead, companies like Knockaround, Sunski, Quay, and A.J. Morgan have found a way to durably mimic some of history’s most iconic styles, without the designer price tag. Below, we’ve included a few of our favorites from around the space. Whether you’re looking for a run-of-the-mill Wayfarer, a vintage, rounded style piece, or an affordable cat-eye, you’re bound to find a stylish alternative that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
MXNX UV Aviator
Finding a decent pair of glasses under $50 can be an interesting adventure, but MXNX’s UV Aviator variant does the job nicely. For an insanely affordable price, it checks the boxes for traditional aviator aficionados, introducing a composite frame and lens, a polarized sheen, and UV400 eye protection to filter and block dangerous UV rays from entering into your precious peepers. They’re also outfitted with a few interesting qualities, including a high-definition lens system, true color restoration, and an aluminum-magnesium metallic alloy skeleton that’s prepared to take on any social outing.
H&M continues to create some of the most affordable menswear staples in the industry, and it’s surprising, to say the least. Instead of spending an insane amount of money on a pair of high-end designer glasses, try out a set of the brand’s Polarized examples. They come in a metal or plastic rendition, feature a durable, but handsome polycarbonate/copper composite construction, and UV lenses, protecting your vision from the sun’s harmful rays. Plus, they take on the shape of some of the genre’s most popular silhouettes, helping you to remain fashionable at a fraction of the cost of high-end competitors.
UO Blunt Keyhole Rounded Square
Like H&M, Urban Outfitters is one of the most recognizable names in stylish menswear. While their offerings are a bit more diverse in terms of monetary value, you’re still able to find amazing deals if you look in the right spot. The Blunt Keyhole Rounded Square sunglasses are a prime example. Boasting a timeless shape, a lightweight plastic construction, and a keyhole nose bridge for improved comfort, these attractive eye accessories are a viable alternative to many of the more expensive designer options that implement more sought after materials. You might not have the best of the best when it comes to lavish components, joinery, and frame, but for the price, it’s difficult to find a pair of glasses that are as fashionably-aware.
A.J. Morgan Grad School
A.J. Morgan’s Grad School glasses might not inspire with their low price point, but they’re as close as you’re going to get to a pair of designer shades without spending hundreds of dollars. These fashion-forward eyewear accessories are sleek, stylish, and protective, offering UV400 lens protection, impact-resistant qualities, and an injection-molded plastic/metal frame that can take a licking but keep on ticking. The best part? They’re available in a variety of colorways, including a timeless tortoiseshell sheen.
goodr OG Sunglasses
goodr’s OG sunglasses are an interesting, under-the-radar take on the traditional Wayfarer silhouette. While they’re not as sharp, blocky, or defined as the original, they offer wearers a handful of similarities, making them a viable alternative when you’re strapped for cash. While many of the OG colorways are outfitted with run-of-the-mill lenses and hardware, specific colorways come with polarized, UV400-protective lenses, a suite of enhanced, non-slip silicone inserts, and a lightweight frame that sits close to the head for a snug fit during exercise and activity.
ATTCL Men’s Driving Polarized
ATTCL’s Men’s Driving Polarized glasses are a bit much, but if you’re looking for an overstated eyewear piece that’s been built for the city, this is it. Each example boasts a metal frame, a set of polarized, composite lenses, and a sharp demeanor that integrates unique texturing into its overall composition. To keep things light and strong, an aluminum-magnesium metal alloy frame helps to ensure that won’t suffer from fatigue and discomfort following long periods of wear, making them a viable companion for running, driving, cycling, skiing, or any other activity where durable eye protection is a must.
Knockaround Mount Evans Aviator
If you’re a regular within the affordable eyewear space, it’s likely that you’ve heard of Knockaround. To say that these guys are one of the driving forces behind the stylish, low-cost movement would be an understatement. As such, the Mount Evans Aviator provides a perfect illustration of the brand’s devotion to stylish recreations of the greats, without the hefty price tag. Each example features a slim, gold-metal frame, tortoiseshell rubber detailing, polarized, square-shaped lenses, and an FDA approved, impact-resistant rating, making them an attractive alternative to your more expensive glasses. Like many on this list, they offer full UV400 sun protection, shielding your eyes from the detriments of the dangerous light exposure.
Huckberry has a thing for the preservation of heritage style, but that doesn’t mean that the styles it decides to feature on its site aren’t versatile. Take the Weekenders, for instance. These contemporary sunglasses provide a perfect blend of contemporary style and vintage intrigue, bringing everything together through durable construction, a lightweight, Wayfarer-esque design, and a polarized lens system to keep your peepers protected from the sun. To give them even more gumption as a viable replacement pair, they’ve been imbued with color and clarity enhancement properties, temple guards (for increased hinge protection), and feature a ready-for-anything constitution that allows them to “take a beating and bounce right back.”
ASOS Jeepers Peepers Square
ASOS’ Jeepers Peepers Square glasses are an interesting adaptation of a classic style. With one of fashion’s most devoted design teams at its back, this sunshine-savvy model features an attractive tortoiseshell silhouette, molded nose pads (to decrease fatigue and discomfort during wear), and a set of dark-tinted lenses, helping to deter the absorption of UV light. While these aren’t polarized like many of the other offerings on our list, they more than make up for it in stylish poise, adopting tapered arms, curved temple tips, and a sleek Wayfarer-like shape to keep you looking great wherever you go.
Quay Great Escape
Quay’s Great Escape model is a modern take on one of the eyewear industry’s most iconic styles. Not only do these cat-eye-inspired variants bring classic traits to our sub-$50 guide, but they’re also a viable alternative for adventurous individuals who want to hit the road in a pair of stylish, affordable shades. To keep them ticking when the going gets rough, they’ve been crafted with a combo-injected plastic/metal frame, stainless steel components, and Category 3 polarized lenses, protecting you from vision loss associated with prolonged UV exposure. Plus, they’re one of the only cat-eye examples you’re going to find at this price point, making them an attractive choice for those who love the style.
Sunski Seacliff Polarized
Like Knockarounds, Sunski is a lauded name within the affordable eyewear space. The brand’s mission to recreate iconic shapes and styles at a fraction of the cost of its competitors has made it a go-to for many frugal individuals, and when it comes to silhouettes like the Seacliff Polarized, we can see why. Not only do these glasses boast light and slender persona, but they’ve also been gifted with a set of certified UVA/B/400 polarized lenses, a hand-polished frame, and a classic, simplified style that bridges the gap between a number of iconic shapes. If you’re searching for a clean, minimalistic take that’s as timeless as they come, look no further.
Izipizi #C SUN
Izipizi’s #C SUN is an interesting model that capitalizes on the return of vintage shapes. It adopts a classic silhouette that looks like it was pulled straight out of the 70s, amplifying it with the inclusion of Category 3 polarized lenses, flexible arms, a grippy, rubberized texture, and a clean aesthetic that’ll leave an impression on anyone you come in contact with. The best part? They’re lightweight, comfortable, and affordable, checking off all the boxes that we look for when we’re in the market for a pair that we can utilize without fear of loss, damage, or dismemberment.
The 20 Best Sunglasses For Men
If you don’t find what you’re looking for in our sub-$50 guide, head over to our list on the best sunglasses for men, where we ditch the affordable focus to supply you with information on the best eyewear that the industry has to offer.