Note: If you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small commission. 5280 does not accept money for editorial coverage, be it a review or a mention in a story. Read more about our policy.
There’s no way around it: In Colorado, where we get about 300 days of sunshine a year, you need shades. But the number of sunglass brands to choose from can be, well, blinding. So, we did the hard work for you, narrowing down your options to five pairs from four brands, all of which are based in the sunny Centennial State.
For The Sport Cyclist: Optic Nerve’s Neurotoxin 3.0
The nearly 50-year-old Boulder company started out focusing on cycling products. While it now offers performance, lifestyle, and even baseball frames, too, one of its most popular models is still geared toward pedal-pushers. Perfect for July and August’s soaring temps, the lenses are equipped with full UV protection and a rubber nose bridge that keeps them from sliding off your sweaty face. The purchase includes three sets of interchangeable lenses that you can swap out based on the day’s light conditions. And lucky for you, they’re currently more than half off on the company’s website. Purchase from Optic Nerve ($45.50) or from Amazon
For The Backyard Grill Master: Colorado Glasses’ The Fiestas
With only four years under its belt, Colorado Glasses has made a name for itself with distinctive shapes and styles, not to mention a penchant for doing good: Right now, the brand is donating $10 to medical debt relief for every pair sold. The Fiestas are one of the company’s more vibrant options, featuring blue polarized lenses and wooden multi-color frames. Useful for just about any summertime jaunt, the shades may be best for hot afternoons spent by the grill. $65; Purchase from Colorado Glasses
For The Reader In The Park: Zeal Optics’ Avon
Whether you’re working from home, watching Netflix, consuming news, or just staring aimlessly into the Twitter void, you’ve been getting a lot of screen time lately. Give your tired eyes a break with a special polarized pair of sunglasses that limits the high-energy blue light that causes eye strain, macular degeneration, and other eye health issues. Not only are these lenses protective, but they also provide enhanced depth perception. You can order a pair with your eye-glass prescription and pick from four color choices. Plus: You’ll be helping out the environment—the frames are made entirely from plant-based materials. $149; Available August 2020. Shop for other models at Zeal Optics or Amazon
For The Trailblazer: Topo Designs X Raen Remmy Sunglasses
Colorado’s Topo Designs has collaborated with Raen, a sunglasses manufacturer based in Oceanside, California, for this sleek new accessory. Like Topo, Raen is meticulous about its designs—all of Raen’s frames are handmade and cut from acetate, which can be heated and molded for the perfect fit. The lenses are designed with water sports in mind, so be sure to take them out on the lake or for a ride down the river. But, considering the price tag, just be sure to invest in a pair of Croakies beforehand. $195; Purchase from Topo Designs
For Year-Round Wear: Optic Nerve’s Rizzo
Whether you’re wearing a beanie or a sun hat, Optic’s marble-patterned frame design goes with any outfit in any season. They’ll prevent glare when you’re canoeing and shield you in style during après sessions come winter. The pair is one of the brand’s bestsellers, so check out its website before everyone else beats you to it. $29.99; Purchase from Optic Nerve or from Amazon