1999 was the year The Matrix first came out. It was also the year that Brad Pitt arrived on the Emmys red carpet wearing a pair of silver Oakleys. It was the peak era of wraparound sunglasses—the sporty silhouette with a futuristic bent to it. While the silhouette has remained popular over time with performance brands, when it comes to the trend cycle, they fell out of favor only to return over the last few years.
"The sporty trend has opened its doors to those not only seeking practical high-performance eyewear but also those attracted to the active-inspired, protective silhouettes boasting high fashion aesthetics,” says Heather Stewart-Feldman, Global eCommerce Assortment & Storytelling Curator at EssilorLuxottica. “Wraparound sunglasses appeal because they are the perfect streetwear counterpart; stylish, technical, architectural, retro, bold, comfy, and unisex. Allowing you to achieve a relaxed yet sophisticated look.”
The best modern styles effortlessly blend practicality and design—offering something for minimalists, bold dresses, and athletes alike. Ahead, find the styles that have been researched and approved by Byrdie to help you embrace the trend.
Prada Linea Rossa
A favorite of Stewart-Feldman’s, these Prada sunglasses are a throwback to the brand’s Prada Sport line, which had its heyday during the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. The silhouette is sporty and minimalist, perfect for styling with downtown cool staples like baggy jeans and Adidas Sambas.
Price at the time of publish: $343
Frame: Polycarbonate | Color: Black
Le Specs Dotcom Sunglasses
Looking for an under-$100 pair of sunglasses? I always turn to Le Specs for their on-trend designs. These wraparound sunglasses are sporty yet soft, with round lenses and a sleek black frame. If you want to take a small dip into the trend, this is the low-stakes way to try it out.
Price at the time of publish: $75
Frame: Plastic | Color: Black
GIVENCHY EYEWEAR Aviator-style silver-tone sunglasses
Look back on celebrity red carpets from the early aughts, and they’re full of stars wearing similar rimless wraparound glasses, what my dad lovingly referred to as “blaster shades” back in the day. The futuristic feel of these sunglasses, with metal arms and the Givenchy logo, placed front and center, make them perfect for pairing with both vintage finds and everyday basics.
Price at the time of publish: $408
Frame: Metal | Color: Silver
Best For Running
Oakley Radar EV
Running presents its own set of problems when it comes to sunglasses shopping. You need a style that is light enough not to bounce around and hugs your nose tight enough that won’t slip once you start to sweat. Oakley is a favorite name in sporty sunglasses, and this silhouette is one that reviewers reported buying in multiples.
Price at the time of publish: $211
Frame: Nylon composite | Color: Black
Grey Ant Wraparound Sunglasses
Don’t underestimate the power of a pair of bold sunglasses to transform your entire outfit. Grey Ant’s bright pink frames add a neon punch to even the most subdued look. Plus, the abrasion-proof lenses mean that you won’t have to worry about them getting scuffed when you throw them in your bag or wear them throughout the summer.
Price at the time of publish: $225
Frame: Acetate | Color: Pink
Lexxola Neo D Frame
Simply cool, that’s how I’d describe Lexxola’s ‘90s-inspired Neo D sunglasses. I’m personally a fan of colored lenses for those days when it’s not fully sunny, but still bright enough to warrant wearing something to protect your eyes. My one tip: since they’re see-through, make sure you don’t forget that everyone else can see where you’re looking.
Price at the time of publish: $270
Frame: Acetate | Color: Black
Port Tanger Ruh-D Sunglasses
Is Iris Apfel among your style muses? Then these large sculptural glasses from Port Tangier might just be the style for you. The oversized silhouette will uniquely frame your face, with the wraparound silhouette acting almost as a pair of goggles.
Price at the time of publish: $290
Frame: Acetate | Color: Dark green
Dior Lady 9522 Sunglasses
If you want a pair of sunglasses that’s made for a killer street style shot or Instagram selfie, then Dior’s rounded wrap sunglasses are just the thing. Designed with the brand’s signature Cannage detailing, they’re just as well suited to a Palm Spring seat poolside or a Brooklyn roof party.
Price at the time of publish: $630
Frame: Acetate | Color: Black
Our favorite overall pick is Prada’s Linea Rossa sunglasses because of their simple, sleek design that captures the trend but is ultimately timeless. If your primary purpose for purchasing wraparound sunglasses is for exercise, try Oakley’s Radar glasses, which are designed with movement in mind. If you want a trendier option, Port Tangier and Lexxola are great options.
What to Look for in Wraparound Sunglasses
“Since the trend pulls from such a wide array of brands, styles, colors, and material combos, there is seriously something for everyone,” says Stewart-Feldman. For sporty versions, look to performance-focused brands such as Oakley, while fashion-forward means looking to the likes of Dior or Givenchy.
“High-quality sunglasses lenses are UVA/UVB filtered and are available polarized or with a fashion tint,” says Dr. Jessica Conroy, OD, FAAO, FSLS. “Fashion-tinted sunglasses come in some great colors and reduce the brightness of the light. Polarized lenses are what offer glare reduction and reduce additional eyestrain, which means you won't squint behind your sunglasses anymore. The most visually comfortable ones will also have a mirrored front surface and a non-glare coating added to the back of the lens.” Conroy recommends speaking to an optician to find what’s best for you.
If your wraparound sunglasses are going to be worn for exercise, make sure that they can withstand movement and sweat. “You’ll want to look for lightweight streamlined wraps, think bio-nylon, with technical lens treatments like Oakley’s Prizm and comfort-enhancing details like rubber nose pads and temple tips,” suggests Stewart-Feldman.
How important is it to wear sunglasses?
On bright days it’s important to be mindful of protecting your eyes. “Just like sunscreen helps to prevent skin burning and protects the skin from harmful UV rays, polarized sunglasses also help to protect the eye,” says Conroy. “There are several structures within the eye that can be negatively affected by the sun's UV rays. High-quality eyewear for the sun can help to protect those structures and prevent long-term damage that could potentially be visually devastating.”
Are wraparound sunglasses better?
Finding the right sunglasses is about choosing a style that you’ll wear most—that makes you feel both comfortable and confident. That being said, there are some benefits to wraparound styles. They help to protect the side of your eyes from the bright sun, and they are designed to fit your face more ergonomically, which is great for exercise.
Why Trust Byrdie
Aemilia Madden is a writer and editor who has spent the last decade covering the latest trends and advancements in the fashion space. She is an editor and brand consultant and her latest work can be found in Harper’s Bazaar, L’Officiel, Fashionista, Vogue, and more. As a fashion editor and a runner, Aemilia has tested hundreds of sunglasses—both for style and sport.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find enough wraparound sunglasses from Black-owned and/or Black-founded businesses to meet this percentage. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will evaluate the product ASAP.