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What We Looked For in Sunglasses Reviews

When seeking consumer feedback on budget sunglasses, you'll notice two things: There aren't many sunglasses reviews and many reviewers don't seem to pay much attention to what constitutes proper protection for their eyes. Instead, sunglasses reviews tend to focus on looks and styling, and only occasionally comment on performance, comfort, and durability.

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Based on the posts that we found -- many at Amazon sunglass wearers, for the most part, seem satisfied with the inexpensive brands on our list.

Sunglasses Performance.

Overall, our top picks do what they're meant to do. A variety of JiMarti sunglasses garner favorable comments in sunglasses reviews at Amazon. Users report that sport-oriented models such as the JM01 (starting at $23) and the polarized JMP8 (starting at $60) eliminate glare, block the sun, and let you see without squinting. Black Flys sunglasses likewise earn positive buzz in reviews at Buzzillions, where users laud the Micro Fly (starting at $40) for screening out glare and add that the wrap-around style effectively blocks out bright sun. Sunglasses reviews for Suncloud Polarized Optics (starting at $37) are moderately upbeat about the shades' protective abilities. One user says the fashion-forward Cookie model effectively shields the eyes from even the most intense rays. Reviews of Suncloud's rimless Traverse line (starting at $50) at L.L. Bean enthuse about their performance; one tells of a motorcyclist's eyes that stay relaxed and the extensive side coverage that doesn't block peripheral vision.

Sunglasses Fit and Comfort.

Reviews indicate that consumers find certain styles more or less comfortable depending on the design and build quality and the size and shape of their own heads and faces. The dilemma when buying sunglasses online is how to choose a pair without trying them on. There's no easy solution, but the feedback consumers provide can offer some guidance.

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JiMarti sunglasses, particularly the JM01, garner a hardy thumbs-up for comfort and fit in sunglasses reviews at Amazon. One consumer notes that the JM01 fits beneath a motorcycle helmet and others report that the JiMarti JMP8 sunglasses stay on while running or biking and work well for people with thin faces. Other posts at Amazon assert that Sunbelt sunglasses (starting at $22) are both snug and comfortable; a marathon runner says he doesn't worry about the fit or feel when running and can focus on his race rather than his eyewear.

By contrast, fit seems to be an issue for various Body Glove models (starting at $22). A sunglasses review at Amazon for the Maui (starting at $23) says it took some bending and manipulating of the frames and nose piece to get the right fit, while a review of the FL1 Floating (starting at $27) at Overstock grouses that the sunglasses are so big they slip off the wearer's face and the lenses continuously pop out.

Sunglasses Durability.

Reviewers consistently indicate that they want their sunglasses to last. To a certain extent, durability is in the eye of the beholder. We found that a pair one person deems fragile and/or poorly designed and built another considers sturdy and well-made. That said, Body Glove sunglasses attract more consistently negative comments in reviews about quality and durability than the other brands we researched. We read a fair number of posts reporting breakage shortly after users first put them on.

On the flip side, many users consider our top picks to be sturdy, solid, and (depending on the frame) flexible. Users stated on Amazon that the JiMarti JM01 sport sunglasses with "shatterproof" polycarbonate lenses are extremely durable -- even when dropped, thrown around, or tossed in a bag, they hold up against scratches and breaks. Likewise, Suncloud Polarized Optics earn high praise from users at several sites for being highly durable and able to withstand a lot of jostling and dropping. Sunglasses by Sunbelt also garner points for durability. One user writes in a review that he's owned a pair of Sunbelt Stomp (starting at $26) sunglasses for two years and they've survived numerous fishing trips despite being dropped many times. And, he adds, they seem relatively impervious to scratching.

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by Raechel Conover (Google+ Profile)

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