When I look for sunglasses I look for comfort and style, but not at the expense of durability.
Durability is very important if these are going to be your main pair of sunglasses.
You don't want them to crack a week after you buy them, so always make sure to buy high quality sunglasses.
When you think of high quality, durable sunglasses you think of one thing: military spec sunglasses.
But military spec doesn't mean you have to be in the military to wear them, military spec really just means high quality durability.
Military spec sunglasses are able to stand up to heavy daily use and they provide you with the best clarity and glare reduction available.
That's why I wear and love Randolph Engineering sunglasses. They're as durable as can be and they have a timeless style.
I've owned a pair of Randolph Engineering Aviator's for about a year now and I love them.
Before I get into my personal experience with Randolph Engineering's product, here's a quick fact sheet to give you a better idea of what goes into each pair of these sunglasses…
6 Quick Reasons Why I Initially Bought Randolph Engineering Sunglasses (Construction And Quality)
Randolph Engineering didn't start out making eyewear, they started in 1972 as makers of tools and equipment used by other optical companies.
By the late 1970s they became a subcontractor for the United States Air Force and started producing military spec aviators. They used their success in military contracting as a solid jump off point into the commercial market.
That's what initially got me interested in their sunglasses.
When I found out the 6 ways they maintain quality to this very day, that's when I decided to buy.
These are the 6 ways they ensure quality goes into every pair of sunglasses:
- 200+ step manufacturing process (mostly by hand)
- Made in the U.S.A
- Sourced US materials, when feasible
- Dedicated to providing great working conditions for employees
- Family run business
- Lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects
My Experience With Randolph Engineering
I've had a pair of Randolph Engineering Aviator sunglasses for about a year and a half and here's my experience with them.
My particular glasses are the original military-spec Aviator model and feature:
- 23K gold plating
- Glass polarized lenses
- Bayonet temples
The fit and finish on these glasses is excellent.
Unlike cheap gas station shades, my Randolph Engineering Aviator sunglasses don't have any gaps between the individual parts, sloppy solder joints, or wimpy hinges.
Everything just plain fits together nicely and you can tell that care went into their creation.
The polarized glass lenses are beautiful and really scratch resistant, but they do add significant weight.
The hinges are quite beefy compared to many other brands. They operate smoothly and hold tension at any angle, which is especially useful when hooking them in your shirt collar when not in use.
When I got these in early spring, I wore them nearly everyday until fall, then just a couple times per week since then.
Even with more than 100 wears at the time I took the photos above, they still look like I just took them out of the box.
I haven't exactly abused these sunglasses, but I haven't babied them either. There have been a couple accidental drops and a few times I've lightly sat on them before realizing at the last second.
Still, the lenses are virtually scratch-free and the frames are shiny and true. The only visible defects are a few small paint chips on the various lettering inside the frame and the Randolph logo on the left lens.
Comfort And Performance Of Randolph Engineering Sunglasses
Due to the robust construction and stout materials, namely the polarized glass lenses, these sunglasses feel a little heavy if you're used to lighter weight shades.
I'm not saying that they're uncomfortable or unbearable, but they're hefty in the way work boots are heavy compared to running shoes.
Note: This weight issue only applies to the glass lenses. There are alternative lens materials available including a new lightweight collection that will solve this problem.
Other than the excess weight, these sunglasses are really comfortable and they have great clarity and glare reduction, which is a really interesting feature if you've never experienced it.
For example, if I'm looking at a parked car down the street but can't see inside because of the glare on the windshield, I can put on my Randolph Engineering glasses and the glare disappears, allowing me to see through the windshield.
One downside to the glass lenses is that they create a weird 3D effect on metal surfaces. When wearing these glasses, drain covers and metal staircases have an almost holographic look.
I'm sure I looked a little funny while wearing them at first because this visual effect made me hesitant to step on any metal surfaces, but I got used to it really quick.
How To Wear Randolph Engineering Sunglasses With Style
As far as styling goes, these shades are a true classic.
They aren't too trendy, but they don't look at all dated. That means that they go with everything.
I avoid wearing them to places like the beach because I really don't want them to get destroyed or lost. But other than that, I've worn them with shorts and a t-shirt, wool trousers and a silk sweater, and a full suit and tie.
Also, I wear them almost as much durning the winter as I do in the summer since they cut down the glare from snow and ice significantly.
Basically, they complete any look most guys are likely to wear during any season.
Buying Randolph Engineering Aviator Sunglasses (the exact ones I have)
While this specific Aviator model doesn't have the teardrop shape that comes to mind when thinking of pilot glasses, it's their flagship product and has been a standard military issue since 1982.
Final thoughts On Randolph Engineering
What I Like About Randolph Engineering Aviator
- Kick ass styling
- Bulletproof construction
- Made in the U.S.A
- Military heritage
What I Dislike About Randolph Engineering Aviator
- They feel a little heavy with the glass lenses (other materials available)
- I get a weird 3D effect on metal surfaces (i.e., drain covers, diamond plate stairs)
With all factors considered, I'm very happy with my Randolph Engineering Aviators. I like them so much that I wore them almost exclusively for an entire summer. I think you'll like them too.
All the best,
PS – Don't forget to grab your Randolph Engineering Aviators here.