A couple of years ago, I was employed in a sunglasses company in Shanghai, China. One of my tasks at the time was to help the business launch a full marketing strategy for our brand new product: sunglasses made out of bamboo and wood for men and women.
I’ve therefore spent almost 100 hours investigating this market, which has helped me gain knowledge such as:
- What are the best brands for wooden and bamboo sunglasses?
- …and why are these brands so popular?
- Which brands should you avoid due to greenwashing?
- And most importantly: what to look for when shopping for wooden/bamboo sunglasses.
I’m gonna share all I know in this article.
PS! If you’re interested in learning more about how we (successfully) launched a popular sunglasses brand on the market, feel free to click here. Please note that I am not affiliated with any of the sunglasses brands that I recommend in this article.
Table of Contents
- In a hurry? Here’s our top 3 product recommendations
- Runner’s up: Recommended sunglasses
- Advantages and disadvantages with wooden sunglasses
- Polarised or non-polarised bamboo sunglasses?
- FAQ – Frequently asked questions
- Other eco-friendly product recommendations
In a hurry? Here’s our top 3 product recommendations
Please note that all products are unisex. Wooden sunglasses are, luckily, a product that doesn’t have a very female or manly look.
Strong and durable: Polarized Walnut sunglasses from WOODIES
“Woodies” is one of the most famous brands of wooden sunglasses.
The wood in these sunglasses is made out of walnut, which is very interesting. Did you know that a lot of people tend to use walnut wood when laying a new floor in their home? Apparently, it is one of the most durable materials you can use.
They are polarized, got anti-reflective frames and the wood itself just feels so good and strong.
With several wooden sunglasses that I’ve tried, I’ve been literally afraid of losing them on the ground due to the fear of breaking them.
With this product from Woodies, I would be more afraid that the pavement would break. 😉
Reasons why you should buy these sunglasses:
- They are lightweight (walnut makes the sunglasses 50 % lighter than their competitors).
- They are the cheapest option on this list.
- Offers UV protection and anti-reflective lens
- The box comes with a free carrying case as well as a lens cloth when you buy them on Amazon
Winner: Cloudfield Handcrafted bamboo sunglasses for him & her
When we started to do research in the wooden sunglasses market, it was clear that one company had a huge market share: Cloudfield.
And when we bought their product to investigate why they had become so successful, we immediately understood that this was going to be tough.
Cloudfield sunglasses has it all. A low price point, high quality on their bamboo, their sunglasses are lightweight and, as a result of this, they have a lot of customers.
Reasons why you should buy these sunglasses:
- Cloudfield the best bamboo sunglasses on the market. Hands down.
- UV protected polarized lenses and protection against any types of ultraviolet lights (including UV, UVA & UVB).
- Perfect for “slow sports” like fishing and golfing
- Suitable for both men and women
Premium: WOODWORD Polarized Wood sunglasses for men & women
By looking at the pictures, you might say:
“What’s really the difference between Woodword and Cloudfield?”
I’ll give you the answer: the price.
Woodword is a slightly more expensive version of bamboo sunglasses.
High-quality polarized lens, strong bamboo frame and a brilliant design. Thumbs up.
Reasons why you should buy these sunglasses:
- A dark, wooden frame that sits very well on your face
- 100 % handmade
- Offers UV protection and anti-reflective lens
Runner’s up: Recommended sunglasses
I also bought some wooden sunglasses that I would think are OK but didn’t give me that infamous “wow feeling“.
These runner’s ups are listed in the box below:
- Below 20 USD: I wouldn’t even trust the sunglasses to be of proper bamboo (or other types of wood) if they cost less than 20 dollars. And if they are made out of real wood, you bet that the lenses are cheap, non-UV-protected, and will be broken before the summer is over. Stay away.
- Between 25-40 USD: All my recommended products can be found in this price range. To let you in on a secret: it costs every manufacturer between 3 to 8 USD to make these wooden sunglasses. Then you have to ship them to the US. And then Amazon takes a cut of every sale. If you need a sustainable business selling high-quality wooden sunglasses, you would need to sell them for at least 20-25 USD. And due to the high competition, that’s why most professional companies sell them at this price point.
- Over 50 USD: I still haven’t seen any wooden sunglasses that deserves to be put at this price point. If you pay more than 50 USD, I’d say you’re paying more for the brand than actually for the quality. When you see what type of quality Cloudfield and Woodword can deliver for about 30-35 $ on Amazon, you know you shouldn’t pay more than that.
I have to mention that certain types of wood are more expensive than others (for instance teak). But these are wood types that are never used in sunglasses – simply because they are too heavy.
Advantages and disadvantages with wooden sunglasses
Now that you’re already reading this article, you are probably aware of some of the advantages of buying wooden sunglasses. But maybe not all of them.
There are some good reasons for buying sunglasses made out of wood. Let me quickly map them out for you.
1) They are environmentally friendly. We all know the alternative to wood or bamboo when buying affordable sunglasses. That is plastic. Plastic is not a material that is very good for the environment. Millions of sea creatures are killed annually due to plastic pollution. And the reason why it adds up so much is that it takes roughly 400 years to decompose.
Do you know how long it takes for wood to decompose?
Barely a year.
Wood is already a natural part of the ecosystem. In other words, it is no danger if it returns back to nature. But we all know the potential horrendous consequences of plastic ending up in the ocean.
2) Wooden sunglasses float in the water. That can be used as a cool “party trick” in a pool party during the summer. Or as something very convenient if you actually lose your sunglasses in the water while being on a boat.
3) They are quite cool and good looking. I know this is a biased and bold statement. But they are. I honestly believe that they look better than plastic. In addition to that, walking around with plastic Ray-Bans is not exactly very unique.
So to summarize: Good looking, floating, and environmentally friendly. Does not sound like a bad thing to me. But what about the disadvantages..?
1) There is no point to hide the fact that plastic is cheaper than wood. That is why 98 % of all the sunglasses in this world is made out of cheap plastic. If you only think about the price, wood is probably not the material for you.
2) The lens itself is not especially more environmentally friendly than on other sunglasses. However, it is also quite difficult to design a sunglasses lens that is eco-friendly. The first one that does it will probably win the Nobel Prize or something.
3) Wooden sunglasses might be slightly more difficult to take care of compared to plastic. Make sure that you treat your wood sunglasses carefully. If you are buying something very expensive (which, by the way, they don’t have to be), you could potentially look into oil or wax to keep them shiny.
Polarised or non-polarised bamboo sunglasses?
Whether or not you choose to buy polarized lenses to your sunglasses will make quite a huge difference.
This video will clearly show you how the different lenses work:
After buying sunglasses with polarized lenses, I will probably never go back to “normal” ones. They simply make your eyes relax much more when you are out in the sun. I am not going to dig deep into the science behind the different types of sunglasses lenses, but I can quickly summarize some of the advantages of buying with polarization:
- Your eyes feel better. If you plan to stay out in the sun for a longer period of time, normal lenses can give you that feeling of being tired. In some cases, it can even lead to a small headache.
- They will always give you complete UVA and UVB protection.
- As you can see in the video above, polarized lenses offer better vision and clarity.
- Polarized lenses give you less of an eye strain.
That being said, not all bamboo sunglasses do come with polarized lenses. If you haven’t ever tried it and you are quite happy with how sunglasses work for you now, I guess there is no need for change. After all, I just wanted to inform you about the possibility and advantages.
FAQ – Frequently asked questions
There’s not necessarily a difference.
Bamboo is a type of wood. However, sunglasses manufacturers sell many types of wooden sunglasses (for instance walnut). But 90-95 % of all the wooden sunglasses sold on the global market are made out of bamboo.
It’s cheap to manufacture, it’s environmentally friendly as well as lightweight.
Moreover, it’s quite cool that you can drop your bamboo sunglasses in the water only to see them floating about. That’s one reason why many fishermen use bamboo sunglasses during the summer.
I personally haven’t been involved in the manufacturing process.
However, I can see that there are several videos on Youtube showing how to make your own wooden sunglasses.
Click here or here to watch them.
Yes, they are super popular.
Even though 99 % of all sunglasses are still made out of other materials (like plastic), wooden sunglasses gain more and more market share every single summer. Feel free to join the revolution! 🙂
I hope you found this article interesting and valuable. After all, wood sunglasses is a concept that I have a pretty good grasp of. As you might know, there are two good reasons for buying wood sunglasses. One is to protect the environment as it very often replaces plastic. The other reason is that you simply get a pretty cool accessory that can be used whenever the sun is coming out.
Choosing the best sunglasses online is not always easy. It is very often something that you would rather want to buy in a physical store prior to handing over a chunk of money to someone. And that is totally fair. However, it is also the reason why I almost always use Amazon when shopping online. They have an excellent return policy, a great logistics network that will get you the products pretty quick, and a product range that beats any other website out there.
I really believe that you should support a business that is actually giving something back to the nature. That is very often done in terms of a “plant one, buy one” program (or something similar). These charities actually do make quite some difference.
Other eco-friendly product recommendations
Sunglasses aren’t the only product I’ve done some hefty research on over the years. I’ve written several product recommendations that I think you might be interested in:
- Best bamboo boxer shorts for men (this one is good…)
- Recommended wooden chess boards
- Top 7: Wooden backgammon sets (yes, I’m a board game nerd)
- 7 advantages of buying a solar backpack
10 thoughts on “Buyer’s guide: Wooden Sunglasses Men & Women”
What happens if I accidentally sit on my wooden sunglasses? Will they break just as easy as plastic?
Yes, they might break just as easy as plastic sunglasses. Sitting on them is, of course, not recommended. 🙂
I have a pair of Cloudfield wooden sunglasses myself. It’s not like Ray-Ban quality…but Ray-Ban also costs around 130 USD.
The ones I have do reflect the price tag of 49 USD , and if you are careful with them, I can almost guarantee that you will have them for a long time. Wooden sunglasses > Plastic sunglasses. Not only for the climate, but also for the look 😉
great post about Guide: How to Find The Best Wood Sunglasses Online. Thanks For Sharing.
Excellent post. I learned a lot about wooden sunglasses
Great overview of the different wooden sunglasses that can be found out there. I mainly use my preferred physical store to buy items like this, but Amazon do have the best selection available on the online market, there is actually NO DOUBT about that.
I Wonder if more and more sunglasses Companies will stop producing With plastic and all go towards Wood…we might need many years for that to happen, but it would be super cool
Hi Arvin, thanks for your comment.
This is coming from someone who worked 3 years in the sunglasses industry: no. Companies like Ray-Ban or Tom Ford will not stop using plastic. If you think about it, plastic is actually quite an amazing material. It’s cheap to produce, easy to handle, cheap to send around the world (light weight) as well as durable.
We cannot wait for the manufacturers to take any action. Unless people step up and start to buy wooden sunglasses out of their own will, no big change will be done in the industry.
Some of the wood sunglasses companies have actually been «caught» in making some products that are not environmentally friendly at all. This is what we call greenwashing. In order to find out if the sunglasses you buy are actually ecofriendly, you would need to dig a bit deeper into the company and find out their background story. So many sunglasses companies are now making “wooden sunglasses” just so they can promote themselves and say to the public that they do something good for the world.
That is a big problem.
But I don’t doubt that the products mentioned in this article are legit. Not at all actually.
Hello. Yep, greenwashing is a big problem. I know that some articles posted online have been written in order to “catch” the companies selling not-so-ecofriendly-sunglasses. And that is excellent.
However, I have double-checked and verified all the sunglasses mentioned in this article are really environmentally friendly.