Hands on with Raen Optics: Classic shades with a modern twist

When it comes to sunglasses, we’ve found that it’s easiest and usually best to rely on classic, high-quality brands and styles. There are a few brands and shapes that have lasted the test of time (you know what they are), but the longer they’re around, the more people end up wearing the exact same pair. In the last few years, smaller boutique brands have been popping up all over the place offering excellent quality and more interesting and intriguing frame styles. One of those great new brands is Raen Optics of Encinitas, California. The eyewear brand was created in 2008 with the aim of bringing quality and classic-based designs to discerning buyers. Most of the company’s designs are modern takes on a shape that you’ve seen before, with interesting details, frame colors, and designer collaborations. We took a look at a few of Raen’s popular styles so we could give you all the details.

We got our hands on The Squire (above left, $110), The Hopson (above right, $110), and The Breslin ($110, a great women’s movie-star style) and we can confidently say that we were impressed by both the quality and styling of each pair. The Squire is a classic horn-rimmed rectangular frame designed with the likes of James Dean in mind. It functions as a unisex frame and has the classic appeal of a wayfarer, with a slightly more sophisticated shape. The Hopson is an equally timeless aviator style that is available in silver, gold, or all-black finishes. We found the lenses to be crisp and clear and each frame seemed sturdy enough to last for years if treated well. The frames don’t have spring hinges, which can come in handy for large heads or less-than-gentle hands, but we weren’t worried about throwing the shades in a bag sans-case. We’d definitely take a little more care with The Hopson, since it’s extremely lightweight and might be more easily damaged. Bottom line, each pair that we got our hands on was sturdy, high-quality, and looked like it would be an almost universally-flattering shape.

The company has a wide selection of both men’s, women’s, and unisex styles, even including a few that can be used a prescription eyeglass frames. Each frame is made with 100-percent UV Protected CR-39 lenses and comes with a case and lightweight sunglass sock. You can check out the entire collection online.

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