Eco-friendly sunglasses make a fashion forward statement in today’s world, and wood frame sunglasses are some of the coolest to hit the streets in recent years. Plus, the selection of stylish bamboo sunglasses has never been better. In a way, both are the quintessential eco-conscious shades because they’re unmistakably “plant-based.”
People often refer to bamboo as a wood, as in “I’m looking for bamboo wood sunglasses,” because bamboo has the same aesthetic qualities as real wood. However, bamboo is actually a fast-growing grass – it holds the world’s record for the fastest growing plant.
In addition to being Earth-friendly, both wood and bamboo sunglasses are lightweight, so they’re comfortable enough to wear all day long. Not to mention, many styles float, making them the perfect accessory for having fun in the water on a sunny summer day.
Today, you can find wood-framed sunglasses in cherry wood, maple, pear, and other varieties. And because every tree is different, no two pairs are exactly alike. Some designers are also making sunglasses from reclaimed wood that was previously used for flooring, skateboard decks, and other products.
Aside from the aesthetics, why should you buy sunglasses that are made with wood frames, bamboo, or other sustainable materials?
All over the world, people wear sunglasses. This year, Americans alone will buy 200 million pairs. With our growing plastic pollution crisis, it only makes sense to reduce the amount of virgin plastic we buy. Purchasing sunglasses that use less virgin plastic, or none at all, is the optimal way to go.
Here are some innovative brands making cool sunglasses with wood and bamboo frames:
WOOD FRAME SUNGLASSES
As the name implies, Woodies is all about wood sunglasses. Their brand has a fun retro vibe, but their materials, including polarized lenses, are all cutting edge. The company is devoted to making petrol-plastic a thing of the past. Woodies offers a broad selection of men’s and women’s frame shapes in an impressive collection of woods, including rose wood, zebra wood, walnut, and more.
Here’s a promo video for Woodies:
Designer Paul Ven creates artisanal real wood sunglasses in walnut, ebony, zebra wood, oak, and maple. Paul Ven’s designed are created in London, and their Etsy page claims,
“People (especially in London and probably other big cities) who don’t have these wood sunglasses will express high levels of jealousy towards you. They’re a real head turner. So be noticed, and be cheeky as a fox.”
Every pair of Paul Vens is unique, and you can make them even more so (if that’s possible) by getting a custom message engraved inside the arm of the sunglasses.
They come with polarized, shatterproof polycarbonate lenses that offer 100% UVA/UVB protection, and ever pair has stainless steel spring hinges. But wait, there’s more: These babies float.
Based in Sudbury, Canada, Mitchell Made is another designer that crafts beautiful wood and bamboo sunglasses by hand. Their styles are unique, but with a vintage feel. Mitchell Made ships their sunglasses with a faux leather case.
Hammockable plants five trees for every pair of sunglasses they sell in partnership with the nonprofit Trees for the Future. The organization helps families transition from destructive farming techniques to a forest garden system that helps sustain them for the long term. Hammockable gets some of the natural maple wood for their sunglasses from unused wood scraps that are left over from the production of skateboards.
If you’ve got a party coming up and want to give your guests a fun, eco-friendly gift, check out the selection of custom wood and bamboo sunglasses offered by Etsy artisans. A number of companies, like My Personal Memories, will engrave names and slogans on the arms of the shades.
4est Shades’ wooden sunglasses are all natural and handmade out of real maple and cherry wood. The company also make styles in bamboo.
All of their eco-friendly sunglasses are polarized to provide the UV protection you’d expect from any top brand. Plus, their high-quality wooden and bamboo sunglasses are super durable. Every pair comes with an engraved bamboo case and a microfiber cloth for upkeep and safekeeping. Eco-conscious in both product and practice, 4est Shades plants two trees for every pair of sunglasses they sell.
Blue Planet is another socially conscious eyewear company whose brand means a lot more than quality eyewear. Based in Santa Barbara, California, they create sunglasses and corrective eyewear with a variety of sustainable materials, including wood, bamboo, recycled metal, and recycled plastic. You can see their recycled styles in my post “Recycled Sunglasses: Look Good While Doing Good.”
With every pair of glasses Blue Planet sells, they donate a pair of glasses to a person in need through their charitable partners. To date, they’ve improved the sight for over 400,000 visually impaired people around the world.
Here’s a video featuring Lisa Lawenda, a VP at Blue Planet, and Matt Weinstein, the company’s brand manager, talking about Blue Planet’s Visualize Change program, which helps restore sight for people around the world:
Amoloma is another brand that’s making eco-friendly sunglasses in sustainable materials like pear wood, bamboo, recycled skateboard decks, and also cellulose acetate. Their lenses are all polarized for optimal UV protection. And if you’re looking for more colorful options, check out their styles made from recycled skateboards in my post “Recycled Sunglasses: Look Good While Doing Good.”
Socially conscious brand Proof Eyewear donates 12% of their annual profits to charitable organizations around the world. They started making their wooden sunglasses from scraps in the family’s sawmill, and they eventually expanded to using recycled aluminum and bioplastics in their frames.
You may have seen their pitch on Shark Tank from a few years ago. I loved story when I heard it. Little did I imagine at the time that I would be blogging about Proof Eyewear someday.
In their wood framed sunglasses, Proof used FSC certified wood. FSC is short for the Forest Stewardship Council, which is an international nonprofit that sets global standards for forest products. These standards help to promote eco-friendly, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world’s forests.
Proof’s lenses are UVA and UVB protected, and if you wear prescription lenses, you can easily swap them out in Proof’s eco-friendly frames.
Woodzee hand makes their wood framed sunglasses in a variety of sustainable and reclaimed woods, including madrone, oak, and maple. Their shades are comfortable and lightweight, and each pair is one of a kind. All of their lenses are polarized with 100% UV400 protection.
Tree Tribe is an outdoor lifestyle brand that plants a whopping 10 trees for every sale they make. They design a number of eco-friendly products, including water bottles, eco-conscious clothing, and of course – cool, sustainable sunglasses.
Their real wood sunglasses have interchangeable, scratch resistant polarized lenses that offer UV400 protection. You can easily swap out their lenses for prescription lenses, or if you’re just in the mood to change lens colors.
To check out some cool sunglasses made with reclaimed skateboard wood, check out my post “Recycled Sunglasses: Look Good While Doing Good.”
Bamboo is a superstar sustainable material that makes great sunglasses. It’s easy to grow without much water, it grows fast, and it’s naturally anti-bacterial and water-resistant.
Buy one pair of these bamboo shades from Tree Tribe, and they’ll plant 10 trees in your honor.
Tree Tribe’s bamboo sunglasses come in wayfarer, cat eye, and other styles. And if you plan to be spending a lot of time in and out of the water, no worries – they’ll float!
Robin Wood is a designer I found on Etsy that handmakes artisanal sunglasses from sustainable bamboo. Every pair has polarized lenses with UV400 protection, and they come with a two-year warranty. The company also designs wooden watches that have eco-friendly cork wristbands, so be sure to check out their Etsy store.
Solo Eyewear is another brand with an inspiring give-back philosophy. They also focus on helping to restore vision for people in need.
All of their eco-friendly sunglasses are made with 100% sustainable materials, including repurposed bamboo and recycled plastic. And their lenses are UV protected and prescription-friendly. Their bamboo arm sunglasses come in a variety of frame shapes, including wayfarer, aviator, and round.
To see more eco-conscious sunglasses, check out: