Finding the right type of sunglasses with the qualities that are most important to you depends on your activities, budget and as to what materials your favorite brand is using.
All sunglasses are basically the same in functionality when it comes to protection. It essentially filters out UVA and UVB rays and does so accompanied by various colors, coatings, tints and technologies to maximize comfort and daily usability.
But what about the actual frames that are holding onto your lenses? What materials are there to choose from and most importantly what’s the difference between them? We’ll explain.
What types of materials are there?
There are basically two types of materials that stand out when it comes to eye wear frames, Metal and Plastics.
- Stainless steel
Stainless steel frames are lightweight, strong, durable, flexible and corrosion-resistant. They also can be produced in matte or polished finishes depending on the finishing. They are your go to material to look for in cheaper frames.
- Memory metal
Memory metal is a titanium allow composed of 50/50 titanium and nickel combined. These frames are extremely flexible and return to their original state, making these frames great for kids and anyone who really stress their frames in every day use.
This is a premium material that is very strong, durable and corrosion resistant. It’s so light that its used in all types of motorized sports to fabricate the lightest metal parts available. It’s also hypoallergenic making it a perfect material for eye wear frames.
- Beta Titanium
This is an alloy made of titanium for the most part, but mixed with small amounts of aluminium and vanadium. These supplementing metals makes the titanium more flexible for easier fitting and adjustments.
This is a lower-cost alternative to titanium and resits corrosion and tarnishing. Which makes it an excellent choice for anyone with high skin acidity or anyone who spends a good amount of time on or around salt water. On the plus side, it’s also very flexible and strong, but still keeping things lightweight.
A highly popular and inexpensive material made of an alloy of nickel and copper. It’s cheaper to make, the quality really depends on the plating used and they made discolor over time due to the copper. Plus it may cause skin reactions over time.
Aluminium offers a best of both worlds capabilities in terms of strength, weight and endurance. Frames made from aluminium are lightweight and highly corrosion-resistant.
It is a relatively inexpensive type of plastic and also one of the most popular plastics used in eyewear frames. Although very cheap and durable at first, it becomes brittle over time and it will fail 9 out of 10 times before the summer is over.
- Zyl / Acetate
This is an is inexpensive and lightweight material, and comes in many colors. The most used material when it comes to expensive designer frames is acetate. A high-quality plastic originating from the renewable resources of wood pulp and natural cotton fibers. Frames are shaped from a block of material, and then heat shaped to add curve and inclination.
Nylon is strong, lightweight and flexible, but it can become brittle with age. Over time different blends popped up as a replacement to nylon such as polyamides, copolyamides and gliamides – which are more durable.
- Propionate (Nylon)
This is a nylon-based plastic that is strong, flexible, lightweight and hypoallergenic. Propionate is often used in sports frames because of its durability and flexible nature.
- TR90 (Nylon) (Memory Frame Technology)
Produced through Swiss technology as a thermoplastic material that is incredibly durable, flexible, and lightweight. TR90 is our go to material as they are supremely lightweight and offers a barely-there feel that you truly have to wear to believe. Most, if not all of our sunglasses feature TR90 materials that we feature as frames made from our Memory Frame Technology.
Combination of materials
Many of these materials can be combined to offer a hybrid frame that is made out of a plastic front and metal temples, or vice versa. Combination frames have really made a comeback the last few years. As of now, Mariener only carries full-plastic (TR90) frames, but we may switch it up when time progresses.