Sunny days are upon us, and it’s time to grab a water bottle, car keys, and sunglasses and take advantage of the outdoor playground that is Texas. Whether you’re lounging in a tube on the Guadalupe River, navigating a golf cart through Port Aransas, or hiking in Caprock Canyons State Park, these three Texas-based brands have a pair of sunglasses that will block the rays and match your style. One was started with athletes in mind, another protects the retinas of the likes of Steven Tyler, and the third has been seen everywhere from the silver screen to the battlefield. Each style, no matter the brand, comes with a carrying case and pairs well with a patio margarita.
1. Roka (Austin)
“Not everyone wanted the armored-up look of traditional sport wrap glasses,” said Rob Canales, the cofounder and CEO of Roka. To meet the needs of the fashion-conscious athlete, Canales and his team designed a pair of aviators. The famous shape is typically associated more with strolls on the beach than with 30-mile-per-hour downhill bike rides, but Roka’s version is made to withstand a few bumps in the road. The company developed technology to mimic a gecko’s foot on the nose pads and temple areas: the sweatier you get, the more grip it has.
“The result is a pair of performance eyewear that will stay glued on your face whether you’re running a marathon or bombing down a mountain bike trail,” Canales said. The Rio aviators ($290–$310) have frames made with titanium instead of steel, and the lenses are ultra-lightweight nylon. The sunglasses have been worn on medal podiums, during the Tour de France, and while training for the Ironman World Championship. “We take iconic, timeless frame shapes and then cram them with performance technology that lets you use just one pair of glasses to cover a much larger range of activities,” Canales said. The Barton ($180–$205), named after Barton Springs, is a best-selling classic rectangular frame. Add on the glacier-blue lenses to stand out on the Greenbelt.
2. Transparent Sunglasses (Houston)
A month after Margot Hogan launched Transparent Sunglasses on Instagram in 2020, she had six followers, including her mom. So when a direct message came in from someone connected to the Grammy awards, she was shocked. The social media fairy godmother invited her to the show to mingle with artists and fill gift bags with her styles, which are colorful, glam, and fit for a diva. When she went to the show, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry and Steven Tyler liked her aviators style so much that they wanted a few pairs delivered to their dressing room before rehearsals.
Since then, Hogan has been caught up in a whirlwind of high-profile events and collaborations. She used pieces of drumsticks from Rikki Rockett of Poison to make a (now sold out) style and just launched an aviator with pink lenses with Alice Cooper guitarist Ryan Roxie.
The Hayley ($195–$220) is a ’60s-style cat-eye frame that comes in multiple colors and one come-on—the white style, which includes the phrase “pretty with no boyfriend” written right above the lenses. “I didn’t feel like there was a brand that was playful in that way,” Hogan said. For a frame that makes a statement without words, look to the Brigitte ($350), which was inspired by the sixties sex symbol of the same name.
3. Wiley X (Frisco)
If you’ve watched a recent major movie that centered around military or law enforcement, chances are that the actors wore Wiley X sunglasses. But it’s not just fictional characters who’ve worn the frames—Wiley X also provides protective wear for the U.S. military. All of their glasses meet federal and European standards for protection against flying debris.
The company is familiar with what someone in the armed forces would need in extreme situations: it was founded by Myles Freeman Sr., a veteran, and the company remains family-owned. But you don’t need to be on the front lines to enjoy the sporty style. These glasses will provide needed safety while doing yard work or skipping rocks with the kids at Garner State Park.
The WX Saint ($85) is lightweight and sleek and comes with interchangeable lenses. (The black frames were seen in American Sniper.) The WX Trek ($180) can be worn to work or for play: the frames look like standard rectangles, but they come with removable side shields.