There’s an endless amount of small brands that claim to focus on better price-to-quality ratios. Are Tomahawk Shades any different? Why are they so cheap? Are they as durable as all the pro athletes who love them claim them to be? In this Tomahawk Shades review, we’ll give you our unbiased (and unsponsored) opinion.
Ever since Luxottica bought Essilor, it seems as if every sunglasses brand falls under this high-end and high-priced family. Meanwhile, budget-priced manufacturers tend to sell budget-quality eyewear. Tomahawk Shades seems atypical to this industry standard.
I’ve been wearing Tomahawk Shades for months now. We’ll answer those questions and more. Let’s get to it!
The Bottom Line
While Tomahawk Shades isn’t the first brand to focus on high-quality products for low prices, they’re the first sunglasses maker (that I’ve found) to deliver on that promise as well as they do.
Tomahawk offers a compelling value proposition thanks to the gamut of styles and functions they offer.
The Models We’ll Be Looking At
We’ll be referring to / reviewing these models throughout the article. If you’re interested in checking out the products on the Tomahawk Shades site, just tap any pair below.
About the Brand: A Pair for Every Lifestyle
Launched in 2012 by Andrew and Ryan Shapiro, Tomahawk Shades aims to provide good sunglasses at below-market price points.
They do this by employing the quality-over-quantity approach of small-batch manufacturing. This allows them tight control over the quality of their shades. Regardless, they offer several styles and every function you’re looking for.
The Tomahawk catalog includes sunglasses that are polarized, non-polarized, FDA-approved impact-resistant, and UV400 equipped.
They even have a line of blue light filtering glasses called BlueLight+.
With this focus on functionality and durability, it makes sense that they’re pro-athlete approved.
Brand partners include two-time Super Bowl champ Chris Hogan and World Series champ Jon Jay.
On the aesthetic front, there’s literally a design for everyone’s personal style.
At the time of this writing, the designs are organized into 18 “classes“ which denote the frame design. There are then specific models within the classes, of which there are countless.
First Impressions of Tomahawk Shades: Stylish and Lightweight
In general, it’s easy to see that Tomahawk Shades offer a great fashion proposition. Secondly, they’re super light, which I like, since the bigger models don’t feel bulky.
Regardless, they don’t knock around and rattle on your face like most lightweight glasses do.
Despite the lack of weight, they don’t feel hollow or cheap in any way.
I tried two pairs from the Elite Class:
The Elites feature a Wayfarer-type style. The top of the lens frame doesn’t decline from the sides as much as the Ray-Ban Wayfarers do, though.
I also tried one pair from the Chris Hogan Reserve: The No.88s Tortoise Shell and Smoke. The 88s are part of a limited edition line designed by the pro-athlete himself.
I immediately liked these. They’re reminiscent of classic horn-rimmed rounds, typically used for seeing eyeglasses, but slightly squared off for a more sunglass-appropriate look. Hogan has a designer’s eye.
It also comes with a numbered card that’s filled out by hand, which is a nice touch!
Style: A Pair for Every Man
When it comes to style, Tomahawk impresses on two fronts:
- They’re a safe space to try something new. Since their prices are so low, experimenting with their more fashion-forward designs is a low risk endeavor.
- Their classics are served up with subtle twists. They’re still timeless and true-to-template, but they’re distinct and non generic.
The two pairs of shades I have from the Elite Class fit the latter category.
As mentioned, they’re like Wayfarers, but the top of the lens frames bow evenly, instead of declining in a subtle “angry brow” angle.
I think this understated shape is more versatile since it creates a neutral window around your eyes.
As such, the Arch Dukes and the Neuralyzers suit the face of most guys. Since Tomahawk is all about representing all lifestyles, these glasses represent the brand message effectively.
The Neuralyzers are matte black with clear BlueLight+ frames. They’re definitely bigger than I’d usually go for when it comes to clear-lens glasses, but I was focusing more on practicality here.
I wanted blue light lenses that would cover a lot of my eye area from every angle, but their BlueLight+ line comes in several shapes and sizes.
The Arch Dukes sport classic tortoise shell frames. It’s more subtle in the shadows, and in the sunlight, the reddish-brown tones come out with a crystalline aesthetic. I love how they balance neutrality with character this way.
The Elite Class shades (and most Tomahawk glasses) feature the Tomahawk logo on the left temple.
It’s applied instead of stamped, which is just one of a few construction-related qualities that makes them impressive for their price point.
The Hogan 88s boast an exquisitely dimensional tortoise shell pattern. It’s constructed from within, not just painted on the surface, and runs in and through the frame material.
Instead of an applied logo on the temple, there’s a stamp on the left lens.
Material: Standard, but Solid
One of the Tomahawk product promises that I didn’t believe at first, and frankly didn’t believe for a while, is that their sunglasses are durable. They’re just so light on the face.
I was definitely wrong. I’ve dropped my Arch Dukes so many times on so many surfaces and it’s always come back alive and unscratched.
They’ve hit hardwood floors, the concrete sidewalks of Manhattan, and they even hit a few rocks when I dropped them during a hike in Runyon Canyon.
The injection-molded construction on the Arch Dukes is clearly sturdy and the lenses don’t scratch easily. Overall, they exhibit a standard approach to material, which is still pretty remarkable since these sunglasses cost $35.
The Chris Hogan No. 88s are made from Mazzucchelli acetate, which is known for its transparent base that allows color to travel through. This explains the impressive spatial design.
I wear the Neuralyzers exclusively indoors, usually when I’m working at my desk or scrolling before bed. They haven’t been subjected to as much abuse as my Arch Dukes.
They definitely feel lighter though. Moreover, since they’re made of injection molded polycarbonate, this means they’re impact-resistant since polycarbonate is a shatterproof material.
Construction: Built for the Consumer
The build quality is pretty good (I already mentioned the applied logo) and exceedingly user-friendly.
The left lens of my Arch Dukes popped off when I dropped it while hiking.
I was able to very easily pop it back in, and it never fell off again, even during several subsequent trips to the ground. When this happened to me with a pair of Ray-Bans, the store charged me $75 for a new lens.
The arms of both Elite Class glasses are screwed in at the hinge. They’re tight, but not so tight that you can’t easily adjust it using a glasses-sized screwdriver.
Since they’re spring-loaded, they’re never too inflexibly taught on your temples either. I’ve worn both of my glasses for hours at a time without feeling any discomfort.
The spring also gives the arms a healthy snap when you fold them open or closed, which allows them to securely clip onto your collar.
Additionally, they’ve stayed tight for the nine months I’ve had them now, which isn’t ever the case for any pair of $35 sunglasses.
The Chris Hogan’s arms are simply screwed in, so they don’t have that snap. Still, they’re made of stainless steel, and they feel strong and solid.
Functionality: BlueLight+ Shines
The Arch Dukes and 88s are equipped with smoke-colored lenses and UV400 protection, which means they’ll effectively protect your eyes from sun damage.
Regardless, I’ve always been able to see clearly in all sorts of outdoor lighting, including while driving during sundown.
Another great quality is that the fit allows you to move around without worrying your glasses will fall off your face.
I’ve worn these guys during every kind of outdoor activity, from hiking, fishing, and hunting. They’ve stayed right on my face during a shot recoil and while casting my fishing rod.
On the function front, I’m most impressed by the BlueLight+ line. My first day at work using my blue-light-blocking Neuralyzers I immediately noticed a difference.
For years, my job always required me to sit in front of a computer for hours. And for years, like clockwork, I often needed a painkiller by 2 pm due to eye strain and headaches.
Supposedly, research is mixed regarding whether or not blue light causes eye strain, but Tomahawk’s BlueLight+ line also features glare reduction.
Whether it’s that glare reduction or actually the blue light filter, wearing Neuralyzers has personally reduced my own headaches at work.
Where everyone can agree is that blue light affects your sleep patterns. I started using my Neuralyzers before my pre-sleep phone scrolling and I definitely do sleep better.
There is a bit of a blue foil-like tint after a few hours of wearing. I find it super subtle and undistracting, but everyone is different.
Pros and Cons of Tomahawk Shades
- Tomahawk Shades features countless designs for men and women, and can likely fulfill the needs of any personal style.
- The design touches, like the applied logo and models that look slightly different in different lights, exhibit an impressive attention to detail.
- They boast low prices for high quality, offering spring-loaded hinges, UV protection, impact resistance, and solid builds all for as low as $35.
- The catalog offers every kind of functionality, including polarization and blue light protection.
- Tomahawk often does fun limited editions and athlete partnerships. This, paired with their low prices, give them a collectible and experimental quality.
- As with any small batch manufacturers, many models can be unavailable at any given time for unknown periods of time.
- Under certain lights, the blue light blocking lenses have a slight blueish tint.
- The website itself leaves a lot to be desired in terms of ease of use, product photography, etc. Luckily this doesn’t reflect the quality of the actual product.
FAQs about Tomahawk Shades
Here are the most frequently asked questions about Tomahawk Shades!
Are Tomahawk Shades Good?
Yes, Tomahawk Shades offer an excellent quality-to-price ratio. They’re well-built and durable, and their catalog has a gamut of style options.
How much do Tomahawk Shades cost?
Tomahawk Shades range from $35 to $75.
What kind of glasses block blue light?
Glasses equipped with a blue light filter either block or absorb blue light, reducing their effects. Tomahawk’s BlueLight+ line is equipped with this technology.
Are blue light glasses effective?
It’s advisable that people wear blue light filtering glasses when looking at screens.
Research on whether or not blue light causes eye strain is mixed, but blue light is proven to affect your internal clock, meaning it can negatively affect your quality of sleep.
Are Tomahawk Shades Polarized?
There are polarized and non-polarized options.
Conclusion: Best in Price
We hope this was helpful!
A pair of $200 shades can often break as easily as an $80 pair. Tomahawk’s offerings all fall under the latter price point and are exceedingly durable. They also have a style for every type of guy.
If you love a specific brand, by all means, pay the premium for that brand. You should always love your accessories.
However, when it comes to function, style, and price, Tomahawk really is the best in its category, and categories beyond it. With its athlete partnerships and fun styles, it’s also a cool brand on its own.