In this review, I take a look at two pairs of sunglasses by the emerging brand, Enemy Eyewear.
I’ll admit, I didn’t wear sunglasses for most of my life. As a child of the 90s, everybody was about ‘The Blue Blocker’ sunglasses advertised on TV. My dad picked up whatever was at the local gas station on our way out to various hunting and fishing trips — we must have had several pairs.
Following several professional athletes during high school, I got hooked on the idea that Oakley was the top dog in this space.
While in Florida for a school trip in 1999, I spent over $100 on a pair of Oakley sports frames, which was a TON of money for a blue-collar kid, and it took me forever to save for those things. Needless to say, I never told dad about this status-oriented expenditure and hid my newly prized possession from him indefinitely.
Fast forward, and I’ve been in the menswear space since 2009. As I learned more about brands, I easily defaulted to the Ray-Ban camp. Their styles were classic, and given the shape of my face and complexion, I found them to be the go-to play.
I’ve long been a fan of both the Clubmaster as well as the New Wayfarers. With that being said, in this review, I decided to pick the two frames from Enemy Shades that I thought would follow this same theme: Enemy 1 Wayfarers and the Enemy 2 Clubmasters, both in Tortoise with Gradient Lenses.
Given my long and narrow bridge, I decided to pass on reviewing the Enemy 3 Aviators. I also skipped over the Enemy 4 oversized box frames since I’m more of a traditionalist in this space.
- Enemy Sunglasses: First Impressions
- Design & Materials
- What I like About Enemy Sunglasses
- Room for Improvement
- Overall Recommendation
ENEMY SUNGLASSES: FIRST IMPRESSIONS
When I opened the Enemy box, I was immediately impressed by the packaging, a very solid and durable box that would probably support my weight. I doubt these glasses could get broken during shipping!
Inside, the glasses came in a beautiful black hard case, a soft travel sleeve, and a cleaning cloth. As a guy with a long and narrow bridge, there are few sunglasses I like, but soon as I put these on, I knew it was going to work out.
DESIGN & MATERIALS
Enemy Eyewear has four styles with 3-4 different models with different lenses and the option of silver or gold details. This is an expansion from their original release in which they had two styles for each of their three models or a total of 6 options.
The shades I picked up included the gradient lenses, but they also offer a blackout option. Unlike similar websites I’ve visited, on Enemy.com it is easy to navigate and find what you are looking for.
Upon first inspection, I was impressed by the quality of both the lenses and frames. The frames are made out of a plant-based acetate that comes from Italy. The lenses are made by Zeiss Optics and have 100% UV protection.
All of the hardware is stainless steel as well, no cheap stuff rusting after a splash in the pool. I’m not going to go into a long sermon here, but basically, they didn’t cut any corners regarding the manufacturing aspect of these guys.
While size doesn’t tell you everything per se, given the uniqueness of all of our heads and faces, I’m 5-7, 165lbs, and about 18% body fat at the time of these pictures. In the Enemy 1 Wayfarer, I selected the standard size 52-19. In the Enemy 2, I picked the standard 51-18.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT ENEMY SUNGLASSES
One of the things about Enemy Shades is the price point is a tremendous value. At under $100 a pair, I can’t think of another brand I have tried on at the mall without this level of style and durability.
By far, my favorite thing about both pairs is the gradient lenses. They allow me to ride my bike to work here in DC while keeping the sun out of my eyes.
The lower part of the lenses is clear, making it easy to read while outside. Personally, I always choose function over fashion and the gradient lenses offer the best of both worlds.
Oh, did I also mention they come with a six-month warranty?
Lastly, I like that the lenses are taller than some other brands. As a guy with a high bridge, this really helps the glasses to look more balanced on my face.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
Quite frankly, this is nitpicking and mere personal preference. The hardshell case is a bit big, and unless you’re stuffing these guys in a suitcase for a long trip, the case is a bit much.
In addition, the cloth sleeve merely offers scratch protection. I strongly recommend picking up their Slim Black Sunglasses Case. It’s low profile and somewhat soft, but it provides the best of both worlds. I tend to use this case a lot on trips, both short and long.
The second critique is more about the selection. Enemy sunglasses only come in two sizes. I guess they prefer to do a few models well instead of several styles poorly. If you are very picky about the width and length of your frames, Enemy might not have exactly the size you’re looking for.
I foresee Enemy Eyewear carving out a special niche in the sunglasses world. While limited in selection, they offer a quality pair at a fair price. I consider that to be one of the ‘best bangs for your buck’ in the industry.
Also, seeing how the brand started with fewer styles in the beginning, I would keep an eye on this company and look for more products as time goes on.
I’m a big proponent of practicing what you preach, so with that being said, if you see me around the DC area or on the social media channels, I can guarantee you’ll only see me in Enemy Shades.