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Wiley X Is Sneaky Good: ‘WX Founder’ Sunglasses Are a Pleasant Surprise

I'm jaded when it comes to testing sunglasses. But Wiley X's Founder model is a level-up for the brand.
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Reviewing sunglasses is tricky business. It’s really hard to quantify things like “clear,” “sharp,” or “defined.” But those adjectives tend to roll off the page, describing good optics without much support.

Historically, a handful of top sunglasses brands have earned those accolades consistently. Although Wiley X is good, it hasn’t been one of them.

Until now. I’ve worn the Wiley X WX Founder model for 6 months. And more than once, I’ve mistaken it for a pair from Costa, which I’ve found consistently to make the best sunglasses on the market.

From the best my eyes can tell, Wiley X has leveled up.

In short: The Wiley X Founder is a medium-to-large sunglass with excellent comfort and remarkable lenses that compete with the best polycarbonate lenses on the market. They’ve proven relatively durable after 6 months of testing.

Wiley X Founder


  • Fit Medium to large
  • Lens Captivate polycarbonate lenses
  • Special features ANSI Z87.1 safety standards, dual-injected rubber temples


  • Light and comfortable
  • Excellent lens clarity
  • Good durability for polycarbonate lenses


  • No hard case included

Wiley X Founder Sunglasses Review

Man wearing Wiley X Founder sunglasses and helmet
The author testing the Wiley X Founder while driving an ATV on a very dusty trail in Arizona; (photo/Sean McCoy)

To put this out there as a benchmark, I personally think Costa del Mar is the current standard-bearer for quality sunglasses. But to get the best of Costa, you need to go with its glass lenses, which have two downsides: weight and a lack of protection.

This is where polycarbonate shines. Wiley X has brought a top-shelf polycarbonate offering with its Captivate lenses. I’ve put the Wiley X Founder sunglasses with polarized green mirror lenses into regular rotation in the Colorado sun since January.

I used them skiing, hiking, trail running, and turkey hunting. They even came to Arizona, where I wore them on a dusty ATV ride and whitewater rafting. Just last weekend, I took them SUPing at the Chatfield reservoir near Denver, where they took a few unplanned swims with me while I was trying to teach my dog to SUP.

And darn if these sunglasses haven’t performed flawlessly. They’re light, tipping my kitchen scale at exactly .99 ounces. I’d round it to one ounce, but that number was just too cool. They’re comfortable, easy on the nose and ears, and secure enough to not fall off during a few swims — even when my hat popped off my head from the impact with the water.

The lenses are also excellent. Do they compete with glass? Not quite. However, polycarbonate lenses that meet ANSI Z87.1 safety standards are about as good as they get.

There is one downside: They don’t come with a hard case. I’ve simply used cases from other sunglasses that I own. But if you need a hard case and don’t own one, keep this in mind when shopping.

Who Should Buy the Wiley X Founder Sunglasses?

Wiley X makes sunglasses with protection in mind. Founded in 1987 by U.S. Army veteran Myles Freeman Sr., the brand’s mission has been to “Build the world’s best protective eyewear.” That means eschewing glass for other, more protective materials.

Wiley X Founder sunglasses and ATVs
No scratches on the Wiley X Founder sunglasses after a very dusty trail ride in Arizona; (photo/Sean McCoy)

The Founder model carries this same protective story as the rest of the line, meeting ANSI Z87.1 safety standards with optional side shields (that I haven’t tested).

These sunglasses are for those who want reliable eye protection that competes with the best optics on the market. At around $200, the Wiley X Founder also packs a premier price, which means it’s going against the best. And fortunately, it measures up.

Try on a pair. If they fit your face and you like the style, the Founder is an excellent pair of sunglasses that should meet the demands of most outdoor adventures.

a pile of sunglasses in testing among GearJunkie staff

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