I’m like a lot of parents, in that I know my kids should be wearing sun protection for their eyes, but I’m not inclined to drop a lot on kids’ sunglasses. Then I started thinking, if I’m spending $15–20 on safe kids’ sunscreen that gives you maybe a week’s worth of protection before you need a new one, why wouldn’t I spend around that much on good, polarized kids’ sunglasses? So now I’ve got a new mindset.

Related: 6 pairs of perfect sunglasses for kids

We’ve recommended some terrific kids’ sunglasses over the years, including Baby Banz and Babiators. And now I’m happy to add Real Kids Shades to the list. They sent me a few to check out, and for the most part, there are some good kids’ sunglasses here, with a few caveats.

I think overall, Real Kids is definitely a case of you get what you pay for. The baby sunglasses and some styles of kids’ sunglasses start at $12.95, and max out around $35 for older kids and teens. While they all offer 100% UVA/UVB protection and the flexible frames that are a requirement when you’re dealing with kids, the higher-end frames have features I think are worth it, like shatterproof lenses and polarization, and possibly a handy band that keeps them from flying off on the beach or carnival rides. You can even add Rx lenses to any of them.

Just know that the less expensive frames look…well, less expensive. The Sky Sunglasses could pass for an American Girl Doll accessory.

If that matters to you, you’re better off with the polarized Explorers (size 4+), which impressed me most, or maybe the Breeze sunglasses(sizes 4+, 7+), which are a little more fashion-forward.

I will also say their website is a bit of a mess to navigate — for some reason, the Real Kids Australia site is a much nicer browsing experience. So you can always look there, then shop from the US site. Or go to our affiliate, Amazon, where you can find the entire range with free Prime shipping.

Overall, I’m pleased to find another brand making kids’ sunglasses that are colorful and fun, without getting into wacky patterns, licensed cartoon characters, or precocious accents like rhinestones and glitter. Particularly with their kids and teen sunglasses, they’re striking a nice balance between letting kids know that wearing sun protection is serious business and reminding them you can still look cool doing it.

Shop tons of styles of Real Kids sunglasses from our affiliate Amazon, or read more on their own Real Kids Shades website. Be sure to check the ages and stages page to be sure you get the right size for your own kids; most of the Amazon reviewer complaints are about ordering the wrong size. Also note that the colors on the Real Kids website are more accurate than some of the photos on other retailer sites.

Thanks to the company for sending us a few pairs for consideration.

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