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Shwood is a sunglasses brand you might have come into contact with before this moment — online ads, word-of-mouth, or maybe the explore portion of Instagram. They’re a sunglasses brand that integrates natural, handcrafted wood into their creations. Sometimes it as simple as the name suggests.
Every step, from veneering and lens cutting, to shaping and finishing, is conducted in their Portland-based workshop. You can actually view the entire creation process here on their site in an embedded video a few scrolls down. By keeping it all under one roof, Shwood is able to retain a homey, comfortable ethos and reliably ensure quality assurance in a way few companies can with an increasingly vast (and disjointed) supply chain.
Every pair of Shwood sunglasses is entirely handcrafted at their workshop, and each wooden creation is made with a canonical focus on not marring the wood in anyway, but letting its natural beauty remain the focal point. And the wood is naturally beautiful — or at least it had better be — since it's sustainably-harvested from authorized and supervised plantations handpicked from all over the world. For a company that seeks to respect and showcase what is already beautiful in the world around us, the responsible acquisition of wood and careful deference to it in the design process really only makes sense. You paid for the best wood, let it do what the best wood does.
The intimate and active manufacturing process allows the creators to impart real craftsmanship into a product sold online, so something sent to someone they've never met can feel like a bit of Portland home.
With Shwood, you’ll get a cool, unique look that benefits from advanced precision technology but keeps the down-home, earthy appreciation for its family line that many buyers (and its creators alike) will appreciate.We got to try out a few pairs to see how the wood held up and what all this internet fuss was about, and our thoughts are below:ShwoodBreton Fischetti, senior director, commerce: Shwood Francis Sunglasses, $149 ($189 for polarized lens)
I've seen Shwood's products around the internet for a few years. I liked the look but always thought that the wood was mostly a trick, and that they wouldn't hold up well if they got wet. I haven't used them in any inclement weather, but it seems like whatever seal they put on the wood is going to protect them from the elements. The first thing that I noticed was that the sunglasses are pretty substantial; definitely heavier than the pairs I have made of acetate (most plastic-feeling sunglasses).
The wood is a lot more subtle in person than it appeared online. It added a nice texture to the glasses without being ostentatious. They also have a nice feature that many sunglasses don't, which is that the hinges on the frame allow for a little bit of flexing, so it's harder to bend the glasses out of shape or stretch them out so they don't stay on your face.ShwoodBrandt Ranj, associate commerce editor: Shwood Prescott Sunglasses, $159 ($199 for polarized lens)
I don't typically wear sunglasses. I always end up forgetting them in my car, a drawer, or a friend's place; instead, I spend most of my sunny days squinting. Shwood's sunglasses might change that this summer because I really like wearing them. They're heavier than any other pairs I've worn, but not enough to feel uncomfortable on my face.
Besides providing a practical function — protecting your eyes from the sun — these glasses also look really nice. I've never really worn sunglasses as an accessory, but Shwood's are the first pair I've worn in a while that kind of feel like my look. The highest praise I can give them is that I'm actively disappointed when I've forgotten them somewhere, which I can't say for most other pairs.
ShwoodMara Leighton, commerce reporter: Shwood Newport 52MM Sunglasses, $189 ($229 for polarized lens)
I didn’t know what to think about wood being used in sunglasses, but I was pretty sure I didn’t like it. I thought, probably partly because of how high definition the photos online are, that the wood would look so stark against the lenses that it would appear out of place and gimmicky — "ask me about my wooden sunglasses!"
I am happy to say I was wrong. I got a pair of the Newport 52MM in the dark walnut wood, and I actually love the look. The wood is dark and doesn’t look unnatural or attention-grabbing in any ostentatious way, and the addition of it weights the frame down just enough to make me feel like they’re actually secure on my face.
My favorite part, though, was how seamless the transition was once I put them on. Unlike many sunglasses I have, the entire world didn’t get dark once I put them on — I didn’t lose the clarity of my own vision to an extremely dark tint that made objects blurry, which is honestly why I prefer to go without them most of the time. Even though I loved the wooden look, it’s this detail of clarity in the polarized lenses that made me understand those heretofore mysterious people who keep sunglasses on inside. So while I love the design, it’s probably their weight and especially seamless, non-obstructive lens that will keep me wearing them this summer.
It's a nice way to wear sunglasses without feeling like you're wearing sunglasses every second they're on.You can check out Shwood's full selection of sunglasses here.
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