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I replaced my $200 shades with this $12 pair from Amazon — I'll never go back

No style has suited my face quite as well as these.
Katie Jackson / TODAY

I made a lot of rookie mistakes when I first moved to Arizona a couple of years ago. Among them was leaving my $200 sunglasses on the dashboard of my car on a triple-digit day. Needless to say, the frames melted in the heat.

Since my budget doesn't allow for new expensive shades, I opted to replace them with something more affordable and conducive to my lifestyle. Fortunately, I found a $12 pair of sunglasses with over 38,200 verified five-star ratings on Amazon. While they seemed promising, I couldn't help but wonder if these affordable glasses could really check all my boxes. (Spoiler alert: they did.)

Sungait Vintage Round Sunglasses

They're super flattering

If I had to choose between a $150 pair of designer sunglasses that didn't flatter my face and a pair of $12 sunglasses from a brand no one knows about that did flatter my face, let's just say I'd still have $138 in the bank.

I've tried oversized sunglasses, aviator sunglasses, rectangle sunglasses, wayfarers and countless others. But no style has suited my face quite as well as these, which are advertised as "round, classic and retro." I'm not sure what fashionistas call that combo — but I just call it a win. Oh, and these shades come in a variety of colors, frame finishes and lenses, so I can easily mix up my looks.

As much as I consider sunglasses to be a fashion accessory, I also appreciate them for their primary purposes: protecting my eyes and helping me see better, especially when I'm driving. And the brand says that these ones block 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays. Their lenses are also easy to keep scratch-free — I just have to make sure I only clean them with the soft cloth they came with.

wearing SUNGAIT sunglasses while driving
Katie Jackson

The quality is impressive

Forget flimsy or fragile — these sunglasses feel structurally sound. I ordered two pairs, and both have composite frames, so I'm not worried about them shattering when I inevitably drop them.

These sunglasses also come with a substantial kit. There's a screwdriver tool on a keychain, a cleaning cloth and a carrying bag. Plus, if you get the polarized lenses (which don't necessarily cost extra), you get a neat card showing how they work. The card appears to have an empty road on it, but when you look at it through the polarized lenses, you can see cars driving on it.

I wasn't expecting such classy packaging and thoughtful components, especially for a pair of sunglasses that cost less than my typical lunch order.

Everything that comes with a pair of SUNGAIT polarized sunglasses
Katie Jackson

My biggest complaint about my previous glasses was the separate nose pads. My long hair would always get caught on them, and then I'd either lose a few strands or the whole nose pad while trying to untangle the mess. These sunglasses don't have separate pads to worry about, yet they still rest comfortably on the bridge of my nose. They also don't leave indentation marks when I take them off.

I'd say I have an average-size head, and these fit perfectly. I'm able to turn my head to the side and look up and down without them sliding around or falling off. I could probably even run or play beach volleyball in them. But let's get real: I'm far more likely to wear them with my favorite sun hat while napping by the pool.

SUNGAIT sunglasses in black
Katie Jackson

Even though these glasses would be easy to replace, I definitely won't be leaving them on the dashboard on a triple-digit day!