Sunglasses frames are generally made of plastic, nylon, a metal or a metal alloy. Nylon frames are usually used in sports because they are lightweight and flexible. They are able to bend slightly and return to their original shape instead of breaking when pressure is applied to them. This flex can also help the glasses grip better on the wearer's face. Metal frames are usually more rigid than nylon frames, thus they can be more easily damaged when the wearer participates in sport activities, but this is not to say that they cannot be used for such activities. Because metal frames are more rigid, some models have spring loaded hinges to help them grip the wearer's face better. The end of the resting hook and the bridge over the nose can be textured or have rubber or plastic material to improve hold. The ends of the resting hook are usually curved so that they wrap around the ear; however, some models have straight resting hooks. Oakley, for example, has straight resting hooks on all their glasses, preferring to call them "earstems".

In recent years, manufacturers have started to use various types of woods to make frames for sunglasses. Materials such as bamboo, ebony, rosewood, pear wood, walnut and zebrawood, are used making them non-toxic and nearly allergy free. The construction of a wooden frame involves laser-cutting from planks of wood. Already cut and ground to a uniform size, a buffing wheel is used to sand and buff every piece separately before they are assembled. The laser-cutouts of wood are then glued together by hand (mostly), layer on layer, to produce wooden frames. Some brands have experimented with recycled wood from objects like skateboards, whiskey barrels and baseball bats. Shwood, for example have experimented with these materials, they have even used recycled newspaper to manufacture frames.

Their final look can vary according to the color, type and finishing. With wooden sunglasses, various shades of brown, beige, burgundy or black are most common. Wooden sunglasses come in various designs and shapes. However, these sunglasses are usually more expensive than the conventional plastic, acetate or metal frames and require more care. They have been famously worn by the likes of Beyoncé, Snoop Dogg and Machine Gun Kelly.

Frames can be made to hold the lenses in several different ways. There are three common styles: full frame, half frame, and frameless. Full frame glasses have the frame go all around the lenses. Half frames go around only half the lens; typically the frames attach to the top of the lenses and on the side near the top. Frameless glasses have no frame around the lenses and the ear stems are attached directly to the lenses. There are two styles of frameless glasses: those that have a piece of frame material connecting the two lenses, and those that are a single lens with ear stems on each side.

Some sports-optimized sunglasses have interchangeable lens options. Lenses can be easily removed and swapped for a different lens, usually of a different color. The purpose is to allow the wearer to easily change lenses when light conditions or activities change. The reasons are that the cost of a set of lenses is less than the cost of a separate pair of glasses, and carrying extra lenses is less bulky than carrying multiple pairs of glasses. It also allows easy replacement of a set of lenses if they are damaged. The most common type of sunglasses with interchangeable lenses has a single lens or shield that covers both eyes. Styles that use two lenses also exist, but are less common.