The end of winter is the official start of sunglass season, as the sunlight lingers and people stay out and play longer. This year sees a number of innovative lightweight polycarbonate models available for the athletically minded outdoors person, from surfers to cyclists.
Zoinx Wrap: Metal-rimmed polycarbonate glasses with carabiner clips integrated into the end of each arm for attaching a neck strap. Two straps are included, one with a zippered pouch with a flotation insert that keeps it from sinking in water. Available with prescription lenses.
Likes: Finally, no more wasted money on lost sunglasses. An improvement over traditional add-on straps like Croakies because the strap cannot slip off. The pouch strap has room for keys and a credit card, and its flotation pad assures it won't end up in the bottom of the ocean. Oddly (perhaps usefully), the pouch can also be worn separately around your wrist as a wallet.
Price: $119. zoinxsunglasses.com
Surfer sight savers
Mormaii Floater Surf Sunglasses: Polarized, hydrophobic-coated plastic-rimmed polycarbonate surfer sunglasses from Brazil. Include detachable arms that can be replaced by a snap-in neck strap and a fog-eliminating foam spacer that distances the glasses from skin.
Likes: Great solution to the problem of eye protection in the waves; longtime surfers are apparently prone to developing cataracts and pterygiums ("surfer's eye," a growth on the cornea). The clever design lets you swap conventional temple arms for a snug, adjustable, non-stretchable strap; the ends dock/undock in a port located just in back of the rims. The non-elastic head band keeps them snug, but they'll float if they fall off. The foam spacer stops fogging and provides shock absorption against the force of a wave. Back on dry land, remove the spacer and strap, and put on a nose piece and arms.
Dislikes: I tend to lose things, so even though it comes with a classy zippered carry case, I can see a missing arm or nose piece in my future.
Price: $160. wearsurfglasses.com
Shrink your shades
Visoptical Popticals: Polycarbonate sunglasses that collapse to half their size for easy storage and transport.
Likes: Seems like a magic trick. Ingenious design in which the wraparound frame and lenses slide on patented built-in micro-rails and spoon together. Convenient for slipping into your pocket. Five styles available in April. A case and carabiner are included.
Price: $169 to $199 (non-polarized); $199 to $239 (polarized). popticals.com
I can see clearly now
Kaenon X-Kore: Polarized, plastic-rimmed running/cycling sunglasses with patented proprietary "SR91" polymer lenses set in snap-in half-rims. Available with prescription lenses.
Likes: Extremely crisp optics and anti-glare capability. The lens, Kaenon's longtime claim to fame (warranted, I think), has a hydrophobic coating that beads up water and a scratch-resistant and anti-reflective hard coating. The half-rims allow good peripheral vision for cycling. Holes in the back of each arm allow you to thread a strap or a string through (although Kaenon does not sell one).
Dislikes: At this price, I'd like to see an extra lens or two (cyclists, in particular, need a clear lens when they get stuck riding at night), but none is available — odd, considering that the frame features an easy snap-in/out design.
Price: $249 ($190 on Amazon). kaenon.com
Wallack is a coauthor of "Bike for Life: How to Ride to 100 — and Beyond." [email protected]
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