Sunday, September 20th, 2009
Sunglasses for the Avid Outdoorsman
From Left to Right – Front Row: Numa Point, Bobster Prowler, Edge Kohr
Middle Row: Numa Sparta, Bobster Low Rider II, Edge Dakura Camo
Far Row (On Hats) : ESS Naro, Smith Aegis
If you’re active in the Outdoors, you’re going to want a good pair of sunglasses. Whether you’re hanging a new stand location in the heat of July, sighting in your new rifle or just joy-riding those ATV trails, your eyes need protection from the Sun and the activity you’re doing. For this review, we set out to contact a variety of sunglass manufacturers with four components in mind; Style, Performance, Fit, and Overall Value. Hey, we know that everyone’s preferences are different when it comes to what they put on their face. We’re hard on our eyewear and we just wanted to find some optics that we could showcase for your consideration. After a summer’s worth of Heritage Hunters activities we think we’ve got a good arrary.
Here’s a look at 5 different companies whose eyewear we tested. There’s got to be a style here that suits your particular Outdoor Lifestyle!
Category Explanation: When we came up with the idea behind doing a review on sunglasses, we looked at qualities that are important to us in pretty much any review situation. These qualities are:
Style: If you’re spending good money on a quality pair of sunglasses, you want them to be stylish. Something that I can wear to my kid’s soccer games and also be able to clear an ATV trail with a chainsaw. Why spend money on two different types of sunglasses when one pair can perform how I want them to while making me look “Cool”. I know, that’s asking a lot!
Performance: This area gets into how the glasses perform in the safety department and how they hold up after hard use. Do the lenses scratch easily? Can they handle the wear and tear of my Outdoor Lifestyle? and above all, Do they protect my eyesight?
Note: We didn’t shoot any projectiles at our faces while testing these glasses, duh! But they all held up well in all of our outdoor activities and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend any of these brands to you in the protection department.
Fit: Everyone has a different size melon and the bridge of our noses are all different as well so this category is a tad subjective in terms of how you like your sunglasses to fit. Regardless, if the glasses don’t fit properly or are uncomfortable to wear, you’re not going to like them. It’s a necessary component in our field test.
Overall Value: You’re either the type that wants to spend good money on a pair of sunglasses and wants them to be indestructable or you’re the type that doesn’t want to spend much with the mindset that you’ll just get a new pair when they break. After all, why would you want to spend a lot on eyewear just to have them break during heavy use? Is there such a thing as the perfect balance between cost and performance?
Let’s get this out of the way right now! Out of all the eyewear we tested this summer, we liked Numa’s the best. We couldn’t put them at the bottom of the list because, well, that wouldn’t be fair. Numa Optics have a combination of style, performance and value that simply could not be beat by any of the other brands. Their website is cool and their glasses are crazy indestructible. They’re a new company with more styles on the horizon so let’s take a look at why we thought they deserve our top honor in this review. We tested Numa’s “Point” and “Sparta” models. These two models represent the two different Swiss Fiber formulas for Numa Optics. The Points are constructed of “Tough Flex” fiber that can be bent, smashed, stretched and take an all around beat down without breaking! The Spartas are constructed of a “Lite-Flex” fiber that represents a combination of lightness and stability. In short, if you’re looking to buy one pair of glasses that are ballistics rated and indestructible, go with the Tough Flex models. If you’re looking for a really tough pair of lightweight sunglasses, go with the Lite-Flex models. Each pair of Numa Optics comes with impact resistant lenses. The Point comes with a 3 Lens Set of Anti-fog smoke, Clear and Lo-lite Orange. All of which are Ballistic-certified. The Sparta’s come with Polorized Smoke, Mandarin Orange and Clear Lenses.
All lenses on the Numa are super easy to change with a pop-in / pop-out method and many of the models have a design to allow air-flow around the lens, detering any fogging. Many of the brands below have tested their eyewear to meet specific standards and specifications as did Numa. But Numa went a step further! Check out the video below to see what we mean.
Our Marks on the Point and Spartas:
Style: 5 out of 5: Numa currently offers 7 different styles with new ones arriving shortly. We thought the Point and Spartas are very stylish with their truly wrap-around design.
Performance: 5 out of 5 The video above speaks for itself!
Fit: 5 out of 5: We found the Numa Glasses to fit right regardless of Nose size or head size. The wrap around design causes the glasses to grip the sides of your head nicely and the “grippy” nosepieces hold them at the right height on the bridge of the nose.
Overall Value: 5 out of 5: Numa falls into the High-end to Mid-range price level at $100 and $120 respectively for the Point and Spartas. After testing these glasses, we agree with Numa that these are the last pair of sunglasses you’ll ever have to buy. Because of this, they get a 5 out of 5 rating. To check out the complete line of Numa Optics check out WWW.NUMAOPTICS.COM
THE REST OF THE BRANDS IN THIS REVIEW ARE IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER!
ESS is a company that manufactures eyewear for the Military and Law Enforcement and you can be sure that if their optics can stand up to that type of testing, it can withstand pretty much whatever our Outdoor Lifestyle could dish out. We tested the Military Grade “Ice Naro’s“. The “Naro” signifies that these frames are narrower for smaller faces. Yep! That’s us! There were 3 things that stood out on these glasses for us.
1. They are on the US Army’s list of approved protective eyewear…..(I mean, hey, that right there tells us these things not only can protect our eyes but withstand punishment!)
2. The “Naro” frame fit great and the earpieces were bendable to aid in that fit
3. These came with a complete set of clear glasses. They’re included as standard!
Our Marks on the Ice Naros:
Style: 4.5 out of 5: The Ice Naro’s style is comparable with the popular “M-Frame” design that Oakley has made famous for athletes. If you have a smaller face, the Naro’s are the way to go. They look sharp and their lightweight “frameless” design provides an unbelievable field of view.
Performance: 5 out of 5: We could give you terms like “ESS Tough Zone Anti-scratch coating”, “.15 caliber ballistic impact test”, and “100% UVA/UVB Protection” but we already know what the deal is on safety with these glasses. They fit great, protect your eyes in an unbelievable array of situations and look good….Nuff said!
Fit: 5 out of 5: The two features of the Ice Naro that we feel aid in their fit are the bendable earpieces and the U-shaped rubber nosepiece. Because of these, the Naro’s fit great and you can “thumb” those earpieces to make them fit even better.
Overall Value: 5 out of 5: At an MSRP of $75, you get Two fully-assembled ICE NARO™ eyeshields with Clear & Smoke Gray lenses, an elastic retention strap, a micro-fiber lens pouch/cleaning cloth, a bottle of McNett OpDrops™ anti-fog solution, and a semi-rigid protective case. I’d say that’s pretty good bang for your buck! To check out the ESS line of Military Grade Optics, visit WWW.ESSEYEPRO.COM
Smith is a well known name in eyewear and has a great reputation in action sports and outdoor markets. We tested the AEGIS Ballistic Eyeshield from Smith’s Elite Military Division of Eyewear. The AEGIS’ are very similar to the Ice Naro’s (above) in style and like the Naro’s, meet and exceed MIL-PRF-31013 and ANSI Z87.1 standards. The AEGIS’ are larger than the Naro’s and because of this, would be a better fit for larger faces. The AEGIS Eyeshields include a spare Gray lens,retaining strap, microweave bag for storage and cleaning,No-Fog cloth, and a protective case. Changing the lenses is easy and one look at the case tells you the AEGIS is high quality piece of eyewear.
Our Marks on the AEGIS:
Style: 4 out of 5: A matter of preference we know, but we would like a narrower fit.
Performance: 5 out of 5: Along with the Ice Naro’s, these babies can hold their own when the debris is flying.
Fit: 4.5 out of 5: They fit well and the Rubber nosepiece helps with this. The Ice Naro’s have the edge on the AEGIS’ with their bendable earpieces however.
Overall Value: 4 out of 5: We found the 3 lens kit for $95.99 and we have no doubt that the AEGIS would provide years of effective use. But is it the best deal out there?
To check out Smith’s complete line of optics, visit WWW.SMITHOPTICS.COM
Edge Saftey Eyewear:
Edge and Wolf Peak Safety glasses are well known for manufacturing stylish saftey glasses and are probably hanging out on a display in your local hardware store right now. We tested the Kohr and 2 Camouflage Dakura models (Smoke Lens and Driving Lens). The nice thing about Edge Eyewear is no matter what style you choose, you can be sure that any models meet ANSI standards as well as U.S. Military Ballistic Impact Resistance requirements. Not that the previous brands we’ve reviewed didn’t, but it’s nice to know that any model on Edge’s website is a solid piece of safety eyewear. That’s what they do, make stylish safety glasses. One of the nice things about the Edge glasses are the price. At $15 and $12 respectively, the Kohr and Dakura models will protect your eyesight for much less than the other brands mentioned in this review.
Our marks on the Kohr and Camo Dakuras:
Style: 5 out of 5: These glasses are definitely stylish and frankly, it would be tough to go to the Edge Website and not find a style you like.
Performance: 4.5 out of 5: These glasses are made to protect your eyes and they do just that. There was a difference in fit (see below) that could effect performance.
Fit: 3.5 out of 5: The Dakuars fit the best but we would have prefered some rubber on the nosepiece (it’s bare frame that rests on the nose). The Kohr glasses were larger and although we liked the looks of them, they didn’t seem to rest on the bridge of our nose right nor did they cling to the sides of our head tight enough to be comfortable during periods of activity. Simply put, try the style on at your hardware store to make sure they fit right before you buy them.
Overall value: 4 out of 5: If you’re the type that isn’t comfortable spending a lot on your eyewear, these glasses are for you! They definitely protect your eyes, are affordable, and are stylish.
To look at more offerings from Edge, visit WWW.WOLFPEAK.COM
Bobster is a company that has quite an array of styles to suit your needs. We decided to test two “Convertible” styles that can be worn as sunglasses or googles with a click of a button on the side of the frame: The Low Rider II and the Anzi Z.87 Camo Prowlers.
The Low Rider II is a low profile frame that comes with a carrying case, 3 sets of polycarbonate,lenses (smoked, Amber and Clear) and a stap that can convert these into goggles.
The Ansi Z.87 Prowler glasses are much more “goggle-like” in appearance than the Low Rider II’s and don’t really transcend into a “do-all” type of style sunglasses. The Prowlers however do have removable side shields, Anti-fog lenses and come with an adjustable strap for conversion into a true goggle. Both pairs of Bobster convertibles had a layer of open cell foam (the Prowler has Neoprene) on the inside of the lens to contact your face. We found this to a nice feature when riding our Artic Cat ATV’s. The only downside to this was found with the Low Rider’s in that the inside layer of foam traps your perspiration making them a little bit harder to clean.
Our Marks on the Bobster Convertibles:
Style: 4 out of 5: Although you’re probably not going to want to wear the Prowler’s to your kid’s soccer game, Bobster has a whole array of styles on their website to suit your taste.
Performance: 4.5 out of 5: We found the foam / Neoprene on the inside of the frames on these “convertibles” to be a catch 22. The foam made the glasses fit better but it also made them harder to clean after sweating in them. The Prowler’s are ballistics approved and the Low Rider II’s meet 166 high speed impact testing at 45m/s in extreme temperatures.
Fit: 5 out of 5: Not only does the Foam / Neoprene aid in the fit of these glasses, the convertible strap allows for an adjustable fit.
Overall Value: 4 out of 5: The Low Rider II’s and Ansi Prowler’s come in at $59.98 and $49.98 respectively. This isn’t bad but we’re not sure the open cell foam is for everyone in every situation.
To look at more styles from Bobster, visit WWW.BOBSTER.COM
As with any of our reviews that showcase multiple brands at one time, the purpose is to give our members / visitors a variety of choices. We hope this review has given you some information on an array of protective sunglasses for your outdoor needs. Maybe we’ve introducted you to a new style and / or company in the process. We’d like to thank all the companies that participated in this review. As you can see, they all make quality protective eyewear for your outdoor needs. After that, it boils down to preference. Do us a favor and let us know which style you’re partial to on our FORUM