Sunglasses get sat on, dropped and destroyed by boaters on a regular basis. Which pairs have the survival skills necessary to endure crushing derrières and free-falls onto fiberglass? To find out, I gave each pair three sit-downs and three drops to the deck. Here’s what happened(pictured right, top to bottom).
Costa Del Mar Ballast
Our Take: Costa’s polycarbonate lenses, nylon arms and frameless design make for light and comfortable shades, weighing a mere 16 grams. They aren’t cheap, but the optics are crystal-clear.
Survival Skills: 9 out of 10. Shape-shifting parts fine after being squashed; lenses had a couple of microscopic scratches.
Hard Knock: Light leaks in around the edges if the fit isn’t perfect for your face.
Wiley X Slay
Our Take: Polycarbonate lenses black out the sun and exceed standards for high-velocity impact. Love the comfy ear tips, weight and cost; hate the $16.50 charge for a case.
Survival Skills: 8 out of 10. Frames bent during the sit-downs, but we bent them back into shape. Lenses had tiny scratches.
Hard Knock: Lenses sit so close to your face that eyelashes sometimes hit them.
Ocean Racing Bermuda
Our Take: Thick wraparound frames and polycarbonate lenses kept out the glare and fit my head perfectly. Silicon nose and temple tips kept the glasses in place, and the price tag is a hands-down winner.
Survival Skills: 7 out of 10. Sitting on them had zero effect; drop-test put noticeable scratches on the lenses.
Hard Knock: Case not super protective.
Ono’s Ernest Hemingway Edition Irati
Our Take: Vented frames reduce fogging while wrapping around your head for a snug, light-blocking fit. Love the option for built-in magnifying readers; hate the steep list cost.
Survival Skills: 9 out of 10. Frames maintained integrity when sat upon; lenses had a couple of micro scratches.
Hard Knock: Integrated ear tips are small.