For Comparison’s Sake: Sunglasses

We smash and bash some polarized shades so you don't have to.

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.


Email Newsletters and Special Offers

Sign up for Boating emails to receive features on travel destinations, event listings and product reviews as well as special offers on behalf of Boating’s partners.

By signing up you agree to receive communications from Boating and select partners in accordance with our Privacy Policy. You may opt out of email messages/withdraw consent at any time.