8 Tips for Choosing Your Next Pair of Sunglasses -
If you enjoy fishing, water sports or just being outdoors, wearing a high-quality pair of sunglasses can mean the difference between a memorable day and a miserable experience. Sunglasses shade your eyes from bright sunlight and prevent squinting, eye discomfort, headaches and migraines. They also eliminate glare on sunny days, helping you see more clearly. Most importantly, sunglasses can protect your eyes from the damage of harsh ultraviolet rays. However, when it comes to quality and performance, all sunglasses are not created equal. We compiled this essential guide to help you find the best sunglasses for a variety of outdoor activities. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind when purchasing your next pair.
Select Sunglasses with 100% UV Protection
Radiation from the sun causes both short-term and long-term damage to your eyes. Even on cloudy days, your eyes can absorb harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Sunglasses are the best preventive. Always wear sunglasses that are rated to block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. Dark lenses do not automatically ensure sunglasses will protect you. Sunglass lenses must include an ultraviolet coating. The product description should clearly state that the sunglasses will protect from 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays.
Coverage is Critical for Protection
Sunglasses that provide the best coverage generally offer the highest level of protection from UV damage. The size and style of sunglasses directly affect the amount of coverage they will provide. Sunlight enters your eyes from multiple directions, not just from the front. This is especially true for light that reflects off the surface of water when you’re boating and fishing. Typically, curved or wraparound frames and larger lenses reduce the amount of UV rays that can reach the eyes from the sides and underneath. Our Staniel and Leeward style frames offer great coverage for days spent on the water.
Price Doesn’t Always Equal Performance
Thankfully, you don’t have to spend a fortune on designer sunglasses in order to get optimal performance. Sunglasses that are less expensive can offer the same level of protection from UV rays as designer pairs that cost hundreds of dollars. If you enjoy an active lifestyle, it’s a good idea to purchase well-crafted sunglasses that don’t break the bank. Doing so helps ease the pain when a fishing buddy accidentally sits on your favorite shades or if you drop them overboard when landing that trophy catch.
Frames Should Fit, Feel Good and Last
The construction of the frame is important. Sunglasses must fit correctly and be comfortable enough for all-day wear. They should also withstand repeated use. Look for sunglass frames that are fade resistant and feature integrated hinges. Glasses that are too heavy will cause discomfort and pain. Premium sunglasses will often feature ultra-lightweight frames for unsurpassed comfort. Rubber-coated nose and ear pads will also help prevent annoying soreness that can come from a long day outdoors.
Lenses Provide Multiple Layers of Protection
Sunglass lenses incorporate multiple layers of protection from UV rays as well as wear and tear. Premium sunglasses often feature scratch-resistant polycarbonate lenses. If you plan to spend time on or around water, look for lenses with hydrophobic coatings that repel liquids. Ideally, sunglasses will screen 70 to 90 percent of light. Darker lenses typically provide a higher level of shading. Sunglasses can be found with a variety of lens colors, including blue, amber, gray, green and mirrored. Some lens colors increase visual contrast, making it easier for you to see in low-light conditions.
Polarized Sunglasses Maximize Performance
Sunlight bounces off reflective surfaces, such as water, pavement and snow, making it difficult to see. Polarized sunglasses reduce this glare. Polarized lenses are especially helpful when fishing. Ever had a fishing guide point out a fish underwater that you just could not see? The guide’s polarized glasses probably made the difference. Whether you’re trying to spot trophy trout on a mountain stream or sight casting for redfish on the flats, polarized sunglasses help you find your target. They’re also essential for trolling for marlin, tuna, wahoo and other saltwater monsters. Polarized sunglasses allow you to see deeper underwater, enabling you to spot a fouled hook before it’s too late. They can mean the difference between being in the money at a tournament or going home empty handed.
Mirrored Sunglasses Minimize Glare
Mirrored lenses feature reflective surface coatings that helps minimize glare. Sunglasses with mirrored lenses are ideal for fishing and water sports, including kayaking, standup paddleboarding (SUP) and riding jet skis. They’re also effective for cycling, climbing, mountain biking and hiding your eyes while playing poolside poker. Multi-layered dielectric mirrored lenses provide the best performance. Mirrored lenses combined with a wraparound frame can offer the most protection from sunlight, but always remember to check the UV rating.
A Warranty Can Signal Quality
One final thing to consider when selecting your next pair of sunglasses is the warranty. Reputable companies who craft quality sunglasses will gladly stand behind their product. Most sunglass warranties are limited, but look for brands that are guaranteed against manufacturer defects for at least one year.