By Jon Gaffney
on 6.3.09

costa-del-mar-sunglasses-lead-image

Sunglass lenses come in a myriad of configurations. If you’re serious about your eye protection though, you can’t beat the polarized variety. Polarized lenses are made to filter out the glare that normal lenses let right in. This is particularly useful to combat the glare from surfaces like snow, water, and glass. Unless your name is Gollum, you probably encounter one or more of these conditions daily, and your eyes could benefit from a nice pair of polarized shades. Costa Del Mar agrees and takes it to the extreme, by strictly offering polarized sunglasses. 

I’ve had my peepers hiding behind two different pairs of Costa Del Mars of late. Hit the jump for my take on each:
 

Rio Mar

rio-mar-costa-del-marThis new frame from Costa is an updated wrap made for the larger-domed amongst us (i.e. Patrick Tuttle). The pair I’m demoing have their top of the line 580 lens in grey, which is a very versatile lens good for activities from driving to fishing. The clarity on these was amazing. The trade-off on most polarized lenses is some slight distortion. With these it was nonexistent. No glare, no feeling like I was a tad out of focus…very nice. I found myself using these for my day to day tasks, happily ignoring some of the other wraps in my quiver.

Grand Catalina

grand-catalina-costa-del-marThese are some of Costa’s oldest frames, a big reason why I like them. They’re big, aviator-style fishing glasses, with attachable side shields when hooking that bone fish is imperative (Note: Don’t wear the side shields driving, because unless you have an owl’s neck, it’s not gonna work out). Even minus the side shields, the Grand Cats provide excellent coverage (for Aviators) and give off an awesome retro vibe. My set is equipped with Blue Mirrored 580 glass lenses which are made specifically for being out on the water. The frames felt great, quality-wise, with hinges that open with that confidence inspiring snap. They’ll be getting serious usage this summer.

People who I’ve previously met who owned Costa Del Mar sunglasses always gushed about how great they were. After my time with them, I can see why. I’ll be singing their praises for a while. Give your eyes a break this summer and, in the words of Costa, “See what’s out there.
 
Editor’s Note: Aside from the 580 lenses, Costa offers a regular glass lens and two types of plastic lenses to fit your needs. Keep in mind, however, that glass has the best clarity and scratch resistance, while plastic is lighter and more shatter resistant. Also, you’re going to want to pick up a lens cloth as, surprisingly, the Costa Del Mar’s don’t include one.

Cost: Riomar $129 to $199 , Grand Catalina $149 to $249

ADVENTURE IS ONE CLICK AWAY

Subscribe to GP for a daily dose of the best in gear, adventure, design, tech and culture. 5pm sharp.