I’ve always worn the $10-$15 kind from some cheapie store, because they do claim to give 98% to 100% UVA and UVB protection. But I am curious… some people buy really expensive sunglasses and I’m sure there must be some advantage… can somebody educate me on this?

I’m thinking the expensive ones are probably made of better materials, and are probably more fashion-friendly which is fine, but if I’m just trying to protect my eyes, why do I care? Thanks,


Clarity and resillance
I find that the better sunglasses I use these days provide better vision (less distoration better filtering of glare etc), resist scratches better, and are more resistant to breakage than the cheap ones I previously used or have as back-ups.

Sierra Tading Post and Campmor often have very good deals on sunglasses that are intended for use in the conditions I often paddle.

I’ve always gonge mid-range–bought something I think looks ok that has good UV protection. Although since I quit wearing contacts (dry eyes, gave up fighting discomfort), I now wear prescription sunglasses, and try never to forget my croakies!

When I used to do things where losing sunglasses was a possibility, I’d go with the cheapies as that way if glasses had to be sacrificed to the river gods, I wouldn’t miss them too much (although oddly enough the only time I ever did lose a pair was on a visit to Graceland. I guess Elvis got them…).

Cheap sunglasses
Along with the advantages stated in the previous post I find myself a lot less likely to lose a more expensive pair. I guess I’m just stingy but I really do seem to keep up with the more expensive ones better so cost wise it sort of equals out because I don’t have to replace them as often.

If you are in a rock strewn
class I-II-III river the better polarized sunglasses are worth their weight in gold for seeing those just under the surface rocks.

I have prescription ones, and on the rivers don’t leave shore without them.



Polarized is the way to go
I just bought a pair of $18 polarized glasses from REI. What a difference they make over the non-polarized el-cheapos I was using before.

Okay, I’m starting to understand

– Last Updated: Jun-16-05 1:29 PM EST –

Less distortion, filtering glare, scratch resistance, and now you've really sold me on that polarized thing...

So what do you think is a reasonable amount to pay for "good" sunglasses? I see those ones in the Sunglass Hut and places like that... I don't think you can leave that place without dropping $150 or more and that's just not in my budget.

Never had a pair of polarized glasses. Might have to try a pair if it helps to see rocks while paddling.

even my cheapie
$13 walmart fishing sunglasses helps to see the bottom , rocks and fish much better. Last time the girlfriend and I fished, I was pointing out all the fish and she was catching em all.

Sea Specs
I don’t own a pair, but these seem to be worth considering:

The problem with sunglasses is…
you really have to try them to see if they fit your particular head. I myself have a fat head and have a real hard time finding glasses that fit right and aren’t too tight. I tend to go with aviator type glasses as they are more adjustable. I do take good care of my stuff so I don’t mind paying up a bit. The glasses I am wearing now I bought in 1991. I broke them over the winter while paddling on L.I. Sound and had such a hard time finding new glasses that fit that I sent them into Serengetti to be fixed. They were so amazed to see a pair that old that they fixed them for free-- and I had crushed them pretty good.----Rich

Expensive because…
Each coating on good sunglasses is one mil thick. It’s a metal so thin that you can see through it. The base material is CR39 Poly-Carbonate instead of plastic or Lexan and is virtually unbreakable. Good sunglasses will be Polarized but will have several other coatings as well. Glare resistance and scratch resistance are coatings. Look for Zero ground optical lenses. They must say on them: 100% UVA and UVB and should be between 70-90% blocking all light.

Gray lenses are the best all-around color, purple or rose for water skiing.


Hard to quantify

All of the above and something else. My girlfriend, a cheapie fan, had forgotten her sunglasses on a recent car trip and I loaned her my bicycling glasses. She was amazed at how good the world looked in them and they’re just high quality poly lenses (in case of crashes, glass might be nasty). So I gave her my ‘good’ sunglasses to try and it sounded like a revelation was occurring from her exultations. Cool things is, they were $135 and I bought them in '98. Generally I was paying 15 bucks two or three times a year but when you lay out some change and like the product you take better care of it and it saves money. The polarization for looking into water is an incredible thing. Maui Jims, to me, are worth every penny and should my pair ever die (they look great at seven years old) I’ll find a way to afford another pair. (Sorry Coffee).



Lessons Learned
After losing two pairs of very expensive Ray Bans I wear cheapies.

I lost one pair in a whitewater wipeout, but lost another in a stupid “oooppps” on a dead flat ocean.

I lost a pair of cheap ones in calm conditions because I wasn’t too careful with them. My driving sunglasses (Vuarnet, not polarized) were expensive but I’ve had them for 5-1/2 years - I take care of them!

Polarized does help on water because it cuts the glare. Not only can you see what’s below the surface but your eyes won’t be as tired either. I switched to a good pair of polarized glasses (Jublo) for kayaking a couple of years ago.

Like clothing, you can buy last year’s model for a lot less and it’s just as good. Sierra Trading Post is a good place for bargains but you might want to look for a retail store to look at them first - you’ll figure out what you like pretty easily.

OK, I am thinking after reading this that it might be worth getting the really good prescription sunglasses… I have managed not to lose mine since the Elvis incident in the mid 90s, and from what everyone says about the difference good lenses make, it really does sound worth it.

You all have converted me!

I guess Coffee really is blocked from posting…I’ll bet this thread is driving him nuts!

Good Ones/Cheap Ones
My good polarized glasses are from Randolph Engineering. These are high quality glass lenses without the designer label price tag. Worth checking out.

However, the way I have been losing my stuff the last couple of weeks I’ve decided not to paddle with these anymore, so I am going to look for some cheap ones (polarized) for paddling.


Contact troubles
I started having quite a bit of trouble with dry eyes last year, but it’s been much better since my optometrist had me switch to a preservative-free solution. It’s called Clear Care, IIRC. As I understand it, it’s just a weak peroxide solution. You use it in a container with a catalyst that breaks the peroxide down over a few hours so that it’s basically just distilled water by the time you take your lenses out. I was getting toward being ready to give up on contacts, but this has helped a lot.

Just curious, why would this thread drive Coffee nuts?