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Buying new sunglasses? Here's how to choose the right lens.

published 16 July 2021

We've all found ourselves standing in front of a giant rack of sunglasses. The countless colors, shapes, and sizes (not to mention all the different kind of lenses). Does any of it matter? Is it all just fashion? A gimmick? Actually, there really is a science involved that plays a part in what you should buy. So we decided to help make this decision a lot easier for you by breaking it all down in this post. So here's what you need to know to buy the perfect pair of sunglasses for you, in order of importance.

costa del mar corbina
Pictured above:  Costa Del Mar 580G Corbina with Blue Mirror $269

Fit/Comfort

The biggest mistake people make is not buying the right size lens for their face. The key to any pair of sunglasses is that they're not too big or too small. You shouldn't feel them on your head, but you should be able to bend over and tie your shoes without them falling off your face. If they're too tight they'll give you headaches and offer poor sun coverage. If they're too big they'll fall off and they won't remain in place when you're moving. Properly sized frames and lenses will deliver total coverage in your field of view.

Polycarbonate vs Glass

The difference between Poly lenses and Glass is big, and not just in terms of price. Yes glass lenses are more, but they offer a lot. The level of clarity is unmatched. Not even Costa's 580P is to the level of the 580G lens (P is for Polycarbonate and G is for Glass). Glass lenses are more durable, especially when it comes to bug spray or sunscreen. Sprays like that will ruin Polycarbonate lenses. So while it's true you will pay more for glass, in the long run you'll end up buying fewer glasses and come out ahead.

Color

This is the part most people overlook. They either buy based on what their friend has, or because it looked cool. The reality is that if you want your glasses to function properly you need to get the right color.

Blue: 10% light transmission.  Great for Saltwater, Beaches,, Open Water, Great Lakes

Green: 10% light transmission.  Saltwater, Open Water, Great Lakes, Biking/Motorcycle Riding, ok for sightfishing.

Copper: 12% light transmission.  Best for Sightfishing in North America, River Fishing, Trout Fishing

Grey: 12% light transmission.  Full sun, Snow Sports

For our customers, if you primarily fish the lake, you should get Blue, but green is a great option also. If you primarily fish the river, you should get Copper. If you fish a mix of the river and lake and want just one pair for both you should get green.

-Jim Root

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