If you’re fishing, hiking, trail running, maybe doing a little bit of all three at once, and especially in hot weather, there are a few things you want from your sunglasses. You want them to stay put. You want them to stay clear. You want them to fit comfortably. You want them to provide sharp detail and to cut glare. If you’re fishing, you really want them to cut glare so you can peer down through water and and sight fish. Or even just look at the fish as if they’re in an aquarium.
As a fly angler for quite a few years now, I’ve worn almost exclusively Costa sunglasses when on the water. I got into them a few years back when I heard they were making frames from salvaged plastic fishing nets. Pretty cool, I thought. Then I learned they donate money to shark research, have a reduced plastic initiative, used Bioresins in some of their frames, and just generally give a shit about the world around them. I like that in a company.
Their Fantail model has been my go-to. They’ve recently released a Fantail PRO model and outfitted it with lots of fine touches that bargain sunglasses never have. They have ventilated nose pads that can adjust to the size of your schnoz. These great little pads on the inside of the arms, at the very tips, that are made from a sticky rubber that increases in tackiness the wetter it gets. Channels inside the arms that direct sweat away from your eyes. Even metal slots at the tips for sunglass keepers, a nice bit of ruggedness that isn’t totally necessary but much appreciated.
The 580G lenses are polarized glass (the “G” stands for glass, they also make 580 lenses in polycarbonate, labeled 580P). If you’re used to polarized lenses made from plastic, glass is like seeing an entirely different plane of existence. The clarity is remarkable. Costa’s 580 lenses do a terrific job of making reds and greens pop, while dimming out harsh, bright yellows. The result are lenses that compete, clarity-wise, with anything on the market. Plus, they’re essentially scratch-proof, when compared to polycarbonate. It may seem counterintuitive, but the glass lenses can take more day-to-day abuse, though I did watch my toddler drop a pair of my glass-lens Costas on a corner of a rock and crack one of the lenses, so that can happen. But my glasses with plastic lenses inevitably get so scratched they become near useless at a certain point. The glass lenses will hold out for years longer.
All in all, they’re just sunglasses, but the details make these really stand out.
I don’t necessarily love the styling, they’re a bit too NASCAR dad for my taste, but the wide-based arms provide hooding and improve the sight of the glasses, so I can’t complain. The vision they provide is the point, anyway. Nothing has come close to providing the comfort and the clarity of Costas over the years, and I’m especially impressed with the Fantail PRO.
But really, I’d recommend just about anything from the Costa shelves—they’re that good. The original Fantails lack some of the details of the new PRO models, but they’re terrific and about $100 cheaper.