Costa Del Mar Blackfin Sunglass Review
If you spend a lot of time on the water, ocean-river-stream-lake, then you are most likely familiar with Costa del Mar sunglasses. Costa has been in the sunglass business for around 30 years and has made a name for themselves with their early use of polarized lenses throughout their sunglass line. Over the years, Costa Del Mar has remained true to their roots and aimed at improving visibility and sun/glare protection for water people. Here in Colorado, we don’t find ourselves on the water all too often as we are not big on the fly fishing scene, nor do we own a boat! However, we were given the opportunity to review the Blackfin shades for the spring season to highlight the other great qualities available within the Costa line and how they may cross over for adventurers of all sorts.
The Blackfins are a part of Costa’s Endurance line, which is designed to take a beating and stay put while you are on the go. The Endurance line features a material called Hydrolite which is placed at the temples and across the nasal bridge; the soft rubber is designed to help the sunglasses stay put despite wet, including sweaty, conditions. I found this feature extremely important during many of my favorite outdoor pursuits, where I am typically raising my heart rate. I did not experience any fogging of the lenses when wearning the Blackfins with a hat during hot conditions or while running or paddling. Adding an eyewear retainer may also be a great backup for extreme conditions.
These sunglasses are geared for a medium/large face frame and provided an extremely close fit. I liked the wraparound design because it provided complete eye protection from the harmful sunrays; I was unable to place even my pinky finger under any point in these shades, meaning that very little reflected light-wind-or debri could come into contact with my eye. As a contact wearer, a close fit is very important to keep my contacts clean and my eyes moist. These sunglasses, like many other Costa glasses can have prescription lenses placed in them for an additional fee if you don’t want to bother with contacts or clip ons for your regular glasses.
I have saved the best feature of these sunglasses for last, the lenses. Costa offers a wide range of not only colors of lenses, but also lens materials. Here is a run down of various lens types on the market:
– Glass is the hardest and clearest lens material and is the best to protect against scratches, however they usually carry a bit more weight and you will pay more for glass lenses.
– CR 39 plastic, named after the resin applied to the plastic by the original manufacturer, weighs half as much as glass and is more shatter resistant, yet not as scratch resistant as glass. CR 39’s are much easier to tint and are available in a wider range of colors/finishes.
– Polycarbonate lenses are the lightest and thinnest lenses available and have the highest impact resistance, yet their visual field is not as clear.
Costa has added some creative technologies to create the best visual field possible, which is important for anglers-patrollers-paddlers, and even for everyday use. Costa 400 lenses are available in CR 39 (plastic) and glass in a variety of tints to match your visual needs: these lenses offer 100% polarization and UV protection. I tested out Costa 580 lenses (in Amber), that are designed to eliminate sunlight glare and help the eyes to see sharper contrasts in color and raise the eyes ability to see blue, green, and red hues. The 580 technology is only available on glass lenses. These lenses were amazing, seriously the clearest lens that I have ever used; the definition and contrast between objects in and out of the water were extremely apparent. While looking at a stream, sunlight glare was eliminated and I felt that I could see more detail within the stream itself. This feature would be excellent for anglers and paddlers a-like, enhance your ability to see not only fish but upcoming obstacles. One downside to these lenses is that they are glass and may not be the best for high impact water activities, such as white water kayaking.
As mentioned above, glass lenses typically weigh more. However, Costa has bridged the gap by offering ultra thin, less than 1 mm, LightWave glass that weighs 22% less than standard glass lenses and is more impact resistant. The Blackfins were my first “real glass” sunglasses and I barely noticed any additional weight because after a long day of wear they were still comfy on my face. For the added technology you will end up paying a bit more, these shades start at $149 and go up to $249 for the higher end glass lenses. I feel that these shades are well worth the extra money if you spend a lot of time outside near the water, on the water, or in a humid climate because of not only their inredible clarity, but also because they have stainless steel hinges that resist corrosion. If you do run into a problem with your Costa’s, they have a lifetime guarantee and are based out of Florida for easy access and customer service. Wow, I wrote a lot! If you still have question and need some more info, please check out their website at CostaDelMar.com