Q:

What's a good pair of multi-sport sunglasses?

With all the high-tech lenses out there, I'm looking for a pair or two that will provide good protection in a variety of situations. I would be using them for downhill skiing, water sports, motorcycle riding, driving, hiking, mountain biking, roller blading, etc. The three brands I considering are Revo, Oakley, and Serengeti. I was also told by someone a long time ago, that it is not a good idea to wear polarized lenses when riding a motorcycle, as they will hide oil spots on the road, causing a potential slide. Can you tell me if there is any truth to that? Tom Player Toronto, Ontario

Sep 18, 2003
Outside
Outside Magazine
A: There are indeed lots of good glasses out there, Tom. And prices are drifting down, while features and quality is drifting up. A good combination.

What you're looking for is a really good all-around sport glass. For that, I'd offer the following guidelines. First off, you want a good fit — frames that really hold well. Look for good-quality non-skid materials placed on the nose and at the temples (the part that goes behind the ears). That way, when you're sweaty and bouncing around, the shades stay put. I'd also suggest polycarbonate lenses, not glass, as they're more shatter-resistant. And flexible frames made of nylon or one of its many derivatives are better than metal for hard play.

The three you mention are all good brands, though my feeling is Revo and Serengeti tend to lean toward the "driving glasses" side of things. Oakley makes solid sports eyewear -— that company's Straightjacket ($90-$120, depending on lens) is a fine all-purpose pair of glasses, particularly if you need wide-fitting glasses. I also like Rudy Project eyewear, such as the Kerosene ($120), which have a carbon-fiber frame, a very sport-friendly design, and interchangeable lenses. You also can change lenses out of the Dragon Rake ($100), a useful feature for the range of sports you're talking about.

I haven't heard the bit about polarized lenses and oil on the road. I suppose it has a shred of truth behind it, but then again I can't recall a time, in cars or on a bicycle, when that was ever an issue. I know polarized glasses aren't always recommended for skiing because they can change your depth perception. But for nearly everything else, polarized lenses work great.

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