The Closest You'll Get to Super Vision

See more of what you want, and less of what you don't, with these primo performance shades.

Shades worth shelling out for. From top left: Maui Jim Bamboo Forest, Rudy Project Airblast, Smith Tenet, and Oakley Special Edition Heritage Eyeshade.     Photo: Inga Hendrickson

Maui Jim Bamboo Forest ($219)

Credit featherweight MauiPure lenses and new-gen plastic frame material for the amazing lightness of these stylish shades. The greenish tint of the polarized lenses, engineered to work well in low-light conditions, makes the most of cloudy days and heavy shadow. And the subtle golden, double-gradient mirroring (high and low on the lens, but not in the middle) reduces the brightness of reflective surfaces while enhancing detail, especially on turf and tennis courts.

Rudy Project Airblast ($350)

You spend this much on performance eyewear for the same reason you buy a slick Italian frame and trick it out with top-end components: excellence for the sake of excellence. The single lens wraps high, low, and wide, putting edges out of sight while providing bombproof protection against sun and wind. Plus, Rudy Project’s photochromic Racing Red tint darkens from barely pink to deep rose with increasing brightness.

Smith Tenet ($199)

Smith’s polarized Low Light Ignitor glass lenses peel the surface off clear streams and ocean flats so effectively, you can watch fish ignoring your perfectly hand-tied flies. A special lens coating sheds water, and rubber at the ears and nose gets stickier when wet, adding to the angler appeal. But unlike a lot of other fishing sunglasses, the Tenets are actually handsome, with shapely curves and a bit of bling at the hinge points.

Oakley Special Edition Heritage Eyeshade ($200)

This isn’t retro weirdness; it’s history. Oakley’s big single-lens shield, chopped off straight at the sides, is a reissue of the first eyewear made specifically for outdoor-sports use and worn by Greg LeMond in the 1984 Tour de France. The new Eyeshade is actually quite a bit better than the original, with dark, color-neutral Black Iridium lenses that are up to searing brightness and about as good as nonglass lenses get.

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