Before you start looking, know exactly what you'll use your shades for: Generalist sporty street designs get you around town and through low-impact pursuits; bigger challenges call for sports-specific numbers. When it comes to superfine optics, glass is unparalleled, but chances are you'll want lighter polycarbonate (plastic) lenses if you play rough, even a little, with any chance at all of facial impact. The skinny on tint: Go with brown, copper, or amber for almost anything on terra firma. Performing in low light or fog? Try yellow. Rose or violet are ideal for serious speed sports in medium or flat light. Gray, first choice among newbies, is often not the best choicewhile it's good for open water and the road, it's less so for action sports, as it can flatten the view. If you go with gray, get polarized lenses, which filter out glarea big plus except where sheen off wetness or ice is vital data (as with road bikers). Other extras: Photochromic lenses adjust to light intensity, and sticky rubber at the nosepieces and ears will keep the shades in place when you're sweaty or wet.
The Fisch is your upgrade to HD reality. Whereas gray-tinted lenses are typically view flatteners, Costa's optically ground glass 580 lenses are a vibrant exception. These cool-hued wonders had everything popping in sharp-edged detail, made clearer still by polarization, which killed glare. And with no weird color shift, the neutral tone made them quick adjusters for frequent on/off situations. The Fisch's big, wrap-back lenses kept our eyes protected and provided a safe haven from screaming winds, while offering an unobstructed view side to side, up and down. The springy nylon frames curve in for solid head-hold, and mini vent holes in the frame corners let air in to prevent fogging. Add other sporty design features, like the sticky-when-wet rubber cladding at the nose and along the temples, and this clean-lined workhorse left us looking as good as what we were looking at. The only drawbacks: Glass won't do for action sports, and the 580 line doesn't offer prescription lenses.
Value: 4 (out of 5)
Sport/Street Crossover: 5