Costa knows the water; even more, it knows adventure; and the Costa Del Mar Slack Tide Sunglasses is the proof that they make the best glasses for aggressive watermen and women to block the sun without losing what they’re searching for. But good shades work just as well for other activities where you need detail while blocking the sun, like climbing and skiing where you need something that works well day in day out. After wearing the Costa Del Mar Slack Tide Sunglasses on hikes, climbs, backpacking, and, of course, fishing, I finally realized what a fishing buddy of mine told me years ago: Costa Del Mar Sunglasses are the best glasses, hands down.
Costa 580g vs 580p
Costa’s lenses are cutting-edge. Both the 580G glass and 580P polycarbonate lens are made up of at least 5 layers. The polycarbonate I tried out comprises two polycarbonate lenses and 1 layer of polarized film sandwiched between two C-wall molecular bonds. I’ve had “polarized” lenses before but they were nothing like the Costa Slack Glasses. I first really noticed the difference fishing Sawtooth Lake high in the Sawtooths. It was dinner time and the trout were jumping. When I turned my head towards the sun, everything seemed to darken; when I turned back to the lake, they seemed to change so I could see clearly beneath the surface of the lake at slack tide (the time when water is still) and watched the fish swim up to bite my line. Over and again.
The ability of Costa’s lens technology to block the sun without sacrificing detail is nearly unrivaled. I’ve worn glasses from pretty much all their top rivals and never before found a pair so good at keeping off sun without shading vision.
I’d never really appreciated my tea shades until a few years ago when my wife noticed a red spot in her eye. A doctor told her it was sun damage, and she needed a good pair of glasses to protect the soul’s windows from the unyielding fury of our star. And he added that the glasses should be polarized so she could live life in them. Which led us to realize that many companies will paint on a polarized coat, or just darken the glass/plastic in the lens, and so they quickly blur up, scratch, lose their effectiveness but the cheapos still call them polarized. The Costa 580P is a whole new beast that actually does what the others claim to do.
Costa Del Mar Durability
As I said, I took my Costa Slack Tides on a rock climb. Actually it was a multi-pitch that turned out to be longer and more strenuous than I or my partner had been expecting, eventually turning into a vertical death march with a thunderstorm looming to the southwest. By the end, I was jamming and grabbing without any regard for my body, much less my glasses. They’ve definitely hit rock, ground through cracks, and then were crammed into my pack for the descent in the twilight. The next day they looked brand new. Not only is their C-wall scratch resistant enough to withstand that pounding, the plastic frame obviously is too, which is more than I could say for the rest of my gear.
But the biggest thing I noticed about them is how hard they grip your head. I have a good pair of aviators that had been my glasses of choice before the Costas but they fall off the second I look down. The Costa Slack Tide held on even upside down, even when slipping, or when staring down to change out my yellow sally for a nymph/streamer combo. I’ve never had a pair of glasses that locked in so secure.
The downside? All I can think of is the fact that, after wearing them all day, you might feel a little bit of pressure where the arms had been clenching your dome tightly. But that’s a small price to pay for not losing your glasses. And yeah, that’s about it. And really, when looking down, they stay locked in.
THE GLASSES OF CHOICE FOR THE STYLISH, HARDCHARGING OUTDOORSPERSON
Yes, I said it, these are stylish. As in a friend of mine (who also wears Costas) said, the Slack Tides look more stylish than his and his girlfriend agreed (for what that’s worth). A “serious” gear reviewer is maybe not supposed to talk about style, but luckily nobody has ever accused me of that. The Costa Slack Tides are glasses you can wear and actually not look like a geek in.
Even more, they pretty much dominate when it comes to durability, visibility, and performance. A final thing I need to address is the price. As a longtime skid, I’d always figured, “Hey, I just lose my glasses all the time so I get cheap pairs.” My cheap “performance” glasses seemed great but they quickly scratch, the coating rubs off and they become worthless. And from an environmental side, I’ve started to learn in the past few years that quality gear that lasts is the better way to spend your money. It took a year when I probably went through a pair of glasses a month, from breaking and falling off. Those cheap specs end up in landfills and eventually in our water, our air, the ocean, everywhere.
From a purely economic standpoint, if you’re buying a couple (or a dozen) pairs of cheap glasses a year, that adds up too. And usually free promo glasses protect your eyes about as well as squinting, on top of the fact that they’re contributing to our global plastics epidemic which means your eyes burn out of your skull and you kill the earth. So it’s really a no-brainer: If you’re playing outdoors, or even if you go outdoors at all, it makes sense to buy a quality pair of glasses that truly protect your eyes and last.
And if you’re planning on playing hard in the outdoors, on the rock or, of course, on the water, the Costa Slack Tide Sunglasses ($189) are unrivaled.