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Sunglasses 101: 5 Facts About Aviator Sunglasses

Rev up the jet engines and suavely put on a pair of classic aviator sunglasses as you get ready to learn about America’s most iconic shades. 

1. They Were Invented for Function Rather Than Style

original aviator sunglasses

The military first designed aviator sunglasses for function rather than style. Bausch & Lomb made the first pair in 1936. The thin and light “pilot’s sunglasses” replaced cumbersome flight goggles.

The first aviators had large, curved lenses to cover as many angles as possible. Made of G-15 tempered glass, the original lenses let in about 15% of incoming light.  

Pilots loved not only the function of the new shades but also the style, and the sunglasses quickly evolved into what we now know as classic aviators. In 1937, Bausch & Lomb released a civilian design marketed as Ray-Ban aviators.

Worn by many military legends, aviator sunglasses are now associated with heroes and general badassery. 

2. A Legendary General Set the Fashion Trend

original aviator sunglasses
General MacArthur propelled the heroic stigma of aviator sunglasses.

Military legend General Douglas MacArthur sparked the aviator sunglasses fashion trend when he landed on Leyte Island, Philippines. He was wearing aviators and smoking a corncob pipe. Newspapers published photos, and the rest is fashion history. We’re pretty sure that’s exactly what the five-star general was going for. Pretty sure.

3. Top Gun Was an Aviator Fashion Show

top gun sunglasses

Top Gun’s Maverick wore Ray-Ban 3025 sunglasses with a gold frame and green lenses. After the movie premiered in 1986, Ray Ban saw a 40% increase in sales. According to Like a Film Star, Top Gun was a Ray-Ban fashion show with seven different characters wearing seven different models. 

4. Classic Aviator Sunglasses Have a “Bullet Hole”

ray ban sunglasses
Ray-Ban RB3483 Aviator Sunglasses | Gunmetal Frame and Dark Green Lens | $83 at NativeSlope.com

Originally designed for stability, the aviator double bridge was called the “bullet hole”.  Considering its position between the eyes and purpose during combat, “bullet-hole” is not the most sensitive name for the feature. It’s a good thing aviator sunglasses aren’t about being sensitive. They’re about keeping it real. Real badass, that is.

5. The Surgeon General Would Not Approve

aviator shooter sunglasses
In 1998, Johnny Depp’s character Raoul Duke sparked a Ray-Ban Shooter comeback.

In 1938, Ray-Ban launched the Shooter model with more sophisticated lenses and a different bridge design. According to Lexotica, the makers of Ray-Ban, “the ‘cigarette-holder’ middle circle [was] designed to free the hands of the shooter.” We’re not exactly sure what that means or how that works, and we don’t blame Johnny Depp’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas character for using his own cigarette holder.

Want some aviators of your own? Shop now at NativeSlope.com!

 

© Native Slope and NativeSlope.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Native Slope and NativeSlope.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

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Sunglasses 101: Grilamid TR® Sunglasses

Many performance sunglasses boast Grilamid TR® frames, which sounds like something from a superhero action movie, but what is Grilamid TR®? Is it as hardcore-awesome as it sounds?  Grilamid TR® is a badass material that is definitely hardcore-awesome, and that’s why it’s used in many military, medical, and other high-performance applications.

Grilamid TR® Defined for the Layman

Grilamid TR®  is a transparent amorphous thermoplastic, which means it’s a plastic material, or polymer, that gets soft when heated to extreme temperatures and solid when cooled, and it does this without discoloring or losing its strength. Manufacturers can easily shape it into objects that must maintain their integrity in physically-stressful, highly-active situations.

Not a layman or just want to geek out to more Grilamid TR® facts? CLICK HERE to check out EMS-GRIVORY’s  36-page Grilamid TR® info booklet. EMS-GRIVORY manufactures the stuff under the Grilamid TR® brand name, so they know what they’re talking about.

The Benefits of Grilamid®

Here’s why Grilamid TR® is particularly perfect for sunglasses:

  • It’s super lightweight
  • It’s flexible, impact-resistant, and extremely durable
  • It’s highly transparent and easy to color
  • It has low flammability and is resistant to many sunglass-harming chemicals
  • It stands up against high and low temperatures
  • It’s UV ray resistant

 
Not all sunglasses are created equal, and only some of the toughest, made-for-action shades have Grilamid TR® frames.  A few of our favorite brands that often feature Grilamid TR® frames include HovenUnder Armour, and Costa Del Mar.

Want to learn more about sunglasses, like what makes polarized sunglasses polarized and why an ANSI rating is important? Check out our other Sunglasses 101 posts!


© Native Slope and NativeSlope.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Native Slope and NativeSlope.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

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Sunglasses 101: ANSI Rated Sunglasses

You’ve probably seen sunglasses that have an ANSI rating or a sticker that says they’re “ANSI compliant,” like these Under Armour sunglasses:

ANSI compliant sunglasses
Under Armour is one of many sunglass manufacturers that make ANSI compliant shades.

 

So, what does an ANSI rating mean, and why should you care about it when you’re selecting sunglasses?

For people who like to work hard and play hard, an ANSI rating is important, especially when hazardous materials and/or flying objects are involved.  When it comes to sunglassesANSI compliant means BADASS.

The acronym ANSI stands for the American National Standards Institute, which is a non-profit organization that serves as the United State’s official standards rating institution. ANSI has been around for over 90 years and has over 1000 members that work together to develop voluntary national consensus standards. These members include trade associations, government agencies, professional societies, labor interest groups, and more. ANSI strives to include “. . .representation from almost every U.S. industry sector.” 

When it comes to eyewear, the Z87.1 standard refers to the “American National Standard for Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices,” which includes minimum safety guidelines for non-prescription eye protection against different types of impact, radiation, and liquid splash exposures.  

Sunglasses with an ANSI Z87.1 rating are tested against the following eye hazards:

    • Blunt impact
    • Radiation
    • Liquid splashes and drops
    • Dust and small dust particles
    • Wind

 

To earn compliance, sunglasses are put to the test. 

Some of our favorite ANSI eyewear tests include. . .

ANSI Testing on Sunglasses: High-Impact Blows to Lenses and Frame

Yeah, ANSI’s pretty hardcore, and we have mad respect for sunglasses that pass these brutal tests. 

There are a couple of impact ratings: “Z87” alone means the sunglasses passed the basic impact tests, and “Z87+” means the sunglasses passed the high-velocity impact tests.

Below are images that show one of the high-impact tests. The top pictures are of ANSI Z87.1 compliant sunglasses, and the bottom pictures are of sunglasses that obviously failed the test. Ouch.

One of many of the ANSI high-impact tests. These sunglasses passed the test.

 

ANSI Test Fail
ANSI impact test FAIL. Images from Edge Eyewear: An Inside Look at Testing for High Impact Compliance

You have the right to ask for proof of ANSI standards compliance from any eyewear manufacturer. Do not trust eyewear that does not have the standard printed on it. If you’re really into this stuff, then check out ANSI.org for more details. 

CLICK HERE for more Sunglasses 101 from NativeSlope.com

Check out THIS POST to learn about what makes polarized sunglasses polarized.

Check out THIS POST to figure out which lens color is best for you.


© Native Slope and NativeSlope.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Native Slope and NativeSlope.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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Sunglasses 101: The Best Sunglasses for Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing is an easy way to enjoy all that a backcountry winter wonderland has to offer. It can also be hard on your eyes, as snow reflects high levels of harmful UV rays that can distort your vision and irritate your retinas.  Too much UV exposure may also permanently harm your eyes.

Your eyes are awesome. Don’t hurt them while you’re snowshoeing.  Choose the right sunglasses to get the most out of your backcountry experience.

Here are six things you should consider when you’re choosing a pair of sunglasses for snowshoeing.

 

1 :: Size Matters

Be sure to choose a pair of sunglasses that provide full coverage. Not only do you need to protect your eyes from UV damage, but you also need to protect them from elements like wind, snow, dust, and other debris.

2 :: Venting = Awesome

Choose a pair with anti-fog features like venting and/or a coating. Although coatings are helpful, venting is hands-down the best. Find sunglasses like Tifosi sunglasses, which come with vented lensesNative Eyewear also makes many vented and anti-fog options that are perfect for outdoor winter adventures

3 :: Polarized Isn’t Always the Best 

Many falsely assume that polarized lenses are better lenses, no matter the conditions. As it turns out, polarized lenses are better in certain circumstances; however, they can distort your vision in other circumstances, particularly snowy conditions.

When the conditions are super bright, and there is snow on the ground, the glare is intense; however, most of the rays reflected off of the snow are not polarized, so polarized sunglasses will not work.  In fact, they could make the glare worse. Non-polarized sunglasses and goggles are best when the sun is bright and there is a layer of snow on the ground.

Polarized sunglasses cut horizontal polarized light and glare.  This is ideal when you want to cut contrast on water to see below the surface.  This is not ideal when looking at snow, as polarized lenses will smooth contrast and make the surface of the snow more difficult to navigate.  It’s science.

CLICK HERE to read more about how polarized sunglasses work.

4 :: Choose The Right Lens Color

It’s all about the lens. The following lens colors are best in winter conditions.

Gray lenses reduce the sun’s intensity without distorting contrast or color. They are great for outdoor activities that require a broad view, especially on blue-sky days.

Amber/Yellow/Brown lenses are good in hazy and overcast conditions because they enhance contrast, which makes them perfect for winter sports and driving.  Native Eyewear makes a Sportflex lens, which is ideal in low-light conditions. 

Mirrored lenses are particularly good when skiing or snowboarding in high-glare conditions.  This does depend on the color of the lenses, as mirrored lenses look badass, so some models are made more for looks than performance.  

CLICK HERE to see our lens color guide.

5 :: Be Prepared to Switch it Up

If you can find a pair of sunglasses with interchangeable lenses, then you’re golden. Winter sun conditions can change quickly, so if you can quickly change your lenses as conditions change, then you’ll be a sunglasses superstar.

6 :: Yes, Wear Sunglasses Even When It’s Cloudy

Especially when the sky is overcast, wearing sunglasses in the winter is imperative because the winter sun sits lower in the sky and at a more harmful angle.  Add snow to the mix, and your eyes are at risk of major irritation and burn. Yes, that’s right, if you’re not careful, you can burn your eyeballs. Yikes.

Even though it may not seem as intense, the winter sun is often more harmful to your eyes than the summer sun. To add to the mayhem, the sun’s rays are like powerfully stealthy ninjas that can cut through haze, fog, and clouds. Don’t let overcast conditions fool you. Speaking of ninjas, snow reflects up to 85% of the sun’s harmful UV rays.  Alright, that has nothing to do with ninjas, but wearing sunglasses in the winter is kind of a big deal.

CLICK HERE to learn more about why you should always wear sunglasses, even when it’s cloudy.

Want to know more about which sunglasses are best in the winter? CLICK HERE to find out.


© Native Slope and NativeSlope.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Native Slope and NativeSlope.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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Sunglasses 101: Wear Sunglasses, Even When It’s Cloudy

The sun’s harmful rays are way more sneaky than you may think. Able to cut through fog, haze, and clouds, UV rays make overcast days deceiving, and you should always wear sunglasses, even when it’s cloudy.

Don’t worry, sunglass manufacturers know this, and they make lenses specifically for low-light conditions so that you can see clearly and protect your eyes, even in overcast conditions.

Here are a few things you should know about wearing sunglasses, even when it’s cloudy.

1 | UV Rays Are Like Ninjas

80% of the sun’s rays can get through clouds. This depends on the types of clouds and cover. According to the American Cancer Society, some types of clouds can actually increase UV intensity. Cloud science is interesting, but you probably don’t have the time or equipment to identify and assess the clouds each time you step outside. UV rays are sneaky devils that can get through clouds, making them easy to foolishly dismiss on overcast days. Don’t let the sun’s ninja rays fool you. Wear sunglasses, even when it’s cloudy.

2 | Wear Sunglasses, Even in the Shade

Surfaces reflect UV rays, especially water, snow, sand, and pavement. Even if you’re under an umbrella or wearing a hat, you should wear sunglasses. Those shifty rays can bounce off of a surface right into your eyes. Protect your eyes; wear sunglasses, even in the shade.  

CLICK HERE to learn more about why you should always wear sunglasses in the winter.

3 | Change Lens Color as Light Changes

Brands like Tifosi and Native Eyewear deliver sunglasses with multiple lenses that you can easily change as light conditions change.

Native Eyewear Nova Sunglasses - Iron Black Frame - Sportflex Lens
Native Eyewear makes a Sportflex colored lens designed specifically for low-light conditions | Native Eyewear Nova Sunglasses

CLICK HERE to learn more about which lens colors to wear in which light conditions.

4 | Consider Time of Day and Elevation

According to the American Cancer Society, UV rays are the most intense between 10am and 4pm, and more rays reach the ground at higher elevations.

5 | Don’t Forget About Your Eyelids

Your eyeballs are not the only things at risk when you’re outside; UV rays can also burn your eyelids. Yikes. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, eyelid cancers may account for 10% of all skin cancers. 

6 | All Sunglasses Are NOT Created Equal

Always read the label before purchasing a pair of shades. If they do not say that they provide at least 98% UV protection, – 100% is obviously the best – then don’t buy them.  Stay away from labels that say things like “UV absorbing” or “blocks most UV light”. Look for a specific rating. Speaking of ratings, sunglasses that provide 400nm protection also provide 100% UV protection.

Costa Del Mar Rockport Sunglasses - Tortoise POLARIZED Sunrise Yellow 580P
Always check the label or sticker to make sure the lenses provide 100% UV protection. | Costa Del Mar Rockport Sunglasses

7 | Size Matters

It’s true. Always consider size and fit. Some sunglasses may look awesome, but if the lenses do not completely cover your eyes, including the sides, or there is too much space between the frame and your face, then the sunglasses will not be awesome defenders against UV rays. Sport and wrap sunglasses typically provide the most protection.

8 | Polarized Does Not Mean UV Protection

Polarized lenses have a filter that reduces glare from sunlight that’s reflected off of a flat surface. Polarization alone does not provide UV protection.  Most quality polarized sunglasses like Native Eyewear, Costa Del Mar, and Kaenon also provide 100% UV protection, but you should always double-check a pair of sunglasses’ UV protection rating, and you should always wear sunglasses, even when it’s cloudy.

CLICK HERE to learn more about polarized sunglasses and how they work.  

 

© Native Slope and NativeSlope.com, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Native Slope and NativeSlope.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Sunglasses 101: Can You Wear Sunglasses to View the Eclipse?

Repeat after me: My eyes are awesome, and I WILL NOT wear anything but ISO 12312-2 safety standard compliant eyewear to look at the eclipse. Ever. 

So, the answer is a big fat HECK NO, sunglasses WILL NOT protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays while you look directly at the eclipse.  

If that’s all you need to know, then trust us, and ditch the sunglasses, snag yourself some approved eclipse eyewear, and enjoy an incredibly unique experience without risking your eyesight.  

If you’d like to know why wearing sunglasses to directly view the eclipse is a terrible idea, then read on.

:: Why Sunglasses WILL NOT Protect Your Eyes During the Eclipse ::

  • Sunglasses are designed to protect your eyes from reflected, indirect sunlight. Sure, you may occasionally look directly at the sun, but it’s rarely on purpose, and it’s almost always only for a second or two. According to NASA, retina damage will occur within a minute of direct sunlight exposure, maybe even less. Don’t look directly at the sun, even with sunglasses on.
  • Here’s some perspective: Eclipse glasses block 99.9999% of the sun’s light. Your sunglasses do not do that. If they did, then they would totally suck. Imagine cycling and only being able to see 0.0001% of the sunlight. Yikes.
  • Depending on the lens color and technology, most sunglasses filter about 60% of the sun’s light. 60% is not 99.9999%. (CLICK HERE to learn more about lens colors and how they work.)
  • Joel Schuman, chair of ophthalmology at NYU Langone Health, told VOX, “The light from the sun is very intense and concentrated into a very small area, and then that light is converted into heat, and that heat cooks the retina.” Even if you’re wearing sunglasses, the sun will literally burn a hole in your eyeballs if you look directly at it for too long. I’d like to keep my retinas raw, thank you.
  • Eclipse glasses look way more awesome than regular sunglasses, so you’ll probably get a date while you’re wearing them. Bonus.
Image: Scott Winterton via WashingtonPost.com

 

:: Other Important Things to Know ::

  • Make sure your eclipse eyewear or viewer is legit. There are many scammers out there trying to make a buck while you potentially damage your eyesight. Jerks.
  • Do not use a solar viewer or filter if it’s scratched or damaged in any way.
  • According to NASA, most filters only last about three years. Let’s believe NASA because the people who work there are smart.
  • DO NOT remove your approved solar filter unless you are in the path of totality, and the sun is totally covered by the moon. CLICK HERE to see if you’re one of the lucky ones who will get to experience a truly total eclipse.
Image: Eclipse 2017 via http://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety

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Other Helpful Eclipse Resources:

NASA’s Eclipse Safety Site

How to Make a Pinhole Camera to Safely View the Eclipse

Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers

Title Image: Ben Kaye-Skinner via freeimages.com
© Native Slope and NativeSlope.com, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Native Slope and NativeSlope.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Sunglasses 101: Lens Color Guide

Choosing the right lens color can be overwhelming, especially when you’re shopping performance sunglasses. Below is a basic guide to help you understand how different lens colors work in different light conditions.  

:: The Basics ::

Darker lens colors like gray, green, and brown work best in medium and bright light conditions.
Lighter lens colors like yellow and rose work best in lower light conditions.
Got it?  Good.  

:: Let’s Get More Specific ::

 

 Gray Lenses

Gray lenses are an excellent choice for everyday, general wear. They are the darkest lenses that provide the most light reduction in bright conditions. They can also function fairly well in lower-light and hazy or foggy conditions. They are ideal when on water, as polarized versions work particularly well to reduce reflection and glare.

Green Lenses

Ray-Ban Aviator Sunglasses -SMALL 52mm Matte Black - Green Lens - RB3044

Green lenses are also quite versatile and excellent for everyday wear. Green lenses are good in bright conditions, and they work particularly well in moderate-light or partly cloudy conditions, as they enhance contrast and color.

Copper Lenses

Costa Del Mar Straits Sunglasses - Blackout Black - POLARIZED Copper 580P

Copper lenses significantly increase contrast in medium and bright light conditions.  Sunglasses with copper lenses are a popular choice for anglers, boaters, and paddlers because they enhance contrast without distorting color.

Brown or Amber Lenses

Kaenon Pintail Sunglasses - Matte Tobacco - B12 Brown POLARIZED 029-02-B12

Lenses in the brown color family provide the best contrast in the widest variety of light conditions, and this is an excellent lens color for everyday wear and versatility.  Brown lenses will distort color more than gray or green lenses, but they offer better contrast in overcast or flat light conditions.

Yellow Lenses

Costa Del Mar Rockport Sunglasses - Tortoise POLARIZED Sunrise Yellow 580P

Yellow lenses are excellent in low-light, hazy, or foggy conditions. They are popular amongst pilots, drivers, and marksmen. Runners and cyclists also prefer yellow lenses in early morning or evening light conditions. Sunglasses with yellow lenses are also an ideal choice for those who desire eye protection from computer screens and other devices that emit harmful blue light.  They are not a good choice for bright light conditions, and they will distort colors.

Native Eyewear Nova Sunglasses - Iron Black Frame - Sportflex Lens

Native Eyewear offers a “sportflex” lens color that’s a great alternative to a yellow lens. The sportflex lens is made to reduce color distortion while enhancing contrast in low-light conditions.

Blue or Purple Lenses

Aside from being fashion-forward, blue and purple lenses are ideal for winter sports or other flat-light conditions that require depth perception and enhanced contrast. They work particularly well in foggy, hazy, and snowy conditions. If you have sunglasses that enable you to switch out lenses as conditions change, then a pair of gray lenses for bright conditions and a pair of blue or purple lenses for low-light conditions are ideal, especially on water and snow.

Pink, Red, or Rose Lenses

Pink, red, or rose lenses also offer excellent visibility in low-light and snowy conditions. Providing the greatest amount of contrast, they are ideal when driving or being active in the snow in low-light or flat-light conditions. They are an excellent choice as back-up lenses to replace green or gray lenses as light conditions change.   

© Native Slope and NativeSlope.com, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Native Slope and NativeSlope.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Sunglasses 101: The Best Sunglasses for Winter

Unless it’s a blue-sky day, it’s easy to forget to wear sunglasses in the winter. That’s a horrible idea. Please swear to never, ever forget your shades in the winter again.  Seriously, swear it.  Your eyes will thank you.

::  Even When it’s Overcast?

 Wear sunglasses in the winter, even if it's overcast. Get some great winter sunglasses at NativeSlope.com

Especially when the sky is overcast. Wearing sunglasses in the winter is imperative because the winter sun sits lower in the sky and at a more harmful angle.  Yikes. Even though it may not seem as intense, the winter sun is often more harmful to your eyes than the summer sun. To add to the mayhem, the sun’s rays are like powerfully stealthy ninjas that can cut through haze, fog, and clouds. Don’t let overcast conditions fool you. Speaking of ninjas, snow reflects up to 85% of the sun’s harmful UV rays.  Alright, that has nothing to do with ninjas, but wearing sunglasses in the winter is kind of a big deal.

::  To Polarize or Not to Polarize?

Polarized sunglasses don't always help with snow glare. In can sometimes make it worse. Get some non-polarized sunglasses at NativeSlope.com

It all depends on the conditions, so having a pair of polarized sunglasses and a pair of non-polarized sunglasses is a good idea in the winter.

When the conditions are super bright, and there is snow on the ground, the glare is intense; however, most of the rays reflected off of the snow are not polarized, so polarized sunglasses will not work.  In fact, they could make the glare worse. Non-polarized sunglasses and goggles are best when the sun is bright, and there is a layer of snow on the ground.

When winter conditions are grey and foggy, polarized sunglasses are ideal because they cut through the haze, especially on the horizon.  That’s because polarized sunglasses cut horizontal polarized light and glare.  It’s science. CLICK HERE to read more about how polarized sunglasses work.

:: It’s Not Just About The Rays

Sunglasses protect your eyes from more than just harmful UV rays. Get some sunglasses now at NativeSlope.com

General winter conditions can also harm your eyes, and sunglasses can protect you from the following winter hazards:

  • Sunglasses protect the delicate skin around your eyes, which is particularly susceptible to sunburn.
  • Sunglasses protect your eyes from wind, debris, and snow.
  • In colder weather, your eyes are more likely to become dry and irritated. Sunglasses will protect your eyes from the elements that cause dryness.
  • Glare causes squinting, which can damage the skin around your eyes and contribute to eye fatigue. Sunglasses will keep your eyes healthier and happier.
  • Sunglasses always come with an element of cool, and who doesn’t want to look cool?

 

:: Which Sunglasses are Best in Winter?

mountain-reflection-1-1462040

It’s all about the lens. The following lens colors are best in winter conditions:

Grey lenses reduce the sun’s intensity without distorting contrast or color. They are great for outdoor activities that require a broad view, especially on blue-sky days.

Amber/Yellow/Brown lenses are good in hazy and overcast conditions because they enhance contrast, which makes them perfect for winter sports and driving.

Mirrored lenses are particularly good when skiing or snowboarding in high-glare conditions.  This does depend on the color of the lenses, as mirrored lenses simply look badass, so some models are made more for looks than performance.  

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© Native Slope and NativeSlope.com, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Native Slope and NativeSlope.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Sunglasses 101: What are Polarized Sunglasses?

You know that you want them, you know that they are awesome, and you know that they might cost more, but what, exactly, are polarized sunglasses?  Are they really worth the hype and extra cash?

costa_tern_tortoise_vermillion-700x600
Costa Del Mar Tern Polarized Sunglasses :: NativeSlope.com

On a basic level, a polarized lens has a chemical film that reduces glare by filtering intense light that is reflected off of a flat surface.  Sure.  Ok.  So, what does that mean?

It all starts with the sun and light.  We need them; we love them; they’re great.  Light waves emitted by the sun vibrate in many different directions.  When light waves align on a single plane, they are polarized, and they are significantly intensified, producing distracting glare.  This happens when the light waves reflect off of a flat surface like a road, a windshield, or a body of water. The light waves align to match the surface angle of whatever they hit, so a horizontal surface like a lake will produce horizontally polarized light, causing intense glare that makes it impossible to see below the surface of the water.

Polarized lenses are coated with a harmless chemical film that contains molecules that align to filter out the horizontally polarized light so that you can see through the distracting glare.

So, are they really worth it?  Boaters and anglers certainly think so, as polarized lenses enable them to see below the surface of the water.  Some manufacturers like Costa Del Mar and Native Eyewear strive to develop and deliver some of the most innovative and effective polarized lenses on the market, appealing particularly to water sports enthusiasts.  Polarized lenses are also helpful when driving and cycling in conditions that will likely produce horizontally polarized light and glare.  In some cases, however, they are not necessary.  Consider the type of glare you may encounter to determine whether or not you need polarized sunglasses.

 

I’m not a scientist, and I’m pretty sure I would have failed physics, if I’d ever bothered to take it.  So, here are my sources:
“Polarization.” Light Waves and Color – Lesson 1 – How Do We Know Light Is a Wave? The Physics Classroom, 2016. Web. 16 Apr. 2016. 
Tyson, Jeff. “How Sunglasses Work.” Science: Everyday Inventions. HowStuffWorks, 14 July 2000. Web. 15 Apr. 2016.

 

© Native Slope and NativeSlope.com, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Native Slope and NativeSlope.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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