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What to look for
There’s more to great sunglasses than style. Optical quality is vital, as is lens color: Choose yellow or red for flat light; brown, green or orange for moderate or variable light; gray or mirrored for bright sun; and polarized to block glare.
Kudos to Bollé for creating sunglasses with interchangeable lenses that are truly easy to change¿even with gloved hands. The Turbulence comes with three polarized or nonpolarized lenses (hence, the price range), as well as rubber temple and nose grips to stop slippage. The rectangular wrap frame is stylish, but offers less peripheral vision than some of its competitors.
With a sleek, futuristic design, the C.8 appears built for speed¿and it is. The “racing-cut” vented lens fights fog, and rubber temple and nose grips hold the C.8 still, however fast you fly. The lower edge of the frame may press against your face if you have high cheek bones, but it’s lightweight and offers one of the most unique features we’ve seen: self-locking temples that won’t scratch the lenses when folded.
The Scar proves that Oakley’s got style down to a science. It combines Oakley’s nylon-blend “O Matter” material, cut at dramatic angles, with metal sides for a sophisticated look¿although the metal makes this one of the heavier glasses we tried. Rubber nose grips wick moisture away from the face, and the lenses don’t distort vision. An added bonus for vision-challenged skiers: You can purchase Scar with prescription lenses.
Smith boosts its popular Slider series with the Voodoo, a frame designed for smaller faces. As with all Sliders, the Voodoo comes with three interchangeable lenses: sienna brown for brighter conditions, yellow for low light and Smith’s new RC36 tint, which works in a variety of light conditions. The temples have small rubber grips, but be careful when you fold them: The tips might scratch the lenses.
You thought UV protection was enough? Think again. Uvex ups the safety ante with the M-Three’s melanin lenses. Melanin, which protects your skin from UV rays, also helps block high-energy visible (HEV) light. The benefit? It reduces age-related macular degeneration (the macula lutea is a spot on the retina of especially keen vision). The M-Three’s petite frame limits peripheral vision, but offers a great look for small faces.
6 Zeal Optics
Based in the mountain-biking polestar of Moab, Utah, Zeal Optics has won wide acclaim among cyclists, but skiers are just starting to discover why. The Zooni’s one good reason: Its stylish frame offers good peripheral vision, and interchangeable lenses let skiers adjust to changing light¿though they’ll likely need a pit stop in the base lodge to make the swap. The vented frame fights fog and can accommodate prescription lenses.