The highest compliment I can pay to any pair of sunglasses is to forget that I’m wearing them. And that’s exactly what happened the very first time I put on the Maui Jims that were sent to Boats.com to evaluate. I expected them to be light, since the company billed their new MauiPure lens as the “lightest weight choice for long days in the sun.” And I expected the visibility to be excellent, since optical clarity is the biggest reason I’ve been such a fan of Maui Jim sunglasses for the past ten years. But I didn’t expect the combination of weightlessness, clarity, and comfort that allowed me to forget about the lenses altogether.
I gave these glasses a serious test at a recent windy regatta in Annapolis, MD. In spite of the constant douses of spray, I didn't have to clean the lenses at all; they seemed to shed both water drops and greasy fingerprints on their own. That enabled me to concentrate on reading the very subtle differences in the color and texture of the water that forewarned of shifts, puffs, and lulls. And at the end of the day, my eyes weren't tired from all the glare. This patented optical resin lens really does mimic the optical performance of glass, in spite of its light weight.
I'm also intrigued by the hingeless frames, since many previous pairs of glasses have failed at that point. The frames rely on the spring of the earpieces to hold them in place—which works better than I expected. And the lenses are glued to the frame, not set into a tiny wire strap that would eventually stretch enough to lose a lens. I’m going to have to figure out a new way to break this pair.
I have noticed two tradeoffs with these glasses. The first and biggest is that the hingeless frames make them difficult to put on with one hand (without poking out the opposite eye). The second tradeoff is their lack of customization in fit; because the piece that connects the two lenses is plastic, it’s not possible to bend it to better fit my face. Luckily, they fit me well right out of the box—which is unusual.
Maui Jims are at the top end of the sunglass price range. But I value my eyes, as well as my ability to spot puffs. Which is why I feel they are worth the expense—even for sunglasses I keep forgetting about.
For more information, visit the MauiJim website.
Why are sunglasses so important? Read Sunglasses on the water: top tips for sailors and boaters on Boats.com UK.
And for another point of view, read fisherman and Senior Editor Lenny Rudow's top picks: The Best Five Sunglasses for Boaters