By BENJAMIN ROMAN
Whether you’re crossing a glacier or just biking to the grocery store, the right pair of sunglasses can protect your eyes and let you see details you never knew you were missing. Ocean glare and fast-changing weather are among the toughest conditions for any sunglasses, so I brought a test pair of Costa Del Mar’s just-released Corbinas ($149 to $249, depending on lens type) on a recent dive trip to the Caribbean island of St. Lucia.
Costa Del Mar (www.costadelmar.com) has long appealed to a core market of boaters and fishermen, and they offer a range of lens materials and tints for different sports and conditions. My test pair featured the Costa 580 lens, made of the company’s LightWAVE glass, which has a silver mirror finish on a polarized copper lens. According to the manufacturer, this lens is the most versatile, making it good for water sports, skiing, and everyday uses like driving.
I’m pretty picky about my sunglasses, and I found the Costa Del Mar optical quality to be truly excellent. The polarized lenses did well eliminating even the worst glare, such as looking toward the sun over water. The 580 lens cuts yellow light and brings out reds, blues and greens, providing excellent color definition and contrast. They offered great definition of shallow and deep water when viewing the ocean surface from a boat — particularly helpful for divers and fisherman.
The Corbina is a medium-large frame, suitable for most face sizes. The lightweight nylon design has flexible rubberized tips integrated into the temple arms for comfort, and Costa Del Mar lined the entire frame with a no-slip material. The Corbina’s durability was also good, as I (accidentally) confirmed when my pair survived a forehead-to-pavement fall with no ill effects.
A minor drawback of the Corbina sunglasses was their weight with the glass lens (compared to Costa’s polycarbonate lens options, which are much lighter). But a little extra weight is the tradeoff for the optical quality of glass, and the frame’s good fit meant the sunglasses never felt clunky or bothersome.
The bottom line: Costa Del Mar’s Corbina sunglasses provide excellent optical quality with lens options for sports and all-around use, as well as a comfortable and durable lightweight frame design.
—Contributor Benjamin Roman is a writer and design consultant from Venice, Calif.