Swiss Army Knife Sunglasses

By JASON MAGNESS

New this year, Wenger debuted an optics line for outdoor sports. The modular sunglasses are sold as a “system” to include interchangeable pieces — frames, lenses, forehead pad, nose pad, and Rx insert. The result is a setup marketed to make the glasses fully customizable to almost any outdoor sport.

For the past four months, we have put the Wenger glasses to the test. I have worn them to the top of unnamed mountains in Patagonia (see the video here!), raced in them around the U.S., and used them during countless training sessions.

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Wenger glasses on the summit of Mount Shasta

Bottom line? Even though I consider my “official test” over, I still find myself reaching for my well-worn pair, clicking on the appropriate lens for my adventure, and hitting the trail.

What sets these glasses apart from other similar products is a unique attachment feature that makes it possible to change to different lenses in an instant — a small locking pin set in the bridge of each lens inserts into a hole on the frame.

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Wenger glasses with Winter lens

The company sells various polycarbonate lenses, some with more coverage and a double-lens (the Winter lens, made for mountaineering), to the Running lens, a lightweight shield with ventilation holes.

There is a water lens and a biking lens, too, and the costs range from $55 to $90. I personally hope to see the line expand to include a clear lens (for night) and a photo-chromatic option.

Wenger advertises 100% UVA and UVB protection. A prescription insert, which clicks into place behind the lens shield, costs $55 plus the custom Rx fees from a lab.

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The Wenger optics “system”

The frames cost about $175, and they come in four styles. They are comfortable and light. A unique neoprene insert sits on the top of the frame and touches the forehead to “deliver additional glare and sweat protection,” as Wenger puts it.

Since my introduction to the frames this past winter, the Wenger glasses have been stuffed unceremoniously in all manner of pockets, pack top lids, and gear bins. Based on the lens scratches, I can confidently say they are well tested and well loved.

—Bend, Ore., writer Jason Magness recently climbed Mount Shasta for GearJunkie. See his video from the climb, “Split-Boards and Sombreros.”

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The author, Wenger glasses on, shouldering bike during an adventure race

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