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Costa Del Mar Celebrates 40th Anniversary With New King Tide Frames: Review

The most thoroughly engineered pair of frames thus far from the brand, the King Tides introduce a whole new level of performance and versatility to the fishing eyewear world.

Costa Del Mar Celebrates 40th Year Anniversary With New King Tide Frames Rule The Water(Photo/Harry Spampinato)
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A nice pair of fishing sunglasses are not all that friendly on the wallet these days, so pinning down a pair that checks as many logistic boxes as possible is more important than ever. Your fishing frames are likely not your go-to shades for the beach or an evening out on the town, so breaking the bank to spring for specialized high-quality optics can be that much more difficult.

Real versatility across both style and function is a hard-to-hit Goldilocks zone — fortunate for us anglers who have an eye for sharp aesthetics but refuse to sacrifice performance, Costa has engineered its newest frame with us in mind.

The King Tides are arguably the most adaptable and downright performance-driven pair of shades currently on the market for fishing applications. Costa has gone the whole 9 yards and then some to engineer a do-everything pair of sunglasses from boat to bar.

In short: Serious anglers seeking a top-quality pair of shades that also doubles as a lifestyle staple will find a friend here.

Costa Del Mar King Tide Frames: Review


Costa Del Mar King Tide Frames Review
(Photo/Harry Spampinato)

First and foremost, to give you an idea of the invested resources and dedication here, a typical frame design from Costa takes 14-18 months to develop. The King Tides have been in the works for 4 years. This is an industry-leading brand that doesn’t cut corners, so the extra devotion to designing the best of the best here is exciting, to say the least.

Conceptualized with novel innovations in mind and rigorously tested to account for all of the gnarliest trials and tribulations you and Mother Nature can come up with, the King Tides are a one-stop shop for serious anglers seeking the most advantageous eyewear in the game.

There are a few key features and innovations incorporated into the King Tides that are bound to make waves in the industry. The brand has taken everything it’s come to understand about performance eyewear and leaned in even harder.

What Are the Updates?

When asked what sets the King Tides apart from previous Costa frames, the design team’s answer was versatility, ventilation, and coverage.

The King Tides employ removable side shields for effectively blocking backside and peripheral light. Available as mid- and full-wrap frames, both options offer better than excellent coverage with the side shields deployed.

An extensive array of ventilation ports laced throughout the frames, as well as mindfully designed sweat channels, go on to ensure that your face doesn’t cook under there. These features also prevent any frustrating fogging or perspiration buildup. More venting also means less weight, so the King Tides wear comfortably all day with or without the added side shields.

The King Tides are all about performance, so they will only be available with the brand’s glass lenses. Recent advances in Costa’s 580G lenses have even further reduced overall weight. Thinner glass and more beveling have dropped the lens weight significantly, so Costa’s newer 580G options are lighter than ever before.

A new innovation within the industry, an anti-skid coating on the topside of the frames prevents your shades from slipping on top of virtually any wet or dry surface. This means bumpy boat rides or bobbing surfboards in the swell won’t send your shades sliding.

All of these new features are further bolstered by Costa’s existing lineup of pro series innovations. An adjustable nosepiece enables you to customize the fit, while the castor oil bioresin used for the frame construction offers excellent strength and low weight.


testing the Costa Del Mar King Tide Frames
(Photo/Harry Spampinato)

Removable Side Shields

Any angler who truly relies on their vision to find success on the water knows that coverage is arguably the most important sunglasses stat. Blocking peripheral and backside light has everything to do with keeping your eyes focused, so sight fishermen, in particular, will find a friend in this brilliant design feature.

Popping these bad boys on and off is a breeze, so when you find yourself cupping your hands around your eyes, simply snap on your shields! The new King Tide sunglasses case also has designated storage slots for the side shields in order to avoid misplacing them. If you do manage to lose or damage one (good luck — the integrity is astounding), replacement side shields can be purchased.

Anti-Skid Coating

New to the industry, Costa has incorporated an anti-skid coating to the top side of the King Tide frames. This dramatically reduces sliding when you set your shades down on center consoles, bench seats, surfboards, etc.

During testing, while motoring offshore, the King Tides were very obviously more planted to the gel coat compared to the other Costa frames onboard. Coming from someone who’s previously cracked a pair of glass lenses as a result of a careless drop from the center console, this is a simple, but pivotal, feature in my opinion. Little design details like this set the King Tides apart.

Extensive Venting & Sweat Channels

While celebrating the brand’s 40th-year anniversary in San Diego, select media had the pleasure of discussing the design, manufacturing, and rigorous testing processes put into the King Tides.

The brand operates quite an impressive array of climate-controlled chambers and stress test protocols in-house at Costa’s facility in Foothill Ranch, Calif. While much of the testing has to do with salt resistance and frame integrity, Costa really invested a lot of energy in making sure the King Tides offer a high-speed, low-drag fit and feel that absolutely does not compromise ventilation.

Shark gill-inspired venting at the temples and on the side shields ensure that your lenses won’t fog, while carefully oriented sweat channels pull any perspiration away from the eyes and face, directing it down the temples and out of mind. In summary, regardless of the climate and conditions you’re chasing fish in, you won’t feel stuffy under there.

Adjustable Nose Pads

So, this feature is an existing Costa Pro Series innovation, but it’s absolutely worth highlighting. The adjustable nosepiece enables you to precisely customize the way the frames sit on your face.

Built with a stainless steel core in order to be manipulated and a double-injected HydroLite rubber exterior for comfort and a nonslip grip, getting the King Tides to feel just right on your face is a breeze.

This is particularly important for anglers with unique head shapes or for fishermen with especially long eyelashes, like myself. Many of my favorite fishing frames are tragically not compatible with me simply because they sit a bit too close to my face, causing my eyelashes to brush against the lenses. Costa’s design team calls this “lash-crashing.” With the Pro Series Nose Pads, you can effectively space the frames away from your face, eliminating this issue and ensuring a one-size-fits-most design.

It may take you a few minutes to find the right setting, but adjusting the nosepiece is a piece of cake, and the material memory is solid, so you won’t have to keep readjusting all day. Another simple, but highly practical feature, in my opinion.

My Experience

Field testing - Costa Del Mar King Tide Frames
(Photo/Harry Spampinato)

At first glance, the King Tides looked a bit overkill to me. There’s a lot of gear out there these days that’s overengineered beyond practicality, and the aesthetic of the venting and side shields had me wondering if this was the case.

My concerns were quickly put to bed once I got the chance to fish in the frames — all of the features are on point here. While the price point is quite high at $329-349, if you spend a lot of days on the water, I’m confident the King Tides are nonetheless a great value buy.

In the Field

While running and gunning for bluefin tuna offshore out of San Diego, the Costa team and I most definitely put the King Tides to the test.

The first notable impression the frames made was the lack of wind interference around the eyes while steaming offshore. While the side shields are predominately engineered for blocking backside and peripheral light, their ability to reduce aggressive wind (while still effectively venting) was immediately noticeable.

As someone who prefers six-base, mid-wrap frames, I often find myself wearing my safety squints while my eyes water motoring at high speeds, or while casting into headwinds. The King Tides allowed me to put both my conscious and subconscious squinting to rest.

While temperatures weren’t exactly scorching on the water during testing, I could nonetheless sense the extensive airflow across the frames — and I never fogged up. The ventilation here is notably superior to any frame I’ve tested.

I’m excited to wear these on the Mexican sand flats that I fish each spring, where temps are brutally hot and wiping your brow is a constant chore. It’s easy to tell that the moisture management channels built into the temples will also prove to be a pivotal feature in hot climates.

Not to be overlooked, the King Tides impressed me with their overall wear comfort. Between the adjustable nose pads, venting, and low weight, these are the type of frames you can sport all day without feeling squeezed or fatigued.

What’s Wrong?

  • Lack of frame color options.
  • Shark gill venting is not an aesthetic for everyone, but the brand has done its best to make these features subtle

Costa Del Mar King Tide Sunglasses: In Closing

While many serious anglers opt for a full-wrap frame, I prefer to wear a mid-wrap, six-base frame. The King Tides allow me to do so without sacrificing coverage through use of the side shields. These are somehow cool guy shades despite their level of performance, and I’m more than excited to have them in my quiver of eyewear.

Whether it’s a full-send trip offshore or a leisurely day of fishing on the stream, the King Tides offer all of the performance features you want out of your sunglasses, and then some. Equally killer for beach life, surf sessions, and regular casual wear, you won’t find a more versatile pair of shades for any and all endeavors.

Described by Costa as the “culmination of every innovation and lesson learned up until this point,” I’m truly impressed with the execution here and am fully on board.

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