Knock me out with some cheap sunglasses
July 21, 2009 4:57 PM   Subscribe

A friend let me try on his $100+ sunglasses. I was amazed at how sharp everything looked and how I could wear them indoors and was able to see everyone clearly. Are there any cheap sunglasses with great lenses?

The originals were Serengetis. I've seen used pairs on Ebay for about $30. I have an 800 mile drive coming up and something that works really well would be nice.
posted by mecran01 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Were they monochromatic lenses? Green, maybe?

Monochromatic light focuses better in your eyes than polychromatic light. That's a fact of physics.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:04 PM on July 21, 2009

Response by poster: I think they were slightly reddish.
posted by mecran01 at 6:10 PM on July 21, 2009

Best answer: The answer to your question is no.
posted by patnok at 6:13 PM on July 21, 2009

Response by poster: In that case I shall pick up something with amber, polarized lessons and be glad that I am not Richard Cory.

I'd buy the Ebay pair but they wouldn't arrive in time.
posted by mecran01 at 6:19 PM on July 21, 2009

FWIW: Polarized sunglasses from US$12.96. New $60 Serengetis...
posted by kmennie at 6:40 PM on July 21, 2009

N'thing patnok. I held out on buying NICE sunglasses for the longest time, went through a bunch of cheapies, and then bought a single pair of maui jims. Would NEVER go back to cheap sunglasses again. ..same holds for shoes, come to think of it.
posted by frwagon at 6:43 PM on July 21, 2009

As far as the UV protection issue, there is not a consistent difference between cheap UV-protective sunglasses and expensive ones as long as they are labelled similarly. There may be a difference in your experience of overall quality, though, due to construction, weight, lens material, frame material, hinges, design, etc. From the STraight Dope link:
Tests of sunglasses have found wide variations in their effectiveness against UV, regardless of cost, tint color, or lens material. Ignore the sales hype and look for the following voluntary industry labels. "Cosmetic" sunglasses block 70 percent of the sun's most damaging rays, "general purpose" shades block 95 percent, and "special purpose" glasses block 99 percent. "UV-400," another label you often see, supposedly means the sunglasses block 100 percent of UV. A lot of experts recommend glasses in the latter two categories, the special purpose in this case being that they may keep you from going blind.
In other words, some expensive sunglasses are crappy, and some cheap ones are completley adequate from a UV standpoint. Judge 'em as they come.
posted by Miko at 7:31 PM on July 21, 2009

I love my Maui Jims..... You'd have to pry them from my cold dead face.
posted by jmnugent at 7:39 PM on July 21, 2009 [2 favorites]

I see from your profile you live in the USA.

So this won't work for you, but in Australia there's a good solution. The Cancer Council sells a broad range of high quality sunglasses at a reasonable choice and any margin they makes goes towards their efforts in cancer research and prevention.
All Cancer Council sunglasses meet the Australian Standard and have an eye protection factor of 10 (the highest rating in Australia).

Our adult range features Polaroid polarising lenses protecting against UVA and UVB radiation
Available here.
posted by Sitegeist at 3:46 AM on July 22, 2009

The "$60 Serengeti" glasses linked by kmennie are not, as far as I know, actual Serengeti Eyewear products. As far as polarization in general purpose driving glasses goes, there is a school of thought that suggests you avoid polarization in driving glasses, since reflected glare is an important visual indicator for water and oil hazards on the road. Likewise, most high quality aviator glasses are not polarized, as reflected glare is an important visual cue for recognizing other air traffic in aviation situations.
posted by paulsc at 5:00 AM on July 22, 2009

I love my BlueBlockers for driving. They do not filter out the important glares, just the annoying ones. And they have the sharpest "picture" I've ever seen in sunglasses. Not terribly stylish, though.
posted by gjc at 6:05 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Is there a decent sporting goods store near you? The glasses might not look as trendy, but that doesn't matter much to cyclists and paddlers.
posted by Chuckles McLaughy du Haha, the depressed clown at 6:58 AM on July 22, 2009

Response by poster: It doesn't matter to me if the glasses are ugly. I'm going for some polarized blue blockers because I'll be driving in a very dry area and in 26 years of driving I have never encountered a dangerous oil slick on the road. And it's a fourteen hour drive.
posted by mecran01 at 8:05 AM on July 22, 2009

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