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Native Eyewear sunglasses are stylish and high tech

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Native Sunglasses

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Native Eyewear sunglasses are just one example of the products that have benefited from the integration of significant technological advances. Those that spend a lot of time outdoors in pursuit of recreation or employment will applaud the advances that make us safer and more comfortable, while separating the marketing hype from fact. Native Eyewear has paid attention to so much technology that it warrants having its own section on their website, but their glasses are stylish too.

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My husband, Steve, and I have been testing several models of Native Eyewear sunglasses, including the Linville, Haskille and Highline models, as we drove eight hours across the bright desert and skied in unusually warm, sunny, January conditions in the Sierra. We’ve been very impressed with some of the special features, including the clarity, style, comfort and fit. The inside of the arms is coated with a grippy material that hugs the bone behind your ear to ensure a secure fit that won’t budge when you shake your head. The same type of material on the nose pads is soft and comfortable. The hinges lock in place quickly, allowing for quick on-off folding action. Little vents in the top of the Linville model allow for fog-free vision.

The fit description for the Haskill stated that it was best for medium to large profiles, while the Linville stated large to extra-large. I have a small head and found the opposite for me—the Linville was a good fit and the Haskill, while equally stylish, was a bit on the large size but within reason.

Native Eyewear, based in mile-high Denver where the deleterious effects of ultraviolet (UVA and UVB) light are even more pronounced than at sea level, has focused on several ways to improve sunglass lenses. All Native glasses block 100% UV A&B rays, even their clear lenses. Everyone expects high-end sunglasses to be polarized but Native goes a step further by blocking blue and infrared light. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology it’s not clear at this time whether that offers health benefits, but it can’t hurt. The N3 lenses meet ANSI Z78.1 standards. The anti-ocular intrusion system is designed to shoot out, away from your eye, in case of a hard impact. The frames are lightweight but impact resistant. Native provides a lifetime warranty against defects—just return to the Native facility (not the store where they were purchased).

Many of the Native Eyewear sunglasses feature interchangeable lenses. The Linville model comes with a silver reflex lens, as well as a lowlight lens--especially important for flat light conditions when skiing and engaging in other winter sports. After watching the video instructions (2’45”) for swapping lenses, covering several different sets of instructions for various models, I was able to switch the lenses. It’s not difficult to remove the lens by grasping the center of the glasses at the nosepiece with one hand and the lens in the upper, inner quadrant with the other hand, then swinging the lens down and out in one smooth motion but takes a bit of manipulation to get the other lens back in by reversing the process. I can see myself doing this in the quiet of the cabin before a day of skiing but probably not on the fly at the ski area. Prescription lenses are not available through Native Eyewear but may be fitted by an optometrist. Unfortunately, this voids the Native warranty.

One impressive attribute of Native Eyewear is their degree of community involvement. Rather than just focusing on their local Colorado community or trying to develop broad, superficial ties nationally they go deep with their Locals Only Project https://www.facebook.com/NativeEyewear/. Each year they select one community whose residents feature heavily on their website in a series of videos. They spend quite a bit of time in the community getting to know the residents and their particular outdoors passion. After Native narrows the field to five their Facebook community votes to select the winner. A book featuring action photos and personal stories is produced for the residents, with extra copies for local businesses to distribute—it’s popular with libraries, too. You can read about Brevard, N.C., the 2013 winner on the Native Eyewear Facebook page by clicking on the Locals Only Project button . Voting begins on February 17 for this year.

Pros

The Native Eywar are stylish performance sunglasses that fit well and have many features that increase comfort and safety and provide sharp vision, even in low light.

Cons

The interchangeable lenses take some fiddling to switch. Prescription lenses are not available.

Bottom Line

Native Eyewear packs technology into a comfortable and stylish set of sunglasses.

Product Information

Native Eyewear suglasses

Sunglasses come with a hard zippered case and a soft pouch that doubles as a cleaning cloth.

Purchase online for about $100-150, depending on the style, at Native Eyewear, Zappos (free shipping!) , REI and other retailers.

Highline: Co-Injected Rhyno-Tuff® Air Frames, Venting, Cushionol™, Cam-Action Hinges, Mastoid Temple Grip™, N3™ Lens Technology ($109)

Linville: N3™ Lens Technology, Interchangeable Lens System, Co-Injected Rhyno-Tuff® Air Frames, Venting, Cushinol™, Cam-Action Hinges, Flex Metal™ Adjustable Nose Pad System ($129)

Haskill: Co-Injected Rhyno-Tuff® Air Frames, Venting, Cushionol™, Cam-Action Hinges, Mastoid Temple Grip™, N3™ Lens Technology ($159)

Disclosure of material connection: I received sample Native Eyewear sunglasses from Native Eyewear in consideration for an unbiased review.

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