Maui Jim: Best driving sunglasses

October 17th, 2013

As a road trip blogger, I do a lot of driving.  I also spend a good deal of time outdoors, so having a good pair of sunglasses is essential. While sunglasses can be a fashionable accessory, they are also a vital tool in protecting your vision from harmful UV rays—this is particularly important with folks like me with light colored eyes. As a carpenter who has a tool for each job, it’s a good idea to have different sunglasses for various activities. For example, I have sunglasses for sports such as hiking and biking, but I also have a couple pair that are more stylish for when I’m out on the town.

I have been a fan of Maui Jim for many years now and own several pair. While driving for hours on end, I’ve noticed some of my sunglasses can start to fatigue my nose and ears. Therefore, I thought it was time to look at some new shades that I could use for longer periods of driving that would be highly comfortable, and, provide great sun protection. In the past, I’ve gravitated toward glass lenses…mainly because of the reputation Maui Jim has for producing such stellar optics. Having a good pair of sunglasses for driving is crucial as they provide necessary detail of the road and surrounding conditions. The other reason I like glass is for the durability—less prone to scratches. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dropped my Maui Jim’s on the ground while they were temporarily affixed to my shirt or hat, and yet they still look as good as the day I got them.

The only drawback to glass…the weight, which for me is what causes my nose/ear fatigue when driving for hours.  I’ve had polycarbonate sunglasses in the past, from such brands as Oakley, but I just wasn’t satisfied with the clarity or the durability of the lenses.  To address my specific issue, the need for more comfortable driving sunglasses, I would have to revisit polycarbonate lenses.

After perusing the Maui Jim website, I selected a couple pair of sunglasses that I thought would be perfect for driving.

The first pair, which ended up being my favorite, is the “Big Beach.” Inspired by a secluded beach on the island of Maui, these rimless wraparound sport style sunglasses feature a durable and flexible titanium frame. The frame is actually hingeless and hugs the head for a snug fit. These sunglasses are feather light and super comfortable. They come with the Maui Evolution® lenses, which are very thin, impact-resistant and have a patented lens treatment that brings out the true colors of life. I am highly impressed with the clarity and brilliance of these lenses. The bridge features non-slip Rabalon nose pads, which add to the superior comfort.  Big Beach sunglasses are not inexpensive, but if you take care of them, they will take care of you for years to come. Plus, it’s tough to put a price on comfort and performance. Retail price: $309

The second pair are a bit more trendy, or fashionable, but equally good for driving. “The Sandbar” sunglasses feature a semi-rimless shield that provides an unobstructed view. The frame is made of a nickel/silver metal alloy and has reverse hinges to improve fit and comfort.  Actually, I think most of my Maui Jim sunglasses have this feature, which is quite nice. The bridge is saddle-style with non-slip silicone nose pads, which are adjustable, as are the “Big Beach.” The lenses on the Sandbar sunglasses are HCL® Bronze, which are my favorite tint color. The bronze lenses are ideal for variable conditions, from full sun to overcast. When I wear them, I almost feel like I have bionic eyes on, as everything is so brilliant and amplified.  The Sandbar sunglasses retail for $289.

Every pair of Maui Jim sunglasses are infused with their patented polarizing process, which wipes out 99.9% of glare and 100% of harmful UV. No one does polarized better than Maui Jim…the view is clearer, crisper, and the contrast and brilliance is simply amazing.

If you’re looking for a good pair of driving sunglasses for your next road trip, have a look at Big Beach or The Sandbar.  If you’re looking for some stylish sunglasses using glass vs. polycarbonate, have a look at my review of the “Big Kahuna.” For high performance sports, you might like the new “Stone Crushers” which are lightweight, durable shades for all-day use.

If you own any of these, or other driving sunglasses by Maui Jim, please share your thoughts and experiences by leaving a comment below.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply