Gear Review: Native Eyewear Polarized Sunglasses

The Appalachian Trail might be known as the “green tunnel” but that didn’t stop me from using sunglasses during my thru-hike. I’m not going to lie, I am not the person to purchase expensive glasses. I hadn’t even tried polarized lenses until the lovely people at Native Eyewear approached me to test out their sunglasses targeted for outdoor adventurers!

Disclaimer: The following product was donated to me by Native Eyewear for review purposes.  However, I am not obliged to write a good review and will write objectively.

This review will focus on:
Native Eyewear’s Highline Model with N3 Polarized & Bronze Reflex Lenses 

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SPECS for the Highline with Bronze Reflex Lenses

N3 Lens Technology

    • From their website: “The most innovative and advanced polarized lens on the market. N3™ lenses block up to 4X more infrared light than regular polarized lenses, pass Z87.1 testing, provide UV protection up to 400nm, and by significantly reducing blue light and selectively filtering UV, they deliver high contrast, crisp definition, and peak visual cuity.”
    • Read more on the Native Eyewear’s technology HERE.

Reflex Lenses (mirrored lenses)

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The reflex, mirrored lenses can be seen in this photo.

Rhyno-Tuff Frames
Grippy Molding in the frame, Cushinol Nose Pads

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You can see the grip on the nose as well as on the side (it’s a gray strip of grip!)

Comes with a semi-hard, zippered case and storage bag (bag doubles as lens cleaner)

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Retail Price: $129 ($109 without reflex lenses)

Weight (I weighed the items myself)
Weight of the glasses: 1 oz
Weight of hard case: 2.5 oz
Weight of cloth bag: 0.5 oz

Native Eyewear Warranty:

Native Eyewear offers a lifetime warranty. If the problem was a manufacturer’s defect, the glasses can be replaced free of charge within a year of purchase. If the glasses were damaged, they can still be replaced for $30. Lost or stolen lenses are not under the warranty.

First Impressions:

Before I got the glasses, I liked that the company was local to me (Denver, Colorado). Once I got my glasses in the mail, I really liked the lightweight case and lens bag. This is basically what happened when I opened the package: Whoa, these glasses are expensive. *Puts glasses on* Whoa, these glasses fit great. *Looks in mirror* Whoa, these glasses are pretty trendy.

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Trail selfie!

Review Location:
I tested these out on a trail run in Fort Collins, Colorado.
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Pros of the Highline:

Nose Grip
The first thing I noticed that differs from other sunglasses is the grip near the nose. I believe the grip does keep the glasses on your face and prevents slipping.

Polarized Lens
Polarized lenses are fantastic. Light could hit the glasses from the side and still give me a clear view. I have no complaints about the lens quality.

Trendy Frame
The frame shape differs from what I would usually assume for active eyewear, which I like. The company offers a variety of trendy frames for the adventurer. The frame shape is trendy enough for me to wear out on the trail or out shopping.

Lightweight
The glasses are very lightweight (1 oz.), which is a great plus for weight-obsessed thru-hikers.

Case & Bag
The glasses came with a semi-hard case and a bag that doubles as a lens cleaner. However, if I were on a thru-hike, I probably wouldn’t bring the hard case although it is fairly light (2.5 oz). The case is a little bulky and my thru-hiker self would probably take the risk of just bringing the cloth bag. The case does have pockets on the inside, which could come in handy.

Warranty
The warranty is pretty great. Although it does not cover lost or stolen items, you could get a new, discounted pair for a fraction of the price if you damage your first set of glasses.

Variety of Models and Colors
Native carries a variety of models with a selection of colors. You have the option of different frame and lens colors.

Cons of the Highline:

Expensive
Since I am not the one to purchase such a pricey set of glasses, I see the cost of these as a con. However, I do seem to take more care of them knowing the price. With a quick active, polarized eyewear search on REI.com, this price point is in the middle of the active eyewear price range.

Some slippage
During my trail run’s descent, I did experience some slippage. However, I was sweaty and running pretty fast. The slipping was not as severe as my cheap pair of glasses but I felt like this was relevant to mention for a thorough review. If I were on a long distance hike, I probably would use an eyewear retainer.

Rating System

Based on my own experience, I have rated Native Eyewear’s Highline sunglasses on a 1-5 scale, 5 being the best rating.

Comfort:  5
The Highline model is definitely comfortable. I think the grip near the nose is the reason behind this comfort. However, the glasses also hit comfortably behind the ears, which I have had a problem with in the past with my cheap sunglasses.

Design: 5
The design is trendy yet functional. The glasses are not too big to cause me to sweat. In my opinion, this eyewear was well-made.

Durability: 4
Since I am unsure of the durability, I knocked it down a point. I did drop them a few times and nothing catastrophic happened but I have not had them long enough to evaluate durability with long-term wear.

Fit: 4
This was given a four because of the minor slippage noted in the cons.

Value: 2
The value is a two because of the price.

Alternatives:

Native Eyewear offers a model targeted to Appalachian Trail enthusiasts called the Linville.

  • From their website: “The Linville Gorge of North Carolina is said to be the Grand Canyon of the East. This new performance offering fits the bill as your multi-discipline companion along the Appalachian Trail. Scale the Blue Ridge in confidence onward to the Great Smokies and sweet grass of Tennessee.”

Still want some Native Eyewear sunglasses but can’t quite afford the cost? By searching online, I found discounted Native Eyewear polarized lenses. Check out this link to REI.com to get discounted Native Eyewear lenses.

OVERALL RATING: 4 out of 5

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