Vail gear, gadgets and gizmos: Native Sunglasses |

Vail gear, gadgets and gizmos: Native Sunglasses

Caramie Schnell
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of gear reviews we’ll be running in High Life each week. Have something you think we should test? E-mail High Life Editor Caramie Schnell at

VAIL – They survived the first test – my purse. In my world, that says a lot.

At the Teva Mountain Games, the folks at Native Sunglasses gave me a pair of their Bolder polarized sunglasses in the wood grain color, which retail for $129, to test out for the paper. The glasses came with an extra set of lenses (the company calls them “Polarized Sportflex lenses”), a hard zipper case, a soft case that doubles as a lens cloth and a lifetime warranty.

The sunglasses are the first thing we’re reviewing in a new High Life feature we’ve dubbed “Gear, Gadgets and Gizmos.” Every week we’ll review the latest and greatest in outdoor gear – tents, backpacks, trail running shoes and more.

Now, back to the Bolders.

As with every new pair of sunglasses I get, I vowed to stow them in the black hard case they came with to keep them looking spiffy and new. As usual, within a week they were floating around in my purse sans case, bumping against the myriad of must-haves I keep in my “black hole” – keys, wallet, spare change, three pens, four kinds of lip gloss, notebook, spearmint gum, random hair clips and the green guitar pick Pat Green threw to me at a concert in Breck two years ago. It’s a sunglass rep’s nightmare.

So far there’s a tiny knick on the frame, but the lenses remain surprisingly unscratched. One of the gray rubber nose pieces (which, as an aside, kept the glasses from falling down my sweaty face after a long, hot hike up West Lake Creek two weeks ago) came loose, but slid easily back on. So far, so good.

I’ve been a strictly Oakley sunglasses girl for upwards of four years now. But slowly, these sunglasses have won me over. The first thing that appealed to me about Native is that every single pair of sunglasses they make is polarized. The first time I wore polarized sunglasses, I was amazed that I could see fish swimming in the river. They were awesome, but as anyone who demands polarized sunglasses knows, those babies can be expensive. Thankfully, Native is on the lower end of the price spectrum.

From the first day I wore the sunglasses, I’ve been impressed by how lightweight they are compared to my purple Oakley “Breathless” sunglasses, which are made of metal and are oh so cute, but hea-vy. While I like how the Native sunglasses fit (and don’t put pressure on my nose or head), I think the Oakley ones look better on my face. That said, the Bolders are a whole lot lighter and they have nifty vents along the top of the frame that keep the glasses from fogging up, even during a hike or a mid-afternoon jog. The rubberized, non-slip ear and nose pads keep the glasses in place. Because the glasses are polarized, they reduce glare and my eyes don’t feel as tired after I take off these shades as compared to my non-polarized Oakley glasses. Because of all this, I’ve found myself reaching for the Natives more and more lately.

The only complaint I have about the glasses is that the frames feel a little cheap. Alright, I admit, seeing “CE China 10.4” printed inside one of the arms may have contributed to this feeling. But really, there’s not a whole lot that isn’t made in China these days.

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or

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