It is quite rare that MGAM does a glasses or sunglasses review. Often brands offer me to review only one pair of glasses and I do feel that one frame doesn’t usually speak for the whole collection. I also think you can never truly get a feel for the range with just one frame. Looking at one frame is like looking at one model of car, how do you know what all the rest are like?
So, when Zeal Optics approached me I thought to myself… here we go. However, that was not the case. They wanted me to review 4 frames altogether but at different times. This was the main reason I agreed plus the fact that one frame in particular really got my attention. It is made with cotton!
The first frame I am going to review is a gift from Zeal Optics and that is the cotton frame. I loved them when I saw them, and they very kindly gifted me a pair. So thank you again! Well, when I test frames I look at the quality, how comfortable they are and what the lenses are like, especially with sunglasses (since they are the most important component).
About Zeal Optics
Now, Zeal Optics is the younger brother of Maui Jim, and if you know your sunglasses and love your outdoor sports (or if you read my blog) then you would know about Maui Jim, so why did they launch Zeal Optics? Zeal sunglasses are aimed at the extreme sports market, so naturally, it does draw a younger crowd.
The frame is called Dakota in Aurora (purple). I am a sucker for a purple frame so of course, they were purple.
The quality is pretty damn good, solid and they come with 5 barrel hinges. Every time I wear them I am so shocked they are made of cotton because they are so sturdy. They feel and look like plastic but are not.
Since they are made out of cotton, they are also biodegradable. I have had the frame for around 2 months now so I have been wearing and playing with them a lot. My one year old has also been “testing” them where she has been very rough with them. The frames survived being pulled and thrown around, and they are still in one piece. In my book, that is what a good quality frame is all about.
Next up is the comfort factor. I have been wearing them whenever the sunshine peeks through, so I like to think I have given them a thorough testing. I have to say; I didn’t find them all that comfortable, but then again I do have that “Asian nose” which means all frames that don’t have the extended nose pads build in then they do tend to slide down my nose unless they have been purposely designed for Asian noses. Our noses tend to be smaller and flatter. I didn’t use NerdWax as I wanted to give them a proper test. I think it was just down to the shape of my nose not being suitable for the Dakota. If they had an Asian-focused range, things could be very different.
Finally, the lenses. They wowed me. In fact, I think I am now a total polarised snob. If you read my recent blog post on Sunglasses, I did mention the importance of polarised lenses but I never actually experienced them for extended periods of time until now. It is not rare to have polarised lens nowadays but it is still not as common as you’d think and since Zeal is from the same family as Maui Jim, I had high hopes for them. They did not disappoint.
I particularly liked wearing them when I was driving because the polarised lenses were so good at blocking out the glare. Most of the time glare is what makes us squint and gives us a headache. A normal pair of tinted glasses with UV protection doesn’t stop glare (FYI). The lens really put my eyes at ease and not once they felt tired and that is all down to the quality of the lens. For me, the lenses were a massive thumb up!
The frame costs $169 (so in GBP that is around £130) and for that price, I would say buy them because believe it or not, the quality is actually better than all the well-known designer brands I have tried. A massive bonus is that the lenses were outstanding, and again, you don’t normally get polarised lenses with “designer” sunglasses that cost just as much, if not more.
I just cannot explain how good the lenses are, and I do think they are something you have to go and test out yourself. Literally, see for yourself. Find your nearest stockist here.