There are a million different brands of sunglasses out there. Today, Dustin Schouest gives his honest review of the Hobie Polarized sunglasses.
Sunglasses are one of the most important items a fisherman uses in his search for bites. They keep the sun from burning his or her eyes, cut down on glare, and the polarized kind even allow the angler to see partly into the water to locate and individually pick out fish. There are dozens and dozens of companies with their own brand of sunglasses.
One of these companies is a certain kayak and sailboat maker named Hobie Cat. Hobie’s brand of pedal kayaks, including the Outback, Revolution, and the leviathan known as the Pro Angler, are very popular in my neck of the woods, especially in the tournament fishing scene.
Hobie decided at some point to enter the sunglasses business. It has proved to be a very lucrative venture, with their brand being put in sporting goods stores and being sported by most of the Hobie team members I’ve met.
Looking on their website, one of the first things you notice are the prices. There are polarized frames going from 70 up to 200 dollars. Compared to the price of the other well-known brands, these prices are very competitive.
The pair I got were the Ventata. The big frames and lenses caught my eye and I felt they would give me the best bang for my buck. I picked out a smokey black lens color, as I have used amber, copper, and blue lenses previously. One of the first things to catch my eye was the lenses on the sides of the glasses, which would help with peripheral vision. I put the sunglasses on and I loved the fact that anywhere I looked my eyes were protected. The sunglasses came in a very nice case of cloth and mesh on the outside. Inside were the sunglasses, a microfiber cloth for cleaning the lenses, the Hobie brand lanyard, and warranty paperwork.
The frames, as big as they are, are very light. And unlike other brands that I have owned, the frames have lots of flex for big or small noggins. This is due to the hinge for the arms of the sunglasses: they allow for much more movement than other brands. Even with my small head, they fit very well. In fact, they are so comfortable I wear them at work when I am outside making engines great again.
On top of the sunglasses is a bar of soft foam. Some brands I used years and years ago would rub the top of my nose and my brow raw, especially after sweating profusely in the humid Louisiana heat. It feels similar to rubber, without the rough texture that many rubbers have. What I also like is that it doesn’t form a gasket fit: sometimes when sunglasses make a seal or a close seal, changes in air temperature can cause the lenses to fog up on the inside or outside.
At the tips of the arms of the sunglasses is a hollowed out section. While it looks stylish and even cuts out on a little weight, these grooves have a real purpose. Included in the packaging was a lanyard, with hooks on the ends that are designed to fit in these grooves. The Hobie “H” is prominently displayed on the hooking apparatuses. The lanyard can also be adjusted to be short as can be, or, by pulling the opposite ends away from each other, it can be lengthened. At its shortest, the sunglasses can keep to your head and stop the sunglasses from falling down. When they are long, they allow you to hang them from your hat or from your neck. As cool as the lanyard is, the width and height of the arms might prevent most aftermarket lanyards from fitting. So the specific Hobie lanyards are a must.
As for the polarization capabilities of the Hobie sunglasses, I am happy with what they do. It doesn’t seem like they do any more or any less than other brand. They don’t fail at cutting glare down as you would see with cheaper brands, but they also don’t do anything special. In dirty water with only a few inches of visibility, I was able to make out the forms of fish swimming up on the surface, as well as notice movement and wakes made by cruising fish. The lenses also cut down tremendously on the glare of sunlight off the water. This helps prevent the eyes from hurting after hours and hours of looking in the water for fish.
Comfort is another key thing when looking at sunglasses. And these Hobie frames are some of the most comfortable I have worn for years. The flex of the frames stops strain on my temples. While some sunglasses have caused me intense migraines from constricting my head, these have not (SO FAR MIND YOU) made me have an intense headache. The frames are so comfortable that I have taken to wearing them on the job when I work outside. Sometimes I even forget I am wearing sunglasses at all!
In all honesty, I would give the Hobie sunglasses a 4 out of 5. These sunglasses are comfortable as can be, are very light weight, cut down drastically on sunlight bothering you from refraction off the water, and don’t fog up easily. But, the proprietary lanyard and the average polarized lenses may be a turn off for some shoppers. And this is all for a price any angler can afford. I am pleasantly pleased with the pair I got. They don’t do anything special and they aren’t as heavy or constricting as other brands. I recommend them for the guy who wants a comfortable pair of shades with a lifetime warranty and either a large or small head.