I’ve gone through many a pair of sunglasses over the years and although Maui Jim is certainly not a new brand, I had never given them a shot. Until about a month ago. I’ve worn all kinds of “high quality” and “designer” shades ranging from Ray Ban and Oakley to Prada and Burberry. While there isn’t necessarily anything “wrong” with some of them, I can honestly say that they don’t compare to Maui Jim in terms of quality, design, comfort, and customer service.
While the design and comfort are truly outstanding, to me, what sets these sunglasses apart are the lenses. There is literally a night and day difference between Maui Jim’s technology and quality and you truly have to see it to believe it. I’d heard by word of mouth that their lenses were truly amazing and for years I brushed it off. Sunglasses are sunglasses, right? Wrong. And I plan to do my best to explain why in this and future pieces.
So what’s so different about a pair of sunglasses? First, Maui Jim’s Polarized 2 technology is light years ahead of other polarized products in my opinion. I wasn’t a believer about the importance of polarized lenses at first either. If you happen to stop in a store, they’ll show you a display that demonstrates the difference between looking through a non-polarized pair of shades and a polarized pair. But the real difference and value is the ability to reduce and nearly completely remove glare.
Whether on the water, the golf course, or the road, the reduction of glare is extremely important. Any polarized pair of sunglasses will remove some glare, but Maui Jim shades remove 99.9 of glare. In addition to that, their lens colors are incredible. Depending on your preference and intended use, there are a variety of lens colors and types and they’re truly spectacular.
As a part of some of my golf related reviews, I had the opportunity to try out some of Maui Jim’s most popular and newest arrivals. First up….
One of Maui Jim’s newest arrivals, the Black Coral is described as a versatile pair of sunglasses with a clean classic look. This pair is genuinely eye catching which is the reason I chose them for the review. As with all Maui Jim products, they feature literally the best polarized technology on the market. This pair comes in two different lens colors, “neutral grey” and “HCL Bronze”. Neutral grey lenses are ideal for bright, direct sunlight. While being the darkest lens in the Maui Jim arsenal, they are unlike most dark lenses in that they still allow for a beautiful, crisp view. This lens is great for times when you’re out on the water or in direct sun.
The Black Coral also comes in HCL Bronze, which happens to be one my favorites because of the versatility. I have no problem wearing these in bright, direct sun or in lower light conditions. I also genuinely love the bronze tint and improved contrast these provide. Greens are greener, blues are bluer, and these lenses provide incredible clarity.
The frames are made of a lightweight metal and come in black and bronze. Pictures are below because words won’t due this pair justice. The lenses are also made out of “Super Thin” glass which provides the best clarity possible, are scratch resistant, and salt-water safe.
I love this pair of sunglasses and while they are gorgeous and lightweight, they wouldn’t be my first choice for sporting activities. Compared to others, they aren’t quite as light and flexible for golf or other activities. They are certainly versatile, however, and you would have no problem wearing them on the course. They definitely work well for driving, for cookouts, or hanging on the beach (if you’re lucky enough to be able to do that).
The Ironwoods are described as being perfect for sporting activities or for kicking back on the beach. While I don’t have the luxury of being able to go to the beach, they are definitely perfect for sporting activities, specifically golf. I’ve worn this pair for driving to work, working in the yard, and in multiple rounds of golf. This model comes in a variety of different lenses including Neutral Grey, HCL Bronze, and Maui HT.
The first two were discussed above so I’ll focus on the Maui HT lenses. HT stands for High Transmission meaning that this lens allows the most light into the eyes making this lens ideal for lower light conditions and in instances where a normal lens would be too dark. They are also great for golfing (so long as you’re not playing in direct sunlight because they allow great contrast and seem to enhance your natural vision).
The HT lenses have a green tint to them and really bring out colors and contrast in the morning, late afternoon or in overcast conditions. On bright, sunny days, I definitely prefer another lens, but for most of the days in Cleveland, these lenses will work great. I’ve found myself wearing these in instances where I previously wouldn’t have thought I needed sunglasses. Because they enhance colors and reduce glare, I’ve been wearing them anytime other lenses are too dark.
In addition to the color of lens, the Ironwoods offer “Maui Evolution” in this pair of sunglasses which is a combination of the best features from the Super Thin glass and the Polycarbonate lenses. It offers ideal clarity and durability and are extremely lightweight.
But the lenses aren’t even the best thing about this pair of sunglasses. The Ironwoods include “MauiFlex” frames which is a metal frame that “remembers” fit and shape. Basically, these are extremely flexible and durable frames that literally bend and twist and then form back into shape immediately. They are also incredibly lightweight which makes this a great pair of sunglasses for any activity or for just hanging out.
This pair is an extremely sporty, lightweight model with a variety of colors and lenses. I reviewed the Tortoise frames with Maui Rose lenses and they are a very good looking pair of sunglasses. Maui Rose is the 4th type of lens offered and as you may imagine, it provides a Rose tint and I absolutely love these lenses.
Maui Rose lenses are described as being great for everyday variable conditions from full sun to overcast and they provide maximum contrast. I believe these are my favorite lenses of all. The readers come in variable strength bifocal magnification to assist with reading up close (for instance, a score card on the course).
Personally, I couldn’t utilize this pair fully because the magnification hurt my eyes and made me dizzy, but for anyone who wants to enjoy a great pair of sunglasses without sacrificing the ability to read smaller print up close, this provides a great option.
The lenses on this pair are frameless and are polycarbonate which offer the lightest weight, most durable lenses available. The frames are made form a light, durable polymer which allows for extreme bending strength which makes this pair incredibly tough, lightweight and durable.
These sunglasses are a great option for anyone who is active or who is looking for a tough, durable, lightweight and high quality pair of shades. To top it off, these are some of the more affordable models offered by Maui Jim.
There are MANY great options available through Maui Jim but I tried to choose a good sampling of styles, lenses, and technologies to provide at least a little insight into this brand. Maui Jim has a great reputation and personally, I wanted to put them to the test to see if the hype was warranted. After spending some time with these shades, I truly believe that these sunglasses exceed the hype.
Comparing these to other “high quality” and “designer” shades, there is no comparison in my opinion. Once that was determined, the only question was which of their models would be the best on the course. Of the models reviewed, my personal favorites are the Ironwoods. The Black Corals are absolutely gorgeous and if I were reviewing for a more casual purpose like a party, cookout, or just lounging, they would have been on the top of the list.
But the Ironwoods’ flexibility, durability and style are perfect for my golfing needs. I am a big fan of the HO’OKIPA as well (minus the magnification), but because of the MauiFlex technology and style of the model, I side with the Ironwoods. They are incredibly comfortable, stylish, and durable. About the only complaint I have is the exclusion of the Maui Rose lenses with this model. They do offer the Maui HT and HCL Bronze lenses, though which are also amazing lenses.
It may not be plausible for you to have more than one, let alone 3 or 4 pairs of sunglasses for various lighting conditions. Maui Jim offers superior quality, but it does require an investment. In this case, I would urge you to consider one of the more versatile lenses like the Maui Rose or HCL Bronze that are equally beautiful in multiple lighting conditions.
Maui Jim sunglasses range from about $150 to a little over $300. This is not an expense to take lightly, but I believe in the adage that you get what you pay for. In my personal experience, every time I’ve tried to save a little money and avoided spending the extra to get the best quality, I came to regret it. Either because I was never truly happy with the purchase because it wasn’t what I wanted or because the quality was truly inferior, or both. From cars to electronics, to computers, to sunglasses, to hiring decisions… You honestly get what you pay for.
So if you’re considering spending money on a pair of sunglasses, I’d strongly urge you to consider Maui Jim. And if you’re in the market for other higher quality or designer glasses and are willing to spend that type of money anyway, these will pleasantly surprise you. The quality will be superior and you will most likely spend less money than on other brands you’re considering.