These are some of the most comfortable shades I’ve ever worn and the fact that they’re framed in 30% recycled nylon increases my comfort level – by a third at least. For many of us, shades aren’t just a fashion item we can do without if we’re being more ‘green’, they’re actually essential for protecting our eyes. Surfers, and water people of all hues, spend a large portion of our time scanning scenes that reflect and intensify the sun’s rays – more than your average cool fashionista in a darkened cocktail bar – so unlike fashion victims, in most cases we actually need to wear them.
But if you have an eye on the planetary crisis, this can seem like one of those catch-22 situations where you simply have to buy plastic junk in order to protect your eyes. Slowly, sunglasses companies are beginning to see the light and using recycled materials to make their frames. The eco-aware folks at Zeal Optics are certainly getting there – their Swapit Sun (with aqua goggle options so you surf in them, too), Emit and Flyer ranges all use recycled materials. And, as an experienced shady guy, I have to say their ZB-13 lenses are incredibly easy on the eyes, the frames are snug, light and seem strong … and, oh did I mention? They’re stylish enough to wear into any fashionista cocktail lounge, if that really is your focus in life.
(US$110.00 UK£80.00; http://www.zealoptics.com)