After 22 months of travel around Asia and Africa, the Izipizi Sun Nautic has proven itself to be one of the best ‘value’ polarized sunglasses on the market for adventurous travelers. They’re trendy, timeless, and sporty enough for most outdoor pursuits.
Lens Material: Polycarbonate
Polarization: Category 3
Frame Width: 14 cm
Frame Height: 4.9 cm
Arm Length: 14.5 cm
Manufacturing Country: France
Length of Test: 22 months
Acquisition: Self Purchase
Countries: Bhutan, Ethiopia, India, Laos, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Somalia, and Thailand
Climate(s): Continental, Tropical Savanna, Tundra, Local Steppe, Desert, and Subtropical
Weather: Hot and Humid (highest temp 37 C), Cold and Dry (lowest temp -6 C), and Light Rain.
The Sun Nautic is designed for:
It’s not designed for:
The Sun Nautic frames are made of a lightweight thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) with a soft rubber finish and the lenses are a scratch-resistant polycarbonate. While they feel a bit flimsy in the hand, they’ve turned out to be surprisingly durable.
We’re pretty clumsy with our pairs and have dropped them a few dozen times on dirt trails, concrete sidewalks, and a myriad of other surfaces. We thought they would’ve broken by now, but lo and behold these glasses are still kickin’. The frames and lenses have zero scratches or bends, which is pretty damn impressive.
The Sun Nautic sunglasses utilize polycarbonate lenses that have a green/grey tint and are certified for Category 3 polarization (they block out ~80%+ of light) and filter out 100% of incoming UV rays. Unlike most sporty sunglasses, the lenses have a subtle hue – which we appreciate.
PRO TIP: for most outdoor adventures, we recommend that people use polarized sunglasses for a heightened level of eye protection as well as a better visual experience. Generally, Category 3 polarization offers the best mix of crossover proecton, as Category 4 is too inhibitive of light for everyday use (it’s best suited for alpine environments).
The sunglasses come with a simple felt case, which does it job well enough. Its easy to slide your pair in and out and it has protected our shades much better than we initially thought it would.
Just be aware that the case is soft, so it doesn’t offer much (if any) impact protection.
Lens Quality: during exposed outdoor activities, are eyes never experienced strain while wearing the Sun Nautic sunglasses. That includes day hikes in the Himalayas, water activities in the Maldives, and general day-to-day use in Thailand.
However, glare protection offered by the Sun Nautic is moderate at best – at least compared to higher-end sunglasses. To achieve glare protection, the lenses are a bit too dark and low contrast, which reduces optical clarity and vibrancy. Essentially, this is a classic case of “you get what you pay for” – for the price, this tradeoff is acceptable.
On a more positive spin, the lenses do excel at being anti-reflective.
Comfort: while the sunglasses are comfortable, we wouldn’t define them as uber-comfortable.
Even though the flexible spring hinges do a good job at conforming to our faces, the nose bridge width is just a bit too narrow at the top. We assume this design was meant to give the sunglasses a snug fit, so that they won’t slide off your nose easily… regardless, it does detract a bit from comfort.
For us, this isn’t a deal breaker as they’re still comfortable enough for all day wear.
Safety: in regards to overall protection, the Sun Nautic aren’t a wrap-around style and aren’t safety rated to any ANSI standards. They’re good for casual wear and water activities, but if you need sunglasses for an expedition or anything beyond recreational use, look elsewhere: our recommendation is Wiley X.
The Sun Nautic sunglasses have a trapezium frame with an overall fashion forward aesthetic. And due to the use of TPE, they have a slight sporty look – making them well-suited for both urban and outdoor adventures.
Thanks to the unisex design and significant amount of flex the spring hinges offer, the Sun Nautics will comfortably fit a wide range of faces.
At the time of writing, the Sun Nautics are offered in 7 different colorways.
The competitive landscape for the Sun Nautic is mostly crowded by larger brands with better offerings that feature more advanced technology. With that being said, where these sunglasses really shine is their price. As a value offering, the Sun Nautic is definitely one of the best on the market.
For all-around use (urban and outdoor), the Wiley X Hayden is hard to beat. They offer some of the best protection on the market and the lens quality is crystal clear.
The primary competition (read: alternatives to consider) for the Sun Nautic are:
For the price, we recommend that frugal travelers and outdoor enthusiasts consider the Izipizi Sun Nautic sunglasses for their upcoming adventures.
Overall, the pros definitely outweigh the cons for these sunglasses as we’ve been using them for almost two years now. Admittedly, we do interchange our Sun Nautic pairs with higher-end Wiley X sunglasses for more intense use cases. But for EDC and casual use, the Izipizi Sun Nautic are our go-to pair.
What We Liked
What Could Use Improvements
Picked these up for a trip to Mongolia with the assumption that they’d break due to rough conditions. We were wrong.
Zero scratches and bends after dropping these sunglasses dozens of times on a variety of terrains. However, a small amount of wear and tear is now noticeable.
Mystery Ranch Big Bop
Columbia Bora Bora II Booney
Salomon X Ultra GTX