We officially hit summer on the West Coast, and though we didn't get as much rain as we would have liked this winter, the Solar Vortex meant I had plenty of time to test sunglasses.
I've been wearing glasses for most of my life, and it's always a struggle to find a close fitting sunglasses frame that works with my prescription. This exact problem drove Bret Hunter, the owner/optician of Sports Optical, to start experimenting with different shaping techniques back in the early 1990s. Bret is a long time bike and X-Games racer who knows first hand the value of being able to see clearly while competing.
Over time, Bret developed proprietary formulas and adjustments to accommodate the shape, curve, and angle of a sport frame. Bret and his team take the time to understand what sports you are doing and in what conditions- light, ventilation, and safety, along with your physical characteristics, then make specific frame recommendations that suit your prescription.
After consulting with one of the team about my frame measurements (I have a big fat head) and intended use (mostly road and mountain biking with some watersports like sailing and SUP), they recommended the Chamber by Smith Optics in Dark Ale, with single rose copper prescription lenses. I was told the glasses would take 3 weeks to make and ship.
Honestly, in this constantly connected world of instant gratification, I was surprised when I heard the waiting time. And then the glasses arrived. I would have waited 3 months. The lenses are superb, easily among the best I ever tried in any type of frame. As the Sports Optical team explained, the lenses are all hand shaped – this craftsmanship gives them firm control over various aspects of each lens and the resulting quality is obvious.
The Chamber offers plenty of protection for high impact sports and provides a close face fit to prevent sun leaking in around the frame. Nose and temple pads keep the sunglasses fixed to your face. From mixed light conditions mountain biking on the trails of China Camp to keeping an eye on the dog when paddleboarding, the Chamber glasses excel in a variety of conditions.
To order your own prescription sunglasses, head to the Sports Optical website. You will need a valid prescription, and best results are achieved by doing a short call with one of the team to help them better understand what sports you participate in and under what conditions.