Maui Jim Hotsands and Switchbacks sun and sports glasses By Vanessa English
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- Last updated: 01/03/2017
It’s surprising what can happen when someone is both dissatisfied with current offerings and happen to know a harlequin macaw parrot. That’s what happened back in 1988 when distributor Bill Capps and four optical experts pooled their resources and came up with the Maui Jim range of sun and sports glasses. Named after the island of Maui’s hotel pool decks and Jim, the name of the aforementioned parrot, these glasses are recognised the world over for their optical efficiency, their ability to render and enhance colours, their scratch-resistance and anti-reflection treatments, waterproof coatings and subtle graduation system.
Offering a wide selection of styles, it’s the Hotsands and Switchbacks that are of the greatest interest to the shooter, outdoorsman and, in my instance, quad rider. Both based on the wraparound design, the Hotsands are some of the lightest, most unobtrusive glasses you’re likely to wear. Built around a lightly sprung polycarbonate frame, the integral bronze tint HT high-definition lenses provide excellent eye coverage and side protection, but with sufficient stand-off to allow for ventilation.
Slender but strong straight shafts have soft rubber inserts that allow the Hotsands to gently grip the sides of the wearer’s head just behind the ears. Coupled with the wide soft rubber bridge, the inserts and frame style ensure the glasses are held securely in place no matter how severe the head movement. The other significant aspect of the Hotsands is that they weight mere grams; it’s only the fact you’re looking through them and that everything you’re looking at has become remarkably sharper that confirms you’re actually wearing them.
For those who prefer the option of changing lenses dependant on light conditions, Maui Jim’s Switchbacks are the ones to go for. Once again constructed from polycarbonate, by virtue of the fact the one-piece ‘Shield’ lenses are interchangeable, the Switchbacks are a half-frame design. Described as Rootbeer, a red/bronze colour, the frames have a wide shaft, substantial hinges and soft rubber inserts that once again locate just behind the wearer’s ear along with small holes that allow the fitment of a neck cord.
Resting on the nose using a soft rubber bridge, a small button is located just above that when pushed allows the fitted lens to be pulled away to be replaced by with an alternative tint. From a clear lens, the shooter can choose from Neutral Grey for bright direct sunlight, Maui Rose that offers enhanced vision from overcast to direct sunlight, the high-contrast HCL Bronze that cover the whole spectrum of lighting conditions and Maui HT, this green lens amplifying dull light and purposely designed for long-distance viewing.
Safety wise, the Switchbacks cover a deep section of the wearer’s face from just above the eyebrows to just above the cheekbone whilst wrapping round to just beyond the temple. And like the Hotsands, there’s a small amount of stand-off to allow for ventilation. Both worn extensively for shooting and on-board a quad, either pair of Maui Jim sports glasses more than proved their worth in ability, comfort and style. Similarly, with their scratchproof coatings and resistance to anything you can conceive of throwing at them, mud and general dirt wipes away leaving a clear, undamaged lens.
Both pairs come complete with a soft stuff sack that also doubles as a dedicated cleaning cloth along with a sturdy zip case that can be attached to your belt or gunslip. Complete with a two year warranty from the date of purchase and free replacement of the bridge and temple pads for the life of the frames and a three day repair turnaround, the Hotsands are all your for £149.95, the Switchbacks slightly more at £259.95, additional lenses £79.95.
Where these two pairs of Maui Jim win out is that, besides shooting, quad or motorbike riding along with any outdoor activity, they also provide the wearer with a pair of straight forward stylish sunglasses that can be worn and work well in any situation.
To order a pair of Hotsands, Switchbacks or any of the versatile range of Maui Jim sun and sports glasses, contact David Gould Opticians on either 01706 228 927 or 01706 215 200 or visit www. davidgouldopticians.co.uk for more detailed information.