ProView – Sunski Couloir Polarized Sunglasses Review￼ – The Link
ProView – Sunski Couloir Polarized Sunglasses Review￼
Sunski is trying to shift the paradigm, proving that sunglasses can be eco-friendly, high quality, and affordable. Many companies sell under the veil of several different brands and offer premium looks and technology at a premium price. Sunski seems to be one of the only brands on the market offering sunglasses that look good at a price that won’t make you squint.
SUNSKI Couloir Polarized Sunglasses
Product Name: SUNSKI Couloir Polarized Sunglasses
Product Description: A bold, rectangular style inspired by architecture and the automotive industry. This crisp and precise frame joins the Alpine Collection, our lineup of sunglasses with magnetic, removable sun shields. The unique morse code patterned sun shields and rubber notepads ensure the ultimate coverage and perfect fit for all day protection, whether you’re touring the backcountry or hanging out on the river.
Offer price: MSRP: $89.00
The Sunski Couloir stands out among the rest as a high-value, versatile pair of glacier glasses that do more than meet expectations. Combining high-quality lenses, magnetic side shields, and proprietary “SuperLight” frames made of recycled plastic, these shades come in at a great price, and they look good too!
- Breathable Sideshields
- Ultra-light Frame
- Quality Polarized Lens
- Not dark enough for the highest elevations
The experience that Sunski provides is one of some subtlety, many might not notice the small details. When my glasses arrived, there was no plastic to be seen (aside from the glasses themselves). Every part of the packaging is made of renewable materials. Seeing as many large eco-friendly companies ship everything in individual plastic bags, this was immediately appreciated. Inside, the box contained the sunglasses protected by a well-made soft case. Out of the box, everything felt high quality and premium.
Over the last month, I’ve used the Couloir daily, from ski mountaineering, to rock climbing and guiding. While they come off as a pair of glasses designed for snowy mountains, I personally liked them just as well for casual use, hiking, climbing, and all the rest.
The Couloir is listed as a large frame, so I was skeptical that they might be too big on me, as many larger glasses are. To my delight, they fit well and didn’t look too big on me. It would be safe to assume that the Couloir is on the slightly smaller end of large frames. While the temples felt a little tight on long days, they were overall comfortable and didn’t slip much at all.
One of the first things I noticed about the Couloir is the low base curve. The base curve is a metric for how much the frame, or front part, curves around the face. The higher the number, the more the frame wraps around the face. I usually like the feel and look of a lower base curve as they’re more casual looking. The lighter color accent of the sun shields looks good too, especially in mountain towns where nobody bats an eye at glacier glasses worn at a coffee shop. Even the little details are thought out like the perforation in the side shields, that’s not only nice looking, but spells out “Ski Tahoe, Surf Ocean Beach” in Morse code – super clever.
The removable shields are really well-designed and perform quite well, rivaling some of their more expensive competitors. The shields sit quite close to my face without making contact, they block glare and reflected light keeping eyes protected all around. The shields are also perforated in a way that is unique in a few ways. The holes actually provide a bit of peripheral vision as well as the advertised breathability, which is more than I can say for some other brands. I will say that without the shields attached, the low base angle leads to some glare and exposure, but that seems beside the point since the Couloir would be ill-fit without the shields.
The polarization on the lens also seems of good quality, with no distortion or blotching. With the shields blocking glare, I think the Couloir will also be popular for water sports and fishing.
The Couloir is pretty light for its size and features, outside of just cutting grams, this also means they won’t fly off when they’re stowed on the brim of a hat. I also appreciated the way the shields fold in with the temple arms. All that added with the nice soft case, makes a pretty portable package for those who will use the Couloir in the mountains exclusively.
Many times I’ve forgotten my glacier glasses because of my preference for the better-looking more casual pair. The fact of the matter is that oftentimes, I’m going to grab the pair of sunglasses that I like the look of, rather than the pair that functions the best, provided it doesn’t seem imperative to do so. While I own glasses that have a higher base angle and darker lens, I just like the Couloir more. I did find that they weren’t as dark as some other lenses that I’ve used on snow.
The Couloir comes in at 11% VLT for the “Forest” colorway, and 15% VLT for the “Amber” colorway. VLT stands for visible light transmission, (not to mention these lenses block 100% of UV A/B/400 bands) so the percentage is how much light in the visible part of the spectrum is left after passing through the lens. The lower the number, the less light, or darker the lens. There are typically 5 categories numerically assigned to the VLT ranges, 0 being nearly transparent, and 4 being dark enough to be illegal to drive with (5% VLT). This puts the Couloir in the upper middle range of category 3, which is a bit low for a dedicated snow lens. Realistically, This was not a problem often. Only when the sun was perpendicular to sun-cupped slopes would I feel the need to squint. The advantage was then that I could keep them on when clouds moved or shady gullies required protection.
These shields don’t only protect from the sun, but, wind and debris as well. While a photochromic lens might be superior in a wide range of conditions, the lens on the Couloir was more appropriate than some of the darker lenses I own when it comes to versatility. The few times that a storm would come in with wind and precip, it was nice that I could keep my glasses on to keep the wind and snow from hitting my eyes. In fact, the Couloir did surprisingly well at keeping the wind off my eyes while resort skiing, cloudy or not.
In classic fashion, I dropped these the first day I took them outside, but to my delight, they didn’t scratch! Eventually, I would find a way to do so however, tough to say if another lens would have done better, these seem just about on par. The second time I fumbled them, one of the side shields did pop out, though not completely, I would be a bit concerned that the tolerance will only get looser there. That being said, the build quality seems good otherwise. One of my favorite little features in these is the small magnet hidden in the frame and shield that keeps them locked in place while skiing and climbing. The tolerance and color make the small feature almost invisible. On top of that, the lens is replaceable and affordable!
Did it hold up in areas of different terrain better than others?
These probably aren’t the best for a dedicated snow-only pair of shades. They are great for backcountry skiing, but I wouldn’t suggest them to a friend that’s going to climb Denali or be at a super high elevation.
Did the product meet your expectations?
Yes, a good value pair of glasses for most backcountry skiers.
Did the product meet the product description?
Yes, they don’t sell these as a true pair of glacier glasses, which I think is wise. That being said, they are technically glacier glasses, though I would expect that a customer looking for a super dark lens knows what VLT range they want.
Are there other products that compliment or work well with that specific piece of gear?
Probably some Croakies! I never had them fall off but I also didnt crash while wearing them!
What sets this product apart?
The way I see it, most companies charge quite a bit more for a high end pair of glacier glasses, often making the more affordable options either ugly or featureless. Sunski has delivered a premium product at a competitive price. The value of the Couloir is next to none.
Who is this product for?
Anyone looking for a bit of added protection while traveling on the snow or water would be pretty happy to have a pair of these on. While they’re not quite expedition grade, any skier, backcountry or not should consider the Couloir high on the list. They’ll be with me across the peaks of the Sierra throughout our endless winter and into the summer peak bagging season. I will also be using these for days out on the lake or river fly fishing and paddleboarding alike. Come winter, I expect these to be hand while ice climbing since they’re not too dark to wear in shady gullies.
Friendliness to the Earth
Combining eco-friendly materials, minimal plastic packaging, and the ability to repair and replace most of the parts, these shades do well. From the proprietary recycled “SuperLight” plastic frames to the recycled polyester case, Sunski seems to be serious about environmental consciousness and action.
The Final Word
The Sunski Couloir is probably one of the best values you can get on a pair of glacier glasses. Most of the competition would probably charge double the price for a similar set of features, and the fact that they’re repairable and made by a company that does a lot to be environmentally friendly says a lot. I would personally recommend the Couloir to almost anyone who needs new shades for the mountains.
Forrest is a long-time gear junkie, with half a decade at Mammoth Mountaineering Supply, a new career as a Mountain Guide, and over a dozen years of backcountry skiing, rock climbing, and backpacking. Forrest is also Dynafits North American “Skimo Hero” competing in skimo race and skiing some of America’s steepest descents. Keep up with his adventures on Instagram at @Ski_Smith.