Jessie Leong tests them out during a trip including trail running amongst the scree - strewn slopes of a glacial paradise.
‘Fresh from watching the extreme sports of the Olympics, I’ve always wanted to look like as cool as those skateboarding/ surf athletes who rock up with their sunglasses perched on their head looking effortlessly sun-kissed, sponsored from head to toe and enthusiasm to ‘let it rip!’ Except in this case, my moment literally meant accidentally ‘ripping’ my sunglasses on their very first outing….’
For me, sunglasses are the one piece of kit that absolutely needs to be durable. From climbing in the mountains, to running full pelt down a slope, to general wear in civilian life, they are often the piece of kit that will undergo the most rugged wear and tear, and yet when they’re most needed, they need to be able to perform – to keep one’s eyes protected from the glare of that bright beaming sunshine (and glacial refraction.)
I was delighted to test the SunGod VelansÔ FF, marketed as using 8KOÒ lenses, according to the SunGod website as the most advanced lenses on the planet, which were made out of 2mm Nylon and lighter than industry standard polycarbonate. Strong, yet sexy – I get it. However, to my slight shock, the frame the lenses came with underperformed and felt quite brittle. The website says the VelansÔ FF and many of the glasses across the range use 100% recycled plastic waste as a way of closing the loop on additional plastic manufacturing. However, as an end user, I was surprised to find that, on my first trail run in the alps I took the sunglasses off my head and the arm snapped off. – Crikey I thought, as a visit to the outdoor shop in the valley was required for an emergency pair of replacement sunglasses in the interim.
After flagging up the breakage of the VelansÔ FF sunglasses frame to the SunGod customer service team, I was pleasantly pleased to hear from the customer service team within 48 hours, who offered to send a replacement pair of sunglasses to my house in the UK. For the rest of the alpine trip, luckily, I had a pair of sunglasses to protect from the harshness of operating in a glacial environment with very high levels of UVA and UVB rays. I was impressed with the speed of the replacement delivery and the way a whole new pair of sunglasses arrived – complete with case, stickers, delivery note etc. I felt satisfied that SunGod responded well to my warranty query – and they also emailed me to prompt them with feedback on what I thought could be improved on the current glasses to avoid it from happening again.
- Secure Hinges – Pop Lock Ôscrewless
- Impact Resistance – Certified Full-Frame
- Nose pads- 4 sizes for optimum fit
- Guarantee – lifetime
- Lens Tech – 8KOÒNylon
- Lens Protection – Hydroleophobic
- Scratch Resistance – Triple layer protection
- UV protection – 100%
Like many busy adventure types I packed my sunglasses into my luggage without checking over the sizing guide of the nose pads. It’s worth taking all the accessories with you, particularly when you’re first using them and can adjust the lenses (and how they sit on your face) with ease. I found the size 4 suited my nose (which doesn't have a particularly angular look), so I preferred a slightly wider nose pad, so the sunglasses didn’t pinch or sit awkwardly on my face.
What’s brilliant about SunGod is that everything is customisable – down to the last sungod icon logo that can twinkle or be as matte as you like. I wanted 8K0 lenses to test the optical qualities, but there are options to choose iris photochromic and up to 10 different lens tints for all kinds of weather and conditions. I was also able to choose a full frame/ top frame variant - £25 in difference but gave me the option to effectively have two styles of sunglasses using a different nose piece. This gave me peace of mind that I was purchasing a well-considered, fully personal product for the hefty price tag.
I love the colour of my Sungod Velans FF, which allow me to go as bold or as subtle as I wanted, which definitely appealed to me. I wanted something that would work with a lot of things I wear – so a blue/ teal variant suited me. I went for a Matte Navy frame out of a choice of ten other frame colours, and an 8KOÒ green lens. For the icons (the little logo on the edge) I opted for a brushed rose gold as an extra luxurious detail and went for ‘Grip-lockÔ Mint’ for the ear socks, the tiny ends on the sunglasses that anchor to your head.
As mentioned earlier, the SunGod VelansÔ FF stayed on my face and kept the sun out of my eyes - for the morning I went for a trail run. I was somewhat surprised when the frame arm snapped (not from excessive force or accidental brakeage) but my replacement pair have performed just as well and stayed put without the typical ‘sliding’ that usually happens when I wear performance sunglasses and find them either misting up or sliding off my due to sweat. The hydroleophobic lenses are an additional selling point as a glass’s wearer I’m all too aware of the annoyance of lenses being foggy or attracting dirt. By having the emphasis on high tech, lightweight material that repel water, I’m definitely keen to keep testing these as the seasons change. According to the website, the SunGod VelansÔ FF are aimed more at running and mountain biking whilst the TF versions lend themselves better to the style and weight conscious road cycling where unobstructed vision is key.
Protection from the sun
The SunGod VelansÔ FF felt they gave some protection and clarity for me to be able to see clearly under a bright blue bird sky. They also gave 100% UV protection based on their spherical shape and unobstructed peripheral vision (as a TF version), along with complete wind protection. Whilst they gave me very good protection from the sun on the time I used it,
The SunGods VelansÔ TF weigh in at 29g – an additional 3g heavier if you wear it as an FF version– an impressively light weight considering how much tech they pack in. The frame case is fairly heavy – so worth considering when packing for alpine fast and light adventures.
Setting you back £115 for the Sungod VelansÔ TF versus £140 for the SunGods VelansÔ FF or £160 for the conversion kit, these are definitely not going to be the cheapest sunglasses in your possession. However, for the lifetime guarantee and warranty service on them, it’s clear SunGod are willing to build up a loyal fan base that recognise the value in high cost, high performance sunglasses that (hopefully) last the test of time.
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