Italian sunglasses designed for action sports

This website receives dozens of media releases about new products every month. Ideally we'd like to test every product and give you an unbiased opinion, but it's not really practical to drop a new diesel into the yacht or replace all the winches every time a new model comes on the market.

So I was quite excited when four pairs of Italian sunglasses landed on my desk. Here was something I could “test drive” properly. I received two pairs of zero rh+ and two pairs of arsenik brand.

I wore a pair of the zero rh+ for twilighting – and forgot I had them on until I got back to the club. This is a big plus – it obviously means they were very comfortable, and the lenses changed as the ambient light changed. When we left the dock at 5.30pm we had full sunlight but by the time we got back a few of the boats were showing navigation lights. And I could still see perfectly.

The zero rh+ Carl Zeiss lenses are soft and flexible and of very high quality. They carry a guarantee of being shatterproof for life, which is handy to know when the boom is flying at your face. According to the literature, they also protect the eyes from “impacts, cuts and chemical and atmospheric agents”.

I wore a pair of the arsenik brand for a Sunday sail on a very bright day. These were also very comfortable and extremely light weight compared with my old $50 chemist shop sunnies.

Again, they feature Carl Zeiss shatterproof polycarbonate lenses. In fact, they were first developed for military use, for protection against ballistics and lasers!

They also offer 100% protection against UV-A, UV-B and and UV-C rays. These models come with different-coloured lenses for different light conditions – polarised IMPACTO, hydrophobic (water repelling), mirror-coated and anti-reflective. I'm a bit lazy, so I preferred the ones that changed colour for me, but I can see the value in being able to (very simply, I discovered) swap to a water-repellent lens when I go sailing, for example.

I'm not the most fashionable human being on the planet, so I can't really comment on the styling. However, both brands felt better and looked better than the sunglasses I'm used to wearing. And being Italian and designed specifically for active sports people, I'm fairly confident this side of things will get a big tick from the fashion police.

At between $199 and $329 for the arsenik and $350 to $570 for the zero rh+, they cost a bit more than I usually pay. But when I look at the added benefits – safety, style and changing light levels – I can certainly see the value.

Neither arsenik or zero rh+ sunglasses are widely available yet, but current stockists include The Yacht Shop (Sandringham), Bike HQ (Carnegie) and Bikeforce (Docklands and Essendon) in Victoria, Hunter Optical (Maitland) and Blackmans Cycles (Parramatta and Penrith) in NSW and Bike HQ (Christchurch) in NZ. Any chandlery interested in stocking the brands is asked to contact Linda Kwan at Mod Style on (03) 9380 7888.

– Roger McMillan

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