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Costa Whitetip Sunglasses Review

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costa whitetip sunglassesCosta is one of the highest respected sunglasses companies when it comes to the water.  Water presents one of the biggest challenges for a sunglass lenses and Costa has made a name for itself for being the master of sunglasses on the water.  The Costa Whitetip is a new sunglass offering with a medium fit and an option to choose a glass or polycarbonate lens.  Depending on lens preference within the frame, the price for the Costa Whitetip sunglasses ranges between $159-$239.  In this review, I’ll be referring to the Retro Tortoise Frame with a Blue Mirror tinted glass lens, retailing for $239.

Testing Grounds

Costa Whitetips

Testing the Costa Whitetips while ski touring near Grays Peak

Through my time testing out the Costa Whitetip Sunglasses, I was primarily in the Colorado Rockies where I live.  This time of year, snow covers most surfaces and depth perception can be a major challenge without a good lens that can pull out definition. I primarily tested the Whitetips while running and ski touring.

Costa Whitetip Sunglasses

Testing the Costa Whitetip Sunglasses while running on the beach

In addition to the mountains of Colorado, I also had a chance to test the Whitetips during a recent trip to Florida.  While I didn’t get a chance to take the Whitetips out fishing, I spent plenty of time near the inner-coastal and the ocean.

Whitetips Performance While Running + Ski Touring

As opposed to fishing which is what most people use Costa Sunglasses for, I tested the Whitetips out mostly for running and ski touring. Running in my opinion, can be hard on sunglasses as the activity tests out how well the frame ventilates. Through my runs in cold winter temperatures, I found the Whitetip sunglasses to provide good ventilation.  During my test, the sunglasses only fogged up a few times with the majority of my testing being fog free.

While ski touring, I found the Costa Whitetip sunglasses to fog up a little more because the frame cups your face leaving a small amount of space for excess heat to escape.  While touring, you’re typically going pretty slow which means you don’t get a lot of airflow to push out any extra heat and moisture.  Typically while ski touring, a more open frame is best, but given that I ski tour 2-3 times a week in the winter, I wanted to see how the Whitetips would perform.

As running and ski touring generate a lot of body heat and moisture throughout the face, it is usually best to use a sunglass frame that doesn’t sit so close to your face when you want maximum ventilation.  The Costa Whitetip sunglasses have ventilation holes on the frame that helps provide a small amount of ventilation that will help in low level exertion activities.  Costa offers a number of options for sunglasses that don’t fit too close to your face, so there’s no need to panic!

While good ventilation is important, good sun and light protection can be just as important.  While ski touring at 13,000 ft in elevation, I found the close fit to my face to be perfect.  The frames prevented extra glare from getting to my eyes and they provided the wind protection I needed.

rubber nose grips

rubber nose grips

Sunglasses that grip your face… To keep the Costa Whitetips from moving around too much on your face, the sunglasses come with rubber nose pads and rubber coated arms.  Instead of a small portion of the sunglass arm being covered in rubber, it’s approximately 80% of the inside of the sunglass are.

rubber coated arms to grip your head

rubber coated arms to grip your head

This is a huge bonus in my book as there is more surface area to grip your ears and the side of your face.  There are also 4 small bumps of rubber that help stick the arms to your ears.

For the anglers out there, each arm has a small hole at the end of the sunglass arm for sunglass straps.

Clarity with Costa 580 Lenses

If you spend any significant time outside, a sunglass lens with good clarity can add a little extra joy every moment you have them on your face.  While we don’t often think about it, the light that we absorb through our eyes can be taxing.  In specific, specific yellow light rays can be hard on the eyes, so this is reduced on the 580 lens. The blue, green and red rays are enhanced to provide more of a natural contrast allowing your eyes to pick out more definition.

The 580 lens provides 100% UV and absorbs HEV light which Costa states is known to cause macular degeneration, pterygium, cataracts and other eye diseases.  To reduce and/or eliminate glare off the water, snow, or the bumper of a car, all Whitetip lenses are polarized.

I tested out the 580G glass lens option.  This was the first time I have used a glass lens option for an extended period of time.  Glass lenses are typically a tad heavier than polycarbonate lenses, but I am not able to notice any weight difference between glass and polycarbonate in the Whitetip lenses.  I was hoping there would be a major clarity difference because there is an increase in price from glass to polycarbonate, but I find it hard to see the difference in glass and polycarbonate in the 580 lens series from Costa.  The difference may really stand out while fishing on the water, but in my testing it was hard to tell.

580G Glass Lens Layers

  • C-WALL® MOLECULAR BOND
  • GLASS LAYER
  • ENCAPUSLATED MIRROR
  • POLARIZED FILM
  • GLASS LAYER
  • C-WALL® MOLECULAR BOND

 

 

580P Polycarbonate Lens Layers

  • C-WALL® MOLECULAR BOND
  • MIRROR (OPTIONAL)
  • POLYCARBONATE LENS
  • POLARIZED FILM
  • POLYCARBONATE LENS
  • C-WALL® MOLECULAR BOND

 

 

Protecting your Sunglasses

To protect your sunglasses from getting scratched or crushed, the Costa Whitetips come with a hardcase to protect your investment.  They also include a cleaning cloth to clean the lens.  I personally like a sunglass storage bag vs. a cloth because I don’t always want to carry around a hard case to keep my sunglasses in.

Final Thoughts

The Costa Whitetip offers an array of lens options with a wide price offering.  While the Whitetip sunglasses aren’t on the lower end of the price spectrum with price points between $159-$239, you tend to pay for what you get.  I have been more than happy with the Costa Whitetips while using the sunglasses for what they are intended for.  These sunglasses are not meant for high exertion activities, so you’ll need to look elsewhere if you’re trying to check that box.  For all other uses and activities, the Costa Whitetip sunglasses come in with high marks.

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About Kevin Fonger

If there’s an activity or sport, I’ll generally try it at least once. My main activities include running, hiking, skiing, cycling, camping, backpacking, and pretty much anything else you can think of. I love writing product reviews as I like helping people find the right gear so they will enjoy their activity that much more.

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