Gear Review: Polaroid Habanero Sunglasses for Runners

polaroid habanerosWith Summer just around the corner,  it seems that it’s time to put my running tights away for another year and start planning for getting sweaty again.

All the signs are there. Blue tits darting hither and yon around the garden, Good Lady Wife spending fortunes at the local garden centre, and best of all, the latest in sunglasses for runners rocking up at Jelly Baby Towers, courtesy of those lovely people at Polaroid.

As regular readers of these pages may recall, In past years I’ve reviewed the darkly handsome Polaroid Medals and the slinky but somewhat bling Polaroid Vectors, falling in love with both of them for their outstanding performance.

So which way would Polaroid’s designers go this year I wondered? Understated elegance or all-out sportiness? And then I opened the very stylish hard case to find out that they’ve embraced the world’s current love affair with being orange, and created the Polaroid Habaneros.

First Impressions Out of the Box

Well, I knew there had to be some reason for all that oranginess, and a little research revealed that a Habanero is actually an orange chili, once regarded as being the world’s hottest (580,000 on the Scoville Scale, if any of you chili nerds are interested). So, not a tribute to David Dickinson then?

In fact, while the design of the Habaneros isn’t as obviously sporty as the Vectors, or even the Medals, these are pretty good-looking shades, at least once the orange legs have disappeared into the hair beyond one’s greying temples and increasingly hairy ears.

More importantly, they’re much, much lighter than they look, with the soft, orangey legs and adjustable nose pad giving a close but comfortable fit; and the high quality ‘polarized copper’ (or orange, as it’s more commonly known) lenses providing absolutely incredible vision in everything from bright sunlight to near-dusk.

Hitting the open road

As I’m prone to telling the GLW, and anyone else who’ll listen: looks aren’t everything. So to find out if these things are as hot as their name suggests, I waited for the sun to put his hat on, loaded my iPhone with the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Greatest Hits, and headed out for a sweaty 10-miler along the beach.

While it isn’t exactly high summer out there, it’s certainly warm enough to work up a bit of a sweat. So I was pleased to note that while these are wraparounds, there’s enough width on the high optical quality lenses to let the breeze in at the sides and keep the hydrophobic lenses from steaming up. So not only do you get full UV protection, you also get to enjoy the best vision I’ve ever had through sunglasses: meaning that I’m probably going to be using these things for skiing as well as running.

Even after the full 10 miles, there was no condensation inside the lenses, no rubbing or discomfort anywhere, and I was enjoying the loveliest orange sunset over the Irish sea I’d ever seen. Then I took the Habaneros off and realised that it was just coming up to time for elevenses…

Apart from some mild reservations about the colour scheme, I reckon that the Habaneros are just about as good as it gets for running sunglasses, and even at a not insubstantial £79 a pair, they’re fully deserving of their 5 Jelly Baby Rating.

Technical Specification

Adjustable nose pads

• Wraparound style

• Brown frames with polarized copper lenses

• Filter category 3

• Polaroid UltraSight™ premium polarized lenses

• 100% UV400 protection

• Hard Polaroid case

• Inside frame width 132mm, lens height 39mm

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