Gear Review: Polaroid Medal 9239A Running Sunglasses

polaroid medalAccording to the Met Office, the hazy days of Summer this year will be caused by heat rather than sleet.

And so, as someone who can overheat in a snowstorm and develop sunburn beneath a 60 Watt light bulb, I have begun preparations for my Summer running a little earlier than usual this year.

A process that began with the retirement of my gaudy, mirrored skiing shades, and the acquisition of some serious running eyewear, in the shape of some new Polaroid Medal running sunglasses.

Yes, having been informed by my Good Lady Wife that the orange mirrors of my usual running eyewear make me look like ‘mutton dressed as lamb’, I decided to picked up something a tad more conservative, yet, apparently, much more suited to Summer running. Enter the Polaroid Medal 9239A sunglasses for runners.

Aesthetic Considerations

Well, having donned my new Polaroids and asked the GLW for a verdict, I was a tad miffed that having made fun of my mirrored shades on many occasions, she declared the Polaroids to be: “a bit like something Ray Charles would run in.”

So yes, point taken dear, these aren’t the sort of flashy, bling shades you’ll find the triathlon crowd running in. Instead, they’re dark, understated and fairly conservative. But then, so am I. And I’m gorgeous. So your point would be what exactly?

The Lenses

As you might expect, the Polaroid lenses offer not just 100% UV protection, but also a superb level of visibility. While the lenses look dark from the outside, they’re great in any conditions from low light right through to the brightest sunlight, making them excellent for the car as well as out on a run. Unlike the cheap shades I usually favour, these really do enhance your vision rather than degrade it.

But you don’t get just one pair of lenses with the Polaroids. You get a dark set for bright conditions, and a lightly tinted set for less sunny conditions. While I think that I’ll be using the dark lenses most of the time, the paler lenses are a handy addition for dull or rainy days and are pretty quick and easy to swap over. They’re also easy to store, as both the rugged, zipped hard case and the additional cloth case feature storage compartments for the lenses you aren’t using at the time.

Comfort on a Run

picture-6While the great vision provided by polarised lenses is as good a reason as any to opt for serious sunglasses, they wouldn’t be much use if the sunglasses themselves weren’t light and comfortable.

Yet out on a trail through the dunes on a very sunny day, the Medals were supremely wearable, the soft rubber legs keeping them firmly in place without rubbing, and the one-piece moulded nose section meaning that I didn’t end my run with either indentations or discomfort to my somewhat prominent proboscis.

Beating the Heat

As regular readers will know, I have a slight overheating problem, allied with an unerring ability to only run big races on days when the sun will have his hat on. So like many runners, perhaps even more importantly than lightness and clarity of vision, I need sunglasses that won’t steam up when the heat is on. And so, my chosen test route meant 3 miles of sand dunes into the wind and the sun, before turning around and running Northward again: a section that usually means my eyewear steaming up as I’m no longer running into the wind.

picture-51Yet the elongated and ventilated lenses of the Polaroids meant that not only were my eyes more protected from both wind, sand and UV rays than usual, but that no matter how hot I became, the lenses stayed absolutely free of misting.

Though the extended lenses may not have been the only reason for this, as, according to the blurb, the Polaroids also come with ‘hydrohobic coating to prevent fogging.’

Hydrophobic? Isn’t that the same thing as rabid? Or is that hydrophobia? Whatever…

The Big Self-Important verdict

Frankly, even for a shade over £70, the Polaroid Medals seem like great value for money, as they’re clearly going to make my Summer runs far less of an ordeal than usual. If I’m honest, while I went out for a hot weather 6-miler simply to test them out for review purposes, I kept forgetting I was wearing them.

5jellybaby2Which fact, while it may perhaps make me look a bit simple-minded as a reviewer, is actually a pretty good recommendation for the quality of the Polaroids as running sunglasses. So the £73.99 they cost, may well turn out to be something of a bargain.

Now, if I can just get my other half to stop singing ‘Georgia’ whenever I wear them, these may also turn out to be the perfect sunglasses for my Summer runs.

Technical Specification

• Two sets of interchangeable lenses for bright and neutral conditions

• Extended lenses for complete eye coverage

• Superior anti-reflective coating plus hydrophobic coating to prevent fogging

• Filter category 4

• Polaroid polarized lenses

• 100% UV protection

• Complete with zippered Polaroid hard case and inner lining for sunglasses and additional lenses