Review: Zeal Incline Sunglasses

Review: Zeal Incline SunglassesScore 90%Score 90%

I love wearing sunglasses. I know that’s a silly statement… but I truly do. I almost can’t fathom stepping outdoors on a sunny day without a quality pair of shades covering my peepers. I even like using my sunglasses to keep my hair out of my face when indoors. For me, they are as much lifestyle accessory as eye protection.

Like many products, when I find a brand I like and trust, it becomes my only go-to. With sunglasses, about 7 years ago that brand became Maui Jim. Crafted well, sturdy, polarized lenses & incredible warranty support… what’s not to love? After a recent night out with Marc I woke up the next morning realizing I left my all-time favorite pair (Surf Rider Style) of sunglasses out on the town.  🙁

That morning, the sun was extra bright, and the hunt for a new pair of sunglasses was afoot.

As luck would have it, I found myself with the opportunity to try something different. I’m not typically one that jumps ship form their favorite brand so quickly… but I’m also willing to try something new if it rings all the right bells.

Enter: Zeal Optics, Incline ($150) Frame: Tortose / Lenses: Copper

I’ve worn Zeal sunglasses in the past, and was mostly happy with them so I was willing to give them another try. Solid build, good lenses & a strong eco-friendly material framework. As I mentioned, they were pretty good in the past… but only after I got used to the funky design. This time around though… I was super impressed right away!

First impressions aside, I’ve now worn the Inclines for roughly 45 days now… and here are my thoughts.

I’ll lay down some of the technical info below, but let’s talk wearability first. The Zeal Inclines are RIDICULOUSLY lightweight glasses… but not so much that they fly off your head or slide around. It’s a really precise balance that I hope somebody at camp Zeal got a huge bonus for figuring out.

(I’ve owned a few pair of sleekly designed running & cycling glasses I’d compare weights to, but with the casual design to the Inclines, I’m pretty impressed.) 

They’re created with a plant based z-resin material (minimal plastic is always a good thing) and holy cow are these glasses comfortable. They also feature these nifty ProFlex rubber inlays on the nose rests and ends of the arms to keep them snuggly on your face, without being annoyingly grippy. They took me a day or two to get used to, but once I did have proven to be fantastic.

Nose Grip

Arm Grip

Let’s talk about the lenses. A bad pair of sunglasses can tweak a beautiful landscape and make it seem too brown, gray or off-color… but I have been very happy with the result from the Inclines. Also made from a plant-based plastic, these lenses do a great job of breaking out the kaleidoscope of vivid colors on our coastal seascape.
The Zeal Incline design is also one that makes wearing hats, knit-caps & helmets very easy. It features a low bridge which almost rests like it was designed specifically to fit under a hat bill (check out the pic).

The technical stuff. Here’s the exact breakdown of features according the Zeal’s website:

ABOUT INCLINE

We find many things in the mountains: solitude, beauty, inspiration – and the thrill of gravity. Inspired by the pursuit of downhill adventure, and the beauty of the mountains, Incline is designed to be your partner for all-day descents. We believe you need to earn your turns, so we’ve taken our plant-based Z-Resin to a new level of lightness with our Z-Lite thin injection process to bring you a sunglass that’s so light, you’ll forget it’s there. Except for the fact that our polarized, plant-based ellume lenses help you see the greens and blues of the landscape below like never before thanks to our unique blend of color filters.

Incline features our ProFlex rubber inlays on the temple tips and nose bridge to keep them in place on the steepest descents, while the classic design and keyhole bridge of this sunglass make it a timeless fit for any adventure, whether wild or refined.

Final Thoughts: if you’re going to spring $150+ on a new pair of sunglasses (which really isn’t much considering how much you use them), seriously consider giving the Zeal Inclines a try. I love their story and the materials they use… but more importantly, I LOVE the way the feel on my face and viewing quality.

Based on this single pair alone, I am anxious to try out a few other Zeals to see if they hit it out of the park every time.

UPDATE: There are rumors about certain polarized sunglasses having a negative affect on the new iPhone X’s face recognition camera, and I’m adding this update to let you know there aren’t any issues what-so-ever!!! Tech officiall loves the Zeal Inclines. 

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