One Bearded Review – Arnette Sunglasses: they were great…except where it mattered most

These were definitely the most stylish on-course apparel items I ever wore on the golf course.

These were definitely the most stylish items I’d ever worn on the golf course.

I enjoy wearing sunglasses on the golf course. I don’t “need” them, in the sense of either I wear them or I don’t go outside during daylight hours, but I appreciate that they make life in the sun a bit more pleasant.

I play a lot of late afternoon and twilight golf rounds, when the Sun is sliding down the sky towards the horizon, making looking the slightest bit to the west a real challenge.

Sunglasses, especially those with a good pair of polarized lenses, eliminate a lot of the uncomfortable and unnerving effects of looking up directly at or near the Sun.

I enjoyed my Arnette Unreal sunglasses immensely for a very short period of time. Below, I list all the reasons they were great, followed immediately by the one reason I won’t ever buy them again.

Here are the vital statistics of my sunglasses:

  • Brand:  Arnette
  • Model: Unreal
  • Style: Wraparound
  • Frames: Plastic polymer
  • Color:  Black
  • Lenses: Black
  • Polarized:  Yes

I’d never heard of Arnette sunglasses until I purchased this pair.  Unbeknownst to me until yesterday, they are American made in California, and are one of the chic brands of surfers, extreme sports athletes, and musicians that I’ve never heard of and probably will never hear.

Not exactly Billy Gibbons quality beard & sunglasses combination, but I wasn't exactly trying to create a signature look.

Not exactly Billy Gibbons quality beard & sunglasses combination, but I wasn’t exactly trying to create a signature look.

I was really excited about my sunglasses when I picked them up on the way to Hilton Head.   Reasonably priced at around $100, I thought I’d struck sunglasses gold.  At first impression, they were fairly light but very sturdy, with internal hinges that decreased the amount of things I could break.

I have an exceptionally large head for my height (5′ 9″ on a good day), so finding sunglasses that fit is a challenge.  Go too large and the glasses fall off at inopportune moments, like, say, while trying to putt.

Go too small and the pinching and squeezing above my hears will literally induce a headache.  Seriously, it’s like wearing a really tiny vise on your skull.

The Arnette sunglasses fit better on my head than Goldilocks fit in the Baby Bear’s bed.  By no small miracle, they rested comfortably on my ears firmly and securely without squeezing or pinching.

Going against my typecast, my wraparound shades were borderline stylish.  They were well proportioned so that there was a pleasant, un-flamboyant look to them. Hopefully, no one would confuse me for drawing inspiration from Bono or Dale Earnhardt Sr.

Most importantly, they were probably the best lenses I’d ever worn.  The polarization was phenomenal and filtered almost all of the extraneous reflections so that I could focus on what I wanted to see.

I'm no scientist, but I don't think the sunglasses really work if they spend more time on your hat than they do your face.

I’m no scientist, but I don’t think the sunglasses really work if they spend more time on your hat than they do your face.

All of this without darkening the sky or injecting an artificial color filter that distorted everything I saw.  Everything was exceptionally clear viewed through those lenses; it was great.

My ever-present line up of hats and caps were instantly rendered mere ninja-level sun protection for Friar Tuck hairline.  Plus, Arnette had provided a great hard case and a cleaning cloth that, in theory, should have extended the life of the glasses.

There was just one big problem: they were the least scratch resistant sunglasses I’ve ever owned.  And it’s not even close. I barely got one golf season.

By the end of the 2014 season, the glasses wore the scars of every ding, dent, and scratch.  Come spring of 2015, viewing the world through my once pristine shades was like viewing the world with an untreated vision problem.

Admittedly, I’m tough on things by nature. I use things up. Unless it’s a picture on the wall or a family heirloom, The Wife and I are on a continual mission to de-clutter the extraneous items from the One Bearded Palatial Estate, so what’s left are items that we actually use.

Actually footage captured from the One Bearded Refrigerator.

Actually footage captured from the One Bearded Refrigerator.

The things I use and the clothes I wear, I use or wear a lot, so whatever planned obsolescence a product contains I usually accelerate, so I’m not the ideal candidate for “designer” anything.  However, I expected more from the Arnette sunglasses.

My Scottish ancestry required that I tried to get another season’s use out of my sun spectacles, but, alas, I think they ended up spending more time in the case than on my face over the past year.

Luckily, I’m a world-class squinter when I don’t have sunglasses at my disposal, because eventually the lenses became so pockmarked with dents and scratches that it was like wearing Luke Skywalker’s helmet with the blast shield down.

They looked great. They felt great. They performed great, but only for a very short period of time. The lenses just didn’t stand up to what I consider normal wear and tear.

If you can treat your sunglasses like a fragile musical instrument or crystal stemmed champagne flute, a pair of Arnette sunglasses may very well be for you.

Unfortunately, I tend to need Abrams Tank-level sturdiness and durability to extend the life of the items I buy (I’m regularly mocked by The Wife for my giant, indestructible mobile phone case).  So with the new golf season approaching, I’ll begrudgingly be frequenting malls and sporting goods stores on the hunt for a new pair of shades.

5 thoughts on “One Bearded Review – Arnette Sunglasses: they were great…except where it mattered most

  1. Dave

    If I could find a pair of glasses I could never loose, I would likely spend more than 10$ on them!. I like your honest review of the sunglasses, they are not bad, just not quite right for you! I appreciate the assessment.


  2. Thanks for the review, David. I’ve been thinking about new sunglasses for golf, but have been sticking with a pair of Nike that I bought with credit card points a few years back and they’ve worked out surprisingly great and have held up to some punishment. Maybe give Nike a look in your search?


  3. Arnette sunglass lenses are not durable. After a year and a half I could barely see through them. The lenses have crystallized. I would never buy another pair. I tried to call them but they hide well, so I just gave up.

  4. Revant optics sells replacement lenses. I purchased some for an old pair of Oakley sunglasses and they fit perfectly. They offer polarized lenses.

  5. I have a pair of Arnette sunglasses. I purchased them in Arizona when travelling on vacation from Ireland. That was a few years ago. I love them and there lenses are not only sensational but continue to be scratch free. Mine are wrap around. I use them for my daily cycle of 50 kms.

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