The biggest challenge for sports eye wear is the compensation for factors like temperature, light conditions, and speed, which vary depending on the type of sport, season or time of the day. The Wenger Sport Glasses System offers a simple solution to these factors by employing a single frame which enables the user to switch out their sport-specific lenses quickly and easily, so that they can fully concentrate on their goals.
- Made of a special high-quality composite, TR 90, which is durable, yet extremely light
- Neoprene inserts can be inserted at forehead for additional glare and sweat protection
- Nose pad features an anti-slip ribbed design and is removable and reversible
- Includes a custom inside clip system allowing for insertion of prescription glasses
- Easy lens changes
- Anatomically shaped adjustable temples ensure a comfortable and secure fit
- Includes a protective case, extra rubber tip covers, extra rubber nose pieces and neoprene inserts
- All Lenses
- Made of shatter-proof polycarbonate
- Prismatically balanced offering the highest quality optical vision without distortions
- All around glare and debris protection
- Provide 100% uvA and uvB protection
- Include a microfiber bag that can be used for gentle cleaning of lenses
- Fog-free vision with simultaneous panoramic glare protection
- Gradient tinting (darker on top, lighter on bottom) offers ideal vision down to the surface
- Running Lens
- Smaller lens design – more ventilation
- Ventilation holes in the nose area – no heat accumulation
- Open lens – heat escapes to the top
- Biking Lens
- Large lens – good wind protection
- Vents on the outer edges – no turbulence and good ventilation
- Also available in small lenses
- Water Lens
- Large panorama lens – all-around protection
- Polarized, reflection-free vision
- Winter Lens
- Double lens with thermal effects – balances out vast temperature changes
- Large panorama lens – perfect glare protection
- Measured Weight
- Frame – 20 g (0.7 oz)
- Neoprene Pad – 2 g (0.1 oz)
- Running Lens – 11 g (0.4 oz)
- Biking Lens – 12 g (0.4 oz)
- Water Lens – 12 g (0.4 oz)
- Winter Lens – N/A (Did not test)
- Frame – $175
- Running Lens – $55
- Biking Lens – $55
- Water Lens – $90
- Winter Lens – $90
If I came up to someone and asked them about the Wenger brand, they would most likely not know them. If I showed the logo, I would get some who recognized it. If I said, “Swiss Army” that number would get much bigger. Wenger is the company behind half of the Swiss Army Knives. Victorinox being the other. While Wenger has been around for over 100 years, they do not seem to have a lot of presence besides their knives. Actually, Wenger makes a lot more than just knives and these Sunglasses are their first foray into that realm. I initially saw them at the Outdoor Retailer show and was impressed enough that I set up a review of a pair of the Swiss Army Sunglasses.
I tested the Polarized Water Lens, Cycling lens, and Running Lens. Unfortunately, I was not able to test the Winter lens as that would have fit right in with my spring activities. Needless to say, I tested each of these in their appropriate domain n both sunny and cloudy conditions.
The Wenger Sport Sunglass system is basically the Swiss Army System for sunglasses. Especially if you have all the lenses, then you can adjust your sunglasses to the activity you are doing. There is a difference between these and other sunglasses with changeable lenses. The difference lies in the fact that these not only change the tint but also the style of the lens. We will get to that, first off, I will show you how the system works. This was taken from the Wenger website:
Here’s how it works:
- Choose your favorite frame color.
- Choose the lens for your sport.
- Select an RX lens if you need it.
- Add the included neoprene forehead pad if you prefer.
- Select the included nose support that best fits you.
The Wenger Sport System is made up of the frame and four possible lenses you can buy. The include lenses for water, cycling, running, and winter sports. I tested them all except the winter lens. There are currently four different frame colors to choose from. The frames are made of TR 90 Plastic. This is similar to what is used in many of the top sunglasses and is a proven durable plastic. It is also light weight, which is important for long term comfort. The frames come with two neoprene forehead pads that can be used to block sweat and glare when needed. The frames also come with two sets of arm grippers and three set of different nose pads to adjust the fit around the nose to your preference. The frame does not come with any lenses. However, these are purchased separately based on your need. Each lens has a twist lock piece in nose bridge that inserts into the frame and locks the lens in place. To remove the lens all you need to do is unlock it and pull it apart. Pretty simple.
There are currently four available types of lenses to purchase: running, cycling, water, and winter. These lenses all have different characteristics to serve their activity better. There are some things that are the same throughout the line. All the lenses are made of a shatterproof polycarbonate. They have also been made to exacting standards of optical quality as not to distort what you see. An interesting characteristic of the lenses is they have a gradient tinting with darker up top and lighter down low for better viewing of the ground ahead. As with nearly all sunglasses on the market now days, all the lenses have 100% uvA and uvB protection. There are some different characteristics for each lens though.
The Running Lens has a smaller profile then the others. It also has an open top, meaning there is space between the top of the lens and the frame. This has all been done for increased breathability. There is also a set of ventilation holes near the nose to prevent heat buildup. The cycling lens comes in two types: active and pro. These two lenses share the same attributes except the Pro is larger in size. The cycling lenses have ventilation hole son the outside of the lens to prevent fogging while still maintaining no turbulent airflow. The water lens is polarized for reflection-free vision. Unlike the other lenses just described it does not have any ventilation holes. The last lens in the bunch is the winter lens. I was not able to test this one out even though it looks like the most interesting. It is a double lens with thermal effects to balance out temperature changes. These temperature changes are what can cause fogging especially in colder temperatures where there is a larger temperature gradient. Similar to the water lens, the winter lens does not have any ventilation holes.
As far as sustainability goes, the materials used in the system are mainly plastics and rubber. These, to my knowledge, are not from sustainable sources. On the other hand, Wenger does have an environmental policy where they list how they aim to reduce the environmental impacts of their activities, products, and services.
Comfort Next to Skin (25%)
Eye Coverage (30%)
Head Sizing (20%)
The Wenger Sport Glasses system comes with a lot of adjustability. The frame comes with several different nose pads to optimize how you like the glasses to fit. These nose pieces allow the frame to sit at different eights on your nose depending on the piece used and the size of your nose. I found that the rubber pieces were both comfortable and stayed in place even when sweating a lot. The one thing that I felt was a negative is the frame is on the thicker side so it sits off your face a little more than I prefer. Wenger does include two neoprene forehead pads in with the frame that can be used as a sweat guard or to reduce glare. While these are comfortable, they do increase the gap a little further. The temples also use the same rubber on the griper over the ears, and once again, they have been comfortable and stay in place. The lenses are on the bigger side for more coverage. For people like me who look better in smaller glasses, these may look a bit large for your face, at least that is what I felt like they did on me.
Air Flow (10%)
Ease of Changes (25%)
The performance of the Wenger Sport Glasses System has been good. The three different lenses are all uniquely different while still being similar. Changing the lens is easy, but I must admit that I still get finger prints on the lens from time to time. The twist piece is small so it is still not fool proof. Once it is in place though the lenses have never budged or moved. It is a very secure attachment. Changing all the different pieces on the frame is also easy, there are little pins for the nose pieces and the temple grips slide on and off. The neoprene pads are a bit more difficult to get on and off as they are held in place by small plastic pins. Once you have done it a couple of times you get the strategy down. The neoprene pad does a good job blocking glare and reducing the amount of sweat running down your forehead. It does not stop it, but it helps.
The lenses are all optically good. I know companies talk about how optically correct their lenses are, but I do not think I could tell the difference between the god brands. There is definitely a difference between a good lens and a knock off but higher-end sunglasses almost always come with high-quality lenses. I did not get a chance to test the Winter Lens as that would have been interesting with the two lenses. I also felt like all three lenses have a good tint to them. It was dark enough to protect the eyes, and I felt like I could see all obstacles well. The lenses have seemed very durable. I did somehow put a light scratch on one, but it does not affect the vision in any way. When I was introduced to the sunglasses, the guys at Wenger threw a lens on the ground and stepped on it a couple of times without it breaking, so I figure they should stand up to a lot. The only issue I have had is one of my nose pieces is ripping through after all my testing. It can be seen in the picture. I used each of the different lenses during the activities that suited them best and found that they all worked well. The bike and running lenses got the most use, and I noticed that the ventilation holes did keep them from fogging up as easily. If I was working really hard and came to a stop, they would fog slightly until there was some air movement again.
The drawback I had with the lens was mainly features that were visible when in use. Unfortunately, the lens connector is visible from time to time when wearing the sunglasses. For the most part, I did not notice it, but it was there if I thought about it. Just a sliver of the twisting mechanism poking out. It made me think of the movie “The Jerk” with Steve Martin. Not that my eyes were drawn to it, but that it is visible. The other issue I had was the ventilation holes on the Running Lens. They are located near the nose but that also makes them in my vision. This was a little more noticeable than the connector. One last thing is the naming and branding of the lens is written on the bottom and also visible, I wonder if the upper outside corners would have been a better location for this writing.
Overall, this is an interesting concept in making a customizable sunglass solution. You can, in theory, have all you sunglass lens with you and just pull the appropriate lens out of your pocket as necessary. Unlike most that just change the tint, these lenses will essentially change the whole performance which is what you need when the activity changes. Adventure racing immediately comes to mind as the visual needs can change dramatically throughout a race. I do have a smaller head, and the sunglasses looked a little big on me, but they still fit well. I like the adjustability that these allow in terms of fit. My issue was that they felt like they were a bit far off my face, and this may have contributed to the fact that I felt like there were things impeding my vision. If they sat closer to my face, I may not have had these issues. The sunglass system is not cheap though, it retails for $175 for the frame and the lenses each retail for $55 – $90. If you want the whole getup, it will cost $465, which is quite an investment. At least, they are high quality, durable, and should work for all your activities. This does break down to $116.25 per pair of sunglasses, which is cheaper than buying four comparable pairs, one for each sport. As always, your mileage may vary.
- Easy lens change
- Adjustable nose pieces
- Each lens is designed for its own performance, not just a change in tint
- Neoprene forehead pad
- Visually acuity is good
- Expensive investment
- Sits a bit far off my face
- Can see ventilation holes in running lens
- Can occasionally see the connector mechanism when wearing
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