Friday, December 6, 2013

Guideline Eyewear Eclipse Sunglasses review

Triathletes take glucosamine, eat protein, wear sunscreen, braces, compression gear and spend a lot of money on recovery and proactive health treatments in the fight to stay healthy and injury free. One item a lot of us forget about is our eyes. We spend more than a part time job outside at times training, but neglect something so obvious. Some people just don’t think about it, and some people don’t like wearing sunglasses, but your optometrist will agree that if you don’t do something about the sun in your eyes, you will pay the price. Just ask them about sun spots on your cornea.

We’ve written a few articles extolling the virtues of wearing proper eye protection while training and racing. We just ask that you wear something; a patch, blindfold, sunglasses… something!

We were recently contacted by Guideline Eyewear to try out their Eclipse sunglasses line. Regardless of the time of year, if you are outside and the sun is out, you need protection and we jumped at the chance to try them out this fall and pass along our thoughts.

Packaging / Shelf Appeal / Marketing

When you hit the Guideline Eyewear site, you can hit the dealer locator to find out where you can get their glasses in person. Most outdoor type of shops such as Bass Pro and Cabela’s will stock Guideline. Some sporting goods stores will have them as well, but it will be more rare to find them at places like Dick’s Sporting Goods and your local bike shop. That being said, we did not visit a store that carries Guideline, so we have to go with what we observed when our sample Eclipse glasses arrived in the mail. Shelf appeal will have to be left to the imagination.

The glasses arrive in a Guideline branded box just big enough to carry the glasses and a protective case. They were packaged in a plastic bag and the smaller branded box was packed into a larger box that would protect the contents so you don’t end up with smashed glasses. Bonus.

The box is professionally branded, but not overly flamboyant. There’s the logo and some lettering, and that’s it. There’s no overbearing graphics, no black box with formed foam cushions for your glasses. In reality, is that really necessary? If you’re out riding 7 hours in the heat or rain, or running in the same conditions, are you really going to coddle your sunglasses in between uses? Most of them are tossed into the car, maybe washed off once in a while and thrown in a general location where we might be able to find it later. On the marketing side, Guideline hosts a Facebook and Twitter page to stay in touch with customers launched from their web site. They post on a regular basis and interact with customer posts. Score one for using social media correctly.

Form / Construction

The Eclipse polarized sunglasses are advertised to have wide sloped temples, dark gunmetal accents combined with rubber brow and nose pads. They are a large frame style that’s a modified oval, constructed from Grilamid BTR, 51% bio-based polymer.

They are polarized with a 100% UV A and B ray protective Polycarbonate lens with a thickness of 1.4 mm. The Silver Mirror lens is recommended for both medium to bright sun conditions. They recommend the Eclipse for medium to large faces and are capable of being adjusted for prescription lenses. The come in various colors, so you’re not stuck with the blue frames we tried out. The construction appears to be very solid. All joints work smoothly without the loose hinge effect that sometimes happens with extensive use as we have placed our test frames through. If the screws get loose, just like any other glasses, tighten the screws and you are off and running.

The nose piece is built in, so you don’t have to worry about stashing the frames in your transition bag and the nose piece getting caught and snapping off.

Fashion / Appearance

The Eclipse frames are meant for bigger faces and heads. If you have a smaller head, then these frames might not be for you. Fear not, Guideline has many other options, though.

The Eclipse frames are larger and do a great job protecting eyes not only from the sun, but from road debris tossed up from passing cars and bugs when riding bikes at high speeds. You don’t have to worry about getting bug guts around your micro-glasses with these bad boys.

If they are your style, you could definitely wear the Eclipse frames out and about, even when not training or exercising outdoors. They are finished and glossy and could be used for driving or a day out on the lake.

Fit / Function

As mentioned, the Eclipse frames are one of their larger sets. If you have a tiny head, you might consider other glasses Guideline offers.

The Eclipse frames do run large even for large heads. They cover a lot of real estate and that’s a good thing when you are screaming downhill at 40 mph on your TT bike on your 7 hour training ride. They protect your eyes and a wide swath of facial area from rocks, bugs, sun and other foreign objects you might into while cycling.

One noticeable item is when looking at anything laced with reflective materials, the polarized lenses will pick up that reflective material and amplify it more so than looking at it with the naked eye. It’s almost akin to looking at something 3D. It’s nothing overly distracting, but you might notice something odd when experiencing it for the first time.

The lenses do their job with UV and sunlight protection. There’s no squinting or averting our eyes downward while running to avoid excessive sun glare in our face. No problems on that claim.

The glasses fit over the ears with bike helmets, running visors and stocking caps with no issues. There’s no annoying rubbing or squeezing of the head that leave those fashionable indentions in your temples are wearing too small of glasses.

The glasses do bounce a little when you first start out jogging along. After a few minutes, they seem to adjust and find a good fit after a few pushes back to the nose bridge and after 15 minutes, you don’t even notice them.

They do fog up on cold run days. We took them out in freezing temps and they will fog up during a break or walk session from body head or breathe. Simply wipe them off and you’re good to go, but you will have issues if you are a heavy mouth breather and tend to exhale your breath upwards towards your eyes, if that makes sense. You will need to be cognitive to breath straight out or down to keep the lenses fog free in the cold.

We treated these Guideline glasses with little regard. We rarely cleaned them, jammed them in duffle bags, dropped them on concrete and basically battered them. After a month of abuse and miles of biking and running, the Eclipse frames are just as good as when we got them out of the box. There are minor scuffs on the lenses, but the frames, hinges and lenses are all perfectly functional. Beat them and abuse them, they can take it.


Our Eclipse frames ran $69.95 direct from the Guideline Eyewear site. Other frames go as low as $49.95 and you could spend up to $169 for the high rollers. You can run a few searches online, but you won’t find Guideline for much less on the internet.

Where are these in comparison to the big boys in sunglasses? They won’t compete with Oakley in price, but they offer affordable quality in the medium range along with the likes of UVEX and Rudy Project.

You can break the bank or go conservative with the style selections they offer.

Final thoughts

Overall the Guideline Eyewear Eclipse sunglasses met our needs. They were functional and stylish while being affordable. If placed in a lineup of the name brands without price tags, we might not pick them, but placed in the similar price ranges, the Eclipse line might stack up to like competitors.

If you run into a deal on Guideline Eyewear, don’t shy away. They are geared for the athletic field and build sunglasses that stand up to Ironman triathlete training needs and don’t need to be pampered like a teacup poodle.


Writer’s Note - Guideline sent us a pair of Eclipse sunglasses for this review with no charge and in no way influenced this review.
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