Josh Goldbach is our Associate Director at Adventure Treks and a sixth year Regional Director. He studied Psychology at Eckerd College and is a graduate of the NOLS Instructor Course. He has worked as a glacier guide in New Zealand and as a Course Director for The Boojum Institute. He is a Wilderness First Responder and a Leave No Trace Master Educator. In his free time, Josh can be found mountaineering, ice climbing, and whitewater kayaking. – Adventure Treks
I’m fortunate to spend a lot of my personal and professional time having fun outdoors, and since I have very light-sensitive eyes, I’ve always been picky about my sunglasses. The Spy Optic Degas are well-suited for all my favorite outdoor activities and keep my eyes happy and comfortable.
I tested the Degas in weather-fickle western North Carolina:
- Whitewater kayaking on the Green River Narrows
- Mountain biking in DuPont State Recreational Forest and Bent Creek National Forest
- Hiking along the Blue Ridge parkway
At first glance, I was impressed by the Degas’ aesthetics. The frame color was a soft matte black, and they looked sharp—I could wear these straight from the river to the bar without feeling too techy.
I liked how the frames felt snug without squeezing my skull. One of the biggest complaints I have with sunglasses is how easily the frames stretch out, especially when you wear them over a hat on your head. The Degas seemed to stretch very little, if at all. I was initially a bit concerned about their durability, as the frames aren’t as rigid as some of the other shades I own. However, they proved sturdy after wearing them under two different helmets, storing them in a pack, and generally exposing them to light-to-medium duty abuse. Also crucial: The nosepiece was grippy without being uncomfortable, helping me avoid the dreaded slip down my nose.
Spy’s Happy Lens™ technology is supposed to block out the “bad” UV light that damages your eyes, while letting in the long-wave blue light that helps buoy your mood and awareness. While my mood stayed pretty steady (unrelated to the glasses), I was handily impressed that I could see equally well at high noon with intermittent shade and in the murky light of dusk on a cloudy evening.
Some people hesitate to drop a lot of dough on polarized lenses, but the Degas’ grey-green Trident™ polarization is more than worth it. The clarity was sharp, and while most wrap-around polycarbonate lenses have some distortion, here it was almost imperceptible. One con: although the frames stood up to vigorous testing (and I don’t treat gear lightly), the lenses did scratch a bit.
Pros: Great lenses, snug-fitting frames, attractive design
Cons: Lenses not super scratch-resistant