New for 2015: Gargoyles Performance Eyewear Zulu and Classics

Some pretty exciting new additions have been released over the past few months into the Gargoyles sport and lifestyle product lines.  While there are several new models (half a dozen or so), as a runner, it was the Zulu and the Classics that caught my eye (for different reasons…more on that in a moment).  If you have read any of my past reviews, you know that I LOVE Gargoyles products, which I find to be unmatched in terms of clarity and durability.  I am stoked to see them experiencing a resurgence and expanding the product line to give people even more options to choose from.  In past reviews, I have exhaustively commented on their high level of quality, durability, and clarity.  I can say right up front that both of these new models did not deviate from that same standard of excellence.  So instead of rehashing the same info, let me take a different approach to each.

DISCLAIMER: I run exclusively for Team Gargoyles in 2015.  They provided both of these models for my personal use and review.  As always, I will make every effort to remain impartial in my feedback for the benefit of you as a potential user and for Gargoyles in the spirit of continuous product improvement.

Zulu
sunglasses-10700157.qtm.1_1
Price: $160 ($120 for non-polarized)

Key Features:

  • Full-rim design
  • Aluminum frame construction
  • Polarized, mirrored lens
  • ANSI Z87.1+ certified durability and protection standards
  • Anti-reflective and water repellent
  • 100% UV Protection

I have stated pretty openly in previous reviews that I don’t particularly care for full-rimmed frames while running because they tend to obstruct my view.  That being said, what caught my eye about the Zulu is that the bottom of the frame seemed to be fairly thin in comparison to other models.  I wanted to try them out to see if my observation was true and was glad to find out that it was.  If you are a bit picky like me when it comes to this, these might be a good middle ground for you.  I did not find them much obstruction at all and have even gotten so used to them that I don’t really notice anymore.  The aluminum frame is a super light alternative to plastic that adds durability without the weight.  One thing to definitely point out is the fit.  If you have worn Gargoyles before, you should know that they made the Zulu slightly more narrow compared to other models.  The plus side to this for me is that they hold super secure to my head and face and do not bounce at all, even on a fast downhill.  The down side is that if you gravitate toward a wider fit, these likely are not the best model for you.  If you are thinking of picking up a pair of these, I would definitely suggest measuring your face and comparing it against the specs on their page.  With that said, I have been running almost exclusively in these since I got them a little over a month ago, mostly on runs under 3-4 hours long, and am pretty satisfied with them.  So, other than ensuring that the fit works for you, I don’t really have anything negative to say about the Zulu.  This is definitely a solid add to the product line…if the fit is right.

Classics
sunglasses-10700069.qtm.1
Price: $100

Key Features:

  • Rimless design
  • ANSI Z87.1+ ANSI Z87.1+ certified durability and protection standards
  • Anti-reflective and water repellent
  • 100% UV Protection

They are back! Yes, that was a miserable attempt at a Terminator reference, but how can I avoid reminding you that it was the original Classics that graced the faces of both Arnold’s model T-101 as well as Clint Eastwood’s old school tough guy Dirty Harry!  Gargoyles really made the right decision when they decided to re-release the Classics, which come complete with some subtle design updates (to stay true to the originals) while also incorporating some of the latest technology.  For me, it took some getting used to “the look” since I don’t generally wear aviators or other large-lens styles, however, if aviators are your thing then you will love these (so says my wife).  From a running perspective, I also tend to run in sport style models.  So while you can run in these, and those of you that prefer to run in aviators will love them, they fit more into the lifestyle category for me.  They didn’t bounce like I expected…in fact, the didn’t really bounce at all while running.  All of that aside (because that was really nothing more than a rant about my personal preferences) I love wearing these around.  They provide phenomenal, unobstructed viewing, but that is not what stood out to me the most.  No, with the Classics, it was the clarity.  I know, I said I wouldn’t beat the “clarity” dead horse, but these far surpassed even the stringent lens quality standards that I have become used to with Gargoyles.  In fact, I can honestly say that I saw more clearly with them on than I did with my naked, LASIK-enhanced eyes.  So yeah, while I may gravitate toward other Gargoyle models that better suit my preferences on the trail, I will be rocking the Classics everywhere else…and looking like a complete bad ass while doing it!

If you like this post and would like to stay up to date when future gear reviews, race reports, and other related posts are released, please follow my Facebook page at Ultrarunner Joe!

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