Rheos Floating Sunglasses are designed for watersports enthusiasts who need eye protection in both wet and dry conditions. I tested out the Bahias model, featuring polarised Nylon lenses and ultra-lightweight polycarbonate frames.
The shape is functional and sporty, yet refined enough to wear every day. My model has a blue-tinted lens, which I really like. In terms of lens quality and aesthetics, the Rheos Bahias are easily on par with more expensive Oakley sunglasses.
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We tested the Rheos floating sunglasses both in and out of the water. Here’s a video summary. Click the video to watch on Youtube. Feel free to subscribe if you enjoy our reviews.
The lenses are exceptionally clear with minimal distortion. According to Rheos, their Nylon Optics are superior to glass and polycarbonate both in terms of clarity and weight. For those of you interested in the technicalities, the chromatic aberration (blurriness and optical distortion) of nylon is 52, whereas glass is 50 and polycarbonate 30. The higher the value, the lower the distortion.
As mentioned, the lenses are polarised and offer 100% UV-ray protection. On bright days they cut through the glare, providing a sharp view of the world. Have a look at the world through the Rheos lenses in the photo below.
Being constructed of nylon also means that the lenses are way more flexible than glass. Watersports are inherently dangerous and if there is anywhere that you’ll end up with shattered lenses it is sailing, surfing or waterskiing. Knowing that your eyes are safe from glass shards is a bonus.
I sat on my Rheos sunglasses and they emerged unscathed. Here is the evidence after three weeks of hard wear, both in and out of the water. One day they ended up covered in sand – a death sentence for 90% of sunglass lenses. However, thanks to their oleophobic coating, a quick rinse under the tap revealed the lenses totally scratch-free.
Features of the Rheos Bahias
Dual-sided anti-fog coating. I can confirm that these glasses are truly amphibious. Whether taking my daughter surfing in the heat of summer or running up the local mountain they did not get fogged up once.
Hydrophobic coating. In theory, a hydrophobic surface should actively repel water whereas I found water droplets often remained on the lens without running off. However, they’re certainly better than wearing goggles or no sunglasses.
Additional features as specified by Rheos on their website:
Polarized NYLON lenses as clear as glass
100% UV protection and polarization
Long-lasting comfort with featherlight frames
Floatable design for life on the water
Outstanding impact and scratch resistance
Can you wear these sunglasses surfing?
Yes and no. If the waves are small you can definitely wear them. Once during testing (after recording the above video), the glasses were washed off my face. As the whitewater fizzled around me they popped up a few metres away. The lightweight frame and lenses are buoyant enough to float but I recommend getting a strap if you plan to surf anything more than waist-high waves. Did I mention that surfing with eye protection is great!
From a comfort perspective, the padding on the nose and ears means that the sunnies are a whole lot more comfortable than unpadded frames.
For large waves, I would not wear these without a strap. Thankfully the sunglasses include holes on the arms so you can attach a strap of your choosing. From experience, however, big waves change everything so I choose minimalism where possible – no hats, sunglasses, etc.
Benefits of surfing with sunglasses
We surfers expose our eyes to seriously adverse conditions and this can lead to many problems. In the short term, severely sunburned eyes may result in a condition called photokeratitis, which is an inflammation of the cornea. Long-term sustained damage can result in cataracts, macular degeneration and even eyelid cancer. When last did you apply sunscreen to your eyelids? Visit Healthline for more information about sunburned eyes.
“Protecting your eyes from UV rays is the only way to avoid getting them sunburned.” – Healthline
Those in the boating community would never dream of hitting the water without eye protection. It’s about time we followed suit.
I’m really happy with the Rheos Bahias floating sunglasses. I hope Rheos continue innovating and create a pair that are perfect for surfers, with increased hydrophobic coating and a built-in adjustable strap.
However, as they are, these remain a seriously good pair of sunglasses at a great price. Oh, and they float, so if they get knocked off by a rogue set, you’ll hopefully be able to find them bobbing somewhere nearby.