Real Kids Sunglasses

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Only a few sunglasses manufacturers featured in last summers test (July 2009) offer childrens sunglasses, and those shades are usually just scaled down versions of the adult kind.

After experimenting with several different styles for kids ages 3-13, we found that the younger children, ages 7 and under, were a tough bunch to fit. Harder still were kids ages 3 and under. Uncomfortable ear pieces were a common complaint.

Enter the wrap-around goggle-style glasses from Real Kids Shades. The lenses meet our criteria for glare and UV protection (100 percent UV 400), and they fit. The tiny Extreme Element are sized for children 3 years or younger, while the Extreme Sport come in two sizes, ages 3-7, ages 7-12. The larger size is also available with polarized lenses.

The sunglasses have no ear pieces, only a neoprene and webbing band that easily adjusts for fit. (The Element band is just neoprene.) They have a closed-cell foam cushion surrounding the inside of the frame, blocking any light from entering at the sides; vents prevent fogging.

While we suspected the foam is vulnerable to wear and tear, after three months of use, the glasses have held up well. We have seen no foam deterioration from exposure to sunscreen or water.

For $20, you get the sunglasses and a microfiber cleaning bag. Money well spent, in our book.

Also with this article...
Darrell Nicholson, editor of Practical Sailor, grew up boating on Miami’s Biscayne Bay on everything from prams to Morgan ketches. Two years out of Emory University, after a brief stint as a sportswriter, he set out from Miami aboard a 60-year-old wooden William Atkin ketch named Tosca. For 10 years, he and writer-photographer Theresa Gibbons explored the Caribbean, crossed the Pacific, and cruised Southeast Asia aboard Tosca, working along the way as journalists and documenting their adventures for various travel and sailing publications, including Cruising World, Sail, Sailing, Cruising Helmsman, and Sailing World. Upon his return to land life, Darrell became the associate editor, then senior editor at Cruising World magazine, where he worked for five years. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.

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