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.

Real Kids Sunglasses

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.

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Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on sailboats and sailing gear for more than 45 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising. Its independent tests are carried out by experienced sailors and marine industry professionals dedicated to providing objective evaluation and reporting about boats, gear, and the skills techniques required to cross oceans. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser who has been director of Belvoir Media Group's marine division since 2005. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license, has logged tens of thousands of miles in three oceans, and has skippered everything from pilot boats to day charter cats. His weekly blog Inside Practical Sailor offers an inside look at current research and gear tests at Practical Sailor, while his award-winning column,"Rhumb Lines," tracks boating trends and reflects upon the sailing life. He sails a Sparkman & Stephens-designed Yankee 30 out of St. Petersburg, Florida.

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