To be honest, I might have been the wrong person to test the Rudy Project Ability sunglasses, a women’s-specific model with a wrap-around lens layout, an adjustable nosepiece, and interchangeable lenses. First, I’m not a gear connoisseur, so others had to tell me about the Ability’s rocking technological features. Second, I possess no particular fashion penchant, and I realized that the sunglasses had style only after others dished compliments about them. Finally, I’m a quintessential sunglasses hurter/breaker (I go hard and sometimes I go down hard, taking my sunglasses with me. My last pair is sitting at the bottom of a Canadian river.), so keeping the pricey Ability in safe grip is a legitimate challenge.
On the other hand, I can also argue that I make a decent sunglasses tester because I get out and play much more than most people. This means I use said gear often and in variable conditions. I place high value in a piece of gear’s utilitarian functionality across multi-sport boundaries, so I’ll be fast to judge its usefulness in many disciplines. Finally, since I have no attachment to certain products and their makers, I’m going to be brutally honest in my reviews.
Disclaiming silliness aside, here is what I really liked about the Rudy Project Ability sunglasses:
The Ability’s lenses protect my eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. This is the main reason to wear sunglasses, so I had to do my homework on Rudy Project’s website to make certain.
I’m a girl with a small head, and these sunglasses fit well. The lenses are scaled to the width and height of the female face and the nosepiece is made for a daintier nose bridge. The only thing that feels too big still is the earpiece length, as they extend back about 1.5 inches from my ears.
The Rudy Ability stays affixed to my face. No matter my sport, including hanging over my road bike handlebars while dripping with sweat, they never bounce or slide.
The frame/lens layout provides for full coverage and no view blocking by the frame to the sides or below the eyes. What this means is that you can hold your head steady and the terrain above, below, and to the sides are all in happy view.
The lenses repel water. When I ran in them during an approaching errant thunderstorm, I got ready to take them off because water drops bead on most sunglass lenses. Not the Ability’s lenses, the water drops slid right off in that storm!
I get compliments about them. Yep, girls and guys alike tell me they like the Ability’s look.
I have two big beefs about the Rudy Project Ability:
The fog factor kind of sucks. When trail running in combined heat and humidity, they are fast to fog in the inner corners of the eyes! Several times I had to put the sunglasses on my head instead of over my eyes because I couldn’t see to run. I almost think that the sunglasses are molded so well to the female face that there isn’t much room for air to circulate between eyes and sunglasses.
The price tag is silly high. The Ability retails for $174.99 and additional lenses sell for $64.99 each. Many outdoor lovers don’t have this kind of change to spend on sunglasses.
So, at the end of the day, what does this all mean? The price tag of the Rudy Project Ability is my limiting factor, so I would be an unlikely customer in the first place. However, now that I have tested and am in possession of them, you bet I’m going to keep on wearing them. I appreciate the women’s-specific fit first and the unblocked-by-frames view second. In reciprocation, I’m sure these sunglasses will help me appreciate some awesome, future outdoor explorations.
[Disclosure: As usual, the manufacturer – here, Rudy Project – supplied the glasses for review.]