The Brine is essentially a stripped down version of the other Costa Del Mar model we tested, the Cat Cay. This more minimalistic design brings the weight down a bit and provides a more wind and dust proof fit, which were our two biggest complaints about the Cat Cay. However, the Brine is still heavier than most glasses, and comes with a hefty price tag. Because we saw better performance in glasses that cost $100 less, we generally wouldn't recommend the Brine.
Costa Del Mar Brine Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Great eye protection, great lens quality
Cons: Relatively heavy, expensive
Manufacturer: Costa Del Mar
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Costa Del Mar Brine provides decent all-around sunglass performance, but is the most expensive pair we tested. We saw better performance from much less expensive models like the Oakley Flak XL 2.0 and the Native Kodiak.
The Brine was one of the high scorers in our eye protection testing, picking up an 8 out of 10. The lenses are a fairly average size, but the wrap around style creates a nice little protective bubble that is adept at keeping out wind and dust. This bubble is a bit compromised if you have a larger face, as these medium sized glasses may leave a gap above and below the eyes of large faced individuals.
The Brine scored 7 out of 10 in our comfort test, just one point behind the leaders. The plastic nosepieces sit comfortably on most noses and wrap around frames provide a secure fit without pressing into your temple too much. Both the nosepieces and the temples have small rubber inserts to keep things secure. The only thing that kept the Brine from a top score was its weight. At 30 grams they are just hitting the point where you start to notice the weight on your face after a while, not to a terrible degree, but it's noticeable.
The Brine's high quality glass lenses shared the top score of 8 out of 10 in our lens quality testing. They excelled both in glare reduction and generally light blocking. However, we did see plastic lenses in the Oakley Flak XL 2.0 that performed just as well and weighed much less, so we're still not sold on Costa Del Mar's decision to use glass lenses.
Frame build is the one area where the Brine wasn't at the front of the pack. Its score of 6 out of 10 worked out to be about average. The frames themselves feel fairly solid, but the hinges feel a bit weak and like they could wear out.
The case that Costa Del Mar provides with their sunglasses is nice, but not quite as nice as the ones Native and Oakley provide. The case is lightweight and rigid enough that we would feel comfortable putting it into a carefully packed carry on, but wouldn't toss it into a backpack full of climbing gear.
The Brine carries a somewhat exorbitant list price of $250. The glasses do provide decent performance, but not enough to justify that price tag.
The Costa Del Mar Brine is a versatile sunglass that can work well for most outdoor pursuits. However, it is a tad on the heavy end and incredibly expensive, making it a poor choice for most people.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata