Popular within the fishing community, Costa Del Mar has a reputation for making high quality and stylish sunglasses. The Cat Cay model is one of the few models we tested that opted for glass lenses over plastic ones. We felt that this added a significant amount of weight and cost without providing much in terms of performance benefits. While the Cat Cay performed decently in all of our tests, in our opinion it wasn't stellar enough to justify the high cost.
Costa Del Mar Cat Cay Review
Cons: Relatively heavy, expensive
Manufacturer: Costa Del Mar
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Costa Del Mar Cat Cay provides reasonable all-around performance, but not a high enough level to justify their high price, in our humble opinion.
The Cat Cay scored a 7 out of 10 in our eye protection testing, putting it just behind the leaders. This model provides quite a lot of eye protection simply due to its larger than average lenses. However, the lenses have a fairly flat profile, which left noticeable gaps between your face and the tops and bottoms of the lenses. The lenses are large enough that sun rarely made its way through these gaps and to our eyes, but they did allow wind and dust to sneak through at times, which kept these glasses from earning a top score.
While they have a fairly comfortable design, the sheer weight of the Cat Cay made it less comfortable to wear than other models. This earned it a 6 out of 10 in our comfort testing, just one point above the worst scorer. It has comfortable nose pieces with rubber inserts to keep things secure, and temples that gently wrap behind the ear providing a comfortable, sturdy fit. However, the glasses weigh in at 40 grams (mostly due to the glass lenses), nearly double the average weight of the glasses we tested. This weight can leave you with the dreaded red spots on each side of your nose, and can make it feel like you've got a lead weight on your face when you hit a bump on your bike.
Costa Del Mar is one of the few companies that opts for glass rather than plastic lenses in their active eyewear. We did like the lenses, as they scored a 7 out of 10 in our lens quality testing. They were able to provide great glare reduction when we took them out on the water (which is what these fishing oriented shades are meant to do), but they didn't seem to block out as much sunlight as other models, so we found ourselves still squinting on particularly bright days. By contrast there were many plastic lenses that performed just as well and the plastic lenses of the Native Dash XP performed better, so we don't feel the additional cost and weight of the glass lenses is worthwhile.
The Cat Cay earned an average score of 6 out of 10 in our frame build testing. The thick frames of these glasses certainly feel durable, but the hinges seem to be a weak point in the chain. They don't seem to match the heft of the frames and lenses, and feel like they would not hold up to repeated wear and tear.
We liked pretty much all of the cases that came with our sunglasses, and the Costa Del Mar iteration was right in the middle of the bunch. It scored an 8 out of 10 in our testing. The semi-rigid case is slightly softer than the Oakley and Native cases, but still rigid enough that we wouldn't mind putting the glasses into a well packed carry on.
The Costa Del Mar Cat Cay is one of the most expensive models we tested with a list price of $220, yet was a middle of the pack performer. Models like the Oakley Flak XL 2.0 and the Native Kodiak offer better performance at significantly lower prices.
The Costa Del Mar Cat Cay is a decent pair of sunglasses, but doesn't provide enough upsides to make up for the high price and heavy weight.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata