The World Cups are right up there with the best of them for sheer lens quality. Their SuperThin Glass lenses are crystal clear and provide excellent protection and a clear view of the colors and contrasts of the world. Their wrap-around style helps cut down on glare from the water or road, though at the cost of your peripheral vision. While we appreciate their protectiveness, they're quite heavy and their style isn't for everyone.
Maui Jim World Cup Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Great clarity, excellent on-water coverage, doesn't distort colors, wrap-around security
Cons: Heavy, wobbly hinges, sporty style doesn't work for everyone, lose peripheral vision
Manufacturer: Maui Jim
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|Pros||Great clarity, excellent on-water coverage, doesn't distort colors, wrap-around security||Great clarity, excellent contrast with little color distortion, flexing frames, works for most faces||Excellent protection, great clarity, extremely comfortable, good for active endeavors, good for many faces||Excellent eye protection and coverage, durable design, great contrast with minimal color distortion, superb case||Great lens clarity, universally flattering style, surprisingly comfortable, durable build, good eye protection|
|Cons||Heavy, wobbly hinges, sporty style doesn't work for everyone, lose peripheral vision||Peripheral coverage not ideal, cleaner bag a little stiff, may be sporty-looking||Developed a slight lens defect, fit is less secure, coverage could be better||Heavy, large overall size and fit, expensive||Not polarized, heavy, large, case not overly protective, expensive|
|Bottom Line||Great coverage and security for being around water, though not our favorite style.||A high-quality blend of functionality, versatility, and style.||Great protection and amazing comfort, but not completely perfect.||A high-performing pair of shades with great coverage and exceptional lens quality, though a bit heavy.||These shades are protective, clear, and very cool.|
|Rating Categories||Maui Jim World Cup||Kaenon Clarke||Costa Del Mar Spearo||Maui Jim Kahi||Vuarnet District Medium Round|
|Lens Quality (30%)|
|Frame Quality (20%)|
|Style And Versatility (15%)|
|Specs||Maui Jim World Cup||Kaenon Clarke||Costa Del Mar Spearo||Maui Jim Kahi||Vuarnet District...|
|Lens Tested||Neutral Grey||Grey 12 Pacific Blue Mirror||Blue Mirror||HCL Bronze||Brown Lynx|
|Ideal Activity||water sports||water sports||water sports||everyday||everyday|
|Ideal Lens Light Conditions||Bright light||Bright light||Bright light||Medium to bright light||Medium to bright light|
|Polarized||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No, but it is available|
|Visible Light Transmission (VLT)||8%||12%||10%||15%||9%|
|VLT Protection Index||cat 3||cat 3||cat 3||cat 3||cat 3|
|HEV/Blue Light Protection||"reduction"||not specified||100%||95%||97%|
|Infrared Protection||0%||0%||0%||"infrared effective"||93%|
|Neutral/Contrast||Increased contrast||Increased contrast||Increased contrast||Increased contrast||Increased contrast|
|Lens Material||glass - "SuperThin Glass"||plastic - "SR-91" polycarbonate||glass - 580 Polarized (polycarbonate available)||glass - "SuperThin Glass"||glass - mineral glass|
|Protective Coatings||Anti-scratch, high gloss, oleophobic||Anti-reflective back, hydro-oleophobic, mirror||Anti-scratch, hydro-oleaophobic, mirror||Anti-reflective on front and back||Anti-reflective back, silver bi-shade mirror|
|Can take prescription lens?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Case Included||Rigid zippered and soft/cleaning bag||Rigid zippered and soft/cleaning bag||Rigid zippered and soft/cleaning bag||Hard rigid clam case and soft/cleaning bag||Semi-rigid flex case and cleaning cloth|
Our Analysis and Test Results
We tested the World Cups with Neutral Grey lenses, Maui Jim's best for on-water activities under bright light. They're a medium-large fit, come with a semi-rigid, zippered case and microfiber cleaning cloth/bag case, and can be ordered with prescription lenses.
Maui Jim's Neutral Grey lenses provide excellent eye protection in a quality package. Not only are they 99.9% polarized, but they are also one of just a handful that offer any amount of HEV or blue light blockage. Made of SuperThin Glass, these lenses are superbly clear and naturally scratch resistant. A high gloss coating helps cut out even more glare and an oleophobic layer repels oil, making them easy to clean.
- 99.9% Polarization
- 100% UV Protection
- 8% Visible Light Transmission (Category 3)
- HEV/Blue Light "Reduction", 0% Infrared Blockage
- Color: Grey, Material: SuperThin Glass
- Not Impact Resistant, High Gloss, Anti-Scratch, Oleophobic
However, being made of glass means they're not impact-resistant, so be careful about dropping them! The Neutral Gray lenses also offer very little in the way of enhanced contrast compared to many others. At the same time though, they do provide a crystal clear picture with undistorted colors, for a crisp view of your surroundings.
Though those glass lenses are great to look through, they come at a heavy cost - 53 grams to be exact! That's about double the weight of most of the competition with polycarbonate lenses and lightweight frames. However, the wrap-around style of these specs help to hold their weight close to your face while balancing it well, so you hardly notice the added grams. This same wrap-around fit brings them pretty close to your face and can feel a bit tight above and behind the ears. If you don't like your shades to touch anywhere other than nose pads and ears, these might not be the right choice for you. But if you're down with that, the secure fit of these glasses is actually reasonably comfortable.
The World Cup's beefy frames help round out their overall burly appearance. A rubberized matte finish helps cut down on scratches to the frame, though does hold onto fuzzies a bit more than slick frames. Made of high-grade injected nylon, each piece fits together seamlessly, and Maui Jim offers a 2-year manufacturer warranty. The only thing about these frames that we worry about are the comparatively skinny spring hinges. Even after tightening them repeatedly, they let the very wide bows wobble quite a bit - not the best sign for years of use to come.
Style and Versatility
Our crowd has mixed feelings about these sporty duds. If "sporty" is the look you're after, the World Cups may just be your bag. Others were bothered by the lack of peripheral vision, the weight of the shades, and how it "makes me look like a cop". Unlike some of the other, more versatile sunnies we tested, these don't work for everyone.
This is another place where the World Cups do well. A base curve of 8 gives them a pretty wrap-around, face-hugging fit. Wide bows help block out glare from the side, and their close fit prevents most top light from entering. For a long day on the water, these are a great, protective choice. For everyday activities like driving or bike commuting, they cut out a bit too much of your peripheral vision to be ideal.
The World Cups come with a semi-rigid, zippered case with a little plastic clip on one end and a microfiber cleaning cloth/bag. This case isn't our favorite, as the zipper has small teeth that are pulled back a bit from the matching edges, making zipping and unzipping a bit harder than it ought to be. The bag/cloth does a great job cleaning the lenses and acting as a protective layer when we don't need a full-on hardshell case.
The World Cups aren't cheap, and are more expensive than most other options we tested. If you're on the hunt for "one pair to rule them all", we think you'd be better served spending your dough on a more versatile pair. But if what you seek is awesome, secure on-water coverage and protection, these will certainly deliver!
This pair of Maui Jims offer the same high-quality lenses we've come to expect from the company, in a secure pair of frames that provide superb coverage against the harsh glare from the water's surface. Though they're a bit heavy and have a specific style that isn't for everyone, they're a good quality pair of glasses that deliver great on-water protection and performance.
— Maggie Brandenburg