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Maui Jim World Cup Review

Great coverage and security for being around water, though not our favorite style.
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Price:  $250 List | $249.99 at Amazon
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
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Sep 11, 2019
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69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 12
  • Lens Quality - 30% 9
  • Comfort - 25% 6
  • Frame Quality - 20% 5
  • Style and Versatility - 15% 5
  • Coverage - 10% 9

Our Verdict

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.


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Pros Great clarity, excellent on-water coverage, doesn't distort colors, wrap-around securityGreat clarity, excellent contrast with little color distortion, flexing frames, works for most facesExcellent protection, great clarity, extremely comfortable, good for active endeavors, good for many facesExcellent eye protection and coverage, durable design, great contrast with minimal color distortion, superb caseGreat 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 visionPeripheral coverage not ideal, cleaner bag a little stiff, may be sporty-lookingDeveloped a slight lens defect, fit is less secure, coverage could be betterHeavy, large overall size and fit, expensiveNot 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%)
10
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9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
Comfort (25%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
Frame Quality (20%)
10
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5
10
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9
10
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8
10
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8
10
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8
Style And Versatility (15%)
10
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5
10
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7
10
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7
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6
10
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9
Coverage (10%)
10
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9
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7
10
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7
10
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8
10
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7
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
Fit Medium-Large Medium-Full Medium-Large Large Medium-Large
Weight (grams) 53g 29g 29g 40g 37g
UV Protection 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
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
Impact Resistance No Yes No No Yes
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
Hinge type Spring/flex Standard/barrel Spring/flex Spring/flex Standard/barrel
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.

Performance Comparison


These shades are great quality and provide excellent coverage and protection.
These shades are great quality and provide excellent coverage and protection.

Lens Quality


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.

Neutral Grey Lenses
  • 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.

Glass lenses provide exceptional clarity.
Glass lenses provide exceptional clarity.

Comfort


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.

Though they're heavy  they ride close to your face so you hardly notice the extra grams.
Though they're heavy, they ride close to your face so you hardly notice the extra grams.

Frame Quality


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.

The hinges are rather narrow for these wide bows and despite how tight we tightened them  they're still wobbly.
The hinges are rather narrow for these wide bows and despite how tight we tightened them, they're still wobbly.

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.

Not everyone loves the look of these sporty shades  but those who do really love them.
Not everyone loves the look of these sporty shades, but those who do really love them.

Coverage


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.

Though not a complete face-wrap  the World Cups provide excellent coverage that comes in handy for long days on the water.
Though not a complete face-wrap, the World Cups provide excellent coverage that comes in handy for long days on the water.

Case Quality


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 complete World Cup package.
The complete World Cup package.

Value


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!

For on-water coverage and protection  the World Cups bring their A game.
For on-water coverage and protection, the World Cups bring their A game.

Conclusion


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.

What they lack in style  they make up for with performance.
What they lack in style, they make up for with performance.


Maggie Brandenburg