The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Native Eyewear Sanitas Review

Solid lens protection, but a bit small and not the most stylish option.
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Price:  $150 List | $149.00 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, good eye protection, good in a variety of light conditions
Cons:  Run small, minor defects developed, less coverage, no prescription options
Manufacturer:   Native Eyewear
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Sep 11, 2019
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59
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 12
  • Lens Quality - 30% 6
  • Comfort - 25% 6
  • Frame Quality - 20% 7
  • Style and Versatility - 15% 5
  • Coverage - 10% 4

Our Verdict

Native makes some excellent eye protection, and the Sanitas are no exception. Beyond UV and polarization, these shades are made to block out invisible wavelengths that can harm your eyes. They're also lightweight and well-balanced, but have a specific "look" that many of our testers don't love. They also run smaller than we expected them to, and tragically developed some very minor lens defects during our testing.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Lightweight, good eye protection, good in a variety of light conditionsGreat 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 Run small, minor defects developed, less coverage, no prescription optionsPeripheral 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 Solid lens protection, but a bit small and not the most stylish option.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 Native Eyewear Sanitas Kaenon Clarke Costa Del Mar Spearo Maui Jim Kahi Vuarnet District Medium Round
Lens Quality (30%)
10
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6
10
0
9
10
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8
10
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9
10
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7
Comfort (25%)
10
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6
10
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8
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9
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7
10
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7
Frame Quality (20%)
10
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7
10
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9
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8
10
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8
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8
Style And Versatility (15%)
10
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5
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7
10
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7
10
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6
10
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9
Coverage (10%)
10
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4
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7
10
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7
10
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8
10
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7
Specs Native Eyewear... Kaenon Clarke Costa Del Mar Spearo Maui Jim Kahi Vuarnet District...
Lens Tested Blue Reflex 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) 26g 29g 29g 40g 37g
UV Protection 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Visible Light Transmission (VLT) 10% 12% 10% 15% 9%
VLT Protection Index cat 3 cat 3 cat 3 cat 3 cat 3
HEV/Blue Light Protection 90% not specified 100% 95% 97%
Infrared Protection 40% 0% 0% "infrared effective" 93%
Neutral/Contrast Increased contrast Increased contrast Increased contrast Increased contrast Increased contrast
Lens Material plastic polycarbonate plastic - "SR-91" polycarbonate glass - 580 Polarized (polycarbonate available) glass - "SuperThin Glass" glass - mineral glass
Impact Resistance Yes Yes No No Yes
Protective Coatings Anti-scratch, hydro-oleophobic, mirror 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? No Yes Yes Yes No
Hinge type Spring/flex Standard/barrel Spring/flex Spring/flex Standard/barrel
Case Included 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 Sanitas with Blue Reflex lenses, made for the bright light and intense sun found on the water. They are a medium fit (though run small) and come with a semi-rigid zip case and cleaning cloth/bag. Native does not offer them (or currently any of their many models) with prescription lenses.

Performance Comparison


Great protection in a funky frame.
Great protection in a funky frame.

Lens Quality


Native goes above and beyond the visible spectrum with their Blue Reflex lenses. Not only do they block 100% of UV and 99% of glare, they also cut out ranges of the visible spectrum that can cause eye fatigue and other issues. These lenses block over 90% of HEV/blue light and 40% of infrared waves. Their N3 polycarbonate lens is also impact-resistant and enhanced with several coatings to make them even better. A mirrored coating helps reduce glare even further while anti-abrasion technology protects them from many scratches. They also have hydro- and oleophobic coatings, making them nice and easy to clean.

Blue Reflex Lenses
  • 99% Polarization
  • 100% UV Protection
  • 10% Visible Light Transmission (Category 3)
  • 90% HEV/Blue Light Blockage, 40% Infrared Blockage
  • Color: Blue, Material: N3 Polycarbonate
  • Impact Resistant, Anti-scratch, Hydro-oleophobic, Mirrored

The Sanitas provide good clarity and contrast for life-like detail without major color distortion. They work well in a variety of lighting conditions as well. However, during the course of our testing, they developed almost imperceptible spots, like gatherings of shading or color along the inside edges of each lens. Though these spots are difficult to see and make next to no difference to the wearing experience, the fact that just a few months of testing already had these lenses wearing out in any way doesn't inspire a ton of confidence for them lasting through years of daily wear.

These lens defects developed during our testing  though we could almost never see them while we're wearing them.
These lens defects developed during our testing, though we could almost never see them while we're wearing them.

Comfort


Weighing just 26 grams, the Sanitas are one of the lightest glasses we tested. They're also very well balanced and have helpful Cushinol nose pads to hold them in place. These nose pads to bubble out a bit from where they're embedded in the frames. This helps them to be more grippy that completely flush pads on other models, but may also be annoying if you don't like the feel of separate nose pads. The bows have a patch of slightly rubberized material near the backs as well, to help hold them on your face. These pads are less sticky than the nose pads though, which keeps them comfortable for sliding on top of your head through the sides of your ponytail. Spring hinges and a flexible frame are clutch for the Sanitas, as their more narrow size can be a bit small for even average-width faces. In general, folks with narrower faces tend to find these more comfortable for all-day wear.

The nose pads of the Sanitas bubble out a bit from the rest of the frame.
The nose pads of the Sanitas bubble out a bit from the rest of the frame.

Frame Quality


The Sanitas frames are what Native Eyewear calls co-injected Rhyno-Tuff Air Frames and are made of a bio-based castor-oil nylon. It also features trilaminate construction, laying down the three layers of color you see in these frames so they're welded together and function as a single cohesive unit. Though they seem to run small, their construction and choice of materials are solid, offering just the right amount of flex. Native also backs their products with a lifetime manufacturer's warranty.

Lightweight and semi-flexible  the Sanitas are solidly constructed.
Lightweight and semi-flexible, the Sanitas are solidly constructed.

Style and Versatility


Another moment where sizing comes into play. As these glasses are smaller than we expected, many testers who thought a size "medium" would fit their faces, found themselves not big fans of the look of these glasses. Though narrower faced folks tend to like these duds a bit more, they do have a rather unique look. A slightly arched top and asymmetrical bottoms make them slightly different than your classic Wayfarer look. Add in the fairly pronounced keyhole bridge and bold horizontal stripes, and now we have a rather distinct look, that some love and some don't much care for.

Despite being labeled as a medium fit  the Sanitas seem a bit small to us.
Despite being labeled as a medium fit, the Sanitas seem a bit small to us.

Coverage


With a base curve somewhere around 6, the Sanitas are mostly flat with just a bit of face-hugging contour. However, their pronounced nose pads that jut out make these specs just a bit farther from your face, allowing more light to enter around the sides. Depending on how close you wear them to your face will partially determine just how good their coverage is, but overall they're not really designed to provide a ton of coverage.

The Sanitas still let in some light around the edges even when pushed all the way up.
The Sanitas still let in some light around the edges even when pushed all the way up.

Case Quality


These glasses come with Native's standard semi-rigid zippered case and a microfiber cleaning cloth/storage bag. They're both perfectly adequate and functional at cleaning and protecting your sunglasses, and keep a fairly narrow profile, taking up less precious cargo space.

These shades come with two kinds of cases.
These shades come with two kinds of cases.

Value


The Sanitas are far from the most expensive option we tested, but also not the least expensive option. We think they perform very well for what they are, but have a specific fit and style that, despite seeing the pictures and measurements online, we weren't quite expecting when we got them. We're also not stoked about how quickly the lenses developed defects, and just can't be super confident that it won't happen again.

Conclusion


These sunglasses offer some solid, lightweight protection and aren't all that expensive. They work in a lot of different light conditions and rock some pretty excellent lenses. However, they seem to run a bit small and are a specific look that not everyone loves once it's on. But if you've read this far and like what you hear, they might be just right for you.

Though they may not be for everyone  they might be right for you.
Though they may not be for everyone, they might be right for you.


Maggie Brandenburg