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Costa del Mar Fernandina Review

A great set of aviators for smaller faces with good protection and a brazen style
Costa del Mar Fernandina
Photo: Costa del Mar
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $229 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Bold style, great narrow fit, adjustable nose pads, good protection, sturdy build, cool case
Cons:  Narrow fit, not great directly into sun
Manufacturer:   Costa Del Mar
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 9, 2021
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73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 15
  • Lens Quality - 30% 7
  • Comfort - 25% 7
  • Style and Versatility - 20% 9
  • Frame Quality - 15% 8
  • Coverage - 10% 4

Our Verdict

The Costa del Mar Fernandina are a dream come true for slender-faced women who have always wanted to wear aviators but never found a pair that quite worked. These narrow-fit shades are a smaller take on a classic style, with a snug, secure fit. They have adjustable nose pieces with very flexible pads to keep you comfortable. Their lenses are fairly dark and polarized, offering great protection. They're a bit tough to see through in harsh sunlight coming straight across the horizon, but work wonders in just about every other set of conditions. When our narrow-faced testers wanted to feel put together and stylish, we turned to the Fernandina.

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Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
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$138.00 at Backcountry
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Pros Bold style, great narrow fit, adjustable nose pads, good protection, sturdy build, cool caseGreat lens quality, excellent gradient, very comfortable, versatile style, good caseProtective lenses, good contrast, secure fit, versatile use across lighting and activitiesSecure fit, great lenses, padded frame, excellent coverageSolid protection, look good on most faces, comfortable, well-priced, great warranty/exchange policy
Cons Narrow fit, not great directly into sunNot polarized, may be loose on top of headMay be tight, mirror lenses collect smudges, case is a poor cleanerMay be tight, style doesn't work for everyoneNot a bold style, unimpressive case, minor longevity issues
Bottom Line A great set of aviators for smaller faces with good protection and a brazen styleExcellent quality shades that are protective and stylish, offering top-notch quality for a reasonable priceA sporty yet chic pair of cute, comfortable shades that can keep up with you from casual brunches to afternoon hikesA blend of sporty and stylish, these secure fit shades offer great protection and great valueGood quality, inexpensive shades with a classic style that works well for just about everyone
Rating Categories Costa del Mar Ferna... Ray-Ban Erika Smith Caper Chromapop Native Eyewear Acadia Shady Rays Classic...
Lens Quality (30%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Comfort (25%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
5.0
7.0
Style And Versatility (20%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
4.0
6.0
Frame Quality (15%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Coverage (10%)
4.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
7.0
Specs Costa del Mar Ferna... Ray-Ban Erika Smith Caper Chromapop Native Eyewear Acadia Shady Rays Classic...
Lens Tested Green Mirror 580P Grey Gradient Opal Mirror ChromaPop Brown Grey
Polarized Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Fit Narrow/Small Standard Medium Medium Medium
Weight (grams) 32g 22g 27g 27g 27g
UV Protection 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Visible Light Transmission (VLT) 10% Not specified 15% 13% Not specified
VLT Protection Index Cat 3 Cat 3 Cat 3 Cat 3 Not specified
HEV/Blue Light Protection (claim) 100% HEV blockage None None 94% HEV blockage None
Infrared Protection (claim) None None None "up to 4X more than regular polarized lenses" None
Neutral/Contrast Increased contrast Neutral Increased contrast Increased contrast Neutral
Lens Material Mineral glass Polycarbonate Carbonic Crystal carbonate Plastic
Impact Resistance No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Protective Coatings C-WALL (anti-scratch and hydroleophobic), mirror None Anti-reflective,hydroleophobic resistance, mirror coating None None
Can take prescription lens? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hinge type Standard Standard Standard Standard Standard
Case Included Yes; cork box, microfiber bag Yes; semi-rigid snapshell case and microfiber cleaning cloth Yes; microfiber bag Yes; semi-rigid zippered shell, microfiber bag Yes; microfiber bag

Our Analysis and Test Results

We tested the Costa del Mar Fernandina with Green Mirror 580P lenses. They're a Narrow/Small fit and can be fitted with prescription lenses. They come with a rigid cork case and microfiber drawstring bag.

Performance Comparison


We've never felt as cool in a pair of sunglasses as we do in the...
We've never felt as cool in a pair of sunglasses as we do in the Fernandina.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Lens Quality


There are several possible lens choices for the Fernandina. The Green Mirror 580P option that we tested offers solid protection against bright light, with a relatively low Visible Light Transmission of just 10%. On top of that, these polycarbonate lenses are polarized and have a mirror coating on the outside, both of which help block additional glare and light that can cause eye fatigue and discomfort.

Green Mirror 580P Lenses
  • Polarized — not 100% though
  • 100% UV Protection
  • 10% Visible Light Transmission (Category 3)
  • 100% HEV/Blue Light Blockage, 0% Infrared Blockage
  • Color: Copper, Material: Polycarbonate
  • C-WALL (Anti-Scratch, Hydroleophobic), Mirror Coating

Though we have no way to measure the amount of polarization of a lens, this is one of the few we tested that we could actually see a computer screen through. It was faint but still visible. We do really like these lenses though and find their level of contrast and color retention to be pleasant, even on the brightest days. They have limited levels of reflection on the backs as well, so you won't have to stare directly into your own eyes.


However, they fall short when it comes to looking into the sun. Though, of course, we try not to stare at the sun, it's often that we find ourselves walking toward the setting sun or driving east around sunrise. In both of these scenarios, we're surprised at how poorly the Green Mirror 580P lenses performed. They seem to reflect light within the lenses themselves, creating a distracting layer of light that's a bit challenging to see through clearly. If you can avoid this type of lighting coming directly and horizontally into the glasses though, the lenses work admirably.

As long as it's not directly into the sun, we love looking through...
As long as it's not directly into the sun, we love looking through these lenses.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Comfort


When Costa del Mar says the Fernandina are a Narrow width frame, they're not joking. If you feel you have an average size or large head, you will likely find these to be a bit too tight for comfortable long-time wear. Though they have some flexibility in the frames, it's less than many others, making them less adaptable to different-sized faces. But if you frequently struggle to find glasses narrow enough to not fall off your face, the Fernandina is for you. They fit snuggly on a small head, with adjustable nose pads holding them above the face, like classic aviators. At 32 grams, they're a bit heavier than average in this category, but their excellent balance and secure fit don't let them slide down the nose like a front-heavy pair might.


The biggest downfall of aviators for many women is the tendency of the protruding nose pads to snag in the hair when you place them temporarily on top of your head. Impressively, the Fernandina largely solves this problem. Though the shape of the nose pads looks pretty much as you'd expect, they're exceptionally flexible, helping them to bend when tugged against hair, rather than rip your hair out. They also can pop out of (and easily back into) the frames, making them practically impossible to get hopelessly tangled in your hair. These fancy nose pads might not stop them entirely from putting a bump in your ponytail, but they help avoid the worst of hair entanglements.

Soft nose pads and a snug fit make these pretty comfortable to wear...
Soft nose pads and a snug fit make these pretty comfortable to wear - if you have a narrow head.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Style and Versatility


We're hard-pressed to find a single person that doesn't like how they look in these shades. They're a great take on the aviator style, with the classic metal frame, shortened slightly to better fit smaller faces. The Green Mirror lenses we tested were also a big hit, adding a contemporary flair to this timeless style. The frames we chose also feature tortoise bows — another modern upgrade our team loved.


The strong mirror coating is exactly what we wanted it to be — nearly impossible to see through from the outside. These aren't the style for anyone hoping to blend into the crowd but are a great choice for making a bold statement. Women who have never liked how they look in aviators found themselves gushing over the Fernandina. They were described as "fantastic", "super-fly", and "they make me look 136% cooler than I really am".

We feel exceptionally cool in the Costa Fernandina.
We feel exceptionally cool in the Costa Fernandina.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Frame Quality


Where many aviators feature thin bows, these contemporary counterparts have wider, acetate bows covering a metal core. The front of the frame is all metal, with silicone nose pads. Since the nose pads are meant to be easily popped in and out, Costa has effectively eliminated the potential for ripping them off of a traditional screwed-on mounting style.


The metal hinges have five barrels and no wobble, even after several months of testing. They're not flex hinges that are made to overextend, but they're still quite solid. A small amount of flex in the frame gives a bit of leeway but doesn't quite leave room for comfortable overextension on a wider face. Despite the appearance of being thin, the Fernandina frames actually feel sturdy and stable.

The flexible nose pads are also designed to easily pop in and out of...
The flexible nose pads are also designed to easily pop in and out of the lenses, helping them to never become hopelessly entangled in your hair.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Coverage


The natural downfall of any aviators is when it comes to coverage, and the Fernandina are no different. The nose pads hold them away from the face and the thin metal bridge connections easily let light right through the middle. As you'd expect, they don't touch the face around the lenses, leaving plenty of gaps for light to filter in.


For the narrow-faced individual these sunglasses are designed to fit, the Fernandina are a decent width to offer some extra protection, and are a pretty solid medium-sized lens overall. They have a slight curve, which helps a touch but they aren't a face-hugging fit. They do stay in place far better than any other aviators we've ever put on, with their snug fit adding security and silicone nose pads contributing to a comfortable grip.

No aviators can provide the same level of coverage thicker-framed...
No aviators can provide the same level of coverage thicker-framed glasses can, but we still love these.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Case Quality


Interestingly, the Fernandina come in a fairly rigid box with cork on the outside and felt on the inside. It's a cool case that can fold flat when not in use but isn't particularly compact. It offers good protection though, even if you need to stick these in your checked luggage. They also come with a thick, microfiber drawstring bag.

The cork case is really neat, though isn't exactly space-saving.
The cork case is really neat, though isn't exactly space-saving.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Value


These sunnies don't come cheap and to outfit them with prescription lenses more than doubles the cost. And though they're not the crossover pair you could wear on a thru-hike, they are exceptionally stylish. For narrow-faced women searching for an awesome pair of aviators, we think these are an excellent choice and offer a style and performance that was greatly appreciated by our entire panel of testers.

Conclusion


The Costa Fernandina are an exceptionally well-done take on the classic aviator style, with a contemporary twist and a secure fit that our slender-headed testers love. Though they have a few issues looking directly into the sun and clearly lack coverage from the gaps around the lenses, we still really love them.

Feeling fly in the Fernandinas.
Feeling fly in the Fernandinas.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Maggie Brandenburg