Costa Sunglasses Review: The Rockport + 580 Lenses

If only the lens on my camera was as clear as the lens on the Costa Rockport. Sorry for the spots!

If only the lens on my camera was as clear as the lens on the Costa Rockport. Sorry for the spots!

Costa Del Mar Sunglasses, or more commonly referred to as just Costa, may come as a surprising brand to see here on Outdoor Gear Reviews. With nearly all of their products built and marketed towards people spending lots of time in, near, or around water, the pair I reviewed found an unlikely home on the head of a land locked trail runner in Park City, Utah. Costa didn’t seem to think this was a problem and sent a review pair of their Rockport sunglasses with their signature 580 lenses. And with a few months of near exclusive use, here’s what you need to know:

  1. The highlight of Costa sunglasses is the their 580 lenses. This proprietary lens technology actively filters out what they call ‘harsh yellow light’, which fall around the 580nm on the visible light spectrum and is apparently very bad for your vision over time. 580 lens also provide 100% UV protection and are exceedingly clear.
  2. The Rockport frame fits fantastic and entirely comfortable. It’s always the small tweaks that help a pair of sunglasses feel like they aren’t there, and Costa has clearly taken their time to tweak many small details to get the fit just right.
  3. Weight-wise, the Rockport and most Costa frames aren’t the lightest, especially compared to purpose-built running frames. But being the lightest isn’t really the point of Costa’s glasses, and with the solid fit, the increase in weight doesn’t really matter much.
  4. What I love most about the Rockports is the bronze colored lens Costa put on them. Besides all of the 580 perks, the bronze color cuts glare extremely well in even the worst glare conditions (think running on a sunny day with fresh snow) and enhances contrast in most other conditions. The contrast enhancement is hugely important, especially with trail running. Whereas most sunglasses that are good at cutting glare tend to just go really dark in situations under trees or clouds, the Costa bronze lens keep contrast high on the trail in all situations so you always see what you’re about to run on.
  5. Price…..let’s just say it’s high. Those small frame tweaks and bronze 580 super lenses don’t come cheap. MSRP is $189 (you can find them on sale for around $168), but that also comes with a lifetime warranty against any defects. They’ll also replace any damaged parts pretty much at cost, which helps the price tag seem more reasonable if you plan on keeping the Rockports for a long time.
Costa Rockports and JBL Reflect Mini BT on a trail run

Costa Rockports and JBL Reflect Mini BT on a trail run

Summary: Despite all of the positive points above, for runners and bikers looking for eye wear, Costa Sunglasses are not the most ideal option. The Rockports I’ve worn for the past three months are as good as I can imagine sunglasses getting from a component and lens perspective, but the frames and designs Costa produces are clearly not meant for the trail running or action sports market.

And they know that.

In fact, in meeting with their rep at Outdoor Retailer, she said the company wants to focus on its already established core market and likely won’t be branching out into other verticals anytime soon. Shame too, because the Rockports tease you with an idea of just how good a hardcore, purpose built pair of sporty Costa sunglasses could be. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Chad Waite is the founder of Outdoor Gear Reviews and an avid outdoorsman and trail runner in beautiful Park City, Utah.

Posted in Apparel Reviews, Sunglasses