Maui Jim has been with us from the beginning, and we have a soft spot for these high-end sunglasses and their island home—they’ve consistently been among our favorite sunglasses. The latest glasses we’ve had the chance to check are the Malas, innovative hingeless metal frame, rimless sunglasses.
The story here to me is the frames, which are lightweight titanium that has flexible, springy properties. The arms naturally bend back slightly when at rest and apply gentle pressure on the sides of your head when in place, holding the glasses on your face very nicely and offering a completely customizable fit that I absolutely love. Whether you have a wide head or a narrow one, these sunglasses simply flex to form around your noggin for a perfect fit that stays with you during many activities (though they’re more leisure than sport).
But with this excitement about the frames, I could forget the MauiPure lens material that “offers brilliant PolarizedPlus2® glare protection and the crispest optics next to glass,” according to the website. I’m a polarization prude, and these lenses deliver amazing visuals—so clear, amazingly little glare, and durable to boot. I’m convinced.
There are only a couple of negatives to balance against the superlatives about these glasses. The first is minor: with the springy arms naturally loaded to fold slightly inward, it’s nearly impossible to get them on your face with one hand—you can’t really snag the one arm and then leverage them on easily, as you can with traditional arms. A separate but related facet is that the ends of the arms make contact with the inside of the lenses when compressed, which marks them up and may eventually leave lasting damage (which Maui Jim will repair for very little).
The second problem is price: the Malas run $319 on Maui Jim’s website. To us value conscious people at Benosh, this is a lot to pay for a pair of sunglasses, no matter their technology. Or is it? The final word on these glasses may actually be from a durability angle: no matter what we did to them, the frames snapped back into shape nearly flawlessly. This means that if you mangle them up, chances are excellent they’ll survive (and as I’ve already said, the lenses are replaceable or reparable). This could make them a decent investment.
If you’re in the market for premium—truly premium—sunglasses, I would take these Maui Jims over nearly any others that cost a comparative amount. You can also save a few bucks by choosing a different style, like the Kapalua we also tested, which are virtually the same glasses with different lenses but run $269 (still a lot). If you’ve got the cash, Maui Jim can offer some amazing, nearly indestructible sunglasses you’ll love as much as we do!