Gear Review: Rheos Gear Floating Sunglasses

Have you ever been on a boat, on a beach, or near any body of water and taken an intentional or unintentional dip with your shades on? If you have, odds are you've experienced the panic that comes with realizing said shades found their way into the water with you, detached from your person, and sunk to the bottom of whatever body of water you're in. (I speak from experience. Thank you, Atlantic Ocean, for being merciful.)

The team behind Rheos Gear, a brand new eyewear company, believes "if you're on a boat, your shades should float." And truth be told, rough currents might carry your shades away no matter what, but at least if they float, you've got a chance, right?

Truth: I was too scared to drop the shades in deep or moving water for the first test, so I used a bowl of water on my patio instead!
 The eyewear market, as it turns out, is currently dominated by one company, and the Rheos Gear team aims to compete within that market by introducing a product that meets this and other previously unmet consumer needs. By striving to provide the best customer service in the industry around a high quality, competitively priced product, Rheos aims to set themselves apart.

"We have been absolutely overwhelmed with support since launch. We sold out of our first shipment in the first 45 days since launch on the first day of spring this year (March 22), and as of this week have sold out again of some of our favorite styles of Sapelos, Bahias, and Eddies.

"Sunglasses often literally define the transition between being outside and inside since it's the first thing we put on our face when that door opens! As a small business, we love hearing feedback and stories from customers that have loved their shades and think that has been a massive part of the positive reception into such a monopolized industry." (Jake Berton, Founder and CEO)

"Rheos" is a Greek word for river current, and just like a river carving its own path, the team behind Atlanta-based Rheos aims to do the same thing by making seemingly small, but important improvements to an essential product for anyone who enjoys spending time outside in the sun.

Showing off the Bahias in North Cascades National Park.
 So what makes the shades special enough that they're selling out of styles in an industry dominated by a single brand, aside from the fact that they float? In an effort to help me find out, the folks behind Rheos sent complimentary pairs of the Bahias and Sapelos to check out.

The Bahias frame is named after a bay connecting Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Steady winds from October to March make it an ideal kite surfing destination, and when you're kite surfing, having shades that float can be pretty helpful.  The Bahias frame is Rheos's athletic style, and they're too big for my face, but luckily, my partner in crime was willing to test them out for me. He wore them for a half marathon here in Philadelphia, and his post-run report was glowing.

Despite 90ºF heat and sweat pouring down his face the entire race, he said they were super comfortable, super lightweight, and they didn't move, even when his face was completely soaked. The polarized mirrored anti-scratch lenses with 100% UV400 protection also helped keep his eyes safe from the sun.

The Sapelo frame is named after Sapelo Island in Georgia, Rheos's home state. It's one of the company's original floating frames, designed for an over-sized fit and great for any type of outdoor adventure.

Taking the Sapelos in a hot tub with me without worry. Dropping them in the water to see what happened turned into a fun game!

The wayfarer style is atypical of the style of sunglasses I usually wear and they're arguably way too big for my face, but the tortoise frames and marine colored mirrored lenses made them a blast to have on.

Like the Bahias, they feature 100% UV400 protection and premium polarized lenses with dual anti-scratch and shatterproof technology. They're so light I forget I'm wearing them sometimes, and though I've been testing them since I received them in March, I'm curious to see if the lightweight frames hold up to wear and tear over time.

Bottom line? Rheos makes great shades, and they're a small company with a big personality. I'm not a huge fan of mirrored lenses, but otherwise, both pairs did exactly what they were supposed to do, and they looked good doing it! At the end of the day, the product has to perform, but I'm more excited to wear shades made by a company full of people with a passion for adventure, who know what it takes to design shades that work in a variety of situations, and who believe in providing the best customer service in the industry.

So what do you think, would floating sunglasses have a place in your gear arsenal? Have you ever lost a pair of shades in the water? We'd love to hear from you!

Thanks to Rheos for providing me with two pairs of shades to test out. As always, though the products in this review were provided to me at no cost, the opinions expressed here are my own.

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