Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Native Cable Sunglasses Review

If you have been fly fishing for Carp for a while then you will probably agree that your shades are your most critical gear.  How appropriate that Outdoor Blogger Network recently randomly selected me to participate in a free gear give-away review of a set of Native "Cable" Sunglasses. 

After two fishing outings and a good month of using these as my kickin-around glasses I rate these very highly.  They have excellent clarity, are for the most part extremely comfortable, come with nice accessories, have the capability to switch out lenses and even look good!  I do have a couple of minor complaints with the ear-pieces and the instructions for switching out the lenses but Native clearly manufactures very nice sunglasses. 
Native Cable Sunglasses
Native "Cable" Sunglasses

Manufacturer:  Native Sunglasses
Style: Cable
Frame Color:  Maple Tort
Lenses:  Polarized Brown (12% visual light transmission per the manufacturer)
MSRP:  $129.00

Accessories Included In The Package:
SportFlex non-polarized low-light replacement lenses.
Case with a spiffy integral replacement lens wallet.
Micro-Fibre bag.

I spent several days on the water switching back and forth with my Costa's (amber glass lenses with green mirror finish) and could detect no difference in clarity or the water-piercing power of the polarization. In short the lenses seem to be superb. In the end helping to see fish is the most critical feature of sunglasses for those that fly fish for carp and they performed well in this area.

The $129 MSRP seems to be a fair-market value when I compare it to other manufacturers.

We all know that carp and other fish are keen observers of style.  You show up on the water without some Fonzarelli and they won't give you the time of day right?  All sarcasm aside though, the first thing my wife said was "Wow, those look much better on you than your other glasses".  Based on a scientific poll of one I would have to say the chicks dig them.  The only one that matters at any rate!

Get Your Fonzy On
I wear a 7-1/8" hat which seems near optimum for these frames and they fit very naturally.

I have deep-set eyes with a jutting brow.  Those cave-man eye-brows usually manage to put a big nasty smear on the inside of my shades.  The stand-off above the lenses on the Cable keeps them just far enough from my greazy self that the lenses stay cheese free and this is by far and away my favorite feature on these sunglasses.  The nose-piece is perfectly shaped to get back in and grab the nose in the right location and is very comfortable.

Love the facial stand-off at the brow.
I do have one minor comfort complaint however.  The ear pieces do not curve down much behind the ears and as a result they interfere with my hat-band.  In order to sit perfectly on my face the ear-pieces must go under my hat-band behind my ears.  I find that a little annoying and this is my least favorite feature.
I would like a little more down-ward curve to the ear pieces
One of the interesting features of Native Sunglasses is the ability to change out the lenses.  This feature is interesting in that it provides the ability to tune the lens tint to conditions and to replace your lenses if they get scratched.  I would love to be able to switch to a different lens tint which could help with the wimpy winter sun.  I like this feature and when I have the time and money I am plan on ordering a set of the copper lenses (18% VLT per the manufacturer, $40.00 MSRP) in order to see if they perform better in low-light.

I am just a little disappointed in the process for switching lenses.  The directions for the Cable style would seem to imply that it is just a matter of lightly gripping the lenses and pushing them in the appropriate direction.  I spent a while trying to get them out per the directions, but eventually had to resort to putting an uncomfortable amount of twisting and bending of the lenses and frames to make the switch.  Afterwards the lenses were grimed to the max with finger grease and I had to clean them with a solution.  I would say that on these particular frames the lens interchangeability may not be an on-the-water feature.  If you feel this is a critical feature I would recommend taking a look at a partial-frame design or trialing the process at a physical retailer before purchasing.

The case is very nice and has a nice integral lens wallet and enough extra room to carry some small extras.  The micro-fibre bag comes in handy for protecting and cleaning the lenses on the go.  The Sport-Flex lenses that come in the package are very clear and look cool but since they are not polarized I am not sure what I would use them for.
The Goodies
I was not financially compensated by the manufacturer and am not associated with Native, but this product was provided free of charge in exchange for testing the product and writing a review.


  1. Natives were my go to for years...until the costa 580 glass lenses came along. Good glasses though, I still have mine as a backup pair.

  2. Mctage,
    Good review, all information covered. I use Cocoons due to prescription lenses, the quality is fine for their price. I use dark grey, and those work, or maybe I make them work, all year. What is your recommedation, or others out there, of lense color, especially if limited to just one?

  3. John - If the copper lenses work out for low-light they will probably become my go-to in the winter at least.
    Gregg - The common response is that amber or light brown is the best all-round tint. That could be rubbish for all I know because that is all I have ever used. I am borderline needing prescription lenses myself.

  4. I've always used Natives and have been quite pleased with them. I like how light weight they generally are. I use to have a pair of the Dash XP's with a rose lens, and they were perfect for low light and wintertime. I miss them, they were stolen! I hope to get a pair with the copper reflex before too long.

  5. McTage and others,
    Good info, thanks. Grey is all I have ever used myself so what do I know, execpt that something, any polarization is essential. Yesterday in very low light with great winds and glare the dark grey worked until true dark, at least to see the bottom. Maybe a cheap pare of clip ons would help me test in fishing conditions.
    Thanks, Gregg

  6. Chris - They are certainly much lighter than what I am used to, but I usually fish with glass lenses (which are heavier) for their durability so it is a warped comparison.
    Gregg - Kinda hard with prescriptions. I wouldnt worry about it at all if what you have is working for you.

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  8. Thanks Reverend. Your post on the picture table helped allot. Gives the pictures a really nice feel.

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