For 9 straight days in August, I wore the Native Distillers in the high alpine sunshine from sunup to sundown on my 110-mile Tour du Mont Blanc hike.

Here’s what I love most about these glasses: The coverage. I have super-sensitive eyes. I’m one of those dorks who wears sunglasses every day, even in the rain. I like my eyes to be protected at all times, and I don’t like when light bounces under—or in from the side of—a frame that doesn’t offer enough wrap, or a large enough base curve.

Base curve refers to the curvature of the frame. Style-oriented sunglasses are often relatively flat, with a base curve of 4 to 5, which means the frame doesn’t conform to the shape of your face. Higher base curves, 8 or 9, is more common in active or performance sunglasses. It means a frame is rounded and shaped to wrap more closely. This prevents light from sneaking in.

The 8 base curve of the Distiller, combined with the large-but-not-crazy-large profile of the lenses, meant full coverage for my sensitive eyes.

base curve

Comparing base curves: The Distillers (left) have a high base curve (8), providing optimal coverage and wrap around the face. The flatter-framed glasses (right)  have a low base curve. While they may look more stylish, light can sneak around the frames, forcing you to squint against the sun.

The Distillers are light and comfortable on the face. The Silver Reflex polarized lenses that came with my particular frames (Matte Gray Tort) were soothing and clear. They were just the right amount of “dark” for me. Colors still popped, and I could wear them consistently in full sun conditions on the high passes, as well as on the forested parts of the trail.

I also liked the rubberized nose pads, which kept them from slipping, even when I was huffing up Col de la Seigne on the French/Italian border.

Native Distiller

My son and I along the Tour du Mont Blanc: This poor kid lost his sunglasses on the first day of the hike. He was jealous of my Distillers.

If I had to gripe about anything, it’s that I wish the arms of the glasses where just about a quarter inch shorter, or slightly more curved around my ear. Why? When I wore them with my ball cap—which was pretty much always—I had to tuck and maneuver the ends of the arms under or over my cap. I made it work, but the arms could have played a little nicer with my cap.

Bottom line: I’ve worn them an additional 30 days since that hike, and I’m still loving them. 

MSRP: $109-$129, depending on lens.


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