Blog / STRAPPED IN for Summer

STRAPPED IN for Summer

Ron Hesmer

It’s not officially summer but, like a BFF gone sour, Spring is about to be ghosted. And as with almost every foray into the sultry season, you’re about to get burned. You’ll call it a “base” tan, but it more closely resembles a 3rd-degree burn. Bring on the aloe! Another rite of balmy passage is the instantaneous cry you release as your favorite sunglasses are blown overboard. Suddenly you’re bombarded with guilt, angst and the unedited refrain of “oh sh!t.” This is a burn that aloe can’t soothe. This is the sting of fiscal irresponsibility. If only...

If only you’d worn a sunglass strap. So why don’t you? Understandably, women with long hair wouldn’t be crazy about a potential tangle issue, but to everyone else, what’s your excuse?

• Too bulky?
• Too uncomfortable?
• Too unattractive?
• Too Expensive?

Yes, some sunglass straps are bulky. Most are not, but the ones that supposedly float your glasses tend to be bulky. They’ve got to attain their buoyancy somehow and the likely source is neoprene, styrofoam or some type of “bobber.” Out of respect for the adage, "Less is More", we’ll give the “too bulky” excuse a fair amount of merit.

Uncomfortable? See above, but if you’re old enough to remember when Croakies introduced their neoprene retainer, you’ll recall that they attached via sleeve to each temple/arm. This added girth to the section that sits atop your ear, and depending on your anatomy, this would put a wedge between your head and your ears. Point being: Neoprene Croakies took some getting used to. This is likely why they’re no longer as popular as they once were. To this day, Chums floating straps use the same attachment method with the same wearability learning curve, only less attractive. Full disclosure: None of the “floating” strap options are comfortable or stylish. The exceptions being KORKZ and Cablz as they augment a thin cable with a buoy.

Coated wire retainers are the mainstay in today’s sunglass strap market. They are also the most comfortable of the lot, mainly because they don’t sleeve onto the temple/arms of your glasses. Instead, they use thin silicone “boots” that cover less than an inch of the downward-turning portion of your frames. Several companies also offer an articulating connector between the boot and the cable that allows the cable (nylon wrapped stainless steel about the diameter of fishing line) to hover above the nape of your neck. Even without the hovering option, the wire cables are really thin and essentially weightless. The silicone “boot” is the preferred attachment because it also stretches to fit a wide range of frame sizes and styles. That stretch enhances its security to where you’ll have to work to disconnect the retainer from your glasses.

Fishermen and fisherwomen appreciate the quality of performance sunglasses. Trending up to $500 per frame, that performance doesn’t come cheap, which is why they don’t hesitate to utilize lanyards.

This is also why we’ve nix’d the “expense” excuse:

(a) Retainers aren’t expensive.
(b) Sunglasses are.

There are a number of companies manufacturing a myriad of attachment methods and strap styles to choose from, but our ultra-subjective and science-free opinion renders the following:

• Best ‘floater’ → KORKZ
• Simplest, most reliable → Cablz
• Most comfortable → Croakies monofiliment with articulating connector
• Most attachment options → Chums

Comfort is subjective, so it may be that your favorite retainer is made of rusty chain and attaches with magnets — hey, you do you. We’re just looking at the main players in the market and truthfully, there’s not a ton of difference between them all. So perform your own due diligence and pick one . . . ANY one. Because when the wind and waves rev up this summer, you don’t want to be squinting in guilt-ridden disbelief as your $ungla$$es make their way down to Bikini Bottom.


Design your OWN custom KORKZ sunglass straps here.