If Numa Sport Optics Point Ballistics are good enough for Special Forces forays into enemy territory, chances are they’re good enough for my jaunts into the California wilderness. Their solid combination of robust build, sound optics, and ability to seriously increase your badass quotient make for impressive eyewear, and their unbreakable material is a real boon for those of us who have a penchant for destroying their sunglasses.
On the first day of wear, the Point Ballistics pinched uncomfortably behind the ears, and I thought I was going to give away another pair of shades due to my oversized dome. However, I was pleasantly surprised at the end of day 2, as the frames had shaped themselves so nicely to my head that I forgot I was even wearing them. You can also credit the weight, or lack thereof, for this reaction; at less than one ounce, I couldn’t even get them to register on my scale. Despite their lightweight build, they clung so tightly to my face that I had no worry of them blowing off during an extremely gusty hike across Santa Cruz Island’s Montanon Ridge. (If you’re not used to frames that wrap all the way around the lenses, these might seem a bit obtrusive, but Numa has several other styles with the same material but different shapes.)
When Numa says the material is unbreakable, that’s really no joke. You could entrust these sunglasses to the most destructive two year old you know, and you would still get them back in one piece. I made my tentmates nervous by repeatedly bending the frames in half– every time they bounced right back to their original shape. If you don’t believe me, check out the video on the front page of Numa’s website. The secret is their patented Swiss Material, which is an extremely lightweight and flexible fiber. According to the Numa spokesperson, it was originally designed for use in ski boot buckles, which required tolerance for extreme temperatures and just the right balance between rigidity and flexibility. It comes in two varieties: Tough-Flex and Lite-Flex. The glasses I tested uses the former variant, which can take the most abuse. (Lite-Flex sacrifices some flexibility to shave even a few more grams.)
Ultimately though, it’s the optics that make the sunglasses, and for shades that cost less than a c-note, Numa does pretty well. Impressively, these come with three interchangeable sets. The grey smoke pair is great for bright days like our testing trip in the Channel Islands, the mandarin is perfect for snowscapes, and the clear lenses are surprisingly useful for defending against low-hanging branches during night hikes. As a nice final touch, the frames come neatly packaged in a lightweight, compact case with separate sleeves for each of the lens pairs.
Bottom Line: If you need a pair of sunglasses that can fold in half (hopefully not while on your face) and still function in the morning, or if you run through sunglasses like a puppy through chew toys, the Numa Point Ballistics might be just the shades you’ve been waiting for.