The Holman Floatable sunglasses from Bollé are brilliant, buoyant shades for kayakers, boaters and boarders, with superior polarised lenses for excellent vision while you’re on the water, secure thermogrip frames and an all-round cool look.
Bollé’s Holman Floatable sunglasses have been made for wearing during active outdoor sports – specifically adventures on and around water. But, while packing them full of features that add levels of functionality, the designers of these shades have gone to some lengths to make sure they remain stylish at the same time.
Have they succeeded in this tricky balancing act? To find out whether they can really be considered among the best kayaking sunglasses, I have been taking them out on the water since the beginning of the summer. Read on to find out my thoughts.
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Bollé Holman Floatable sunglasses: design and materials
The product boffins at Bollé have strategically placed elements of ‘Thermogrip’ thermoplastic rubber around the frames of the brand’s handsome Holman Floatable sunglasses, specifically in the spots where the glasses make the most contact with your face – at the end of the arms that reach behind your ears and touch your temples, and on the saddle that sits across the bridge of your nose.
This interesting material reputedly grips better the wetter it gets, so in theory, it should be perfect for sunnies intended to worn on the water, by sailors, SUPers, kayakers and canoeists.
The primary material used in the construction of these glasses is nylon, and the frames float in both fresh and saltwater – which is obviously immensely beneficial for paddlers and small craft operators, because if they do fall or are knocked from your head into deep or murky water, they can be easily retrieved.
The lenses are category-3, and have a VLT (visible light transfer rate) of 12%, which means they’re quite dark – ideal for use on water, where glare bouncing back off the wet stuff accentuates brightness – but not so much that you can’t wear them while driving.
The lenses are also polarised, which greatly improves your ability to read waves and others elements of moving water, and also to see through the water if you’re hoping to spot wildlife and subaquatic foliage and features (including potential hazards).
All in all, the lenses are ideal for boating and paddle sports, but the design of these glasses – while being slightly concave – does not include any significant side protection.
Bollé Holman Floatable sunglasses: performance
To properly test them, I have been wearing the Bollé Holman Floatable sunglasses during all sorts of kayaking, SUPing and gig rowing escapades for the last couple of months.
To be honest, I have also been sporting them on the beach and in a few bars, because I really do like the look of these shades, and they have become one of my reach-for pairs regardless of whether I’m heading out on the water or not.
They have a nice lightweight feel on your face, they’re comfortable to wear for long periods of time, there’s no annoying visual distortion in the lenses and the level of darkness is just about right for me.
But it’s on the water that these sunnies do really come into their own. The Bollé Holmans boast a polarising filter in the ‘Offshore’ lens that adds a blue hue to the view, which enhances contrast – making them especially excellent for sea kayaking and SUPing on the salty stuff.
I find these lenses excellent for reading the waves when I’m out in my sea kayak or on my stand-up paddleboard, and I love gazing down through the water at the rocks, seaweed and marine life passing beneath my boat and board (it creates that lovely illusion that you’re flying).
As mentioned, there is no specific side protection, but the wrap-around style, while being relatively subtle, does seem to keep the worst of the glare out on all but the very brightest days.
The Holmans don’t come with any back strap to keep them from falling in the water if they come off your head, but they do have a good secure fit and the Thermogrip does seem to work pretty well – on warm days, when I work up a sweat, the grip around my temple area feels extra secure.
And, of course, if they were to tumble off my face, I’m happy in the knowledge that they float (and they really do – I’ve tested them).
From a paddlers’ perspective, the Bollé Holman Floatables are an excellent choice of sunglasses. The blue hue polarised lenses are sensational when you’re out on the water, rendering everything in an excellent easy to read light, the frames float, are super comfortable on your face and have secure gripping power, and they look great. They’re not cheap – but they are Bollé, so they’re hardly bargain basement material – and for the price I think a hard case should be included as well as the material cleaning pouch, but these are a great pair of sunnies.