A close up of Zeal’s Ellume polarized lens on the Decoy.
GEAR INSTITUTE RATINGS
Security of Fit
Good wind protection
Poor peripheral vision
The Zeal Decoy is a great all-around pair of sunglasses. They are more suited for low or changing light conditions as opposed to bright light conditions.
The Zeal Decoy is a high quality, really well-built pair of sunglasses. The frames and lenses are really sturdy but a little stiff. The comfort on the Decoy is ok but can be a little tight, especially if you have a slightly larger head. The rigidity really adds to the quality feel but reduces the comfort level since it does not flex around your head or ears. That being said, most people will not have a problem wearing these for a couple of hours at a time but may not be the best at all-day comfort. The looks of the frame are really good and stylish. The lenses are probably a little light to score really high on the fashion but work really well performance wise.
The lenses on the Decoy are very high quality. The clarity is exceptional, and the light brown tint drastically increases contrast and enhances colors. They work best in low light or on cloudy days since the tint increases brightness. On really bright days, you may find yourself wishing for a darker tint. The lenses are photochromic but do not have a wide range of transition. They transition from 15 percent Visual Light Transmission to 28 percent. Similar lenses go from 16 percent to 70 percent. But on trails with rapidly changing light conditions the lighter lens works well. As far as value, these are a great pair of sunglasses but are on the high end of similarly featured sunglasses. At $250, that price tag feels high and slightly above where these perform.
The Zeal Decoy is not the most comfortable pair of sunglasses tested. They tend to be a little rigid and can be a little snug around the ears. These do not fit quite as wide as some other Zeal sunglasses which really increases their security of but if you have a wider head you may find them a little snug. The tips of the arms turn down and curve in nicely which really helps in being able to wear a hat with them or a helmet.
Security of fit
The Decoy fits securely mainly do the fact that it is rather snug. Erring on the side of too slim is usually preferred because of the benefits that it usually stays in place better than wider fitting sunglasses. The rubber inserts on the nose and arms are firm but do a great job of hold the sunglasses in place when it’s bumpy or wet. The tips of the arms also curve down, and in which really grips well. This is definitely preferred over a straight back arm like what is on most other performance orientated sunglasses.
The lenses on the Decoy scored so high because they are a high-quality lens, with exceptional tech. Personally, I prefer a darker lens than the Decoy has, and the fade range is small (VLT 15 percent to 28 percent). But that does not mean that the lens is excellent. The quality and durability are great and the polarization works really well. Not many lenses have both polarization and photochromic technology. As with all Zeal lenses they are plant based which is a nice added feature, especially since they just work really well.
As with most full frames, peripheral vision is pretty limited. On the Decoy your field of view is excellent thanks to a wide wrapped lens. When looking straight ahead you can almost not see any of the frames. However, when you try to look to the side, your view is obstructed. The wide base curve with the full frame puts the edge of the frame right in your line of sight. The wide arm also blocks your view. This just means you have to turn your head to look to your side, which can be difficult while moving fast or while maneuvering through technical sections.
The coverage and wind protection on the Decoy are very good. The base-8 curve does a really good job of protecting your eyes from all directions. The frame is rounded nicely to wrap around your face a block wind and sun glare from the sides. The frames sit close to your face, so the wind does come up from below or above the lenses. Ventilation also works well, and fogging lenses was never an issue.