The Zeal Incline is an excellent all-around pair of sunglasses that combine quality plant-based materials, advanced tech and a great look. They do run wide and tend to fit someone with a wider head.
The Zeal Incline combines a comfortable design with innovative plant-based materials with technical features. The Incline was the most comfortable pair of casual sunglasses tested due to their incredible weight and wide design. They also look great. We tested the Matte Smoke with Polar blue lenses. This combo definitely stands out, but the classic design and shape make this a great all-around pair of sunglasses that is great on the trail and also on the patio.
The most innovative feature has to be 100 percent plant-based lenses and frames. The lenses (as tested) use the Ellume polarized lens which blocks 100 percent UVA/B/C radiation, 99.9 percent of glare and filters almost all blue light which enhances all other colors and improves contrast. Clarity is also excellent. The Incline utilizes Zeal’s “Z-Lite thin injection” which is a thin injection process using their plant-based “Z-Resin” for the frame. All other brands tested use either NXT or polyurethane plastics. This is great from a reduced carbon footprint standpoint and even better because the product is excellent as well. This really is a win-win. It is also a great value for the money. At $149 they are not cheap but compared to the highest priced sunglasses tested they are as good and cheaper and compared with the cheapest sunglasses tested, they are significantly better and only $50 more.
The Zeal Incline was the most comfortable casual style sunglass tested. They are the lightest pair tested at 24 grams, which is exceptionally light. That lightness goes a really long way in the all-day comfort of any pair of sunglasses. They also have a very wide frame that makes it very comfortable, but less secure. The rubber inserts on the nose and arms add some good cushion and comfort.
Security of fit
Sometimes, the same features that make a pair of sunglasses comfortable, also lead to it being not very secure. The wide frame is very comfortable but not very secure. Even without any sweat there was a fair amount of bounce and slipping while running or riding. While running you can tuck the arms into a hat or headband and that holds them in place well, similarly, the straps on a helmet can help as well. But this category is judged more on how well the sunglasses stay put on their own, and this pair struggled with that.
The lenses on the Incline were incredibly impressive. The “copper” tint combined with a stylish blue mirror finish is excellent. That copper, or light brown tint, does a great job of enhancing contrast in changing light conditions. They are also very lightweight. Zeal is the only company tested that uses a plant-based resin to make their lenses and frames. This significantly reduces their carbon footprint and at the same time makes an exceptionally clear and durable lens. The Ellume Polarized lens blocks 99.9 percent of glare and is designed to block blue light which makes all the other colors stand out more.
As with pretty much all, full frame sunglasses, peripheral vision is not great. On the Incline, it is much the same. Peripheral vision is slightly blocked by the full-frame and the wider arms but is not completely blocked. It is about what you would expect.
The Incline manages to strike a good middle ground between looks and function here. A large lens/frame will provide better coverage and wind protection but adds weight and doesn’t work well for all people and conversely, a smaller frame provides poor protection but would fit a wider variety of faces. They managed to get a stylish frame that works for a lot of people but also does a good job of protecting from head winds as well as crosswind and side glare.