Zeal Optics Essential ReviewMarch 16, 2013
- Good performance paired with urban style
- Solid polarized optics
- Grippy plastic works well
- Crafted with Zeal’s eco-friendly Z-Resin
- Great package for an affordable price
- Felt bulky and warm during longer activities
This is a youthful, urban sunglass that impressed us on both quality and price, especially given the polarized lenses, secure fit for activities, and an eco-friendly design. The optics are surprisingly good considering the $99 pricetag.
The Essential’s rounded rectangular frame shape is highly modern—in a hipster kind of way. Its design also incorporates strategically placed pieces of embedded plastic that keeps the frame locked in place during outdoor activities.
The Essential is also made of Zeal’s Z-Resin, a material made from the castor bean plant (as opposed to many of today’s sunglasses, which are made of materials derived from petroleum).
This sunglass offers surprisingly good optics considering its $99 pricetag. It’s not the optics of a $250 sunglass, but, for the price, the visual clarity is impressive. The lenses are also polarized—Zeal’s Hyperion lens does reduce glare and enhance visual clarity.
The Essential has a slight wrap and a substantial frame profile that offers good protection from the wind.
Fit & Comfort
The Essential slides on nicely and stays in place even for more rigorous activities, such as trail running and mountain biking. The key is Zeal’s Pro Flex rubber; it’s actually embedded into the frame in strategic spots such as in the temple tips and across the top of the frame front’s inner surface.
Soft Pro Flex nosepads also provide a secure fit. This sunglass also fit well under a helmet.
The larger, Z-Resin frame design does help generate some extra heat on hot days; it also felt slightly heavy during longer outdoor pursuits.
The Essential’s urban styling is a slam dunk for younger audiences but it is still wearable enough to also extend its appeal to an older demographic. Zeal offers this sunglass in a variety of edgy colors and lens tints, from Wood Grain with a Copper lens to White Gloss with a Copper lens.