I love a good product story, and that’s why I think Wiley X stands out among all of the other eyewear companies on the market. A U.S. veteran named Myles Freeman founded Wiley X in 1987. He knew that impact-resistant eyewear was crucial during military operations, so he set about creating the most durable lenses he could. He eventually expanded into law enforcement and civilian markets and maintained the same standard throughout. I was personally happy about this because as a motorcyclist I’m always on the hunt for sunglasses that won’t shatter if a vehicle kicks a rock up and it heads my direction.
These days there are about 120 employees at Wiley X, and Myles Freeman’s sons have also joined the operation. They’ve expanded their capabilities by adding an in-house prescription lab and can offer prescriptions on eight of their base frames. Wiley X is based in Livermore, CA.
I used two models on the last 50 Campfires Field Trip and was impressed. Here are my thoughts on the two models I field-tested.
Wiley X Kingpin
Of the two that I tried, these were the most comfortable on my face. Sometimes you put a pair on, and it feels like they were made for you. That’s how I feel about the Wiley X Kingpin. My model has the Polarized Venice Gold Mirror, and they drastically improved visibility in the water when I was fishing. I continually spotted fish that others couldn’t see. The blue light spectrum puts the most strain on your eyes on a sunny day, and amber-tinted lenses do a great job at reducing it. That’s the other thing I liked about the Wiley X Kingpins. I could feel my eyes relax when I put them on. They’re lightweight, and have become the shades I grab the most often when I head out.
Wiley X Nash
The Wiley X Nash model is a wraparound style that offers more protection than the Wiley X Kingpin. I have the Polarized Blue Mirror lenses, and they were great in full sun conditions. You know those days where you walk outside and squint immediately? That is where these shades excel. There is ample protection from every angle, which was great out on the water. On days like that, the reflection from the lake is a full-on assault, and I was still quite comfortable. They’re slightly wider than the Wiley X Kingpins, which is something to consider. The dimensions for all of their sunglasses are listed on the website, so you’ll have a good starting point when you’re trying to figure out which model to choose.
The light transmission on both the Wiley X Kingpin and the Wiley X Nash is 12%, and I didn’t notice any distortion from either model. I would recommend both without hesitation. It all comes down to the specific activities you’re doing. Personally, I’d recommend the Wiley X Kingpins for combining both outdoor activities and casual days in the city because I find the style to be more modern and versatile. If I were headed out to spend the entire day in the boat, I’d grab the Wiley X Nash due to fuller protection from the wraparound design.