The Japanese startup Zygospec has launched a new brand of sunglasses called AirFly, claiming to be the world’s first floating design that does away with traditional nose pads in favor of an innovation side-pad system.
Zygospec says it’s tested more than 1000 pairs with both amateur and professional athletes, taking into account all types of conditions, as well as a variety of facial structures in order to ensure optimal performance and fit.
“AirFly’s nose pad-free system evenly distributes the weight of the sunglasses on the wearers’ cheekbones and temples instead of on the nose or the ears. The fully adjustable temple arms and side pads not only allow perfect fit on any face shape but also hold the glasses in place during the most extreme movements. This innovative structure also allows for more airflow, just enough to prevent lenses from becoming foggy and slippery. Our design solves the common issues of athletic sunglasses today and lets the wearers concentrate on their performance. Combined with its featherweight, AirFly brings ultimate comfort to you,” says Zygospec.
AirFly was founded by Masaki Yoshimura, a triathlon enthusiast himself, who went on a quest to develop a design that eliminated the discomfort he experienced with traditional sunglasses.
First, Yoshimura tried creating various styles of nose pads. But, according him, they failed to provide excellent fit and comfort during long hours of training and competition. From there, he developed his patented floating side-pad design over a two-year period.
“Sunglasses are essential for athletes training and competing outside. Not only do they protect their eyes from harmful UV exposure and dust or insects, but also from fatigue, headaches, and stress that can come from straining and squinting of the eyes,” says Yoshimura.
After featuring an article on the AirFly last month, Zygospec was gracious enough to send me a pair of their AF-303 sunglasses with Red/Purple Mirror lens for review.
So how did they perform?
For starters, the quality and feel of the AirFly was readily apparent, putting them on-par with other premium brands of sunglasses. Moreover, the absence of a nose piece and the addition of side pads wasn’t all that conspicuous, so aesthetically, the sunglasses were as stylish as any in my trove of cycling sun-catchers.
Regarding fitment, the lack of a nose piece, as well as the presence of side pads along my face, did make them feel distinctly different from other sunglasses at first. But, these differences that were quickly opaqued once the AirFly was in place for a short time.
Out on the road, the AirFly’s ability to stay in place during all riding conditions proved unflappable, while the issue of providing unsurpassed ventilation proved to be a worthy claim as well. Moreover, depending upon the type of lens selected, the AirFly’s ability to shield one’s eyes from harmful UV’s, along with ensuring excellent visibility, was again on-par with most high end cycling glasses that I’ve experienced to date.
It’s important to note however, that the AirFly isn’t targeted as a cycling specific sunglass only. But, rather it’s aimed at the multi-sport segment, allowing athletes to transition between disciplines and activities without the worry of fumbling their sunglasses, or weather conditions impeding their performance – think triathlon.
In the end, I found the AirFly to be an effective re-thinking of the sunglass, providing cyclists and multi-sport athletes alike a functional alternative to traditional eyewear when the need for greater stability, comfort and protection is essential.
Zygospec has just launched a crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter, offering the AirFly at a special introductory price of $89 for early-backers. The official launch of AirFly worldwide is planned for later this year at the price of $128.
Two different models 6C (for wider head) and 7C (for narrower head) will be made available, along with options to make the lenses polarized or photochromic. The frames will also be available in 4 colors for each model.
For more information please go to AirFly’s Kickstarter campaign here.
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