If you follow my weekend series reviews, you likely know I like to spend my free time on the water in the Tampa Bay area. I’ve tried a lot of sunglasses over the years and today, I’m getting to give Fin-Nor Cleat sunglasses a shot.
Fin-Nor Cleat Sunglasses Design
Over time, I’ve worm Costa, Oakley, Wiley X, and a host of cheaper brands on my fishing adventures. This is the first time I’ve been able to wear Fin-Nor, though. While I waited for them to arrive, I shot a message to my buddy Jason Sealock at Wired2Fish to do a little scouting. He assured me Fin-Nor makes high-quality eyewear, so I had high expectations when they arrived.
I chose the Cleat with black frames and glass copper lenses. The copper color is well-suited or the inshore waters I fish and glass lenses tend to have higher clarity and scratch resistance than polycarbonate even though they’re heavier and more prone to impact damage.
Fin-Nor Cleat Frame
The Fin-Nor Cleat comes with either a Matte Black or Matte Blue Wave bio-resin frame. Putting them on for the first time, the eye coverage was fantastic—even better than my Costa Tuna Alleys. At its tallest point, the frame is just under 2 inches tall (1 15/16 inches). The width straight across is right at 5 1/2 inches.
The curvature of the frame puts the left and right edges outside my peripheral. Combined with the height of the frame, I have a 100% full field of view.
The sides of the frame start taller than most before tapering down. What I really like is the transition to a less rigid rubberized material on the back half. The arms are able to keep a secure hold without creating pressure points or other discomforts. They also have holes cut into the back if you want to add a strap.
A comfortable rubberized nosepiece and room for air to vent wrap up the main features. Note that the side shields are interchangeable.
The overall frame design is best for folks that prefer a large fit. The frames have a hard time staying put on narrower faces, and that’s likely to cause some frustration as you’re trying to watch that 35-inch redfish track into your casting range.
Fin-Nor Cleat Lenses
The Fin-Nor Cleat is available with either glass or polycarbonate lenses. Your color choices are Blue Mirron (gray base), Copper, Green Mirror (copper base), Gray, and Silver Mirror (gray base). All five colors are available with glass construction. Copper and Silver Mirron are not available in polycarbonate.
Putting these on for the first time, I was impressed by the clarity. It’s at the level you can only get from a premium lens.
Looking around, the Copper color gave me the high contrast I was looking for. Inshore waters can vary widely in visibility and Fin-Nor’s contrast can keep me sight-fishing when other lenses leave me resorting to blind-casting for the day.
Obviously, the copper color of the lens has a big influence on the color accuracy you’re seeing, and things take on a reddish-brown hue.
Ready for more details? Here we go!
Fin-Nor calls its lens technology Lateral Line—appropriate for a fishing-obsessed brand. What looks like a single lens to you is actually made of up to 9 layers. Here they are from front to back:
Oleophobic and hydrophobic top coat
UVA/UVB blocking layer
Encapsulated mirror coating (mirrored lenses only)
PVA polarization film
7-layer anti-reflective coating
Oleophobic and hydrophobic top coat
That’s a lot of effort to put into a lens. But it works, and that makes all the effort completely worth it.
Testing Pain Points
More than satisfied with the clarity and contrast of Fin-Nor’s lenses on the Cleat, I had a couple of pain points to check. It seems no matter what glasses I wear, they eventually fog up on me. At that point, I have to remove them and after retinal detachments in both eyes with vitrectomies to repair them, they’re not very happy about full sun exposure.
While I did have some light and sometimes moderate fog on the inside of the lens when it was dead calm, it didn’t last long. The venting is excellent, so it takes just a touch of airflow to help clear it.
The other issue is salt spray. I have an Action Craft flats boat, and like most, it doesn’t take much chop to start throwing some spray around. Being so low to the water and getting salt spray on your glasses 5 minutes into the trip can be frustrating.
Fortunately, Fin-Nor’s hydrophobic coating helps the water bead up. With a little assitance from the boat’s speed or a quick shake, most of those droplets slide right off. A few still hang around, but they don’t obscure my vision as much as some lenses.
Fin-Nor Cleat Sunglasses Price
The Cleat pricing varies based on what options you want. Glass lenses run $239 – $259. Polycarbonate lenses start at $189 up to $209.
Not sure which lens to choose? Here’s a handy guide to the colors:
Green Mirror: Inshore/sight fishing, variable clouds
Copper: Inshore/sight fishing, overcast
Blue Mirror: Offshore, bright and sunny
Gray: Offshore, bright and sunny
Silver Mirror: Offshore, variable or overcast
The Bottom Line
Fin-Nor Cleat sunglasses have exceeded my expectations. The clarity, contrast, and eye coverage are fantastic, meaning I can spend more time focusing on the redfish and snook I’m stalking instead of fighting to see. If you’re serious about your eyewear on the water, you have to put Fin-Nor on your radar.