A few weeks ago I was roaming the aisles of the Philly Bike Expo gawking and drooling over all of the beautiful bicycles and accessories. While checking some really cool looking “acid contrast” chainrings at the AARN booth, I noticed that there were unique-looking sunglasses on display as well. I then discovered that they were AARN’s new Nylaarn Sports Sunglasses and that the glasses are a collaboration between his bicycle components and eyewear brands. And that I should check them out.
From Massachusetts, Aaron Panone is the Product Designer and Engineer behind both AARN Chainrings and the AARN Nylaarn Sports Sunglasses. He’s been producing bicycle components and crafting eyewear under the name AARN for over a decade.
Acting on an idea from back in 2014, and with vast knowledge of eyewear design and manufacturing, Aaron decided to diversify his cycling component company. Around the beginning of COVID, he moved forward and started producing the AARN Nylaarn Sports Sunglasses, which are 100% made in the USA.
Unlike most of the glasses out there, these sunglasses do not come from a big eyewear factory. Aaron took two years to establish his own domestic supply chain to manufacture these frames. They are constructed out of a special ultra-high-performance bio-based plastic called “NYLAARN” from castor beans and not fossil fuels. A closed loop end of life recycling program means you can send broken frames back to AARN where they’ll be reused to form new glasses.
The frame material is said to be “lightweight, flexible, and durable. It is hypoallergenic with a high resistance to chemicals (like sunscreen), making them a perfect fit for all kinds of activities – whether you’re riding, running, or mowing the lawn.”
Well, they did look really cool, so we talked a little bit about them, and both agreed that I should review them. Especially since they’re available directly with prescription lenses, which I need.
So, I took two pair home with me.
What I am writing here, will be my first impression of the Nylaarn glasses, and not the actual review. I’ve only had them for less than a month, so, it’s not time for a review yet. There is a lot of tech in these understated beauties, and I will get into a pretty deep dive for the actual review, I promise.
First Impressions of the AARN Nylaarn Sports Sunglasses
For now, I will tell you that their understatedness was the initial thing that attracted me to them… that, and the unique shape of the frame. If you’ve read my other reviews, you already know that I like stuff that leans to the understated/out-of-the-norm side of things. And that’s definitely what drew me to these sunglasses in the first place. Aaron says the frames look different because they are different.
Right!? I mean, they were riding/sports sunglasses that didn’t make you look like you would “be back” like the Terminator or enter a triathlon. The casual look of the sunglasses was appealing to me, right off the bat.
As I keep saying, simple and understated but not devoid of quality manufacturing and attention to detail. Remember, this product does not come from a major eyewear company, and from what I can tell from my initial usage, what Aaron has done is downright impressive.
The Nylaanrn Sports Sunglasses come with an AARN-branded, sturdy, and well-made hard case with a microfiber bag. The glasses I started using first were the Bio-Yellow “Mud Flaps” Blend. The “blend” means the “combinations of frame colors and lenses for different activities.”
The rose-colored trail lenses on the Bio-Yellow Nylaarns are specifically designed for changing light conditions and are said to be impact-resistant, polycarbonate, that features state-of-the-art photochromic technology.
The Bio-Yellow Nylaans are almost completely clear (with a slight rose tint) while in low light and quickly darken to a dark gray sun lens with a blue mirror during exposure to UV/sunlight.
I was happy that all of this worked out perfectly on the first ride because the route we took had long periods of shade and long periods of bright sunlight. The transition between the two conditions was seamless.
They were super comfortable while on the 7-9 rides. None of the rides were longer than 30 miles, so time will tell. They feel extremely light on my face. They say that the lenses have high-tech oleophobic coatings that reduce smudging from oils, liquids, and sweat. And I did notice that at the end of my rides, the inside of the lenses looked remarkably unaffected.
The attention to detail is fantastic, from the little etched logo on the outside, the upper “corner” of the left lens to the screwless hinges.
The hinges are tight and snappy with a positive “click” when closing them. The hinge is completely screwless and consists of a machined titanium mechanism.
The arms don’t add a feeling of pressure to the side of my head and, as I mentioned earlier, remained very comfortable on the rides I’ve used them on so far. The Nylaarns come with TPE temple tips that look unique and seemed to work to help keep the glasses from sliding down my nose on rougher terrain.
I’m excited to continue to test these glasses in the real world, or at least my world. But, so far I really like them. Stay tuned here for the complete review.
Check out all of the cool stuff Aaron designs at the link below!