Nines Optics has quickly become an optic force to be reckoned with. In an industry with giants like Costa Del Mar, Oakley, Wiley X and more, how does a company set themselves apart from these aforementioned giants? Through the integration of improved technology into their products. If you are in the market for a new pair of shades at a reasonable cost, look no further than Nines Optics; in our case, the St. Johns with the glass amber, green mirror lens’. 

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With the sport of bass fishing being around for over 50 years, we as anglers have been able to see some of the negative side effects (that come with time), from the obsession that drives us. Skin cancer comes to mind especially with all of the great UV protection apparel that is available to keep us cool, “cool” and covered. Equally as important are the effects the sun rays have on our eyes, and though we may not see it, the damages could keep us from seeing anything at all. That’s why we picked up a new pair of shades and chose the Nines Optics St. Johns. 

Before going into the sunglasses, let’s have a quick science lesson. The sun’s rays can be broken down into three types, Infrared (IR), Visible light, and Ultraviotlet (UV). IR rays are lower energy, UV are higher and the visible light is in the middle. When on the water, we are exposed primarily to visible light and UV, both of which can be damaging to the eye. Most of us wear sunglasses on the water, but are yours really protecting your eyes from the harmful effects of sun?  

What makes Nines Optics Different?

Each pair of Nines comes with 9 layers of protection. Yes 9, that’s not a typo, 9. Let’s go a little deeper into each of the layers and how they protect your eyes from burning out of your skull.  

The first is the Nirtech® NIR Heatshield. NIR stands for Near-Infrared, and prolonged exposure to this specifically can be extremely damaging to the eye. What makes it even more damaging is unlike skin that would burn under IR light (sunburn), your eyes cannot detect it, meaning you could be hurting your eyes, and not even know it. The IR energy actually raises the internal temperature of the eye, essentially cooking it. Think I’m kidding? They use IR technology in BBQ grills that’ll cook a 32oz Porterhouse in the blink of an eye. NIR blocking technology is not exclusive to Nines, however, they have found a way to preserve clarity while not sacrificing protection, which is exclusive to the brand. 

The second layer is the Blue Light Shield. This blocks out harmful light within the visible light spectrum specifically blue light. Blue light is harmful to parts on the backside of your eye like the retina and your optic nerve. To protect the front of your eye, the third layer is 100% UVA+UVB blocking. These are both types of UV light that we know are quite harmful and Nines has us covered to protect the lens, iris and cornea. 

The fourth layer covers the polarization/anti-glare properties of the lenses. Polarization is key, especially when fish are bedding to reduce the glare put off by the sun’s reflection on the water. Glare is also extremely fatiguing on the eyes. Think about a sunny day of fishing, when you forgot your sunglasses or maybe they blew off when you were hauling down the lake to your next spot, either way, your eyes hurt at the end of the day from squinting right? Another reason why we wear polarized glasses and Nines has some of the clearest and best lenses I’ve looked through to cut out glare. 

Layer five is the anti-reflective coating. You may be thinking, “wait, how is anti-reflective different from anti-glare?” Well, lets just look at it, shall we? Sunlight not only reaches your eye through the front of the lens but rather from all sides including the backside of the lens. The Anti-Reflective (AR) coating virtually eliminates reflections from both the front and the back of the lens, drastically decreasing eye strain and fatigue of the eye. 

Now layers six and seven are fairly similar so I will mention them together. The two layers are hydrophobic (water repelling) and oleophobic (oil repelling). The hydrophobic coating protects from water and even sweat. When water hits the lens it will adhere through surface tension as a droplet, however, with a hydrophobic coating, the droplet will have a tendency to roll off the lens rather than adhere. This is a huge benefit on the water for a day where you may have a quick shower pass through and then the sun comes out and your glasses are covered in water spots; but not with the hydrophobic coating. The oleophbic coating on the other hand protects the lenses against oils i.e. fingerprints or smudges. This is not to say that fingerprints or smudges won’t end up on your lenses, however, it does mean that they will easily wipe off with a cleaning cloth due to the oleophbic properties incorporated in the lens. 

The last two layers include a multilayer mirror which reflects the visible light spectrum, and a two-times hardness coating for increased impact resistance. This is not to say the lens could not crack because it is glass, but it will help. 

As much most of the technology of the glasses is in the lenses, that is not to say that there isn’t any worth noting in the frames. First to mention is the frames compository material that is a TR-90 nylon. This material is ideal as it is light-weight, flexible and extremely durable. The frames mold comfortably to your head shape and with the additional ear and nose padding on the inner portion of the frames, you don’t even notice them after wearing them on the water all day. Additionally, the padding is non-slip which makes the glasses feel as if they are attached to your head, rather than just wrapped around it making you feel more like Cyclops from the X-Men than you may care to admit. Last to note is the anti-corrosive hinges perfect for both freshwater and salt applications making these glasses versatile to any angler, fishing anywhere across the globe. 

What options are available?

The glasses we picked up were the St. Johns frames with the amber lens with green mirror lens as we found that’s what best suits us, however, they offer  12 different frame styles (all named after major lakes), and 6 different lens options including either polarized poly-carbonate or high performance glass. The lens colors, light transmission, IR radiation and HEV (High energy visible) radiation blocking numbers can be seen below.

What is included?

So regardless of your fishing circumstances, Nines has you covered. Included with each pair of Nines is a micro-fiber carrying pouch which also doubles as a cleaning cloth, a hard case to protect your glasses while not in use and a floating retainer for people that lose their glasses…like us so that they can’t sink down to Davey Jones locker. 

What We Liked About Them

Overall, the Nines have met and or exceeded all the expectations you can have in a pair of glasses while fishing and putting in long hours on the water. They protect your eyes from harmful UVA+UVB, NIR, and HEV rays, decreasing your chances of eye issues down the road. They are strong, light, flexible and comfortable to wear even when on the water for 12+hrs straight. When practicing for a big derby and putting in long hours, the last thing you want to experience is fatigue on the old noggin from your glasses fitting uncomfortably. The non-slip pads along the temple and nose also make the glasses feel secure on the head and the shape of the St. Johns frames also limit the amount of light getting in from the sides or top of the glasses which was also appreciated. Lastly, the glasses have a lifetime warranty from any manufacturer defect! How can you beat that?

Suggested Improvements

One suggestion we would give as an improvement to Nines overall would be to keep the same 12 frames and 6 lens options, but instead of only having certain lenses available in certain frames, allow the customer online the option to make their own so to speak. Two drop down menus where the customer could choose their preferred frame and another for the lens that they would like. Obviously for retail sales, this would not be possible, but just continue keeping popular styles in retail. Another suggestion to Nines is to make sure they’re product photos match up to the product. Though a minor detail, the stock photo shows the Nines logo on the frame as green along with the temple rubber pads on the inside of the frames when the actual product’s are gray. 

Closing Remarks


The Nines retail between $89 for polycarbonate polarized lenses and $159 for high performance polarized glass. If you are in the market for a new pair of glasses and looking at some budget options, give the Nines a look, you won’t be disappointed.


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