Wear the Best Sunglasses in the World: The official sunglasses of Rich Hoffman

img_6972When I’m out in public I get two primary comments. People want to know where they can get a hat like mine, the Australian oil skin hat I wear so much. But even more than that hat they ask me about my sunglasses—my Classic style Gargoyles sunglasses, the type I have worn now for nearly thirty years. I have always been a Gargoyles sunglass wearer, exclusively for all three of those decades. I won’t wear anything else. I’ve tried $400 Oakley sunglasses and other variations of Ray Ban, but for my lifestyle only Gargoyles are up to my standards, which are high. I am the type of person who always wears sunglasses if the sun is shining. I wear sunglasses just to go outside and get the mail because I love my eyes—the Gargoyles sunglasses offer an ultraviolet light protection on their lenses that keep that damaging byproduct of the sun from burning out your retinas and I take it very seriously. I have maintained 20/10 vision for my whole life up to this point, and I take care of my eyes with added protection. However, I have a very rough lifestyle that is very dangerous to eyes. I ride motorcycles, spend a lot of time outside, I shoot guns, crack whips and have lots of activity around dangerous projectiles. I want sunglasses that protect my eyes from everything, but I don’t want my vision obstructed. So what other pair of sunglasses could I have that look just as good with a suit, or a cowboy hat? The only answer is Gargoyles Classics. The trouble is, they have been discontinued by the Gargoyles Company for several years only coming back occasionally as a kind of retro offering. Well, this happens to be one of those times. They are now being offered once again by the Gargoyles Company. The specific technical specs and link address can be seen below.

The iconic rimless style incorporates tradition and cutting edge innovation. Make no mistake, Classic’s are back. Light weight but robust, Classic offers outstanding ANSI Z87.1+ level protection with anti-reflective and oleo-phobic treatment to repel water and resist smudging to make cleaning easier. Additionally, Classic’s famous toric shield lenses provide the user with a fully unobstructed vertical viewing pane. All Gargoyles lenses are ballistic-rated – meeting or exceeding ANSI Z871.1+ impact standards. For more information on ANSI Z87.1+ or Protection+, click here. (Available in both tactical ratings)

Sunglasses have a job to do and blocking the sun is only the beginning. Gargoyles sunglasses don’t just shield your eyes. They provide sharp contrasts and accurate depth perception, so you can see what you’re supposed to see and your day can continue without interruption. Every detail of Gargoyles lens design and execution is geared toward improved optics and better vision.

A good lens isn’t just made – it’s crafted. At Gargoyles, the Z87.1+-rated lenses are made of ballistic-designed, high-index polycarbonate for incredible strength without added weight. From there, they’re optimized and treated to reduce glare while enhancing protection. The result is a lens of unparalleled quality and durability.

No matter how good they look, sunglasses aren’t worth much if they can’t protect your eyes. All Gargoyles lenses meet or exceed US and ANSI regulations and standards for UVA, UVB and UVC protection and the Z87.1+-rated products’ impact resistance is ballistic tested. They’re designed to provide optimal coverage and block ancillary light. With Gargoyles, your eyes aren’t just protected – they’re shielded.

Gargoyles provides protection from both the sun and unexpected projectiles. U.S. soldiers put themselves in harm’s way every day, and the equipment they wear must provide them as much protection as possible. When the U.S. Army needed a higher level of protection from their sunglasses, it sought out experts in the field of optics. ANSI created new high-mass and high-velocity impact standards based on this new market need and on the necessity of having regulation and consistent quality. The US sunglass industry uses the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as the governing body and rating system for sunglasses.

All Gargoyles Z87.1+-rated sunglasses meet or exceed high mass and high velocity impact standards as specified by ANSI and described below:

Wearers must be able to see 20 lines of resolution clearly from 20 feet away, and pinpoint a vertical/horizontal prism from 35 feet away.

WHY THIS MATTERS  The act of covering the eyes necessarily leads to a loss in visual clarity; the only question is how severely vision will be compromised. By meeting this ANSI spec, the impact of Gargoyles sunglasses on the user’s vision is negligible.

The lens and the frame of the sunglasses need to have the same size and protection DNA, with each lens individually cut for the frame in which it is housed.

WHY THIS MATTERS  If the lenses of a pair of sunglasses aren’t balanced and measured properly, it could lead to reflection and distortion. By meeting this standard, Gargoyles sunglasses provide the wearer clear, precise visual optics while reducing or eliminating the glare depending on the lens you choose.

The lens must be able to withstand a 1.1 pound mass dropped from 50 inches, as well as a quarter-inch projectile shot at 150 feet per second from ten yards away, without breaking, cracking, coming out of the frame, or in any way touching the eye or the surrounding tissue.

WHY THIS MATTERS  From gravel to shrapnel, anything that reaches the eye could be catastrophic. By meeting this ANSI specification, Gargoyles sunglasses are guaranteed to keep the wearer’s eyes safe from any projectile that might otherwise cause significant damage.


I was riding a bicycle just this morning and I cut through a marshy lowland area that was full of mud. I managed to get through alright but on my way out of the pit was gravel. Once I got back out on the open road that gravel started flying off my knobby tires, some of which flew up and hit me in the face. Because of my Gargoyles sunglasses I did not have to worry about that gravel finding its way into my eyes—and I was able to press on. About six weeks ago I was in a major motorcycle accident. Certainly nothing I did, but things happen and my motorcycle sustained over $10,000 worth of damage. I was wearing a suit at the time that ended up covered in blood, I had torn cloths, broken bones in my wrist and ankle, but guess what didn’t get hurt as shattered glass pelted my face…….my eyes. No I wasn’t wearing a helmet—it was a nice day. Just my Gargoyles sunglasses. Occasionally when riding motorcycles down the highway behind large trucks from construction sites, rocks fly off their tires. I never worry about that debris hitting me in the face. I can take the pain if it hits me in the forehead or someplace else, but I have to be able to see through an impact—and my Gargoyles always provide more than adequate shielding.

When shooting guns, it happens often where projectiles from target impact sometimes fly back and hit the shooter. Just a few months ago while shooting my new .500 Magnum from Smith & Wesson the unthinkable happened. Given our position from a top down position, my family was shooting in a way to see if we could split a large river rock in half. Now that’s not a recommended shooting procedure, but I wanted to conduct a test to measure just how powerful a .400 grain bullet was traveling at such a high velocity backed by such extraordinary muzzle energy. You don’t get a good indication of what that is by shooting at paper targets. You need to see the bullet interact with something ominously stable. In this case it was a very large sedimentary rock pulled out of the river that was very thick. Because I was wearing my Gargoyles I stood about thirty yards from the target confident that there wasn’t any danger. The .500 Magnum punched the rock in two, which surprised me. A moment later debris rained back at us. I didn’t think much of it as I thought it was pieces of rock. But my daughter grabbed her forehead and blood was running down her face. Checking her out, a piece of the .500 Magnum bullet had bounced back and embedded itself about three inches above her eyes. She was not wearing Gargoyles—but sunglasses typical of the type you find in convenient stores. I sometimes assume that everyone is as protected as I am, and took a deep breath as we pulled the shrapnel out of her head. She was fine, but it was proof that anything can and does happen when dealing with dangerous things. Life is meant to be lived, but it’s important to take as much opportunity to give your body parts the tools to protect itself the best you can.

Some might argue that a helmet is the best way to ride a motorcycle, but they essentially encumber your senses entirely too much. Gargoyles offer protection without encumbering anything. They are so comfortable to wear that you forget they are on, but they also provide a complete line of sight in all directions. They are unique to say the least. After three decades my Gargoyles sunglasses are as much a part of me as my legs and arms. They are an inseparable part of my attire under all circumstances. So for those who have always wanted a pair, they are now available once again. They can be obtained for around a $100 so they aren’t outrageously expensive. But they feel like a million bucks, and will give you years of loyal use. Gargoyles are by far my favorite sunglasses, not just because they are reasonably priced for the quality they provide, but because they have proven to me over time to be a superior product. I never leave my home without them, and the sun rarely shines on my face without Gargoyles providing some level of protection. They are the ultimate sunglasses for an active person under any circumstance. And now they are available once again.

Rich Hoffman


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