There are three things I expect from a pair of safety glasses:
- They should protect my eyes.
- They should be comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
- They should not make me look like more of a dork than I already am.
The first one is easy; there are hundreds of models of safety glasses on the market and all must meet ANSI Z87.1 standards. Gateway’s Flight series eyewear meets the standard, which includes ratings for resistance to blunt impact, dust, splashes, UV rays, and just about anything else that could damage your eyes.
Comfort is more difficult to come by, but clearly, some glasses are more comfortable than others. It’s easy to make the comparison because I have a bin full of free glasses that came with various nail guns and power tools. If I had to guess I’d say the conversation about which glasses to include with those tools went something like this:
- Tool Company Lawyer: We must include safety glasses and a 9-page safety manual with all of our products.
- Bean Counter: If you insist, but the glasses can’t cost more than 5 cents a pair.
- Procurement: Don’t worry; I know where to get some for 2 cents a pair.
- Product Manager: Can they at least be comfortable?
- Procurement: Didn’t you hear me? I said I can get them for 2 cents a pair!
And unfortunately, many safety glasses feel like they cost 2 cents a pair. That’s not the case with Flight series glasses, which have unusual cushioned wings at the temples. More flexible and rubbery than the hard plastic used in the rest of the frame, the wings and temple pieces grip your head without creating pressure points. The nose piece is soft rubber and there’s no bottom frame to block your vision.
How comfortable are these glasses? I’ve had a couple of pairs (clear and tinted) for over a year and I seek them out whenever I need to wear safety glasses—even if it means searching my shop.
As for the dork factor, these glasses don’t have it. They look like sunglasses or the kind of safety glasses you would use for sports.
Flight safety eyewear is available with multiple lens options, including clear, gray, amber, and mirror. They can be purchased singly or in boxes of ten. I’ve seen them online for as little as $4 a pair.