Oakley vs. Costa Del Mar: Which Brand is Better?

Having a pair of sunglasses is a lot like that one friend you have that you can always count on but is chill enough to be “low maintenance” when you’re too busy to hang out.

Now, people like that are hard to come by, and, boy, are they worth the find.

The same goes for choosing the best sunglasses for you!

Lucky for you, here’s a couple of the top dogs in the eyewear market, wherein you’ll learn some of their humble beginnings and how they could compare with one another.

So without further ado, entering: Oakley and Costa Del Mar! 

About Oakley

From Best to “Eh”

Ironically, it all started with bike grips.

James “Jim” Jannard held motocross bikes in such high regard that it made him well-versed in the issues one has in owning the bike. Namely, the handles are slippery when wet due to their plastic covers.

Therefore, he created a solution: Unobtainium.

Although he dropped out of university, he was able to design this rubber grip that was considered revolutionary by the time with its unique “cam-shaped design and octopus tread pattern.”

His landslide of success earned him the title of “Mad Scientist,” as he desired to branch out from handgrips to delve into motocross goggles.

Then, he had his budding company be named after one of his beloved dogs: Oakley.

Inevitably, those motocross goggles became a hit as well when he implemented an idea he had: “what if one was to combine the shape of a pair of goggles and the UV protection from a pair of sunglasses?”

From there on out, he jumpstarted the craze around eyewear, and with a damn good reason, too!

Combined with the Unobtainium being used on the earsocks and nosepiece for that eyewear and Oakley’s high-impact plastic lenses that are lightweight and durable, Oakley’s domination in the eyewear market was sure.

Until Luxottica got wind of Oakley, that is.

As the then-largest eyewear manufacturer, everyone can see why Luxottica got intimidated by Oakley’s speedy popularity.

And this led to a pricing dispute that ended in Luxottica pulling any Oakley eyewear from its stores.

It all went downhill from there as Oakley struggled to pick itself back up and attain independence from Luxottica, but 2007 happened when Luxottica bought Oakley.

Since then, a noticeable decline in quality and boring style made Oakley’s most avid fans drop the brand entirely.

Oakley and Costa Del Mar

About Costa Del Mar

Made for the Water

It would be surprising to know that, technically, Costa Del Mar is a year older than Oakley when it was founded; Oakley started in 1984 regarding the sunglasses market while Costa was in 1983.

You could say that Costa must’ve been toppled over Oakley’s success, but that’s far from the truth!

The late Ray Ferguson founded Costa Del Mar at Dayton Beach from Florida with an excellent hand for handling the automobile business alone since he was the ripe age of 18.

What is up with these founders and their company’s history starting in the world of automobiles?

Anyway, at this fateful beach, Ferguson made a name for Costa Del Mar when it was a booming hit for fishers and beachgoers alike because, by the time, Costa was one of the first brands out there that produced polarized sunglasses!

Then, to return the people’s generosity, Costa Del Mar made its unending goal to protect the waters that give life to our planet and preserve it by joining many movements supporting the cause.

And you can show your support as well by simply purchasing a pair of Costa sunglasses!

Comparison of Oakley and Costa Del Mar

Always Wear Protection!

In choosing the perfect pair of sunglasses, there are two things you need to remember:

UV protection and polarization.

Those should be on the top of your list for things to look out for because why else would you wear sunglasses if all they’ll do is be like any other accessory like a fancy scarf?

Here, you’ll see why Costa Del Mar tops Oakley by a landslide.

Costa has been experimenting on its eyewear like any other eyewear brand out there until they engineered one that became the new face for Costa’s lens technology: the 580g lens.

Besides absorbing the common UV rays, this particular glass lens can also do the same for blue light.

“Is that worse than UV light?” you might ask.

The answer is yes. Yes, it is.

High-energy blue light (or simply HEV light) is the cause of too many skin problems through prolonged exposure to it.

Besides that, HEV light made it a hobby of penetrating the eye FAR deeper than what the UV usually does. This can lead to cataracts, pterygium, macular degeneration, and many, many more.

And Costa’s 580g just absorbs all of that nasty light for you!

It even blocks out the yellow light (which sits directly at 580 nm on the visible light spectrum) that can be too harsh for your eyes while enhancing and contrasting other colors instead, from blues, greens, and reds to give you a higher definition of everything!

If that’s not enough, this lens tech can cut through haze and blur to give you great clarity!

To top it all off, these layers upon layers ensure high-quality durability for anything, be it a scratch or a nasty fall!

On the other hand, Oakley has many lens technologies in its arsenal, but we’ll just focus on the ones that do the job of protecting the eyes.

Such as the Iridium Lens Coating, Plutonite Lenses, and the Prizm Technology.

Out of all three of them, Plutonite Lens is Oakley’s most superior technology when the material used is both durable against high-mass and high-impact and “optically pure” as it’s able to stop every wavelength (be it UVA or UVB).

And that’s about it.

So now you can probably understand why Costa Del Mar has the upper hand in this round.

A Price to Pay

Because of these techs, both Oakley and Costa are at a draw once pricing comes into play.

And as you’ll eventually see from their product lists, both prices don’t go below $180.

Well, other than their technology, the reasons behind their prices are different.

With Oakley, it comes with its height of popularity from the ‘90s to the present, but many would argue that its quality took a nose-dive ever since there’s a change from management and manufacturing.

As for Costa Del Mar, the hefty price is due to wanting to keep the business going while supporting those initiatives for marine life.

In the end, though, the money you’ll be using on either of these brands should be an amount you’re willing to splurge on, so choose wisely! 

A Kind-of Life Beyond a Kind-of Death

Besides UV protection and polarization, you should be aware of the warranty for your sunglasses.

Technically, Costa wins this one by a mile.

Emphasis on “technically.”

Let’s go with Oakley first.

Now, Oakley has a two-year warranty from the date of purchase on its overall eyewear. It covers anything from breakage or factory defects as long as you have valid Proof of Purchase with you.

But it doesn’t cover scratched lenses or any alterations made on the Oakley eyewear for apparent reasons.

Meanwhile, Costa Del Mar has a lifetime warranty.

Sounds good, right?

Well, hold your horses because the “technically” part comes in once you learn that the lifetime warranty is limited.

And when I say limited, it is LIMITED.

It covers the factory defects (as per usual) and any repair or replacement determined by Costa.

Scratched lenses are one of the many limits that’s easy to stomach. The rest are as follows: 

Costa’s Sunglass Limited Lifetime Warranty does not cover the normal wear and tear, broken hinges, accidental damage, misuse, or any other problems determined by Costa NOT to be defects in materials or workmanship.

So, that’s a lot.

But you get a lifetime warranty compared to Oakley’s two years, though, so that should be good. Right?

Oakley vs. Costa Del Mar comparision

So, Which Brand is Better?

If you’re going to compare the two brands, Costa Del Mar comes first place.

But, honestly, it depends on your preferences or the reason why you’ll need to wear a pair of sunglasses.

Protection-wise, Costa has your back till the end with its jam-packed layers of durability and light absorption.

On the other, Oakley caters more to the voice inside of you that wants to catch many eyes in a party when it’s at par with other popular brands like Ray-Ban style-wise.

Either of them is good in their comfort zones, so if you somehow lean more on one than the other, then go ahead!

Final Words

Selecting a pair of sunglasses is a perilous task, especially with how many brands out there are competing against each other.

Still, it all boils down to what you want and what you need out of it.

If you’re going to use it to go fishing or any sports-related activity, then go with the brand that provides special eye care on its eyewear.

If you simply want all eyes on you, go for a trendy one.

This decision falls on you, but hopefully, this article somewhat gives light that can help make that decision!

Leave a Comment