Protect Expensive Fishing Sunglasses With Eyewear Retainers

If you spent a lot of money on top-notch fishing sunglasses, then spend another $10 on eyewear retainers to protect the lenses.

Protect Expensive Fishing Sunglasses With Eyewear Retainers

True story: My favorite polarized fishing sunglasses are almost 25 years old, I wear them regularly, and the lenses look like new. How is this possible? Two reasons: When the sunglasses aren’t on my face, I place them in their original case, or they’re hanging around my neck. I never — and I repeat, never — set down the sunglasses on a boat seat or tacklebox, or store them temporarily above my hat bill.

The author removes his favorite fishing sunglasses for pics, and to keep them safe, he lets them hang around his neck on a sunglass strap.
The author removes his favorite fishing sunglasses for pics, and to keep them safe, he lets them hang around his neck on a sunglass strap.

The term “eyewear retainer” is a modern expression to avoid using a brand name such as Croakies or Chums. It’s like using the expression “facial tissue” instead of Kleenex. You get the idea. Another generic term is “sunglass strap.” 

The purpose of this article isn’t to provide a detailed history lesson on sunglass straps. That said, you might find this short summary interesting. 

Croakies were invented in 1977. Robbie Fuller, a ski patrol who wanted a better way to keep his sunglasses affixed to his face, cut up an old wetsuit with a sharp scissors. His design for gripping the sunglass temple worked like a Chinese finger trap. Fuller’s invention is the basis of the company’s Original Neoprene Croakies still sold today.

Chums started in 1983. Inventor Mike Taggett, a river guide in Utah, wanted a system to prevent his customers from losing their sunglasses in the Colorado River. (Because this was pre-internet, it’s likely Taggett had never heard of Fuller’s invention.) Taggett crafted his first eyewear retainer in the back of his VW van (where he slept) with a cheap sewing machine. The namesake for the company was Taggett’s yellow Lab, Chumley.

Numerous companies manufacture sunglass straps, but I’ve never found a reason to stray from Croakies and Chums. Both companies offer many different designs (various materials, etc.), but I strongly prefer their classic designs. I’m also loyal to these brands because Croakies and Chums are both made in the USA.

In the Croakies line, I prefer the Suiters (below). These sunglass straps are soft, lightweight and durable. Price is $8.99 or $9.99 depending on color/pattern choice. I like the solid Suiters, which are made of knitted cotton yarn. They feature an adjustable slider bead to keep your sunglasses as tight to your face as you wish. Lastly, they come in size regular or XL to ensure a perfect fit over the sunglass temples.

Croakies Suiters
Croakies Suiters

In the Chums line, I prefer the Chums Original (below) which is cotton. This comfortable strap is available in 20 solid color choices (size regular) and has an adjustable slider. In addition to the regular temple size, you can buy them in small and large, too. Price is $8.99.

Chums Original
Chums Original

If you’re like me and prefer to take off sunglasses before someone quickly snaps a pic of you with a decent-sized fish, then a sunglass strap is a must. DON’T set your expensive sunglasses down on the boat deck, because you will forget about them while releasing a fish. You’ll eventually step on them, or knock them onto the floor of the boat, scratching the lenses. Spend $10 to ensure you keep your expensive sunglasses safe and in perfect working condition.

If you place sunglasses above your hat bill, it’s only a matter of time until you forget they’re there. When you remove your hat, the sunglasses will fall to the ground, probably resulting in scratched lenses.
If you place sunglasses above your hat bill, it’s only a matter of time until you forget they’re there. When you remove your hat, the sunglasses will fall to the ground, probably resulting in scratched lenses.
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