Anybody who’s familiar with the most fashionable sunglass design brands will already know the name Maui Jim. Perhaps you own a pair, or perhaps you aspire to own a pair. But what makes this brand stand out from so many others? Here, we take a deep dive into the world of the brand, from its then to its now, contemplating along the way such aspects as the brand’s aesthetic, materials, manufacture, and so on.
About Maui Jim Sunglasses
Maui Jim began in 1980, which is relatively recent when you consider some of the other sunglass brands. At that time, they were just a small business that sold sunglasses on Ka’anapali beach in Lahaina, Maui. Due to the sunny climate, they saw a need in the burgeoning sunglass market for shades that could withstand the light and glare of sunnier days and terrains.
Although Maui Jim are now a globally recognized brand, with a large manufacturing base in Peoria, Illinois, their home office is still located in Lahaina, Maui; the business still design and road test all of their sunglasses at that spot; and they still draw inspiration and ideas from that bright and beautiful landscape. Their original ‘Classic Collection’ of seven design styles has evolved, too, into over 125 sunglass styles to choose from, meaning that there’s something for everyone in this wide spectrum of models.
Maui Jim Lenses
Perhaps it goes without saying but Maui Jim lenses all feature polarization technology that protect the eyes from 100% of UVA and UVB rays. You can therefore count on them to do the expected job of a sunglass lens, which is to combat sunlight and glare, keep the wearer safe as well as providing the ‘color, clarity, and detail’ that the brand rightly prides itself on.
All Maui Jim polarized sunglasses feature PolarizedPlus2®, which is billed as the ultimate in eyewear protection: according to the company, it wipes out glare (i.e. light that enters your eye, interfering with your vision) as well as 100% of harmful UV rays, whilst also managing to zone out troublesome HEV (High Energy Visible light – the blue-violet band of our visible spectrum).
In terms of color, there are four main shades:
Neutral Gray: this offers the highest possible light reduction, meaning very rich colors and super high contrast, an excellent choice for bright and direct sunlight conditions
High Contrast Lens (HCL) Bronze: a warming tint, bronze is recommended by the brand for everyday use
Maui Rose: this warm and subtle hue is suitable for not just for those who want to put their literal rose-tinted spectacles on, but the high contrast of these lenses makes them ideal for swift-moving sports
Maui High Transmission (HT): suitable for low light, these lenses are great for golf or other sports and situations requiring a mix of contrast and color.
Moving on to materials, Maui Jim lenses might be made of glass or polycarbonate, and they offer four material variations that are veered towards function and the various benefits that might be required by the customer. Essentially, you can choose between: SuperThin Glass; MauiBrilliant; MauiPure (including MauiPure LT); and Maui Evolution.
SuperThin Glass is billed by Maui Jim as 32% thinner and lighter than regular glass. This option of optic offers the highest level of scratch resistance by the brand.
This lens option is just one-third of the weight of glass, making it incredibly light. Maui Jim claim that this is their “most advanced lens material”.
This is Maui Jim’s most popular lens option. It is ultra lightweight, with high scratch and shatter resistance sitting alongside crisp, clear optics. MauiPure LT is even lighter and a staggering 35% thinner than standard MauiPure, too.
This lens, made from tough polycarbonate, boasts high scratch and shatter resistance as well as excellent clarity of optics.
A stylistic inspiration of this brand originally was the vibrant color and beauty of Maui’s culture and terrain, which added a sense of vividness and vibrancy to the brand’s original aesthetic. The brilliant Maui Island hues find their way into the brand’s style today as an ongoing and ever-enlivening influence.
Frames and Models
From their original seven styles, Maui Jim now offer a comprehensive range of frames and models, including aviators, wraparounds, rectangular, rimless, cat eye, and more. Some of their most famous models include Kula, a pair of gorgeous rimless glasses that are often sported in HCL Bronze; Stingray, the most stylish and uber suave wraparounds; Kawika, a classic frame with rounded rectangular lenses that are flattering for most face shapes; Noni, a more rounded, thin-rimmed frame, effortlessly elegant; and Ho’okipa, thin, rimless, elongated rectangular shades that are particularly cool.
As with all designer sunnies, you can expect to pay three figures for a pair of new Maui Jims, with the general Maui Jim sunglasses price, at the time of writing this post, in the $150 – 300 range. Of course, second hand, vintage frames might be more or less depending upon the seller and the style, and sales might get you a bargain now and then, but these are the figures you can generally expect to pay.