Overall Rating: 9.6
|There’s no getting around it, these folding sunglasses look awesome. Hilx has done a great job taking the classic wayfarer and round styles and modernizing them. They look beautiful and feel well built. You can see and feel the quality construction immediately.
|The six hinge system does exactly what it's meant to do; fold up your sunglasses so they’re instantly more pocketable and packable. They can be unfolded in a blink of the eye thanks to the spring loaded hinges. Foldability aside, they’re also great quality sunglasses with strong yet flexible frames, scratch resistant lenses, and 100% UVA/UVB protection.
|For the quality of the sunglasses, combined with the innovative folding features, both avid and casual travelers will quickly get their money’s worth. Hilx stands behind the value of their products with a lifetime warranty so we’re confident these sunglasses will be with us for years of adventures.
Pros & Cons
|They look awesome. Smooth colored lenses and modern lines - there’s no compromising on style.
|Folding and unfolding these frames almost always requires two hands. If you’re on the go or your hands are full, this can be momentarily inconvenient.
|These are the definition of practical innovation. The folding design solves a problem we’ve all faced when traveling with sunglasses, what to do with them when you’re not actively wearing them. Compact, flexible and durable frames paired with scratch resistant polycarbonate lenses make these truly pocketable.
|You can’t hang them from your shirt collar. With the spring loaded hinged frames the options are either fully open or fully folded, they don't stay in place anywhere in between.
|The quality is top notch and you’ll feel it the first time you pull them out of their box. There’s no corners cut on the actual sunglasses features - anti glare, hydrophobic lenses offer 100% UVA/UVB protection and the snug yet comfortable fitting frames are great. The Swiss TR90 thermoplastic frames are flexible and strong. The durable scratch resistant polycarbonate lenses are as clear as anything.
|Like all sunglasses, careless folding and unfolding results in fingerprints on the lenses. This is slightly compounded by the innovative folding and unfolding motion that may take time to get used to. The microfiber cleaning cloth built into the carrying bag solves this issue, but only if you have the bag with you.
Who Are Hilx Folding Sunglasses Ideal For?
Casual and frequent travelers who have found it inconvenient traveling with sunglasses. When your sunglasses are stashed in your bag, on the plane for example, you really don't have any choice but to use a hard shell case or risk them being crushed when your feet and daypack are jockeying for space under the seat in front of you. A hard shell case isn't the end of the world but it's bulky at best and a waste of space to always have to carry around. When you’re out for a day exploring and the sun sets; again, options are limited. Either rest them on your head, hang from your collar, or put them in a bag if you have one and hope they stay safe.
Traveling with a low quality, throw away pair of sunglasses is a partial solution but Hilx Folding Sunglasses solve all these challenges with high quality foldable, packable, durable travel sunglasses that are easy to stash when not in use.
Full Review of Hilx Folding Sunglasses
Hilx Eyewear produces innovative and unorthodox products for active adventurers. Helping their wearers achieve optimal performance is at the heart of their research and design for all of their products. They emphasize high quality design, unique modern styles, and solving real problems.
The polycarbonate lenses are light and thin contributing to the overall lightweight of the entire pair of glasses. Polycarbonate feels like the perfect material, glass would be too heavy and more prone to scratches when you pocket them and plastic would be heavier and feel cheaper. The lenses are rated as shatterproof and scratch resistant. After weeks of regular wear we only see the smallest signs of imperfections. As with any pair of sunglasses, we do expect to see some small scuffs and marks on the lenses after long term use. The lenses are potentially more likely than those on traditional sunglasses to rub against other items because they fold up with the lenses out so they could easily end up in the same pocket as a phone or keys.
The lenses are perfectly clear but colors do get distorted with the reflective colored coating. An acceptable sacrifice for the cool colored styles, but you’ll find yourself lowering them once in a while to really appreciate a great view. The lenses have an anti glare and hydrophobic coating so water beads and rolls right off them, perfect for the pool or beach. Lastly, they’re one way mirrored, meaning others will not be able to see through the lenses.
We have noticed they get smudged with fingerprints very easily. This happens more often than usual because of the innovative folding design, which takes some time to get used to. The included micro fiber cloth gets regular use but a quick couple wipes on a tshirt does just as well.
The Swiss TR90 thermoplastic frames offer just enough flex so you know they won't get crushed in your pocket while still feeling solid and rigid when being worn. The matte finish is smooth and looks great. It takes quite a bit of effort to leave any lasting marks or scratches on them so we’re confident the frames will keep looking great after years of use.
The frames curve in and down so they hug the skull and stay in place. We took them for literal test runs and they stayed in place just fine while jogging, hiking, ice skating, snowshoeing and cross country skiing. The fit and style is equally appropriate for active use or casual wear.
A clever 6 hinge system lets you easily fold up the sunglasses to pack them away. First, the arms hinge 180 degrees at their midpoint towards the lenses. The doubled over arms then go 90 degrees in towards the center. The two sides then fold up to meet in the middle so the lenses are stacked on top of each other with the folded arms in between. It's essentially three movements to fold them up taking about 3-4 seconds.
To unfold you simply reverse the same process; however, once you separate the two sides the rest is taken care of for you. The 2 sets of hinges on each arm are spring loaded so once they no longer have the pressure of the opposite side holding them in place they both pop open. The entire opening process takes about a second.
It is a 2 hand job to fold or unfold them and our one disappointment is that it's basically impossible to do a one hand flick to pop it open. The center 2 point hinge between the lenses is not spring loaded and stays in whatever position it's in, meaning you need a hand on each side to pull them apart. This wasn't a huge deal breaker but if you have something in your other hand, say a steering wheel, it can be a minor inconvenience to ask another rider for help or need a stop sign or traffic light to set up your sunglasses.
Once folded up they really are quite compact and secure measuring about 3 inches at their longest and less than 2 inches thick. There’s some give thanks to the flexible frames so if you squeeze them (or they get squeezed in a pocket) it never feels like anything is going to snap or break.
Every pair of sunglasses comes with a neoprene drawstring bag large enough to hold them when folded up. This is the perfect way to store them in a bag. The case has a removable carabiner so you can clip them to your belt loop or outside of a bag for easy access. Inside the case you’ll find an attached microfiber cloth to keep your lenses clean.
The case is 4.5” x 3” and about 2” thick when packed - the perfect size to fit in any pocket in a daypack.
2 styles are available with a range of color options. Both are modern upgrades on classic looks.
The Unfold is an updated take on the classic Wayfarer style. The lenses are more square than the traditional Wayfarer rectangles but the lines still follow the iconic classic.
The Switchblade is based on another classic, the round eye sunglasses. These didn’t stray far from their roots with the exception of the vibrant lens options.
When folded up the Switchblade is slightly less compact than the Unfold. We're not exactly clear why but the backs of the Switchblade are more flared when folded so it doesn't look quite as neat when packed. Distinct indents under the bridge of each style offers an additional touch of uniqueness.
Branding is certainly present on the glasses but not obnoxious. The most apparent is the raised Hilx logo on the topside of the left lens frame. Each arm has the Hilx logo just past the lenses. Finally, the Hilx logo is on the outside center of the right lens but important to note, it does not impair your vision through that lens in any way.
Whatever direction someone is looking at your sunglasses from it will be apparent they are Hilx brand, but all 4 logos are small, neat, and suit the styling. On the inside of the left arm it says the serial number. On the inside of the right arm for the Switchblade it says the style name, Unfold features the text “Where Next?” instead.
Testing & Ownership
We’ve been testing these sunglasses for quite a few weeks and so far we’ve had 4 team members contribute to this review - they’ve been a popular accessory to test! We’ve all been really happy with our Hilx Folding Sunglasses with one team member stating that it didn't take long for them to become his day to day sunglasses.
We’ve never felt anything quite like them before and believe Hilx really found the sweet spot for lightweight durability at a reasonable price point. They’re sleek looking and such a cool concept that solves a real problem we’ve all faced when traveling. There’s nothing worse than keeping track of an expensive pair of sunglasses when you’re out after sunset, and not having to travel with a bulky hard shell case has been a great change.
The sporty, modern design regularly gets compliments, and that’s before anyone even knows about the folding feature.
The small gripe we’ve recognized is the inability to one hand open them. If you’re carrying something it is slightly inconvenient to open or close them, you really do need two hands. Even trying to hold one side with your teeth and doing the rest with one hand only sometimes works. But this is minor and in no significant way impaired our use or enjoyment.
Overall, they’re a top notch travel accessory. The quality has been great in our testing so far, and with a lifetime warranty from Hilx we’re confident they’ll hold up through years of travel.
Hilx Folding Sunglasses are awesome. They will be a staple accessory for every one of our upcoming trips. We love how they solve a real travel problem and look great doing it. The quality and style is exactly what we would hope for in a pair of travel sunglasses.