Wiley X Vs. Costa: Which Sunglasses Are Better?

When it comes to high-quality sunglasses built for performance, Wiley X and Costa are two of the most popular brands among outdoor enthusiasts. Both offer durable sunglasses designed to meet the demands of fishing, boating, shooting sports, and other outdoor activities.

But which brand truly comes out on top? We’ll compare key factors like lens technology, frame quality, style options, and value to help you decide if Wiley X or Costa sunglasses are the better choice for your needs.

A Brief Comparison Table

FeatureWiley XCosta
Lens TechnologyPolarized emerald lenses with excellent clarity and impact resistance580 color contrast lenses enhance colors and mirrored options reduce glare
Frame QualityDurable nylon polymer with rubber nose pads and temple armsCo-injected nylon/bio-resin composite frames in larger size profiles
Style OptionsAngular sporty and tactical looksMore variety including fashionable and classic styles
Pricing$99 – $200+ for most models, good budget value$179 – $279+ for most models, premium pricing
Best ForRugged sports performance on a budgetVersatile performance and ability to transition from sport to daily wear

Key Differences Between Wiley X And Costa

  • Lens Technology

One of the most significant differences between Wiley X and Costa sunglasses is the lens technology each brand uses.

Wiley X


Wiley X is best known for using high-grade polarized emerald lenses in their sunglasses. Their polarization filters out reflected glare and enhances visual clarity.

Wiley X lenses also block 100% of UVA/UVB rays and meet ANSI Z87.1 safety standards for high velocity and high mass impact. This makes them ideal for sports like shooting and fishing where protection is paramount.

Many Wiley X sunglasses utilize T-Shell Lenses which have a patented tear-off film layer. If the outermost lens surface gets scratched, you can tear off the film to reveal a fresh lens underneath. This helps the sunglasses last longer even under heavy use.


Costa uses very different lens technology focused on enhancing colors and contrast. Their patented 580 lens material blocks yellow light and amplifies reds, greens, and blues to improve how colors are perceived. Costa also makes 580P polarized lenses which combine polarization with color contrast enhancement.

All Costa lenses block 100% of UVA/UVB rays like Wiley X. But they don’t have the same impact resistance, unless you pay extra for Costa’s polycarbonate lenses. Glass is the default lens material for many Costa frames.

For best visibility in varied light conditions, Costa offers lenses with a mirrored coating to reduce glare. This reflective surface cuts through haze and makes it easier to spot fish lurking below the surface.


When it comes to pure lens performance, Wiley X and Costa each have strengths in different areas:

  1. Visual clarity: Wiley XPolarization and impact resistance make their lenses extremely clear and durable.
  2. Color enhancement: Costa’s 580 technology noticeably amplifies reds, greens, and blues.
  3. Versatility: Costa lens options like mirrored coatings optimize lenses for different environments.

So Wiley X wins for rugged clarity, while Costa wins for tuned color contrast and versatility.

  • Frame Quality

Both brands make their sunglass frames from high-quality materials built to withstand rugged use. But there are some differences in their standard frame offerings.

Wiley X Frames

Most Wiley X sunglass frames are made from durable yet flexible nylon polymer that retains its shape even under hot and cold temperature extremes. This material is very light while still being strong.

Many Wiley X models have non-slip rubber nose pads and temples arms for a secure fit when sweating or on the water. The frames feature Wiley X’s Facial Cavity Seal to block out wind, dust, and debris.

Overall, the emphasis with Wiley X frames is on lightweight strength, flexibility, and sealing out elements for active use.

Costa Frames

COSTA Optical
COSTA Optical

Costa makes their sunglass frames from a material they’ve branded as “co-injected bio-based nylon”. This material mixes durable nylon with a bio-based resin made from castor beans. The result is a light yet strong frame material optimized for use on the water.

Most Costa frames don’t have rubberized touchpoints like Wiley X. But they still offer a secure comfortable fit. An exception is the Costa Corbina which does have rubber nose pads and temples.

Costa frames come in larger fit profiles to accommodate a wide range of facial shapes and sizes. This helps ensure a secure and comfortable fit.


When comparing frame quality and durability between Wiley X and Costa, a few key differences emerge:

  1. Materials: Both use durable nylon-based polymers, with Costa incorporating some bio-based resin.
  2. Rubber touchpoints: Wiley X has more models with rubber nose pads and temple arms.
  3. Fit: Costa offers frames in larger size profiles.

Overall Wiley X edges out Costa in frame quality thanks to the rubberized elements. But Costa wins for fit and accommodating different facial shapes and sizes.

Also Read: Comparison Between Vooglam And Zeelool.

  • Style Options

Sunglass style always comes down to personal preference. Wiley X and Costa cater to different aesthetic tastes with their frame designs.

Wiley X Styles

The style vibe of Wiley X sunglasses centers around sport performance and tactical looks. They have an angular wrap-around aesthetic optimized for sports and outdoor action.

Many Wiley X models look ready for the shooting range with tactical design cues. Others go for sporty style made to complement fishing vests and performance gear. There aren’t many Wiley X models that work as fashionable everyday wear. But for sporty users, they deliver rugged polarized lenses in frames that match the active lifestyle.

Costa Styles

Costa designs their sunglasses for life on and near the water. Slender lines and curved profiles echo the shapes of waves, boats, and the outdoors. While some frames have a sporty look, others veer towards classic wayfarer inspiration or makes wearable fashion-forward statements.

There is greater variety in frame colors and lens shapes with Costa. Their style range covers fashion-minded choices along with tactical performance models. Costa makes it easier to get high-quality polarized lenses in frames that also look good off the water.


Users wanting sunglasses that seamlessly transition from active sports to daily wear might prefer Costa’s style selection. Those who mostly care about performance may lean towards Wiley X’s sport and tactical styling. Some key style differences:

  1. Sporty looks: Wiley X has more tactical/performance frame designs.
  2. Fashion choices: Costa offers greater variety for daily wear.
  3. Shades: Costa provides more lens shape and color options.
  4. Fit: Costa accommodates more face shapes and sizes.

So Costa gets the edge for balancing fashion and sportiness. But Wiley X wins for style purely optimized for rugged activity.

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  • Value Comparison

When sunglasses perform at such a high level, assessing value becomes tricky. There’s no clear winner between Wiley X and Costa in terms of pure value for money.

Wiley X Pricing

Wiley X sunglasses retail for $99 to around $200+ depending on the model. Given their polarized emerald lenses and durable frames, this pricing is very competitive. For users who just need rugged sunglasses with excellent clarity for sports, Wiley X provides strong value.

But those wanting more fashionable options or versatility may find the styles limiting for the prices. Wiley X models with premium features like prescription compatibility also get quite expensive.

Costa Pricing

Costa sunglasses come at a premium, retailing for $179 to $279 typical for most models. Some styles with higher-end materials or limited editions can cost $400+. You certainly pay more upfront for Costa.

Yet the color-enhancing lens technology, variety of lens and frame options, and mix of sporty/fashionable styles creates a strong value proposition for Costa buyers. Especially those looking for high-end polarized performance in sunglasses they can also wear daily.

Value Comparison

When weighing overall value between the two brands:

  1. Budget buy: Wiley X gives more quality for the money spent.
  2. Premium value: Costa justifies higher pricing with enhanced performance and styling.

So Wiley X offers better value for budget-focused shoppers. But Costa delivers like-minded value for buyers willing to pay more for upgraded features and versatility.

Also Read: Choose Between Zeelool And Zenni Optical.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

How can you tell if Costas are glass or plastic lenses?

The easiest way is to check the lens material engraved on the frame arm, usually as Glass 580P (glass lens with 580 color contrast polarization) or Poly 580P (polycarbonate lens with 580P). Glass lenses will also make a higher pitched sound when tapped gently compared to duller polycarbonate.

Are Costa glass lenses better than polycarbonate?

Glass lenses offer superb optical clarity and scratch resistance. But polycarbonate is much more impact resistant, gains the 580 color contrast technology, and is lighter. For water sports and rugged use, polycarbonate is likely the better choice over glass for Costa lenses.

Can you replace Costa glass lenses?

Yes, Costa provides a lens replacement program for damaged sunglasses. For a fee starting around $99, Costa will replace glass, polycarbonate, or mirrored lenses with the same prescription and technology. This lets you reuse frames and avoids buying entirely new sunglasses.

Does Costa use glass lenses?

Glass was originally the main lens material for Costa sunglasses. Now many frames default to either glass or polycarbonate. Glass is still commonly used in higher end metal Costa frames. But for plastic frames focused on performance, polycarbonate lenses are typical. Check the frame arm marking to see which material your Costas use.

The Verdict

When choosing between these two titans of performance eyewear, there’s no universally “right” option. It depends on your priorities:

  • Best lenses for sports: Wiley X has more durable lenses optimized for visual clarity.
  • Upgraded performance/style: Costa wins for versatile lens tech and daily wear appeal.
  • Budget choice: Wiley X gives you more quality per dollar spent.
  • Premium value: Costa justifies higher pricing with better well-rounded performance.

At the end of the day, Wiley X and Costa both make exceptional sunglasses. Wiley X gives maximum rugged performance for the money, while Costa offers upgraded versatility.

Decide based on the features and value most important to your needs. With smart shopping, both brands deliver standout performance and protection combined with great styling. You can’t go wrong with either for your next pair of sunglasses.

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