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Optics Review


Built for Life and Wherever It Takes You: The Costa Aransas


Date: 9/27/23
Tackle type: Sunglasses
Manufacturer: Costa Del Mar
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.33 - GREAT

Introduction:  Costa offers a wide range of frames tailored for anglers, including hybrid and lifestyle options suitable for both water-based and everyday activities. While I have primarily explored Costa's performance-oriented frames, I was curious to assess how their lifestyle frames, specifically the Aransas, fared. The Aransas frames have recently undergone a makeover, incorporating more eco-friendly bio-acetate materials. In this article, we will delve into the Aransas frame design and examine the impact of these updated materials on the frame's construction and overall user experience.


Costa Del Mar Aransas 580G Lens Specifications

Frame Style Aransas
Frame Material Bio-Acetate (68% bio based)
Frame Size Large
Frame Fit Regular
Available Lens Options 3+
Frame Color Tested Shiny Ocean Tortoise (translucent blue and brown)

Salt Marsh (Translucent brown)
Lens Color Tested Shiny Ocean Tortoise - 580G Copper

Salt Marsh - 580G Gray Gradient
Case Semi Soft Case and protective soft sock
MSRP $242

The Aransas is part of Costa's lifestyle oriented Del Mar Collection. Here we compare the original plastic version (top) in Shiny Ocean Tortoise pattern with the newer bio-acetate version (bottom) in the Salt Marsh pattern

Impressions: Named after the sole town on Mustang Island, where Spanish horses roamed freely, the Aransas frames draw inspiration from a barrier island lifestyle. I chose these frames due to their resemblance to one of my favorite Costa models, the Spearo. The Aransas frames share a square frame and lens shape with the Spearo but lean more towards a beach-inspired style.

I became interested in the Aransas after seeing styling similarities with the Costa Spearo, one of my favorite frames

They strike a balance between traditional and modern aesthetics, featuring oversized lenses and sculpted temple arms. Part of Costa's "Del Mar" lifestyle collection, these frames are available in a variety of eye-catching patterns and textures. I was particularly drawn to the Shiny Ocean Tortoise frames, which stand out from the typical matte black frames seen on most fishing sunglasses.

Over the last year the Aransas has been with me on all my travels including fishing trips coast to coast and even international trips to Japan

Real World Tests: Equipped with copper polarized glass (580G) lenses, the Shiny Ocean Tortoise Aransas frames became my go-to choice for fishing. Later, in mid-summer, Costa provided an updated pair of Aransas frames in the Salt Marsh colorway. The primary difference was the use of the company's new bio-acetate. As part of the lifestyle collection, I aimed to incorporate these frames into my daily routine, using both pairs extensively over twelve months, including fishing trips across the country, targeting smallmouth in Upstate New York, navigating Manhattan, and even during international travel to explore JDM tackle in Tokyo.

The Aransas in Tokyo. These frames are lifestyle oriented and seem to fit every occasion

Operation: The entire experience with Costa's Aransas frames differed from their performance frames, starting with the unboxing. Unlike the performance frames that come with a semi-soft case and travel-friendly cleaning cloth, the Aransas frames are packaged with a square cork case that can be folded flat and a sock that doubles as a cleaning cloth. This combination exudes a more beach-oriented vibe.

Upon inspecting the Aransas frames, I immediately noticed their weightiness. They exude a high-end feel, thanks to a combination of metal frames encased in plastic acetate. The Aransas frames feel exceptionally sturdy.

Each Aransas comes with a cork lined case and soft sock which doubles as a cleaning cloth

With their large form factor, the Aransas frames provide excellent sun coverage, thanks to their oversized lenses. Unlike many performance frames with adjustable nose bridges and pads, the Aransas frames have fixed nose bridges and pads, requiring professional adjustment or the use of a heat-adjusting device. Fortunately, I found minimal adjustments necessary for a comfortable fit. Costa describes the Aransas as having a "High Bridge Fit," offering a secure and comfortable fit for those with a high nose bridge and lower cheekbones.

The hard case can be folded flat when not in use

During field tests, I used both the Copper Polarized Glass and Gray Gradient Polarized Glass 580G lenses. Both offered exceptional optical clarity and held up well over time. However, I did notice some minor scratches on the lenses due to contact with my camera equipment when I carelessly tossed them in my backpack, highlighting the importance of storing them in a case, especially when packed tightly during transport.

Under the plastic acetate shell you can see the metal reinforced sub-frame

Between the two lenses, the Gray Gradient lenses performed well in bright conditions and open water fishing, as well as during daytime drives, effectively reducing glare in harsh sunlight. On the other hand, the Copper 580G lens felt more comfortable in variable and low-light situations, such as dawn or sunset fishing. If I had to choose a single lens for various activities, the copper 580G would be my preference.

A look at the Salt March frame which featured the new bio-acetate plastic and fitted with Grey Gradient 580G lenses

After experiencing the Shiny Ocean Tortoise Aransas frames made from traditional plastic, I was eager to assess the feel and performance of the newer bio-acetate frames. Costa's original bio-resin was derived from castor plant seeds, processed into castor oil, and used to create bio-based plastic resin for some of the company's performance frames. This shift from traditional petroleum-based materials reduced emissions and Costa's overall carbon footprint and was introduced in 2016. The new Bio-Acetate introduced this year takes things to the next level and are 68% bio-based from vegetable-based plasticizers and responsibly sourced wood pulp from FSC forests which replace non-renewable fossil-based materials. 

The Aransas looks clean and stylish in design. One of the big differences between the Aransas and Costa's Performance frames are the lack of side shields which lock out more light and wind.

Next Section: How the bio-acetate construction compares...









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