The Shady Rays Nitro is Shady Rays’ first foray into the popular shield style used most commonly for beach volleyball. With much more thorough lens coverage than most of their offerings and a lightweight frame, the Nitro fits right in on any beach or grass volleyball court.
Shady Rays Nitro
Price: $54 (use Testers25 for a 25% discount off all non-Rx adult sunglasses)
- 100% UV Protection
- Scratch & Salt Water Resistant
- Hydrophobic Coating
Lens Color: Red mirror with blue-grey tint (4-6 options available)
Lens Size: 133mm (width) x 58mm (height)
Use Testers25 for a 25% discount
Rundown: Shield style, single-lens sunglasses meant for outdoor sports and activities.
- Lightweight / Comfort
- Coverage / Visibility
- Shatterproof / Durability
- Lens Fogging
- Impact Protection
Lightweight / Comfort
The Shady Rays Nitro feels very light on your face. This was the very first thing I noticed upon receiving them. For how large the lens is, you can barely feel the weight of the shades. The arms of the sunglasses aren’t too tight on your temples either, which can cause headaches. Despite the lightness and comfort, they stayed perfectly still on my head while playing. They didn’t fall off or even move unless they were knocked off (more on that later). You can definitely forget that these are on your face, which is always a great sign for sunglasses.
Coverage / Visibility
The Shady Rays Nitro is a classic face shield style of sunglasses. The larger lens provides the necessary coverage to keep the sun out of your eyes no matter where you’re looking. Smaller sportstyle sunglasses tend to let light slip in over the top or around the sides. That’s not an issue with these, and I actually found myself wearing a hat less since the shades were effective at not letting light sneak through.
I recommend the red-colored lens. I have used their blue/green lens before, which is slightly darker. The darker lens is a little better in very bright sunlight, but the red still does enough to protect your eyes and make sure you can see the ball. In any other conditions, such as partial clouds, the red lens is easily the best option. The darker lens is too dark when looking straight ahead, but if you take them off it’s too bright when you look up. The red lens is the perfect compromise, giving excellent visibility in all weather conditions.
Note: If the red lens is sold out, the blue/purple All Star lens is also on the lighter end of the spectrum and will work well for volleyball.
The lens is polarized, as well. This is common nowadays but is essential in making sure to cut down on the glare off of random objects while you’re playing.
Shatterproof / Durability
Possibly the most important feature for almost any sport, volleyball sunglasses need to be shatterproof. This serves two important functions:
- You don’t want to have to buy new sunglasses every time something hits your face.
- You don’t want anything near your eyes to shatter.
Obviously, this is a crucial feature, and I’d go as far as to call the Shady Rays Nitro “extremely shatterproof”. I was trying to figure out how I could safely test this feature, but the always-slightly-low outdoor volleyball nets took care of that very quickly. After blocking a concerning number of swings with various parts of my face, I can say confidently that these will not shatter under any regular gameplay circumstances.
In previous shades I’ve used, the rubber nose guards have actually been too grippy. Upon blocking a ball with them, they ripped open the skin on my nose, requiring stitches. The Nitros have malleable rubber nose pieces that keep the shades in place but also bend and give when you get hit, and easily bend back afterward. (Weartesters still recommends not getting hit in the face whenever possible. I should stop split-blocking on low nets.)
This wasn’t a huge issue by any means, but the lens of the Shady Rays Nitro did tend to fog up in certain situations. On humid days especially, I found myself having to clean the lens a lot. It wasn’t enough to be a problem, but I felt the need to keep a microfiber cloth in my pocket, which I haven’t had to do with most other pairs. The larger lens could just be more prone to fogging, however.
On a related note, I’ve found the lens to be fairly difficult to clean. After getting some sweat, dirt, sand, or sunscreen on the lens, it can take a lot of attention with the microfiber cloth before the lens is ready to go again. There were multiple times when I wiped the lenses only to find them still cloudy when I put them back on. This wasn’t a huge issue, but it could be annoying. The only reason I could tell they were a little cloudy is because they’re usually crystal clear.
This con feels unfair, because I think it’s still better than the alternative. As I mentioned before, if you get hit in the sunglasses, the rubber nose guards bend away. This is definitely better than ripping your skin, but it does have its disadvantages. After the rubber moves, the plastic frame is digging straight into your nose. I ended a recent grass tourney with some serious bruising right where the nose guard should have been and across the bridge of my nose after getting hit. If the rubber would’ve been secure, it could’ve softened a lot of that.
Of course like I said, solid rubber grips have resulted in needing stitches in the past. I’m not sure what the perfect solution is, but I think there’s room for improvement here.
Shady Rays Nitro Summary
The Shady Rays Nitro is an excellent performance option for grass or beach volleyball sunglasses. They provide great clarity, comfort, and durability, and for a price that beats most competitors’ options in the same shield style. Some minor cons shouldn’t sway your decision too much, these are great shades that I wish I would’ve tried sooner.
Use code Testers25 for 25% off at Shady Rays