ProView – Zeal Optics Caddis

I wear sunglasses religiously (I’m kind of obsessed about protecting my eyes) and often get anxious when I forget my glasses at home. I have a pair of sunglasses for almost every activity including climbing and guiding, mountain biking, fishing, and a general pair for everything else. That’s a lot of pairs to keep up with, so when I saw the Zeal Caddis, I thought I should give them a try. They have several features that I thought might work well as a quiver of one. I’ve spent several days wearing these glasses climbing, fishing, trail running, and mountain biking, and so far they’ve worked exceptionally well for all of the above.

Zeal Optics Caddis

Product Name: Zeal Optics Caddis

Product Description: Dawn breaks, the hatch is in, and the rivers and streams of the high-country beckon. A true outdoor companion, Caddis lives for long days on the water and in the field, and this polarized sunglass is an essential part of your fly fishing gear. With its full wrap, triple-injection frame, Caddis offers complete protection from the sun's harsh rays, and our Ellume Polarized lens cuts through the water to let you hone in on the biggest fish, all in a style that goes as easily from your favorite eddy to your top watering hole, for swapping stories about the ones that didn't get away.Like its namesake, Magnolia is a thing of beauty, but rooted in strength and built to last. Z-Lite is made from our plant-based Z-Resin, designed to minimize our footprint and help protect the wild places you’ll enjoy through its polarized ellume lenses, which are designed to increase clarity and contrast, while our unique blend of color filters make every landscape explode in hues you’ve never seen before.

Offer price: MSRP: $159.00 - $229.00

  • Quality
  • Features
  • Fit
  • Durability
  • Eco-Friendly
  • Performance


Comfortable sunglasses that perform well in all environments.



  • Sharp polarized lens
  • Comfortable
  • Environmentally friendly


  • Sizing doesn’t seem accurate


While I don’t have a large head, it’s certainly not small either. I found the Caddis to fit me just right. It fits snugly to my head yet not too tight. According to Zeal Optics, the Caddis frame fit is a “generously sized frame construction for a larger head or face.” Comparing the glasses to other pairs I own and wear frequently, they are slightly smaller and seem to be more averaged-sized than large. Again, no complaints for me personally, but something to consider if you do have a large head. 


The Zeal Caddis aren’t overly flashy which I prefer. The frame shape and details are a style that I find appealing. With sunglasses, there are certain styles people are drawn to, so I can’t say they are stylish for everyone. I do like the accent detail along the temple which gives it a bit of color contrast. The frame on mine is black with a small blue accent along the temple which looks great. 


These glasses have Zeal Optics Auto Sun lenses which blend photochromic technology with polarization. I found the polarization works well while fishing and for general protection from UV rays. Just to see how well they worked for fish finding, I was able to spot a fish while wearing them that I then immediately lost it once I took the glasses off. I spotted the fish again with the glasses back on. These glasses will likely be my new go-to sunglasses for fly fishing. When mountain biking, I have been wearing a pair of glasses from another brand that also have photochromic lenses. Those glasses go from completely clear to a dark tint, so this is what I am accustomed to. The Zeal Caddis start off with a slight tint and then darken from there. I don’t notice the change of color as much with the Caddis, since they already have a tint. Even though they are not completely clear, I have taken them on several mountain bike rides and when the lighting was low I was still able to see well. The other thing that impressed me with the Caddis was, given the humid climate in the southeast, I barely had them fog up on me, even after a grueling mountain bike climb in 90-degree heat with high humidity. Overall, I find the lenses and frames to be high quality and to function as advertised.


While I haven’t had the glasses long enough to really test the durability, they seem to be built well and will likely hold up to the abuse I’m known to put sunglasses through. I’m of the mindset of spending a little extra to buy a quality product that will hold up for years and I feel that the Zeal Caddis is certainly one of those products. The cool thing about the Caddis sunglasses is that they are constructed with Z-resin bio-plastic, a plant based plastic that is renewable, and reduces the overall environmental impact of the product. This alone had me sold on the glasses. I don’t know of many sunglass manufacturers out there that are using bio-plastics to construct their frames.   

Final Word

Overall, I think the Zeal Caddis are a great pair of sunglasses for all types of activities. They are excellent for spotting fish in the creek and perform well when speeding downhill on the gnarliest mountain bike trails. I love the fact that they are made from a plant-based plastic so even if they’re not the most expensive sunglasses, they certainly are top of the line in my book. With that said, I would like to see a bit more of a transition with the AutoSun feature and I think the sizing may throw some people off.   

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About the Gear Tester

Outdoor Prolink Pro
Forrest Stavish
Climbing Guide and Instructor :: Fox Mountain Guides

Forrest has worked as a climbing guide and instructor since 2012 and currently works for Fox Mountain Guides in Western North Carolina. He started climbing in 2005 on the gneiss boulders of Rumbling Bald in Lake Lure, North Carolina and roped up for the first time on the metasandstone of Table Rock in the Linville Gorge. Since then he has gone on to climb Mount Rainier, Mount Shuksan, and Forbidden Peak in the North Cascades. He has also made trips to climb in Red Rock outside of Las Vegas and numerous trips to closer destinations such as the Tennessee Wall in Chattanooga and the New River Gorge in West Virginia. Climbing is Forrest’s primary sport, but he also enjoys skiing, mountain biking, and trail running. You can follow him on Instagram at @forreststavish.

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