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Reviews > Eye Protection and Binoculars > Sun Glasses > Maui Jim Malia sunglasses > Owner Review by Jennifer Estrella

Maui Jim Sunglasses - Malia

Owner Review by Jennifer Estrella

June 26, 2008


Personal Information

Name:  Jennifer Estrella
Age:  33
Gender:  Female
Height:  5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Weight: 140 lb (64 kg)
Email address: jennksnowy at yahoo dot com
City, State, and Country: 
Orange County, California, United States

Backpacking Background

After getting into the outdoors scene camping while 4-wheeling and day-hiking, I switched to backpacking in the early 2000's. I have backpacked extensively in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho along with California, Pennsylvania and Nevada. I have slowly been cutting my base weight to be able to go longer in both duration and distance. I have done so mainly by using better gear and dumping heavy luxuries. (I also married a sherpa to help.) I backpack year round in all weather, and usually take a free standing tent and a gas stove on all my trips. I love trying out new gear.


Malia Sunglasses

Product Information

Manufacturer: Maui Jim
Web Site:
Product: Malia H125-10
Year Manufactured: 2007
MSRP: $189.00 USD without prescription lenses
Color Reviewed: Tortoise (available in Gloss Black)
Lenses Reviewed: HCL Bronze, single vision prescription, ST Glass (available in Neutral Gray)
Size: Eye size 54, Bridge 16, Temple 130, 6-base
Face Shape: For oval, square, pear face shapes

Weight Listed: None listed on website
Actual Weight : 36 g (1.27 oz)

Warranty: Maui Jim Sunglasses are warranted to the original purchaser for two years from the date of purchase against any defect in materials and workmanship. This warranty does not apply to normal wear, including lens scratching or accidental breakage.

Product Description

The Maui Jim Malia sunglasses are named after the Hawaiian word meaning rare. During the past 18 months I found it to be rare that I was not wearing my Malia sunglasses.

The Malias are more appropriate for the female gender, according to Maui Jim's gender skew chart on the website. This model of sunglasses is suggested for oval, square, and pear face shapes. They are available in prescription strength through an optical dealer. When making my initial purchase of the Malia sunglasses I was provided with the option of glass or polycarbonate lenses. I chose the glass lenses since they have a reputation to prevent scratches. Even though they can shatter I did not anticipate that I would be wearing the glasses during activities in which this would be likely. My other Maui Jim sunglasses have the polycarbonate lenses.

These sunglasses are available with Neutral Grey lenses which have the highest available light reduction. They are suitable for all light conditions especially bright, direct sunlight. The HCL Bronze lenses (the ones I am reviewing) are intended for low light conditions or for the wearer who likes a subtle bronze hue for everyday wear. These lenses offer excellent contrast.

The lenses have the Polarized Plus 2 Technology which offer protection from three types of glare (directed, reflected, and bounce back). They also have a polarization filter that blocks 99.9% of reflected glare, maximizing the available light. With the glare out of the way three earth elements boost color, increasing the amount and color the eyes naturally perceive. These elements are neodymium, erbium, and praseodymium. The lenses also manage blue light to prevent visual pollution and vision to be flat. The Malias lenses have a wide and large coverage area that I like. It prevents an abundance of light entering around the lenses.

The Malias come in what appears to be a durable case. The initial case I owned with the glasses was a large hard clam shell case. I was sent a smaller hard clam shell type of case after the sunglasses were returned from Maui Jim for repairs that I will note later in this report. Both cases were lined with a soft suede-like material and had the Maui Jim name debossed on the top of the case and screen printed on the inside.


The Malias have a nylon frame that is tumbled in teakwood and bamboo and is intended to be lightweight, durable, and easy to adjust. They also have adjustable metal core temples to create a personalized fit. The nickel/silver alloy hinges provide strength, easy movement, and are resistant to corrosion. The lens treatments and the frames are indicated as being saltwater safe. The spring hinges are intended to hug the head for lasting fit and comfort.

The frames of the Malias that I purchased are the brown tortoise color. These frames are a tortoise design with some semi-transparency in which the darker and lighter colors of the tortoise design are seen. The Maui Jim name is in gold script letters on the temple sunglass arms and on one lens (the left when looking at them straight on). On the inside of the sunglass arms is the patent number, model number, and "Made in Italy" in white.

Product Fit

I have an oval face shape and I found that the Malias complement my facial features well. This is actually the main reason why I selected this model for my purchase. Initially when I purchased the glasses I had them fit by my optical store. It was easy to obtain a perfect fit. They had to do some modifications to slightly bend the frames and I believe this was done with heat. When wearing the glasses I do not get red marks on my nose or any irritation on my ears.

Product Use

Let me just say that I wear these sunglasses almost every day. I wear them for hiking, backpacking, driving, around town, to the beach, and on my daily walks. They are not worn while road biking, mountain biking, rock climbing, snowboarding, or skiing due to the possibility of shattering the glass lenses. During those activities I wear a discontinued model from Maui Jim that has polycarbonate lenses. Plus the prescriptions lenses are on the expensive side and I can not afford a new pair if they are broken due to my negligence.

I have worn them all over the state of Utah (Zion National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Arches National Park, Moab, St. George). I have also worn them in Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. In California they were worn in the San Bernardino Wilderness, San Jacinto State Park, Newport and Huntington Beach. They have been worn traveling, on work assignments, and walks at local parks and around town in Florida, Kentucky, Washington, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

The Malias have been worn in temperatures below freezing and above 100 F (38 C). The elevation has ranged from sea level to over 11,000 ft (3,353 m). They have been worn in rain, snow, fog, low light, cloudy conditions, dusk, and bright sunshine.

sitting on a rock


Well I must say that I love the optics in these sunglasses. Actually I love the optics in all the Maui Jim sunglasses that I own. However, I like the HCL bronze lenses the most for the light that I generally wear the Malias in. My eyes are very sensitive to light and I need a lens that eliminates harsh light and glare, I found what I needed with the Malias. They have proven to eliminate water, sand glare, and general day to day glare I encountered. I have hiked on snow while wearing these glasses and they do a pretty good job of eliminating the glare. They do not completely eliminate it on snow, but they do a good job. I have determined that I need a different lens color to be worn in the snow. I have worn them in dusk to dark conditions and I can still see. I also have a tendency to wear them indoors while shopping. They are just so comfortable for my eyes to look through. There is no distortion with the polarized lenses at all.

I did notice that in cooler temperatures when I am breaking a sweat they do tend to fog up. I alleviate this by pulling them away from my eyes to let some air in to clear up the fog. The temple sunglass arms are on the wide side and they do at times obstruct my vision. It is minimal and I have adapted to the obstruction. I do not really notice any obstruction unless I am driving and I have to check my blind spot.

There are no scratches on my glass lenses. The main reason why I purchased the glass lenses is that I figured I paid a pretty penny for the prescription lenses that I wanted them to last a very long time without scratches. However, I did break the lenses and it was my negligence. I tripped and fell on the sunglasses and the lenses cracked. I took them to my optical store that I frequently visit. They told me that the lenses should not have cracked the way that they did from the kind of impact I had. So they sent them off to Maui Jim and I got a new set of lenses free of charge. Maui Jim also fixed the frame that was severely bent. I was very surprised that Maui Jim replaced the lenses since I did fall on the glasses. The replacement lenses do not differ at all in the quality or the workmanship of the original pair that I purchased.

The case is very durable. It has been sat on and dropped with no damage to the glasses contained inside the case. The case has a few nicks on it, but it is completely functional. I usually keep a cleaning cloth inside the case.

I generally clean the sunglasses with the cleaning cloth or some lens cleaning solution. Basic sweat a light dirt is easily removed with the cleaning cloth.

Things That Rock

  • Exceptional optics with no distortion
  • Excellent job of eliminating glare
  • No blue light transmission
  • No scratches on the glass lenses
  • Maui Jim did an excellent job repairing the glasses


Things That Are So So

  • The cost of the prescription lenses is double the MSRP of the regular glasses
  • The frames and lenses are slightly heavier than my polycarbonate glasses



Hands down the optics in the Maui Jim Malias are exceptional. They are the best pair of polarized sunglasses I have ever owned. I wear them almost daily. Hopefully they will last me many years until I need a new set of prescription lenses.


Read more gear reviews by Jennifer Koles

Reviews > Eye Protection and Binoculars > Sun Glasses > Maui Jim Malia sunglasses > Owner Review by Jennifer Estrella

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