Louis Garneau Speed Kit Transformer vs. Course II Polarized sunglasses

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Louis Garneau. Louis Garneau Speed Kit Transformer vs. Course II Polarized sunglasses

The Rundown

After about 10 years, I decided it was finally time to replace my tired, broken, sports-sunglasses.  I use them exclusively for running and cycling, and my wish list was quite basic. First and foremost, I wanted a well ventilated frame to minimize fogging and keep me cool. Second, I needed a large enough lens to give me good coverage. Lastly, I didn’t want to spend a fortune. With those attributes in mind,  I quickly zeroed in on two models from Garneau – Speed Kit and Course II.  I ordered both pairs from Altitude for comparison and below are my observations on how the two models stack up.

Louis Garneau Speed sunglasses
Louis Garneau Speed glasses and case

Style

A very subjective topic, although I think the design of the Speed glasses is quite generic for the running/cycling market. That isn’t a bad thing – the style is tried and true. The frame comes in glossy white contrasts nicely with the lenses. The Course II, on the other hand, have a more distinctive and original design with the squared lenses and vented temples. The fames come in black and “clear smoke”, with is a translucent grey.  I opted for the clear smoke and I really like the monotone, understated look it creates with the grey lens.

Louis Garneau Course sunglasses
Louis Garneau Course glasses and case

Frame Size & Fit  

Both frames are light, comfortable and hold firmly in place.  Each model is equipped with an adjustable polymer nose piece, although I prefer the one used on the Speed glasses which is noticeably softer.   Garneau qualifies these glasses as having a medium-large fit, although I’d say they are more on the medium side. That said, the lenses on the Course Ii glasses are less tapered then those on the Speed glasses, giving them more of a larger, rectangular look and providing more coverage. Since I looked vain to find the actual dimensions of these products, I decided to measure them myself for those of you who may be interested in buying these glasses. Below are the approximate dimensions:

Measurement

Speed

Course II

Lens length end to end*

160 MM

155 MM

Maximum Lens Width (Centre)

42 MM

40 MM

Minimum Lens Width (End)

20 MM

30 MM

Temple Length

135 MM

135 MM

*Both models have one continuous lens that is not separated at the bridge
Louis Garneau comparison
Left: Speed. Right: Course.

 

Lenses & Accessories

First off, both frames allow you to change the lenses. And by “lenses” I actually mean “lens” because each model is designed with one continuous lens that runs the length of the frame. The Speed glasses come with three sets: Grey, Amber, and clear.  The Course II comes with only one – Grey Polarized.  Comparing Grey to Grey, the polarized have a bit darker tint and, as you’d expect they do offer better contrast and glare reduction.  The lenses in the Course Ii are also vented for more breathability.  That said, both sets do a great job blocking the sun and are crystal clear. It should also be noted that polarized lenses can interfere with your ability to view “some” LCD screens. In my case, there was no issue with my cell phone, but I was only able to read the screen on my Garmin 305 GPS watch at certain angles.  This wasn’t a show stopper for me personally, but it is something that you may want to investigate before opting for a polarized lens.

In terms of accessories, the Speed glasses also come with a strap and an RX adaptor, whle both models come in a foam insulated zippered hard case and include a microfiber cleaning cloth.

Louis Ganreau sunglasses review
Left: No lens. Middle: Course. Right: Speed

Performance

I recently did a 5K run in 30+ humidity, and the Course II glassed performed very well remaining clear and free of fog and moisture.  I did not field test the Speed glasses (spoiler alert, I chose the Course II), but based on the wide open design, I’d expect similar performance.

Value 

I think both models offer good value at their respective price points.  I would say that if you don’t need the benefits of a polarized lens (namely superior glare reduction), the Speed model is probably a better value given the lower price point and the inclusion of the extra lenses and other accessories.  That being said, polarized lenses are universally more expensive and many individuals may consider this feature a prerequisite, particularly those who will use their glasses on or in close proximity to the water where glare can be a major issue. Relative to their polarized competitors, the Course Ii offers great value.

And the winner is….

I guess calling it a draw is a cop-out, but honestly I think these models are both winners.  They are each well made, with light flexible frames and crystal clear lenses.  The Speed gives you three lenses at a lower price, but the Course II offers vented polarized lenses that offer superior contrast and glare reduction. In my case, the Course II came out the winner, primarily because the larger lenses offered me better eye coverage.  I also frequently run and ride on trails that run alongside the river, so I do appreciate the polarization.  If you are in the market for glasses and considering these models, you’ll have to pick your own winner based on how they fit your face and whether you’ll benefit from a polarized lens. At the end of the day getting a quality product at a fair price is always a win-win situation in my books.

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