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Hartwick College's Student Newspaper

The View From Oyaron Hill

Product Review:

Proof Sunglasses


Tim Raimy

Now that we’ve jumped into spring, it’s time to prepare for the good weather. Believe it or not, the sun does shine in Oneonta and when it does, it’s important to protect your eyes from it; Proof, a Boise, Idaho-based company dedicated to producing environmentally sustainable eyeglasses, can help you do so sustainable and in style.

The brainchild of brothers Tanner, Taylor, and Brooks Dame, Proof got its start in 2010, when founder Brooks unsuccessfully attempted to make a bamboo ski pole in his garage.

From this failure, the brothers were inspired to pursue manufacturing other wooden consumer products, and by 2011 the first prototypes of wood-frame sunglasses were created. Proof now makes a wide variety of sunglasses under four main manufacturing styles: Wood Collection, Eco Collection, Skate Collection, and brand new and still-in-development Aluminum Collection.

The Wood Collection contains all wood-framed sunglasses, with most models containing polarized lenses. What makes Proof’s wood-framed sunglasses unique is their dedication to sustainability: Proof uses only wood from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Council-certified sustainable forests. All sunglasses from the Wood Collection are outfitted with spring-loaded hinges so that they can flex easily to accommodate various head sizes and shapes, making them very comfortable to wear. I recently purchased a pair of sunglasses, called the Fairview, from this line; the wood is extremely smooth and comfortable sitting on the bridge of your nose.

Similar to the sunglasses in the Wood Collection, the sunglasses from the Skate Collection are also all made from wood, specifically the recycled decks of skateboards made from Canadian Maple wood, which gives the frames a layered look. Along with the Fairview sunglasses I purchased from the Wood Collection, I also bought a pair of sunglasses from the Skate Collection: the style is named Bud, after the Dame brothers’ grandfather. Sunglasses from the Skate Collection also feature the spring-loaded hinges, and provide the same comfort and smoothness of the wood as the Wood Collection.

My third, and final, pair of Proof Sunglasses is the Pledge style from the Eco, or Environmentally Conscious Optics, Collection. Sunglasses from this collection are made of one of two different materials: the same sustainable wood found in the Wood Collection, or 100% biodegradable cotton acetate. The cotton acetate is made from cotton grown in the United States and Canada that has been purified and aged. This process infuses the fibers of cotton into slabs of acetate, which is then hand cut and carved into the frame shapes. The wood for this collection comes from the same area and undergoes the same process as wood used in the Wood Collection.

These sunglasses are not outfitted with the spring-loaded hinge; instead they have the 3 & 5 barrel hinge, a sturdier hinge that does not flex the way spring-loaded hinges do. The reason for this difference is that cotton acetate is more flexible than wood, and needs a sturdier hinge to keep it from bending. This doesn’t make the sunglasses any less comfortable; still doesn’t pinch your head or hurt the bridge of your nose. I do not yet own a pair of sunglasses from the Aluminum Collection, as Proof is still in the process of getting the Aluminum Collection off the ground and into full manufacturing swing.

In addition to sunglasses, Proof also sells other wood and non-wood products. The company focuses on their connection to the environment and the people of the rest of the world. Proof works with and donates to The Nature Conservancy on a regular basis, donating $12,000 to the Idaho Conservancy in 2015 alone. They’ve also worked on multiple human relief projects since their company began, including tsunami relief programs in Japan, child soldier rehabilitation in Africa, reforestation in Haiti, and the founding of two eye clinics in India. The most recent project was the Philippines Project, which focused on surgeries to heal clubbed feet, cleft palates, and eye surgeries.

For more information, visit www.iwantproof.com.
  • Skate Collection
    Skate Collection
  • Eco Collection
    Eco Collection
  • Wood Collection
    Wood Collection
Skate Collection
Skate Collection