This summer I’ve worn at least a dozen different pairs of sunglasses as I’ve been testing out shades from reputable eyewear brands like Smith and Hobie. Now I can add Gatorz to the list because I got a chance to try out their new Marauder sunglasses and I’ve been wearing them daily for the past month or so.
The Gatorz Marauder is a precision-made pair of sunglasses that looks overbuilt but feels amazing. While I was skeptical about metal frames and their ability to be comfortable when worn all day long in the summer heat, they not only feel great on your face, but the lenses are superbly clear.
- Unique looking and feeling aluminum frames are very versatile
- Adjustable frames for a custom fit
- Comfortable and secure on your face
- Excellent lens clarity
- Made in the USA!
- Susceptible to bending out of shape
- Aluminum frames can get hot in sun
I didn’t know anything about Gatorz Eyewear and I had never handled any of their products until I received the Marauder. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was surprised by what I found.
Stick with me for this hands-on review of the newest member of the Gatorz family, the Marauder.
Hands-on Review of Gatorz Marauder Polarized Sunglasses
Gatorz sent me a pair of Marauders to try out in order to write this hands-on review as they launched their product. That said, this article is not sponsored and I wasn’t paid for my favorable opinion.
In the past month I have worn the Gatorz Marauder on road trips, riding my bike around town, and backpacking in the High Uintas of Utah. What you read here is my honest and objective opinion based on my own experience with these sunglasses.
When evaluating sunglasses, we consider five main criteria: comfort, design, coverage, function, and value. Each model of reviewed sunglasses is given a score between 1 and 5 for each category. The average of these five scores is the Outdoor Empire score. This helps us remain as objective as possible when comparing one product to another.
Outdoor Empire Score: 5
I have a hard time leaving my house without a pair of sunglasses on. I spend a lot of time outside for both work and play, and I hate squinting. Combine that with my narrow tolerance for what I consider comfortable when it comes to clothes, hats, shoes, or glasses, and my wife says I’m hard to please with said things.
It’s function over fashion for me. And above function comes fit and feel. The slightest bit of over tightness or concentrated pressure on my skull behind my ears from the temples of a pair of shades, and I’ll put them down forever.
So when I unboxed the Marauder, saw they were metal, and put them on for the first time, I didn’t think the two of us were going to get along.
But never fear, Gatorz had a handy little card in the package and an even handier YouTube video showing you how you can adjust (ahem, bend with care) their frames for a custom fit.
Boy howdy, it worked! I flattened out the temples a bit, opened up the frames from the nose outward, and bent out the nosepiece to accommodate my asymmetrical beak.
The result was a snug fit that doesn’t squeeze too tight and doesn’t bounce around my face while hiking or jumping on the tramp with the kids.
However, I was also skeptical of the weight of metal frames. But that too was a non-issue. Even after 12 miles of hiking in the backcountry, I didn’t feel a dull ache on my nose or temples from these shades.
They are as comfortable as the best of them.
Outdoor Empire Score: 5
It’s hard to stand out in the somewhat commoditized world of eyewear. And while the Gatorz Marauder hasn’t reinvented the wheel here, it has offered a unique look and feel that appeals to their core target customer of manly men. Special forces, former military, competition shooters, hunters, and everyday Americans will like their style.
The billet aluminum frames with a Cerakote coating look like a custom gunsmith job on a rifle. And what really stands out is how thin the frames are.
I don’t know how they manage to install lenses that are just as thin as the frame, but they do. Even the temples are a fraction of the thickness of an average pair of sunglasses. You really notice this because, once you’ve got them adjusted to your head just right, they don’t press against and push the backside of your ears outward which can be uncomfortable and look goofy.
Redundant stainless steel hinges with the exposed “rivets” on the outside look cool too. While I personally could do without the shiny 3D logo, these shades still look as sleek as they feel.
They don’t have super comfy spring hinges, but the aluminum frames are pretty forgiving so I never felt like I was going to break them by accident.
Outdoor Empire Score: 4
The primary purpose of sunglasses is to protect your eyes from the sun, but many will sacrifice this for style points. The Marauder, however, does the trick just fine.
I don’t give it full points here because some alternative eyewear like the Smith Guide’s Choice or Smith Castaway simply has larger lenses and wider temples that block out the sun even better. But for a good hybrid pair of shades for both everyday and active use, the Marauder does a great job.
They wrap nicely around your face, but not too much. The shape of the lenses provides decent protection from side glare, but do let some indirect sunlight bounce off your cheekbones and then up to your eyes from below the lenses.
The good thing is they do more than the bare minimum, they keep the pesky side glare out when you’re driving, and the polarized lenses provide fantastic UV protection.
Outdoor Empire Score: 4
Gatorz Marauders take a little manipulation in the beginning to get the right fit, but from then on they do their job. They even stay securely on my hat when I take them off indoors.
While this hasn’t happened to me yet, I imagine if you sat on these or if they took a hard fall and bent, it would be hard to get them back to their original shape. Unlike some acetate or plastic frames which can be pretty forgiving, aluminum may take the hit, but show the scar.
The clarity of the lenses was better than I anticipated and made me realize some of the other sunglasses I like are lacking a bit in that department. My pair has the Polar Green Mirror lenses, which look both green and blue depending on the angle. With more of an amber base, this is a great finish for a mix of light conditions and activities.
For full bright sunny days of offshore fishing, you may want the Polar Blue Mirror lenses whereas for overcast days of sight fishing on the fly in mountain streams you might want the Polar Gold Mirror. Whatever your interest or style, Gatorz offers a nice selection of lens options, but just the one frame color.
Knock on wood, but so far my lenses are not scratched, scuffed, or delaminating. A frequent weakness of polycarbonate lenses like these is the mirror finish which can rub off in unattractive patches. But only time will tell if that happens to the Marauder.
While I haven’t had a chance to test them yet, the ANSI/MILSPEC Marauder looks to be an awesome, albeit pricey, option for eye protection while shooting. They come with ballistic-rated lenses for impact resistance.
One downside about the aluminum frames is that when it’s really hot out, or when you leave them on the dash of your car while you run into the store, they can be scalding hot when you put them on. It’s not a deal breaker, but I did grab a hot surprise a couple of times.
Outdoor Empire Score: 4
Value is relative and when it comes to a nice pair of sunglasses, $200 +/- is becoming the norm. That is where the Marauder falls which makes it neither a steal nor a ripoff.
The only accessory you get with the Marauder is a soft microfiber pouch. Other glasses I’ve bought in this price range usually include a hard case and maybe a leash. This adds a little more value and it would be nice to see that from Gatorz.
One standout detail that is worth a few bucks is that Gatorz makes their sunglasses in the USA. I’m not sure about the lenses and I’d have a hard time believing it if they said none of their components come from another country. But in a high-margin industry where literally everyone manufactures their products overseas and just saying “assembled in the USA” is unique, it’s refreshing to see these sunglasses are made 100% domestically. This certainly plays a part in their appeal to hard-working and defending Americans.
Outdoor Empire Total Score: 4.4
While I probably would not have thought to purchase a pair of Gatorz eyewear before, they are certainly on my radar now.
The Marauder is an excellent option for every day, work, and outdoor use. They look good, feel good, and do what they need to do. I won’t hesitate to wear them hunting, fishing, or to the county fair.
The fact that they are made in the USA is the cherry on top.
But if you’re looking for some dedicated fishing sunglasses, you might find a pair you like better in our Best Polarized Fishing Sunglasses article.