While prescription eyeglasses are on the Costa website, Costa del Mar is mainly known for its quality outdoor sunglasses. Which begs the question: glass or plastic?

Whether you choose glass or plastic lenses will depend on the activity, you choose to participate in. Costa glass is clearer and scratch-resistant, while plastic is cheaper and more durable. 

In this article, we will look at the differences between glass and plastic and what outdoor activities are better than wearing glass versus plastic. 

Difference Between Glass and Plastic Lenses

Sometimes, choosing between glass and plastic lenses can be a matter of preference. Regarding Costa lenses, there are a few differences to consider. 

We will look at four differences between glass and plastic lenses: weight, clarity, price, and scratch resistance.

Weight/ DurabilityPriceClarityScratch Resistance
More durable
More expensiveLess distortion
Polarization to stop glare
Scratch resistant
Impact resistant
Somewhat durable
Cheaper materialHigher clarity than most plastic lensesNot guaranteed scratch resistant

The good thing is that since Costa is made for activity, both glass and plastic are made to get wet whether from water sports or just being active. 

Still, depending on what activity is being conducted you are using the eyewear for, choosing glass or plastic is going to matter. 

Glass Lenses 

Costa glass lenses are going to be a little heavier, simply because glass weighs more than plastic. Plus they are going to be more expensive because of the material.

Yet, glass lenses have a lot of good features, as listed above. 

Their durability means they will last longer, and the clarity of the lenses makes them good for many outdoor activities. 

Their ability to be scratch-resistant helps with everyday wear and tear. 

They are glass, so while they may be a little more durable and resistant, you still want to make sure you protect them. 

Usually, you can tell if a Costa lens will be glass if they have a “G” at the end. For instance, the Costa Lightwave glass is tacked on with the serial 580G. 580 has to do with color.

Plastic Lenses

The plastic lenses are a polycarbonate mix, making them more durable. This will be marked with a “P” instead of a “G.” For example, 580P. 

They are cheaper and less durable. That isn’t to say that Costa plastic lenses aren’t more durable than normal glasses because they are. 

Costa lenses were made as active wear. So, they were meant to take some abuse. 

The durability comes from a special molecular bonded “C-wall,” which also makes up for some scratch resistance.  

Plastic lenses also allow you to see more “blue light” protection. Blue light glasses are great for multiple hours when you are on a screen. 

Whether reading, playing on your Kindle or working on your computer for long hours, you should always want to weigh comfort and eye strain. 

Outdoor Activities that are Better with Glass or Plastic

Costa del Mar glasses are made to be used in outdoor activities. Let’s look at why wearing one type over the other might be better.

Fishing with Glass Lenses

Fishing is an outdoor sport that requires clarity. It is best to be able to see, as well as minimize a glare. 

Normally, fishing is a sport that takes several hours. You don’t want to be stuck in the sun for a long while without some sort of polarizing lens

Scratch resistance is also helpful for going fishing. Even something like the wind can scratch your glasses over time. Having something that can take that abuse is good. 

Water Sports with Plastic Lenses

Water sports will be a fish of a different color than fishing. While fishing is fairly stationary, water sports will be more active.

You are going to want to have a lighter material, such as plastic. This is where the impact resistance is also going to make a difference. 

Plastic is a lot more durable and less likely to break than glass. This makes it ideal for water sports such as jet skiing, water skiing, surfing, and even tubing. 


Hiking can be a toss-up for which type of lens you want to use.

Once again, the polarizing nature of glass lenses will be great for hiking in all weather. Something that isn’t going to scratch as you hike through different environments.

Now, there is an appeal to having lighter glasses when hiking, so for those reasons, plastic sounds good. Plastic is going to have UV protection and is great for action. 

Plastic is also going to come in a variety of tints too, which makes it easier to see. Maybe not with as much clarity, but it can be fun. 

Be careful with the tints; however, they are not ideal for drivers, and you’ll need a different pair of shades to drive in.

Are Glass Costa Lenses Better than Plastic?

The opinion on whether one is better than the other is subjective. The differences in both of these lenses are going to make a compelling argument in either direction.

While glass lenses are more useful for activities in which you need to have more clarity and are scratch-proof, it doesn’t make them “better” than plastic lenses. 

The important thing is to choose what you feel more comfortable with and have those adventures worth having.