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Why do these Nike sunglasses cost $395?

Nike's new Vaporwing sunglasses for runners may not have any electronics, but according to Nike Vision a lot of technology went into building them.

The Vaporwing Elite will come in a few different color options when it's released this spring.
David Carnoy/CNET

Nike Vision has a new line of sunglasses out for runners this spring, and the top-end Vaporwing Elite and Vaporwing will run you $395 (about £275 or AU$560). That's the kind of price we're used to seeing for so-called smart glasses, but these sunglasses don't recharge or have any electronics in them. Yet Nike says a considerable amount of technology went into designing and building them.

The new sunglasses, for which Nike Vision developed "new materials and vision technology," are designed to conform to the shape of a runner's face but also offer good ventilation to prevent fogging. On top of that lensmaker Zeiss created "state-of-the-art optics that deliver advanced acuity, so the athlete can lock on a moving target, accurately identify objects and assess distance."

I didn't get a chance to take the Vaporwing Elite out for a run, but I did try it on, and it's certainly a very lightweight, comfortable pair of sunglasses. Needless to say, these are designed for and marketed to elite runners, which I am not. You could potentially use them for biking, but the Nike reps told me they're really for runners and that down the line they would have new sunglasses geared more directly toward bikers.

A view inside.

David Carnoy/CNET

The Nike Vision spring running collection has five models, with UK and Australian prices yet to be announced:

  • Nike Vaporwing Elite ($395)
  • Nike Vaporwing ($395)
  • Nike Tailwind ($145-$165)
  • Nike Tailwind Swift ($145-$165)
  • Nike Bandit ($145-$165)

The Tailwind and Bandit are available with prescription lenses. All of the new glasses will be available in April at Nike.com.

Updated at 3:08 p.m. PT with information on availability and prescription lenses.