Over the past twelve years I logged nearly 50,000 miles on my bike and have worn cycling glasses for every single mile. When I started cycling I wore inexpensive sunglasses that one of the major bicycle chains sells—they were good for a season, but not much more because cheap glasses are made with cheap parts. I’ve bought several pairs of Oakley sunglasses, but have never owned a pair myself (I have two sons who served in Iraq and ended up buying Oakley sunglasses for them and a few of their friends—if you know anything about Marines you know how much they love their Oakleys). A few weeks ago the folks at ADS Sports Eyewear offered to send me a pair of Oakley sunglasses to review and I jumped at the chance!
ADS Sports Eyewear sent a pair of Oakley Half Jacket 2.0 XL polarized sunglasses and I’ve used them for over 900 miles of cycling last month alone. The box that these glasses came in said they had “Oakley High Definition Optics.” My first thought was that this was just marketing hype. However, after I put the glasses on I realized this was not hype! I’ve never worn a pair of sunglasses that provided a clearer or sharper image than these Oakleys! According to Oakley, these glasses have an “Iridium lens coatings (to) balance light transmission and reduce glare.” I can’t explain how the magic happens, but am happy to tell you it works!
I would rather show you how the lenses on these glasses work than tell you, but photographing through the curvature of the Oakley lens is very difficult. I you were an old-school photographer I’d tell you that these lenses are like adding a Tiffen warming filter to your Nikon camera. However, since we all use Adobe Photoshop now, let me explain it this way: The lenses on these glasses take your scene and bump up the contrast, increase saturation, adjust the hue to a warmer color and the sharpen the image. If neither of these descriptions help you much, let me try it another way. The first picture below is just a standard photo of a bike trail. In the second photo I’ve adjusted the hue, saturation and sharpness to the way I perceive the Oakley sunglasses work (again, this is just my interpretation—these photos represent the way I think the glasses render a scene).
In addition to giving you a beautiful view of the world, these glasses have special components in the rims that increase grip when you sweat—something every athlete will appreciate! These Oakley frames have a “Three-Point Fit” that keeps the lenses in precise alignment. These glasses filter out 100% of UVA / UVB / UVC light and meet all ANSI Z87.1 standards for impact resistance. The curvature of the lens protects you from the sun, wind and impact, and the wide peripheral view stays sharp no matter where you are looking!
Oakley Half Jacket 2.0 XL polarized sunglasses retail for $180. ADS Sports Eyewear is an authorized web-dealer for Oakley sunglasses—you need to be aware of the fact that many of the “cheap Oakleys” you see advertised online are just knock-offs. One more thing about ADS Sports Eyewear, according to their website, “All of your credit card information is encrypted, and none of this information is stored on the ADS Sports Eyewear web site.” As a security freak this really appeals to me!
ADS Sports Eyewear also offers Prescription Oakley Sunglasses. This past summer a good friend of mine got a pair of Panoptx 7Eye Briza Women’s Prescription Sunglasses from ADS and was very pleased—she used them for both bike riding and motorcycle riding.
One Warning: Just because you can see better doesn’t mean that cars can see you better! There is no question that these glasses will sharpen and improve the contrast of whatever you are looking at, but it is very easy to assume that because your vision is clear everyone else has improved vision as well. One foggy morning I went out for a ride with these sunglasses on and had no trouble seeing, but when I stopped at a rest area to check my email I realized just how foggy the day was—and how glad I was to be wearing “high-definition” glasses!