Oakley Sunglasses: Why I love them.

by
Apr 3, 2005 (Updated Oct 18, 2005)


The Bottom Line One of the best pair of sunglasses you can buy.

This is my summary on Oakley sunglasses. I love these things and you’ll soon figure out why.

Why I got it
I originally bought my first pair because I needed a good pair of glasses for riding (on a motorcycle.) They needed to be resistant to debris that is kicked up by other vehicles, protect my eyes from the wind, and be comfortable for long periods of time. I had bought a couple of cheaper pairs of goggles and sunglasses that just did not do the trick but the Oakley brand met those requirements. I have not had any regrets about it since.

What I own.
M frames- These are great glasses because they offer maximum protection and do not have a blind spot. The other great benefit is the lenses are interchangeable. I have a very dark lens and a yellow set that I switch out for night riding. These glasses are very comfortable and very secure.
Minute- I bought these because I wanted a pair of sunglasses that looked cool. The M-frames are much more practical than this pair but not as stylish. I used this pair mostly for driving. They are also a comfortable and secure pair of glasses (notice a pattern yet?). The thing I dislike about this pair of glasses is they have a blind spot so I have to turn my head a little more to see any vehicles on my side.
Why 8.0- I bought these because they had greater coverage over my eyes than the minute and they do not have the blind spot. They also look more stylish than the m-frame. I never felt comfortable using the Minute as my riding glasses but I do feel comfortable using these. And these glasses are also prescription glasses thanks to a very nice benefits package my employer gives me. This pair of glasses is comfortable and secure.

They are secure.
All of the Oakley's I have tried on are very secure. I can shake my head violently and was not able to dislodge the glasses, yet all of the glasses were relatively comfortable. I have tried on about a dozen of their glasses when I went shopping for the various sunglasses I have bought over the years and all but 2 felt comfortable to me. You should have no fear about having your glasses fall off during a roller coaster ride or other violent experiences (including falling off a motorcycle at 40 MPH).

Comfort
The only problem I have had with some glasses I have tried is the tips of the arms pinched me. This I assume is a personal issue but it is also something I recommend you look at carefully before purchasing a pair of Oakley's. Most pairs I have tried, including the one's I own, do not do this to me. Also the nosepiece's are comfortable and secure. I do not have to readjust them every time I look down, just when my baby girl tries to take them off my face.

About prescription lenses
I finally bought a pair this past December that were prescription based and I love them. The only drawback is price. These glasses are expensive. Not only do you have to pay for the normal price but you have to pay additional prices for things like drill holes,
The first thing you should know is that stores like REI cannot order prescription glasses, and I tried to get them to. I had to go through my optometrist. Also if your Optometrist is not a certified vendor then you will not be able to get Oakley sunglasses. My co-workers that have Kaiser as their insurance will not get their insurance to pay for any of the Oakley line of sunglasses, my insurance company paid for half of these glasses which cost around $450. They can start at $125

Lens tints
The lens tints vary from 9%-93% light elimination. This ultimately depends on what you want to do with your glasses. Most of us will go as dark as possible just remember that some of the iridium lenses can get scratched more easily (that may have changed now but that is what I was told about 3 years ago.) If you want to play sports then you want the clear ones. If you ride/drive at night then you will want the yellow lenses. The yellow eliminates the blue colors and actually makes it easier to see. I was amazed at the difference the first time I tried on a pair of yellow glasses. But for those of you that are worried about looking stylish wearing yellow… don’t… you will look like a geek.

UV protection
This is not an option, it is on every lens and you shouldn’t buy a pair of sunglasses from anyone unless you have UV protection. Ultraviolet rays are above the light spectrum (and are the same rays that cause sunburns) so they are not blocked by tinted glass, only rays in the light spectrum are. Non-UV sunglasses will damage your eyes because the darker glasses opens up your pupils more which allows more UV rays to enter in and can increase damage to your eye. In summary, this is a bad thing.

Polarization
This is an option for non-prescription and prescription glasses. Basically it works just like a polarized lens on a camera in that it eliminates light waves that come in at certain angles. This will not only make the sky bluer but it eliminates certain reflections from water and other reflective surfaces. In summary, it is not an essential feature but a nice one that I recommend for the extra money.

Price
These glasses are not cheap. I would say that if $100 is too much for a pair of sunglasses then look elsewhere. But for me $100 is not much for the comfort and eye protection they provide me. For prescription glasses, expect to pay $120-$500 for a pair (depending on model and options.)

How can I get a discount on a pair of Oakley's?
An old friend of mine worked in a pharmacist office that sold Oakley glasses. This conversation took place before I bought my first pair and it started when he noticed I was drooling over the case. Well he proceeded to tell me what great glasses they were and what a controlling company they were. They are very careful who they allow to sell their products. The store or pharmacist has to go through classes and be trained on the product. What it told my friend was that they cared a great deal about their product and who sold it. Oakley takes a great deal of pride in their name and wants their vendors to do the same. They also want to keep the value of their product very high.
The following is an example of Oakley’s control of their product. REI every year has a 20% off sale on one item in stock.....except for Oakleys. They even have to put a disclaimer on the window of the store. I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t get the discount. The REI salesman told me that they would lose their right to sell Oakley’s if they discounted Oakley products. This company policy insures that Oakley products stay the same price no matter who sells it.

How come Costco discounted their Oakleys several years ago?
Because Costco did not buy their glasses from Oakley. Basically Oakley sells a lot of their outdated designs to other countries and then these countries sell it back to certain U.S. companies. Companies like Costco then sell the Oakley glasses they got to the general public at a discount. But what the general public does not know is there is no warranty on these glasses. So if you do buy a discounted product just hope it is not a defective product, otherwise you are stuck with the defect.

Do they protect your eyes?
The lenses are more expensive then normal sunglasses because of the lenses. They are rated at a much higher level for impact resistance. This is the reason I bought them for riding. Athletes know this and use these glasses (in addition to other companies with high standards.) And for the record, I have not had an experience where my Oakley’s were put to the test (thankfully) so I am relying on what the company says. And I apologize to those of you in advance that want me to take a hammer to my glasses while they are on my head, I’m not really in the mood to do my typical tests today. The following website lists their tests and does a better job than I can in explaining what they do.
http://oakley.com/technology/impact_protection/
But to summarize one test, they shot a quarter inch steel ball at the lens as just over 100 MPH and no part of the frame or lens contacted the eye. I am quite sure you would need a new pair of glasses after that happened but not a new eye.
Another design feature of a pair of Oakley sunglasses is they are angled to deflect, instead of absorb, the force of an impact.
The following story is a precautionary tale for parents and outdoor enthusiasts alike. I had an old co-worker that ran a skateboarding club after school. One day he was doing a trick that flipped the skateboard 360 degrees in the horizontal plane. Well while trying this trick, the skateboard went flying into the air and hit him in the eye. It dislodged the nerve cord that connects his eye causing partial blindness. He regrets to this day not wearing his Oakley's that were in his classroom 50 yards away. For legal reasons I can’t say that a pair of Oakley glasses would have prevented his eye from being damaged but both he and I feel that his glasses would have deflected the force of the skateboard and decreased the trauma substancially. This is also the reason I will have no problem spending the money on a pair for my kid when he starts doing crazy stuff like skateboarding and riding a motorcycle. J

Accessories available
Cases- Oakley makes some very nice cases. I have two. One is designed perfectly for the M-Frame and one extra pair of lenses and the other came with my prescription glasses. They are made out of some woven material but are very durable. They also have cases that are encased in some type of metal.
Lenses- Some glasses like the M-Frames have interchangeable lenses. For me I have yellow lenses for night riding/driving and dark lenses for daylight.
Straps- They even sell straps as an accessory. These appear to be mainly for sport activities.

My maintenance issues with my m-frames and other problems
I had a problem with my m-frames within 6 months. The earpiece (arm) broke off from the front frame. My wife simply dropped them off at the Oakley offices in southern California and they replaced it without any questions. I was very pleased and impressed.
The only other problem we have had is my wife just broke her minute glass by having my daughter sit on them. The arm was already weakened by having my daughter play with them a few weeks earlier. Since I have been using my prescription glasses (since I no longer wear contacts) I just gave my wife my pair of minute glasses.
Other than that I have had no problems, not even with scratches. Just keep in mind that different models will fit people differently so try them on before you buy.

Features As stated on their website.
-Lens Tints that optimize performance for any light condition.
-Lens material that blocks 100% of all UV Radiation.
-Impact Protection that surpasses ANSI Industrial Standards.
-Technology that produces the Best Polarized Lenses on the Planet.
-Patented lens geometry that offers razor-sharp Optical Clarity.

Summary
I feel these are the best sunglasses you can buy. Yes I am biased, I have owned three pairs and my wife one. Not only are they comfortable, but they are extremely durable. I have never tried on a pair of sunglasses that are more comfortable, in fact I prefer to wear my prescription sunglasses indoors instead of my normal prescription glasses. The company honors their warranty when something does go wrong. The only drawback to these glasses is the price, but once you get past that you will not be disappointed.

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Member: Alan Lake
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