By National Geographic Adventure Contributing Editor Steve Casimiro, editor of The Adventure Life
For years, my buddies and I used to joke about “Oakleyvision”—how the world seemed so much sharper and brighter when you slipped on pair of Oakley sunglasses. Back in the day, sport sunglasses from other manufacturers didn’t seem up to quite the same standards, and Oakley’s lenses really stood out. Eventually, though, other manufacturers gained traction and Oakleys, while top notch, didn’t seem as special. Well, the O has a new polarization technology and it’s like Oakleyvision 2.0—the wow factor is back.
I tested the grey iridium lenses in Oakley’s Scalpel frames ($180) and was blown away by the contrast, sharpness, and glare reduction. Slip on the shades and it’s like entering another world—the sky bluer than blue, the sheen off the noonday pavement cut to zero, the reflection on water reduced dramatically. Out for a sea kayaking session, I could actually see to the bottom of the ocean, and in Southern California that’s saying a lot.
Oakley will give you a half dozen reasons why their “OO Polarized” is superior (infusion molding! axis of orientation!), and while that might be based on facts, it sounds mostly like marketing to me. Ignore it. Go to your nearest Oakley dealer, slip a pair on, and make your own judgment. See for yourself—that’s the only evaluation that matters. But I suspect you’ll find yourself thinking that most everything looks better in Oakley polarized.