Oakley Flight Jacket sunglasses review

Great looking shades with anti-fogging flip switch

This article first appeared on BikeRadar.

BikeRadar Score: 3 stars

BikeRadar Verdict: "Excellent aesthetics and lens performance marred by poorly functioning and unnecessary feature"

  • Highs: Faultless Oakley Prizm lenses, great looks, secure fit
  • Lows: Fog reducing 'Advancer' feature seems unnecessary and is uncomfortable when used, the price
  • Buy if: You like the looks, want pro-level performance and high-quality sunglasses, but don't get too excited about the anti-fogging feature

The Oakley Flight Jacket sunglasses were released earlier in the year during the spring Classics.

As with many Oakley models, the Flight Jacket sunglasses are futuristic-looking and offered in an array of bold, as well as more conservative, colour and lens options. The new shape is similar to the popular Jawbreaker model, although the Flight Jacket loses the top part of the frame and the lower section has a chunkier, more beefed-up finish.

The Flight Jacket, perhaps expectedly, comes with Oakley's sensational Prizm lenses, with the company offering Prizm Road, Prizm Low Light or Prizm Trail for road, low light or off-road riding, respectively.

Each of the Prizm variants are dialled to enhance visibility in their specified area depending on riding type — think greys and blues for road riding, browns and greens for trail riding — and if you haven't yet experienced Prizm technology, put simply, it works exceptionally. Helping to increase the contrast of vision and making colours pop while riding.

The sunglasses are a similar design to the Oakley Jawbreakers, although the top section of the frame is removed

By removing the upper edge of the frame, the Oakley Flight Jacket has a great field of vision while in an aggressive riding position or when in the drops. However, the chunkier lower sections of the frame do somewhat limit visibility, an issue BikeRadar also found with the Jawbreaker models.

The Oakley Flight Jacket is, obviously, not the first set of cycling sunglasses to include a lower section and side area of a frame, but the restricted visibility was noted when looking down to the gears, or even when turning to look behind. This may not be an issue for racers who generally have their eyes forward on the road ahead, but for the rest of us it is a limitation.

Oakley's 'O-Matter' frame material results in a secure and comfortable fit that never feels insecure or uncomfortable when worn, while the considered, near perfect ergonomic shape, is nothing less than you would expect from Oakley.

Advancer switch to combat fogging or overheating

Having generally worn Oakley sunglasses for the past five years of riding, my only experience of sunglasses fogging up when riding is when stationary at the top of a climb, and that probably goes for any brand of cycling-specific sunglasses I've ever worn.

While fogging sunglasses may be more common in tropical climates or humid mountain climbs, I suspect the majority of Oakley consumers rarely experience any severe fogging issues.

A look at the 'Advancer' switch when open

The Oakley Flight Jacket features a switch on the nose, which, when flipped, positions the sunglasses further away from the face to improve ventilation to the inside of the lenses. 

However, when engaged the nose bridge loses the usually comfortable 'Unobtanium' soft rubber nose pads for bare plastic, which when tapping away on the top of your nose while cycling results in discomfort in what is essentially an unnecessary feature.

Furthermore, with certain helmets that feature a larger frontal section (a sized medium POC Ventral, for example), the top of the sunglasses is also prone to repeatedly hitting the helmet, which results in an annoying tap that significantly outweighs any anti-fogging benefits. Though other riders in the office with larger heads didn't experience the same issue.

You can open the fog reducing 'Advancer' switch by placing your thumb on the underside of the frame and your index finger on the switch

Engaging the switch while wearing the Flight Jackets is simple enough. Placing your thumb on the underside of the sunglasses enables you to flick the switch easily with your index finger for the frame to be away from the face.

Pushing the sunglasses back against your face pops the switch back to the original position

When the inevitable discomfort or helmet tapping outweighs the de-fogging benefits, again using your thumb and index finger, press the sunglasses against your face at the temples area, popping the switch and sunglasses back to the original position.

The prominent switch on the centre of the frame also detracts from the otherwise neat aesthetic of a well-designed pair of sunglasses and, at 33g, the sunglasses are around the same weight of the Oakley Jawbreaker sunglasses.

Oakley Flight Jacket overall

At £185, the Oakley Flight Jacket sunglasses are by no means cheap, but if they last as long as any of Oakley's earlier models, the money will be well spent over five seasons at least.

I'd like to see any future iteration of the Oakley Flight Jacket lose the Advancer switch, however.

The Oakley Flight Jacket has a great, ergonomic fit

Losing the switch would possibly improve aesthetics further, save weight and potentially allow for a thinner lower section of the frame, improving the range of vision further.

For me, the Oakley Prizm lenses' standard-defining quality, combined with the great design of the Flight Jacket sunglasses is enough of a sell and the sunglasses would have likely scored a near-perfect rating.

The Oakley Flight Jacket sunglasses are available in a range of colours, limited edition designs and lens choices.

Buy the Oakley Flight Jacket sunglasses from Wiggle here.

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