A brand new pair of sunglasses have been spotted at La Vuelta a España, worn by a select few Oakley-sponsored athletes including Chris Froome (Ineos Grenadiers) and Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep).
After a little bit of digging, Cyclingnews understands that these are likely to be known as Oakley Kato.
Oakley, a market leader in the sunglasses space, is widely accepted as a manufacturer of some of the best cycling sunglasses available and they're not afraid of pushing the boundaries of design, a fact that is proven here with the Kato, with their single wraparound lens that will be sure to divide opinions.
They are frameless, and therefore, it is the lens that does much of the heavy lifting when it comes to the design of these shades. Easily the standout feature is the nose-piece area of the lens which is shaped around the rider's nose. From images shared on the O-review forum, it looks as though there is a nose-piece built into the lens to aid fit and comfort, but that does nothing to negate the divisive aesthetic. With that said, rumours suggest there may be an alternative pair available which foregoes the bump in favour of a traditional nose piece.
The brow of the lens steps up in a similar fashion to Oakley's Flight Jacket sunglasses, but for the Kato, it features an outward leaning lip. As for why, we're not entirely sure, but our prediction is that this section could be an airflow play, enabling (or preventing) airflow as necessary to prevent misting in the absence of vents.
The trailing edge of the lens extends into a point, not all that dissimilar to the brand's Radar and M2 frames, but with particularly sharper finishing point, which is also backed up by an additional piece of plastic, which - another prediction - looks to be designed to direct airflow around the ears.
The glasses came to the public eye after Chris Froome posted a particularly unsubtle, close-up photograph on social media, however, the sunglasses have already picked up a WorldTour win, thanks to Sam Bennett's Stage 4 win into Ejea de los Caballeros on Friday.
A launch date is as yet unknown, but Cyclingnews has reached out to Oakley for additional details and will bring you further details as and when they become available.
Originally from Bude but now based out of Exeter, Josh is the former eCommerce manager of the Bike Shed in Devon. After racing cross-country with friends as a youth, he soon turned to road cycling. Nowadays, 27-year-old Josh is a Cat 1 road racer for Team Tor 2000. While he enjoys a good long road race, he's much more at home in a local criterium. He dabbles in fair-weather cyclocross and will happily slog out a century if you reward him with cake. Oh, and in his spare time, he writes about tech and deals for Cyclingnews and BikePerfect. Rides: Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL6 Disc, Trek Emonda ALR, Specialized Crux.
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