Six months after they first broke cover at the Vuelta a España, Oakley has officially announced the launch of its Kato sunglasses.
Claimed to be the result of decades of product research and development, the Kato is designed with a uniquely shaped lens, which follows the contours of the face much more closely than traditional sunglasses, including a bridge which is moulded around the profile of a rider's nose.
Available in Oakley's popular Prizm lens technology, the lens itself is one-piece in construction, and its brow is moulded outwards to offer rigidity without blocking the field of view. According to Oakley, this offers optimised coverage, wider field of view, better frame retention and improved impact protection.
Three different nose pads are included, each offers different levels of offset from the face to adjust fit. They are made from Oakley's own Unobtainium material which is said to provide a no-slip grip. The same material is used for the ear socks.
The sunglasses also include an adjustable rake mechanism, which tilts the lens vertically through +/- 30-degree angles in order to maximise the closeness of the lens against the face.
The long-awaited sunglasses were first spotted being worn by both Sam Bennett and Chris Froome in October, during the later-than-scheduled 2020 Vuelta, but official details at the time were sparse. Their next appearance in the WorldTour peloton came during the recent Tour of Turkey, when long-time Oakley-sponsored athlete, Mark Cavendish, wore them during his return to winning ways in his first victory in over two years.
With such a unique and distinctive aesthetic, the Oakley Kato sunglasses will certainly attract opinions, though it remains to be seen whether they will be widely adopted by pro riders, and how they will fare against the best cycling sunglasses.
Josh has been with us as Senior Tech Writer since the summer of 2019 and throughout that time he's covered everything from buyer's guides and deals to the latest tech news and reviews. On the bike, Josh has been riding and racing for over 15 years. He started out racing cross country in his teens back when 26-inch wheels and triple chainsets were still mainstream, but he found favour in road racing in his early 20s, racing at a local and national level for Team Tor 2000. He's always keen to get his hands on the newest tech, and while he enjoys a good long road race, he's much more at home in a local criterium.
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