Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Oakley Scalpel Adds Vision Precision

Casy StonerIn 1975, Jim Jannard decided not to go to school and started Oakley with $300 and a promise to make products that look better and perform better than anything else. He may have started with something simple — a new motorcycle handgrip — and then he never looked back. He looked forward, but not without sunglasses.

Oakley has two sunglasses on the market that deserve some attention — one is the Jawbone and the other is the Scalpel. Both perform better when you're looking for something a little more than lifestyle. All of Oakley's sunglasses are designed with a three-point fit, and all of them include a choice of lenses.

The Scalpel by Oakley.

One of the newer additions to the active line, the Scalpel comes with Oakley's vision for high definition optics and a base curvature around the sides that open your range of view, minimizing breaks to your peripheral vision. They also include the full line of innovations — complete UV protection and an emphasis on clarity.

What I like about the new Oakleys that inspire this review is they have a sleeker design, creating glasses that are great for casual sports but aren't so overwhelming that you need to change them. Sure, part of that is dictated by the color frames you purchase, but even with a highlighted color like red, the Scalpel doesn't draw undue attention like some of their other frames.

The Jawbone by Oakley

The Jawbone will certainly draw more attention to the frames, but I still have to give Oakley a nod for the glasses I almost bought. The frames open at the bottom, allowing you the opportunity to change out the lens. I was surprised how minimal the handling is to change lens. Amazingly, you can also remove and replace the nose piece.

Being able to change out the lens gives you the chance to change them for light conditions or weather conditions. I've always been a fan of vented lenses that can be purchased with the Jawbone frames. (Accessory lens are about $50 extra). The glasses do come with a "soft vault" pocket to store the lenses you aren't using. If you're wondering which have the bigger lens, it's definitely the Jawbone.

The skinny on Oakley optics and construction.

While I'm not going to say you can't break a pair of Oakley sunglasses, I can say that I've never broken a pair. Considering how hard I can be on sunglasses, they pass every test I can imagine. It's one of the reasons there are no shortages of sports stars willing to team up with them.

All of it is pretty simple, really. With every layer manufacturers add to sunglasses, two things happen. You add weight to the lens and distort the world around you. In some cases, the distortion is noticeable enough that sunglasses can add blur, magnify, or shift objects — attributes sportsmen, bikers, and skaters like Bob Burnquist could do without.

While the degree of protection varies, all Oakley sunglasses have some level of UV filtering. What's most important about its innovations in this area is that certain Oakleys filter all UVA, UVB, and UVC rays, which cause different types of damage to your eyes. Likewise, they tend to block more blue light (a major factor in glare) and build the protection into the lens.

While all of these features are important, one thing that I think has put Oakley ahead for sportswear is the amount of punishment they can withstand. Not only are the lenses better contrasted to withstand high impact punishment, the frames themselves are lightweight and shock absorbent.

The Oakley Scalpel Finds A Sweet Spot At 8.2 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

Sunglasses are one accessory where it never pays to keep up with trends. The best buys are those that get specific jobs done, especially if you are picking a pair for active or sports use. In other words, Oakley tends to fall in and out of fashion but its performance doesn't when you want something for real sportswear.

You can find more about the Oakley Scalpel at Amazon, which also carries a wide selection of other brands. The Scalpels come in a variety of prefab styles, ranging from $140 to $190. You can also find the Oakley Jawbone there (about $200). The Jawbone comes with two sets of lenses, but additional sets are extra. They carry the Asian Fit, which is especially comfortable for people with smaller noses.
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