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Published on September 14th, 2011 | by Greg


Oakley’s Fast Jacket Shades: Change Lenses On The Fly

Sun­glass­es have firm­ly en­tered the fash­ion world. From fair­ly hum­ble be­gin­nings, they now come in so many col­ors and styles that it can make your head spin. Which makes sense, as the vast bulk of lenswear mod­els of­fer sim­i­lar pro­tec­tion against the sun (po­lar­iza­tion is great, as it def­i­nite­ly of­fers 100% UVA and UVB de­fense, but so do many oth­ers that are not po­lar­ized). And po­lar­iza­tion of­fers oth­er ben­e­fits against glare, though come with a trade-off that many LCD screens are more dif­fi­cult to read. Dura­bil­i­ty mat­ters, as does weight, but it’s now style and per­for­mance that can make or break a brand.

Oak­ley knows this well. Be­sides their port­fo­lio of over 600 patents, they are known for their re­search and de­vel­op­ment, along with a fair­ly dis­tinc­tive and con­sis­tent look and feel. Ad­vances in ma­te­ri­als are ob­vi­ous in a va­ri­ety prod­ucts, but so many sun­glass­es and their lens­es seem to be made from the same plas­tics as al­ways. Oak­ley’s Fast Jack­ets are dif­fer­ent, in a few ways, and though they cer­tain­ly aren’t right for ev­ery­one, they are some pret­ty nifty shades.

In­clud­ed are both a se­mi-hard case and a small­er draw­string bag, as well as some nice ex­tras like ex­tra nosepa­ds and clean­ing ac­ces­sories. Even the box is cool, though the case it­self is a bit annoying.We had a num­ber of peo­ple try these on, and they are def­i­nite­ly on the larg­er size- folks with small­er faces should look at an­oth­er style, as they on­ly come in one size. Sev­er­al col­ors are avail­able though, in­clud­ing blue and white, though ours were the pol­ished black. And while wom­en may look great in them, they were in­tend­ed for men. The fit is sol­id, a bit loose around the tem­ple and a bit tight around the ears, and ours felt slight­ly off-bal­ance at first (they didn’t lay flat on a lev­el sur­face). With some ad­just­ments though, we took them out for some ac­tiv­i­ties- a day on a boat, bik­ing, and at the beach.

The most im­por­tant fea­ture is their in­ter­change­able lens sys­tem. For many peo­ple, it might not be a big deal at first, but once you get used to it the sys­tem is pret­ty nifty. Two sets of lens­es were in­clud­ed, for bright con­di­tions as well as low­er light­ing- and we found the twist-and-snap re­lease and lock they call “Switchlock”to be sim­ple once you get the trick. The mag­ic isn’t so much in the idea- we’ve seen oth­ers like it be­fore- but this one was im­pres­sive due to the en­gi­neer­ing. The lens­es, once locked in­to place, were ex­treme­ly tight and felt in­dis­tin­guish­able from sol­id bond­ed frames. One def­i­nite wor­ry was that we would smudge the lens­es dur­ing chang­ing, as there is no oth­er way to han­dle them but by touch­ing the lens di­rect­ly. But thanks to their hy­dropho­bic coat­ing, our sweaty fin­gers left nary a mark or streak, which was the most sur­pris­ing thing of all. The lens­es them­selves were ex­cel­lent- sol­id op­tics with no dis­tor­tion, and with plen­ty of vis­i­bil­i­ty to the sides and bot­tom. And though they aren’t ul­tra­lightweight, they aren’t heavy ei­ther for the size. A va­ri­ety of lens­es are avail­able, all poly­car­bon­ate, and pre­scrip­tion ver­sion are al­so pos­si­ble. At $220 MSRP but avail­able for less on­line, these aren’t in­ex­pen­sive, but are com­fort­able, durable, and of­fer a fun con­ver­sa­tion starter- and have the bonus of be­ing sort of two dif­fer­ent sun­glass­es in one.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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