Oakley Flight Jacket Review
Compare to Similar Products
Oakley Flight Jacket
$99.49 at Amazon
|$146.30 at Backcountry|
Compare at 4 sellers
|$269.00 at Evo|
Compare at 2 sellers
|$69.95 at Backcountry|
Compare at 4 sellers
$59.00 at Amazon
|Pros||Excellent optics, storage case, "Advancer" nose pad, good eye protection||Super comfortable, quality frame, excellent optics, two lenses included||Excellent coverage, comfortable, great lens options||Inexpensive, three lenses included, good optics, good dust and debris protection||Inexpensive, great coverage, good styling|
|Cons||Expensive, only comes with one lens||Dust protection||Heavier than others tested, expensive||Difficult lens swaps, can fog easily when stopping||No lens coating, lenses not interchangeable|
|Bottom Line||These glasses have a unique style, excellent optics, good coverage, and a great fog management system||Super comfortable with great coverage, two lenses, and a stellar all-around performance||Maximum protection and superb optics built into a sleek and comfortable frame||An impressive value with high-coverage, high-performance, and three lenses included at a reasonable price||An affordable, high-coverage frame that is comfortable and built to last|
|Rating Categories||Oakley Flight Jacket||Smith Wildcat||Smith Pursuit||Tifosi Sledge||Blenders Eclipse|
|Lens Quality (20%)|
|Fit and Comfort (20%)|
|Frame Quality (15%)|
|Field Performance (25%)|
|Specs||Oakley Flight Jacket||Smith Wildcat||Smith Pursuit||Tifosi Sledge||Blenders Eclipse|
|Number of Lenses Included||1||2||2||3||1|
|Lens Tested||prizm road||chromapop red mirror, clear||ChromaPop glacier, photchromic copper, gold mirror, clear||smoke, clear, AC red||polarized red and blue mirrored|
|Ideal Lens Light Conditions||medium to bright light||chromapop red mirror: bright light; clear: low light||copper gold mirror lens: medium to low light; clear lens: low light||clear: low light; smoke: bright light; AC red: medium to bright light||medium to bright light|
|Visible Light Transmission (VLT)||20%||chromapop red mirror: 15%; clear: 89%||7%-45%||unknown||unknown|
|VLT Protection Index||Cat 2||Cat 3||Cat 1 to Cat 4||unknown||not specified|
|Lens Material||plastic - "plutonite" polycarbonate||plastic - carbonic||polycarbonate||plastic - polycarbonate||polycarbonate|
|Neutral/Contrast||increased contrast||increased contrast||increased contrast||increased contrast||increased contrast|
|HEV/Blue Light Protection||yes||yes||unknown||unknown||unknown|
|Protective Coatings||iridium coating||hydroleophobic coating||hydroleophobic coating anti-fog||none||none|
|Weight||33 g||32 g||41 g||39 g||32 g|
|Case Included||rigid zippered case and soft cleaning/storage bag||rigid zippered case and soft cleaning/storage bag||performance case, microfiber pouch||rigid zippered case and soft cleaning/storage bag||EVA Case, pouch, microfiber cleaning cloth|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Oakley is one of a few elephants in the room in the world of performance sunglasses. The industry giant has been making quality high-performance eyewear for decades, helping to raise the bar of optical clarity, eye protection, and style along the way. The Flight Jacket is a model with large coverage, unique styling, quality optics, excellent eye protection, and fog-free performance. We took these glasses to task against a stacked field of performance sunglasses for several months during the late summer, fall, and early winter. We tested them while road and mountain biking, trail running, and even backcountry skiing in a huge range of weather conditions.
Oakley has a long history of making some of the finest sunglasses available, and this includes its high-quality lenses. The Flight Jacket comes with a spherical Plutonite lens that meets the ANSI Z80.3 standards for impact resistance and blocks 100% of harmful UV rays.
Our test model came with their Prizm Road lens with a 20% VLT, which provides incredibly crisp, clear, and distortion-free optics. Oakley's Prizm technology does a great job of enhancing the color, definition, and contrast in a strikingly similar way to Smith's Chromapop lenses. The 20% VLT worked well in a range of light conditions, although we occasionally found it to be a little darker than we'd like in deep woods or rapidly changing light conditions. In those lighting conditions, we'd probably opt for their Prizm Trail lens with a much higher VLT percentage.
The Prizm Road lens we tested comes with a bright orange-red reflective coating which we found to be quite durable and resistant to scratching throughout our test period, despite heavy use and abuse. During our testing, the lens remained relatively fog-free, even without the use of the Advancer nose bridge, an adjustable nose pad that extends to push the glasses further away from the face to enhance airflow and fight fogging. Overall, we feel these are some of the highest-quality lenses on the market.
Fit and Comfort
The Flight Jacket is a comfortable pair of sunglasses, but they couldn't quite match the highest levels of comfort provided by our top-rated models. Testers found the comfort level quite good, with a medium to large fit that works for various face sizes. The glasses come with two arm lengths that can be swapped out to meet your needs or preferences or to improve their fit with cycling helmets. The arms and the nose pad are made with Oakley's signature Unobtanium rubber that is smooth and comfortable and keeps the glasses in place impressively.
The curved lens and wrap-around design of the glasses fit quite close to the face. While the fit was generally fine for our testers, they are more prone to make contact with our cheeks than most of the models we tested. You can adjust how close the glasses sit to your face with the Advancer nose bridge. While this system does work well for its intended purpose, testers found the top portion of the nose pad to make slight unwanted contact with the brow.
Oakley's Flight Jacket offers some of the best coverage and eye protection in our test selection. The spherical lenses are 140mm wide and 53mm tall and have a wrap-around curvature that fits quite close to the face. In addition to the large size of the lenses, there is a little additional coverage in the form of the frame at the bottom and side of the lens. These glasses provide excellent protection from the Sun, debris, and especially the wind when traveling at high speeds. Whether on the mountain bike or riding the road at speed, there was very little wind interference around the eyes.
In typical Oakley style, the Flight Jacket has a unique and eye-catching frame design. In addition to its flashiness, many of the elements of the frame design are performance-oriented for high velocity and high-intensity activities. Oakley has a long history of using proprietary materials and naming them, and they have constructed the frame with lightweight O-Matter and Unobtanium. These are fancy ways of saying plastic and rubber but with Oakley's signature naming and engineering. The O-Matter plastic is, in fact, quite lightweight and the Unobtanium rubber nosepiece and ear stems do an excellent job of securing the glasses on your face with little to no slippage, even when you've worked up a sweat.
The frame has a medium to large fit with an aerodynamic design that wraps around the sides and bottom of the large lens, which is frameless across the top. The frameless brow design is intended to increase the upper field of view and does so quite effectively. Very little of the frame is visible unless you go out of your way to look for it on the lower periphery.
Oakley also incorporated the aforementioned Advancer nose bridge into the frame design. This bridge lets you press a tab at the bridge of the nose, which extends the glasses out and away from the face to increase airflow and decrease the likelihood of fogging. This design is unique and quite effective. The nose piece isn't adjustable for width, but testers found it relatively comfortable.
The arms attach high on the outside edges of the frame with a small but solid hinge, and they dip slightly before extending straight back. The dip of the arms puts them slightly lower on the side of the head and helps reduce potential conflict with helmets with more temporal lobe coverage.
Oakley includes two arm-length options, which can be easily and quickly swapped out for helmet compatibility. About midway down the arms, there is a notched cut-out, and the latter half of the arms can be removed and switched out in just moments. The shorter arms are meant to be less likely to conflict with a helmet's straps and adjustable retention system.
When the rubber hit the road, the Flight Jacket performed right alongside our favorite models in the test. Oakley's well-designed frame with hydrophilic rubber contact points does a great job of keeping these glasses from sliding down your nose or bouncing off your face when you start to sweat or hit the rough spots in the trail.
The wraparound lens's close fit to the face ensures that the Flight Jacket provides ample protection from wind and dust at high speeds but also causes some sweat channeling issues. We didn't experience wind interference or eye-watering on fast descents with this model. The Prizm lens protects your eyes so you can focus on what lies ahead. Occasionally, this model can have some problems channeling sweat away from the lens on hot days. The lack of an upper frame crossbar and the close fit combine to mean sweat can easily drip off the forehead and onto the lens. The hydrophobic lens treatment meant this wasn't a huge issue initially, but eventually, we would have to do a full lens clean to remove the salt streaks.
We had no problems with these lenses fogging up on us throughout testing. The frames allow enough airflow that our vision stays clear even when slogging up a skin track in the backcountry at a slow pace and breathing out of our eyeballs. Should you start to experience fogging, all it takes to alleviate it is pressing the Advancer nose bridge to move the glasses out and away from your face to increase airflow.
Oakley has been pushing the limits of style for quite a long time, often leading the charge and creating new trends. The Flight Jacket is a good example of this, a uniquely styled pair of glasses that has already become quite popular among certain circles of athletes.
The large reflective spherical lens is flashy on its own, and having a frame across the bottom and sides of the lens with a frameless brow gives these glasses a truly distinctive look. It's eye-catching and a bit futuristic, as we've come to expect from Oakley.
The Flight Jacket comes with a small zippered case and a microfiber storage/lens cleaning bag. The case is small, just bigger than the glasses, making it more packable than the larger cases included with the Smith Attack Max and the 100% Speedcraft. The case inside is lined with a soft felt-like material that won't damage the lenses or the frames. The storage bag is relatively standard with a drawstring at the top, but it also has an extra sleeve on the outside to store an extra lens or the 2nd set of included arms.
Oakley products aren't known for being inexpensive, and the Flight Jacket continues the trend. They are an excellent set of performance sunglasses with outstanding optical clarity and good coverage for high-velocity activities. And they are still less expensive than some of their direct competition.
You'll have to decide on the value of the Flight Jacket, but we feel that competitors that come with two lenses, like the Smith and 100% models we tested, offer more bang for the buck with a strikingly similar level of performance.
The Flight Jacket quickly rose to the top and became one of our tester's favorite pairs of cycling sunglasses. They provide great coverage, eye protection, excellent optical clarity, a relatively comfortable fit, and a unique fog management adjustable nose piece. It is undoubtedly one of the best cycling sunglasses models on the market and a great option for riders or runners who value fogless lenses.
Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.Learn More