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Oakley Sutro Lite Prizm Trail Torch Review

Phenomenal trail hues, browns, reds, and greys are sharp and crisp, while the frames have a "forget about me" lightness
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Oakley Sutro Lite Prizm Trail Torch Review
Credit: Joshua Hutchens
Price:  $202 List
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Manufacturer:   Oakley
By Joshua Hutchens ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 18, 2024
74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 19
  • Lens Quality - 20% 8.0
  • Fit and Comfort - 20% 7.0
  • Coverage - 20% 7.0
  • Frame Quality - 15% 8.0
  • Field Performance - 25% 7.0

Our Verdict

The Sutro Lite has become quite popular in the cycling world, and there are many reason why. The wide shield offers excellent wind protection and substantial coverage. Lightweight frames combine with dreamy trail optics, making them candidates for any rider's shortlist. Compared to many other wide shield models, these are slightly subdued. While somewhat understated, they're definitely a cycling-only sunglass unless you want to jump in the ring with the WWF. The lens clarity, coloration, and contrast are fantastic in mixed light trail conditions. The shield shape offers a good mix of wind protection and breathability at speeds under 25 mph; at higher speeds the wind became a distraction. Check out how they compare to the competition in our cycling sunglasses review.
REASONS TO BUY
Outstanding trail optics
Frameless lowers
Durable lens
REASONS TO AVOID
High speed wind ingress
Less ideal for smaller faces

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Star Rating
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Bottom Line Comfort and precision in a near perfect package for larger faces but offer less protection at higher speedsWe loved the versatile fit and performance of these excellent full coverage sunglassesThese glasses have great fog protection and a solid constructionThese glasses punch above their weight in almost every one of our metricsFor those ballin' on a budget, this is a high-coverage frame that feels as good as it looks
Rating Categories Oakley Sutro Lite P... Smith Wildcat 100% S2 Tifosi Sledge Blenders Eclipse
Lens Quality (20%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Fit and Comfort (20%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Coverage (20%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Frame Quality (15%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Field Performance (25%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Specs Oakley Sutro Lite P... Smith Wildcat 100% S2 Tifosi Sledge Blenders Eclipse
Fit Medium-large Medium-large Large Large-extra large Medium-large
Number of Lenses Included 1 2 2 3 1
Lens Tested Prizm Trail Torch Chromapop red mirror, clear Soft gold, mirror, clear Smoke, clear, AC red Polarized red and blue mirrored
Ideal Lens Light Conditions Medium light Chromapop red mirror: bright light
Clear: low light
Clear: low light
Smoke: medium to bright light
Clear: low light
Smoke: bright light
AC red: medium to bright light
Medium to bright light
Visible Light Transmission (VLT) 35% Chromapop red mirror: 15%
Clear: 89%
Unknown Unknown Unknown
VLT Protection Index Unknown Cat 3 Unknown Unknown Unknown
Polarized No No No No Yes
Lens Material "O" Matter - Nylon Plastic - carbonic Polycarbonate Plastic - polycarbonate Polycarbonate
Lens Type Cylindrical Cylindrical Cylindrical Cylindrical Cylindrical
Neutral/Contrast Increased contrast Increased contrast Neutral Increased contrast Increased contrast
HEV/Blue Light Protection Yes Yes Unknown Unknown Unknown
Protective Coatings Torch Iridium Hydroleophobic coating Hydrolio coating None None
Weight 32 g 32 g 31 g 39 g 32 g
Case Included Rigid zippered case and soft cleaning/storage bag Rigid zippered case and soft cleaning/storage bag Rigid zippered case and soft cleaning/storage bag Rigid zippered case and soft cleaning/storage bag EVA Case, pouch, microfiber cleaning cloth

Our Analysis and Test Results

Oakley has been making spectacular optics and polarizing styles since the 1980's. Arguably a leader in rimless and semi-rimless sunglasses, the Sutro Lite is a continuation of those styles with a minimal amount of frame, adding weight or impeding your view. According to Oakley, this model was “Inspired by the daily life of urban cyclists, the high-wrap shield creates a bold, versatile look, protects from the elements and enhances vision with Prizm™ Lens Technology, while inspiring athletes to move confidently and seamlessly through their day.” The Sutro Lite is one of Oakley's latest and features the Prism Trail Torch lens giving enhanced contrast to colors you're likely to encounter riding through the woods.

Performance Comparison


oakley sutro lite prizm trail torch - through extensive testing on the trail (and in the air), we offer...
Through extensive testing on the trail (and in the air), we offer you this review of the Sutro Lite.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

Lens Quality


We tested the Sutro Lite with Oakley's state-of-the-art Prizm Trail Torch lens and found them to be quite impressive off-road. The Trail Torch tint relies on rose-colored dies to tint the lens to the specific needs of off-road cyclists. Specifically, the Prizm Trail lens enhances brown and red hues giving you particularly high definition on the forest floor. The sharpness and clarity in the transition between different types of dirt, moisture levels, and different angles of the terrain enhance your perception of the trail. The non-polarized lenses also accentuate green hues, giving the forest canopy a bit of a wonderland vibe that makes it look. “even prettier than it actually is,” according to one of our testers. The Prizm Trail lens offers 35% visible light transmission which is quite high, exceptionally light-sensitive people may find them too light for a daytime ride. The flip side is that they offer stellar clarity in low-light and shaded areas of the trail. The lenses block 100% UVA, UVB, and UVC rays while blocking HEV down to 400 nanometers.


The Sutro Lite uses a cylindrical lens construction with “Plutonite,” which is Oakley's version of a polycarbonate that is highly impact-resistant. We didn't hit these lenses with a hammer, but we weren't exactly easy on them either. Good sunglass etiquette involves putting them back in the case immediately after each ride, using only the supplied cleaning cloth, and not subjecting them to sunscreen or scratchy bike jerseys; we didn't have good sunglass etiquette. After several months of riding with these, toting them around, storing them in helmets, and letting them slide across the dashboard a few times, they're no worse for wear.

oakley sutro lite prizm trail torch - the torch iridium coating makes them look futuristic, but the optics...
The Torch Iridium coating makes them look futuristic, but the optics are exceptionally good.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

Fit and Comfort


We found the Sutro Lite to be quite comfortable. With a weight of only 31.5 grams, the “Unobtanium” rubber nose piece rests gently on the bridge of your nose. The nose pad is soft and pliable but it does not adjust, the material itself is anti-slip, giving it impressive staying power over sweet and sunscreen. There is also “Unobtanium” rubber on the lower sides of the arms, where they rest on your ears. This is different from the Sutro and gives these frames a bit more comfort. The rubber coating on those three contact points provides more than adequate grip, we never experience any slip or movement of the glasses on any of our testers' faces. The arms are fairly long, and since they extend straight back, we occasionally experienced interference with MIPS liners or helmet retention straps. Most of the time, we could fit them over or under the helmet liner, but on occasion, movement of the helmet caused the frames to shift.


The fit of these glasses felt ideal on larger heads; our XL tester commented, “These are actually comfortable for hours on end without feeling like they're pinching my head.” Testers with smaller heads didn't experience any slippage, but the frames seemed aesthetically larger than they needed to be, and those with smaller heads preferred different fits. Oakley classifies them as a wide fit, and we'd agree. If you require a large fit, we'd recommend these over the Sutro, as the Sutro Lite's minimalist frame seems to flex with more ease.

oakley sutro lite prizm trail torch - the unobtanium rubber coating on the arms isn't easy to see on matte...
The Unobtanium rubber coating on the arms isn't easy to see on matte black frames but it's comfortable and prevents the frames from moving.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

Coverage


The Sutro Lite lens measures 138mm wide at its widest point and 55mm tall. Including the frame at the top of the lens, the glasses measure 58mm tall. The wide-shield cylindrical lens keeps you protected from the elements and is contoured to the shape of most of our helmets. Bugs, pebbles, and twigs were commonly observed deflecting off the “windshield” while on the trail. Oakley set out to give the Sutro Lite a bit more breathability than the Sutro, and they succeeded in that objective; even in low speed, high exertion, and sweaty climbs, our eyes stayed mostly dry.


In faster descents, we experienced enough wind ingress that it made our eyes water. Through repeated testing, we found the negative effects of airflow to begin at about 25mph. Testing these back to back with the Oakley Sutro and Smith wildcat, it seemed like the added frame may help to keep the airflow out at higher speeds. Using these glasses for trail running, we found them to breathe adequately, and we couldn't run fast enough for airflow to be an issue.

oakley sutro lite prizm trail torch - with a high vlt, the trail torch can be a bit light on bright sunny...
With a high VLT, the Trail Torch can be a bit light on bright sunny days.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

Frame Quality


Oakley O-Matter” frame is a lightweight nylon-infused plastic that was comfortable to wear, returned to its original shape, and flexed when we needed it to. Unlike some minimal frame shield-style shades, the nose piece is actually connected to the frame with a thin bar that descends from the brow. It's not noticeable while riding, but you can see it if you're trying to look cross-eyed. The Unobtanium rubber coating on the arms solves the comfort issue we experienced with the Sutro and prevents any slippage or discomfort. Some of our testers expressed that they would have preferred a pliable nose piece that would allow them to adjust the lens up or down on their face based on where it contacted the nose, but no one complained about its comfort.

If we had any issue at all with the Sutro Lite frame, it would be the lack of adjustability in the nose piece. It seems like it would have been easy to make that a moldable piece that would allow you to adjust how low or high the lens sits on your face. We liked the softness of the Unobtanium rubber and found it comfortable, but just a small bit of adjustability could have gone a long way.

oakley sutro lite prizm trail torch - the simple and minimalist design works well and encourages...
The simple and minimalist design works well and encourages ventilation, sometimes a bit too much.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

Field Performance


One of the things we really liked about the Sutro Lite was the lack of a lower frame. Not having a frame in the lower part of your field of view seems sensical on a bicycle, affording you better visibility of your controls. While your view is indeed unobstructed, the lack of a lower frame may have been responsible for letting additional airflow behind the lens. At lower speeds, that ventilation is welcome but as our wheels spun faster, air ingress began to be an issue. In technical sections of riding or trail running scenarios, we were typically at speeds below 25 mph, and the increased clarity and contrast were absolute plusses. At higher speeds, however, the distraction of too much air behind the lenses became a point against the Sutro Lite.


This is a well-designed pair of shades, and honestly, we'd expect no less from Oakley. We didn't use these exclusively for mountain biking, taking them on several trail runs as well. They stay put remarkably well and feel light on your face. They never fogged, evening insanely cold desert trail mornings. The only caution we'd give to potential buyers is about their high VLT, these lenses allow a considerable amount of light in and especially in exposed high alpine riding, they felt more like safety glasses than sunglasses.

oakley sutro lite prizm trail torch - the demands of trail riding are squarely met with the clarity and...
The demands of trail riding are squarely met with the clarity and precision of the trail torch lens.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

Style


While styling is largely subjective, the bright shield of color wrapped around your face isn't exactly a versatile lifestyle sunglass. Our test pair wasn't neon green or covered in splatter paint but they definitely feel like specialized shades to be worn with a helmet only. We can't be sure how much you'll value our opinion of the styling but these glasses worked well with all of our mountain bike gear. We tried them on the road, and while there were no issues with the styling, the lens color and high VLT made them a sub-optimal choice for non-dirt surfaces. Oakley certainly offers more polarizing styles, and even with the bright shield of rose-tinted polycarbonate between us and the world, we didn't feel like we were too far in the future.

oakley sutro lite prizm trail torch - stylishness is subjective, but they don't feel out of step with...
Stylishness is subjective, but they don't feel out of step with cycling fashion.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

Case Quality


The Sutro Lite includes a sturdy, zippered case with a standard sunglass bag for cleaning and storage. The case is cloth-lined and rigid enough to protect the glasses from almost anything they could encounter. The case looks to be a standard issue, and while it works well, there are no foam inserts or protective pads inside, so the glasses do jostle around inside the case.

oakley sutro lite prizm trail torch - the case for the oakley sutro lite is rigid and protective but...
The case for the Oakley Sutro Lite is rigid and protective but there's nothing to stop the glasses from bouncing around inside.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

Should You Buy the Oakley Sutro Lite Prizm Trail Torch?


If you want to treat yourself to incredibly high-definition trail riding, the Prizm Trail Torch lens is amongst the nicest available. This lens can be had with several different frames and the Sutro Lite is worthy of your consideration. If you're a trail rider who prioritizes breathability and can handle a little wind at high speeds, these may be the ticket. If you'd rather wipe the sweat from your brow occasionally and have better high-speed coverage, look for something with a bit more coverage. At over $200, we didn't feel like these were an excellent value but the more we rode with them, the more we were convinced that seeing the trail in HD was just about priceless. Those with larger heads/faces will be happier with this model than those requiring a smaller fit.

oakley sutro lite prizm trail torch - gravel riding in the sutro lite offered high clarity and excellent...
Gravel riding in the Sutro Lite offered high clarity and excellent ventilation.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

What Other Cycling Sunglasses Should You Consider?


If more coverage and better airflow protection are at the top of your list, the Smith Wildcat or the Oakley Sutro would be our top choices. The Wildcat nails the frame design and is available with ChromaPop lenses, which do a remarkable job of enhancing colors and contrast. If you want something a bit more value-oriented, the Tifosi Sledge and Blenders Eclipse both offer exceptionally good performance for the dollar.

Joshua Hutchens