The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Oakley Flight Jacket Review

The Oakley Flight jacket has a unique style, excellent optics, and good coverage.
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Price:  $223 List | $223.00 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Excellent optics, storage case, modern style, good eye protection
Cons:  Expensive, only comes with one lens
Manufacturer:   Oakley
By Jeremy Benson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Sep 17, 2019
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88
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 10
  • Lens Quality - 20% 10
  • Fit and Comfort - 20% 8
  • Coverage - 20% 8
  • Frame Quality - 15% 9
  • Field Performance - 25% 9

Our Verdict

Oakley's Flight Jacket is a quality set of high-performance sunglasses suitable for a wide range of athletic pursuits. Recently, these shades have become very popular with all types of cyclists and trail runners alike. This uniquely styled pair of glasses have large spherical lenses and excellent coverage, resulting in some of the best eye protection in the test. They come with Oakley's signature Prizm lenses, which provide impressive optical clarity and help to enhance definition and increase contrast. The frame is thoughtfully designed with adjustable arms to work with cycling helmets and an adjustable Advancer nose pad for fog and sweat management. They also come with a zippered hard case and a microfiber bag for cleaning and storage.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Excellent optics, storage case, modern style, good eye protectionsuper comfortable, quality frame, great optics, two lenses includedExcellent optics, good wind protection, 2 lenses included, easy lens changes, quality storage casegoggle-like coverage and protection, two lenses included, good opticsLots of coverage, two lenses included, quality storage case
Cons Expensive, only comes with one lensdust protectionExpensive, you have to take off arms to put them in their caselarge fit, stability issues on smaller facesSome air movement around eyes, non-adjustable nose piece, may be too big for some faces
Bottom Line The Oakley Flight jacket has a unique style, excellent optics, and good coverage.The super comfortable Wildcat offers stellar all-around performance and won our Editor's Choice Award.The Smith Attack Max checks all of our boxes and was one of the best models we tested.The Glendale offers goggle-like performance and great optics in a comfortable, breathable package.The Speedcraft is a popular pair of performance sunglasses that is big on coverage with a flashy and bold style.
Rating Categories Oakley Flight Jacket Smith Wildcat Smith Attack Max 100% Glendale 100% Speedcraft
Lens Quality (20%)
10
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10
10
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9
10
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10
10
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9
10
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9
Fit And Comfort (20%)
10
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8
10
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10
10
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9
10
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8
10
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7
Coverage (20%)
10
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8
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8
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8
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10
10
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9
Frame Quality (15%)
10
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9
10
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9
10
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8
10
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9
10
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9
Field Performance (25%)
10
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9
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9
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8
Specs Oakley Flight Jacket Smith Wildcat Smith Attack Max 100% Glendale 100% Speedcraft
Fit Medium-Large Medium-Large Medium-Large Large Large
Number of Lenses Included 1 2 2 2 2
Lens Tested Prizm Road Chromapop Red Mirror Chromapop Red Mirror Yellow HiPER Red
Ideal Lens Light Conditions Medium to bright light Chromapop Red Mirror: bright Light Clear: low light Chromapop Red Mirror: Bright light Chromapop Contrast Rose: Low to Medium light Soft Yellow: Medium to low light Smoke: Low light HiPER Red Mirror: Medium to bright light Clear: Low light
Visible Light Transmission (VLT) 20% Chromapop Red Mirror: 15% Clear: 89% Chromapop Red Mirror: 15% Chromapop Contrast Rose: 48% Yellow: 68% Smoke:12% HiPer Red Mirror: 21% Clear: 93%
VLT Protection Index cat 2 cat 3 cat 3 Yellow: Cat 1 Smoke: Cat 3 cat 2
Ideal Activity road cycling, mountain biking, running Mountain biking, running, road cycling road cycling, mountain biking, running Running, mountain biking road cycling, mountain biking
Polarized No No No No No
Lens Material plastic - "Plutonite" polycarbonate plastic - Carbonic plastic - Carbonic plastic - polycarbonate plastic
Lens Type spherical cylindrical spherical cylindrical cylindrical
Netral/Contrast Increased contrast Increased contrast Increased contrast Increased contrast Increased contrast
UV Protection 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
HEV/Blue Light Protection 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Impact Resistance Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Protective Coatings Iridium coating Hydroleophobic coating Hydroleophobic coating Hydrolio coating Hydroilo coating
Weight (grams) 33 32 32 41 32
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 Rigid zippered case and soft cleaning/storage bag

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 Oakley Flight Jacket is one of their newer models with large coverage, unique styling, quality optics, and excellent eye protection. 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.

Performance Comparison


The Flight Jacket proved to be a tester favorite  especially on bright sunny days and at high speeds.
The Flight Jacket proved to be a tester favorite, especially on bright sunny days and at high speeds.

Lens Quality


Oakley has a long history of making some of the finest sunglasses available, and this includes their 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 provide incredibly crisp, clear, and distortion-free optics. Oakley's Prizm technology does a great job of enhancing 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.

Bright sunshine and blurry fast speeds are where the Prizm Road lens excels. Oakley's optics are definitely some of the best around.
Bright sunshine and blurry fast speeds are where the Prizm Road lens excels. Oakley's optics are definitely some of the best around.

The Prizm Road lens we tested comes with a bright orange-red reflective coating similar in appearance to many of the other models we tested, except for the POC Do Half Blade. We found this coating 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, tied in this metric with the lenses of the Smith Attack Max.

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 to be quite good with a medium to large fit that works for a range of 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 well.

Comfortable glasses allow you to focus on the trail ahead of you. The Flight Jacket is pretty comfy but not quite the best.
Comfortable glasses allow you to focus on the trail ahead of you. The Flight Jacket is pretty comfy but not quite the best.

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 unwanted contact with the brow.

With lots of coverage and wrap around style  the Flight Jacket was made to protect your eyes and they do a good job of it.
With lots of coverage and wrap around style, the Flight Jacket was made to protect your eyes and they do a good job of it.

Coverage


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.

Oakley's focus on eye protection is apparent in this well made set of glasses, they are comparable to the Smith Attack Max and the 100% Speedcraft in this metric. The 100% Glendale, however, offers better coverage than any other model we tested.

The right set of shades can make a huge difference and improve the way you see the world around you while protecting your eyes no matter what you're doing. Oakley's Prizm lenses are among the best.
The right set of shades can make a huge difference and improve the way you see the world around you while protecting your eyes no matter what you're doing. Oakley's Prizm lenses are among the best.

Frame Quality


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 unique frame design of the Flight Jacket has a frameless upper portion for enhanced visibility.
The unique frame design of the Flight Jacket has a frameless upper portion for enhanced visibility.

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 it does so quite effectively. In fact, very little of the frame is visible at all 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 rubber glasses out and away from the face to increase airflow and decrease the likelihood fogging. This design is unique and actually quite effective. The nose piece isn't adjustable for width, but testers found it to be relatively comfortable.

Advancer nose bridge in.
Advancer nose bridge out.

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 that have 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.

The overall frame quality appears to be very good, and the thoughtful additions like the adjustable nosepiece and two arm lengths are welcome additions that can help enhance your comfort when in use. The frame feels robust, durable, somewhat less bulky than that on the 100% Speedcraft. It also feels stouter and less flimsy than the super-lightweight frame of Julbo Aero.

The distinctive look of the Flight Jackets is sure to turn some heads.
The distinctive look of the Flight Jackets is sure to turn some heads.

Field Performance


When the rubber it 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' 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 any of the wind interference or eye-watering on fast descents with this model. The Prizm lens keeps your eyes protected so you can focus on what lies ahead. Occasionally, on hot days, this model can have some problems channeling sweat away from the lens. The lack of an upper frame crossbar and the close fit combine to mean that sweat can easily drip off of 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.

Throughout testing, we didn't have any problems with these lenses fogging up on us. The frames allow enough airflow that, even when slogging up a skin track in the backcountry and breathing out of our eyeballs, our vision stayed clear.

Style


Oakley has been pushing the limits of style for quite a long time, often leading the charge and creating new trends along the way. 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 quite 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 definitely a bit futuristic as we've come to expect from Oakley.

Case Quality


The Flight Jacket comes with both a small zippered case and a microfiber storage/lens cleaning bag. The case is small, just bigger than the glasses, making it somewhat more packable than the larger cases included with the Smith Attack Max and the 100% Speedcraft. The inside of the case 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.

Everything that comes with the Flight Jacket  including a zippered case  storage/cleaning bag  and 2 lengths of frame arms.
Everything that comes with the Flight Jacket, including a zippered case, storage/cleaning bag, and 2 lengths of frame arms.

Best Applications


The Flight Jacket is well suited to high-intensity activities where you may be moving at high rates of speed. Running, road and mountain biking, cross-country skiing, the list goes on and on. They provide excellent optical clarity along with excellent coverage and wind protection.

The Prizm Road lens we tested is best for consistently brighter light conditions like you might experience while road cycling or in more open and less forested terrain. There are several other lens options to choose from for medium to low or more variable light conditions as well. For more information, check out the Other Versions section at the end of the review.

Value


Oakley products aren't known for being inexpensive, and the Flight Jacket continues the trend. That said, 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, like the POC Do Half Blade.

You'll have to make your own decisions 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.

Wearing the Flight Jacket is likely to improve your wheelie game.
Wearing the Flight Jacket is likely to improve your wheelie game.

Conclusion


The Flight Jacket quickly rose to the top and became one of our tester's favorite pairs of performance sunglasses. They provide great coverage and eye protection with excellent optical clarity and a relatively comfortable fit. Overall though, they were bested by the Smith Wildcat for our Editors' Choice Award, but there is no denying that the Flight Jacket is one of the best performance sunglass models on the market.

Other Versions and Accessories


Oakley makes a full line of sunglasses and accessories for all activities. The Flight Jacket is available in eight frame color and lens combinations including the Polished Black/Prizm Road version we tested for this review. They range in price from $203-$253 depending on the lens technology.
There are several different Prizm lens options available for varying light conditions, needs, and preferences. The Flight Jackets are available for purchase with one of the following lenses.
-The Prizm Road lens we tested has a 20% VLT, a base Rose tint, and is intended for use in medium light conditions.
-The Prizm Sapphire lens has a 12% VLT, a base Grey tint, and is meant for use in bright light conditions
-The Prizm Trail lens comes with a 36% VLT, a base Rose tint and is designed to be used in medium light conditions
-The Prizm Low lens has a 75% VLT, and is meant for use in low light conditions.
-The Prizm Ruby Polarized has a 17% VLT, a base Bronze tint, and is made for use in bright light conditions.

-The Clear Black Iridium Photochromic lens changes tint for varying light conditions and has a VLT range of 23%-69% depending on the conditions with a clear base color.

Oakley also makes a wide array of replacement lenses for the Flight Jacket.
There are ten standard Prizm lenses available including the Road, Sapphire, Trail, and Low mentioned above which retail from $70-$90.

They also make eight different Prizm Polarized lenses in a range of tints and VLT percentages, all of which retail for $120.


Jeremy Benson