There's nothing better than a pair of shades that can keep up with your afternoon mountain bike ride, and still look fashionable when you hit the town for a post ride cold one. The Oakley Flak 2.0 strike a near perfect balance between performance and style, providing a pair of shades that can follow you wherever you go. Plus, they come with a sturdy case that lets you toss them in your pack without having to worry about breaking them. This all-around high end performance earned the Oakley Flak 2.0 XL our Editors' Choice Award.
Oakley Flak 2.0 XL Review
Cons: Frameless lenses may not suit everyone’s style
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Oakley Flak 2.0 provides all around performance in a stylish package that can keep up with whatever outdoor activities you pursue.
Due to a contoured design, the Oakley Flak 2.0 XL pack what feels like a a lot of eye protection into a relatively small lens. Even on sandy downhill singletrack the Oakley Flak 2.0 XL's lenses were able to keep both the dust and the wind out of our eyes. There is one caveat: these glasses fit medium sized faces best. When we handed them off to some of our larger faced colleagues there was a visible gap below their eyes. This kept them from competing with other models like the PRIZM Road that have large enough lenses to cover any size face.
The Oakley Flak 2.0 XL was amongst the most comfortable sunglasses that we tested. The large, rubber nose pieces make for a secure fit, even when sweating hard, and spread pressure out evenly so you don't end up with annoying hot spots after wearing them all day. The temples feature Oakley's patented 'unobtanium' rubber and feel comfortable behind the ear and makes sure the glasses stay put, even when taking a big whipper at the sport crag.
The Oakley Flak 2.0 XL was just behind the top scorers in our lens quality testing. The glare reduction they provide is good but not great. We felt comfortable with them on sitting in the middle of a lake on a sunny day, but every once in awhile a flash off the water would scorch our eyes a bit. You can upgrade to polarized lenses for $30 more, which would improve this performance. In terms of direct sun blockage they were great. Only on the brightest of bluebird days did we feel like we had to squint when looking out over the horizon. That being said, this was one test where we saw only minor differences between models.
The Oakley Flak 2.0 XL earned the top score in our frame build testing. The frames feel flexible enough that they'll bend rather than break for minor impacts. It also feels like they could wear out if you bend them a lot, so you might want to try and be gentle if you change out the lenses a lot. The hinges are much bulkier than most models and feel like they could stand up to a lot of abuse.
The Flak 2.0 XL comes with one of Oakley's Sport Soft Vault cases. This case isn't completely rigid, but it's protective enough that you could toss it in the top of your pack and not worry about breaking your sunglasses. You also get a microfiber bag that doubles as a lens cloth, and is perfect for the shove the sunglasses into the water bottle trick for when you don't want to put your sunglasses in your carry on. This put it amongst our favorite sunglass cases.
We would consider the Oakley Flak 2.0 XL a great value simply because of its chameleon like quality. The list price of $163 certainly isn't cheap, but these glasses work well for almost all outdoor pursuits. Snagging the Flak 2.0 XL is definitely cheaper than getting one pair for mountain biking, one for trail running, one for around town, etc.
The Oakley Flak 2.0 XL perform well in almost every outdoor pursuit, and are the perfect pair if you're looking for jack-of-all-trades style sunglasses.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata