Oakley's Flight Jacket is a quality set of high-performance sunglasses suitable for a wide range of athletic pursuits. This uniquely styled pair of glasses has 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 to increase air circulation and prevent fogging. They also come with a zippered hard case and a microfiber bag for cleaning and storage. We loved nearly everything about the Flight Jacket, but the Smith Attack Max narrowly edged them out of the top spot in the end. Read on to find out how they compared to the competition.
Oakley Flight Jacket Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Excellent optics, storage case, modern style, good eye protection
Cons: Expensive, only comes with one lens
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Oakley Flight Jacket
|Price||$223.00 at REI|
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|$249.99 at Backcountry|
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|$241.99 at Amazon||$245.00 at Backcountry||$207.96 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Excellent optics, storage case, modern style, good eye protection||Excellent eye protection and coverage, durable design, great contrast with minimal color distortion, superb case||Excellent optics, good wind protection, 2 lenses included, easy lens changes, quality storage case||Great lens clarity, universally flattering style, surprisingly comfortable, durable build, good eye protection||Good coverage, lens suitable for a wide range of light conditions|
|Cons||Expensive, only comes with one lens||Heavy, large overall size and fit, expensive||Expensive, you have to take off arms to put them in their case||Not polarized, heavy, large, case not overly protective, expensive||Expensive for one lens, weird case|
|Bottom Line||The Oakley Flight jacket has a unique style, excellent optics, and good coverage.||The Kahis are a high-performing pair of shades with great coverage and exceptional lens quality.||The Smith Attack Max checks all of our boxes and takes home our Editor's Choice Award.||These shades are protective, clear, and very cool.||POC's Do Half Blade boasts quality optics by Zeiss with ample coverage and wind protection for high velocity applications.|
|Rating Categories||Oakley Flight Jacket||Maui Jim Kahi||Smith Attack Max||Vuarnet District Medium Round||POC DO Half Blade|
|Lens Quality (25%)|
|Frame Quality (15%)|
|Style And Versatility (10%)|
|Specs||Oakley Flight Jacket||Maui Jim Kahi||Smith Attack Max||Vuarnet District...||POC DO Half Blade|
|Lens Tested||Prizm Road||HCL Bronze||Chromapop Red Mirror||Brown Lynx||Black 10.0|
|Ideal Activity||road cycling, mountain biking, running||everyday||road cycling, mountain biking, running||everyday||road cycling, mountain biking|
|Ideal Lens Light Conditions||Medium to bright light||Medium to bright light||Chromapop Red Mirror: Bright light Chromapop Contrast Rose: Low to Medium light||Medium to bright light||Medium to bright light|
|Polarized||No||Yes||No||No, but it is available||No|
|Visible Light Transmission (VLT)||20%||15%||15%||9%||21.7%|
|VLT Protection Index||cat 2||cat 3||cat 3||cat 3||cat 3|
|HEV/Blue Light Protection||100%||95%||100%||97%||Unknown|
|Infrared Protection||0%||"infrared effective"||0%||93%||Unknown|
|Number of Lenses Included||1||1||2||1||1|
|Neutral/Contrast||Increased contrast||Increased contrast||Increased contrast||Increased contrast||Neutral|
|Lens Material||plastic - "Plutonite" polycarbonate||glass - "SuperThin Glass"||plastic - Carbonic||glass - mineral glass||plastic - polycarbonate|
|Protective Coatings||Iridium coating||Anti-reflective on front and back||Hydroleophobic coating||Anti-reflective back, silver bi-shade mirror||anti-fog & ripel coating|
|Can take prescription lens?||No||Readers only||No||No||No|
|Case Included||Rigid zippered case and soft cleaning/storage bag||Hard rigid clam case and soft/cleaning bag||Rigid zippered case and soft cleaning/storage bag||Semi-rigid flex case and cleaning cloth||Hard plastic 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 backcountry skiing in a huge range of weather conditions.
There was little we didn't like about the Flight Jacket and they quickly became a tester favorite. They were bested by the Smith Attack Max for our Editor's Choice Award, but that doesn't mean they aren't an incredible pair of glasses for just about any outdoor activity.
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 in 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 similar in appearance to all 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.
The Flight Jacket is definitely 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.
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.
Both the Smith Attack Max and the Julbo Aero offered more comfortable fits than the Flight Jacket. The POC Do Half Blade has a comparable level of comfort with occasional unwanted face contact. The 100% Speedcraft is just slightly less comfortable than all the rest, due to the less refined fit of the frame and slightly more abrasive feeling rubber on the nose pad.
Oakley's Flight Jacket offers some of the best eye protection in our test selection, tied for top honors with the Attack Max and the 100% Speedcraft. Their large lenses are made from Oakley's signature Plutonite material that meets or exceeds the ANSI Z80.3 standards for impact resistance and provide 100% protection from UV rays.
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 great protection from the sun, debris, and especially the wind when traveling at high speeds.
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 POC Do Half Blade offer nearly as much eye protection, with slightly less coverage and a touch more air movement around the eyes. The Julbo Aero doesn't really compare to the other competitors. It has less coverage, a less curved shape, and a design that promotes air circulation and provides less protection from the wind.
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 a fine 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 it does so quite effectively. In fact, very little of the frame is visible at all unless you really 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 nose piece 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.
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 and durable and somewhat less bulky than that on the 100% Speedcraft. It also feels stouter and less flimsy than the super-lightweight frame of Julbo Aero. It's hard to draw a direct comparison to the frameless design of the Smith Attack Max since the designs are so different.
Style and Versatility
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 if 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 give these glasses a truly distinctive look. It's eye-catching and definitely a bit futuristic as we've come to expect from Oakley.
While the Flight Jacket's styling is certainly one of a kind, it is somewhat similar to that of the Smith Attack Max and the 100% Speedcraft, both of which have large reflective lenses and somewhat space age looks. People wear the Flight Jacket for all types of activities but we feel they are definitely most appropriate while getting after it, whether cycling, running, hiking, or XC skiing. Like most of the other performance sunglasses we tested, we'd be inclined to swap to a more casual set of glasses for running errands or just hanging out.
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.
While they are roughly the same size, testers found this case to be more practical and secure than the hard plastic case included with the POC Do Half Blade, which can shatter or be opened accidentally. Both the Smith Attack Max and the 100% Speedcraft come with somewhat larger cases that have foam liners with cutouts for storing the glasses and their included extra lenses. The Julbo Aero is the outlier of the bunch that only comes with a microfiber cleaning/storage bag and no hard case.
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 a number of 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.
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 Attack Max and the 100% Speedcraft 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 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 Attack Max 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