A decently performing pair of sunglasses, the Oakley Holbrooks offer great coverage and above-average protection but don't inspire any poems or sonnets from our testers. They're among the lightest sunglasses we tested and are large enough to block out most sun, glare, and even dust without being enormous on small faces. Their lack of spring hinges and nose or ear padding make them less comfortable for all-day wear, creating pressure points for some of our testers. Our biggest complaint is that they don't bring anything exciting to the table when compared to the other glasses we tested. They're a decent value though, with a lower price tag than most.
Oakley Holbrook Polarized Review
Cons: Only floppy case included, boring style
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Oakley Holbrook Polarized
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|Pros||Face-hugging fit, lightweight, durable lenses, less expensive||Great clarity, excellent contrast with little color distortion, flexing frames, works for most faces||Excellent protection, great clarity, extremely comfortable, good for active endeavors, good for many faces||Excellent eye protection and coverage, durable design, great contrast with minimal color distortion, superb case||Great lens clarity, universally flattering style, surprisingly comfortable, durable build, good eye protection|
|Cons||Only floppy case included, boring style||Peripheral coverage not ideal, cleaner bag a little stiff, may be sporty-looking||Developed a slight lens defect, fit is less secure, coverage could be better||Heavy, large overall size and fit, expensive||Not polarized, heavy, large, case not overly protective, expensive|
|Bottom Line||These are less expensive shades, but they aren't outstanding performers.||A high-quality blend of functionality, versatility, and style.||Great protection and amazing comfort, but not completely perfect.||A high-performing pair of shades with great coverage and exceptional lens quality, though a bit heavy.||These shades are protective, clear, and very cool.|
|Rating Categories||Oakley Holbrook Polarized||Kaenon Clarke||Costa Del Mar Spearo||Maui Jim Kahi||Vuarnet District Medium Round|
|Lens Quality (30%)|
|Frame Quality (20%)|
|Style And Versatility (15%)|
|Specs||Oakley Holbrook...||Kaenon Clarke||Costa Del Mar Spearo||Maui Jim Kahi||Vuarnet District...|
|Lens Tested||Black Iridium||Grey 12 Pacific Blue Mirror||Blue Mirror||HCL Bronze||Brown Lynx|
|Ideal Activity||everyday||water sports||water sports||everyday||everyday|
|Ideal Lens Light Conditions||Bright light||Bright light||Bright light||Medium to bright light||Medium to bright light|
|Polarized||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No, but it is available|
|Visible Light Transmission (VLT)||10%||12%||10%||15%||9%|
|VLT Protection Index||cat 3||cat 3||cat 3||cat 3||cat 3|
|HEV/Blue Light Protection||100%||not specified||100%||95%||97%|
|Infrared Protection||0%||0%||0%||"infrared effective"||93%|
|Neutral/Contrast||Neutral||Increased contrast||Increased contrast||Increased contrast||Increased contrast|
|Lens Material||plastic - "Plutonite" polycarbonate||plastic - "SR-91" polycarbonate||glass - 580 Polarized (polycarbonate available)||glass - "SuperThin Glass"||glass - mineral glass|
|Protective Coatings||Anti-reflective, anti-scratch, mirrored iridium coating||Anti-reflective back, hydro-oleophobic, mirror||Anti-scratch, hydro-oleaophobic, mirror||Anti-reflective on front and back||Anti-reflective back, silver bi-shade mirror|
|Can take prescription lens?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Case Included||Soft/cleaning bag||Rigid zippered and soft/cleaning bag||Rigid zippered and soft/cleaning bag||Hard rigid clam case and soft/cleaning bag||Semi-rigid flex case and cleaning cloth|
Our Analysis and Test Results
We tested the Holbrooks with Black Iridium lenses, designed for casual, everyday wear. They're size medium and come with just a simple microfiber drawstring case that doubles as a cleaning cloth. They are available with prescription lenses, for three times the cost.
We tested the Oakley Holbrook Polarized glasses with Black Iridium lenses, which are a shade of grey. Compared to the glasses we tested with brown lenses, these offer less contrast and more neutral colors. They are one of the very few pairs we reviewed that block 100% of HEV or blue light. The Holbrooks also boast a low VLT (visible light transmission), providing extra protection on super bright days.
- 99% polarization
- 100% UV protection
- 10% Visible Light Transmission (category 3)
- 100% HEV/Blue light blockage, No infrared blockage
- Color: Grey, Material: Plastic, Plutonite polycarbonate
- Impact resistant with anti-reflective, anti-scratch, iridium (mirrored) coating
Their plastic, Plutonite polycarbonate lenses are lightweight and impact resistant while providing good clarity. And we appreciate that these sunglasses don't pick up tons of dirt or smudges easily. Still, their optics seem a bit less crisp than many of their competitors. This may be because their grey lenses don't enhance contrast like the brown lenses we tested in many other pairs. Perhaps it's due to their lower visible light transmission rates. Or it may be a function of the protective coatings or polycarbonate lenses themselves. Whatever the cause, the Holbrooks are pretty good lenses but not quite as good as the competition.
The Oakley Holbrooks weigh just 25 grams, making them some of the lightest sunglasses we tested. They're exceptionally well-balanced from front to back, which helps prevent them from sliding down your nose easily. They fit quite snugly, even on smaller faces, and feel very secure. However, they lack padding anywhere on their frames, and their standard barrel hinges don't overextend to fit wider faces.
This combination of rigidity and tightness caused a number of our testers to report pressure points behind their ears when wearing the Holbrooks for extended periods. Some of us also noticed that if we pushed the Holbrooks all the way up our nose, the inward angle of the arms forced the frame up, and the glasses jumped right off our nose! Overall, we aren't stoked about the Holbrook's comfort, but their balance and lightweight are much appreciated.
The plastic frames of the Holbrooks don't seem like anything fancy. They're lightweight, which we love, and flex a bit, but they don't feel like they're meant to flex too much. Their hinges are standard barrel style and are fairly tight, letting you snap the arms open.
The exceptionally low weight of these sunglasses makes you wonder about their durability. That said, we didn't find any actual flaws with the Holbrook frames, despite putting them through the wringer on beaches, up mountains, and through woods. It's worth noting that Oakley also offers a two-year warranty on manufacturer defects, and will fix your shades for the cost of the repair.
The Oakley Holbrooks got a meh style rating across the board. While none of our testers despised them, no one loved them either. They were frequently described as boring, fine, and uninspiring by both men and women with all manner of face shapes and sizes.
One of the Holbrook's best features is their impressive coverage. The frame has a slight curve that hugs your face, and the lenses are large and rectangular to help fill the gaps often left between your face and frames. There are gaps left, but they are far smaller than any other pair of everyday sunglasses we tested.
Additionally, the inward angled arms help hold these sunglasses close to your face, and their low weight stops them from bouncing around. All of this helps provide consistent coverage. The Holbrook frames also have little lips or ledges around each lens. These extend toward your face, increasing coverage. All told, the Holbrooks provide more coverage than a lot of the other glasses in this review.
We are disappointed by the simple cloth bag/cleaner provided as the Holbrook's case. Though these sunglasses are on the lower end of the test's price spectrum, they're still over $100 and need adequate protection to extend their lifetime. While this limp bag won't stop your Holbrooks from getting crushed by a stampeding rhinoceros, it does offer scratch protection and a way to keep your lenses clean. So at least there's that.
The Oakley Holbrooks fall about in the middle of the price tag pack of sunglasses we reviewed. If you opt for the non-polarized lenses, they're even cheaper. However, they about triple in price with the addition of prescription lenses! We think you'd be better off spending a little more on a comfortable, higher-quality, or even more stylish pair of sunglasses. But if the Holbrook is your jam, they're a decent pair of lightweight shades with great coverage.
The Oakley Holbrooks are an alright pair of sunglasses with a decent price tag. The Black Iridium lenses we tested provide above-average protection, and the frame's curvature and shape provide superior coverage. Their tight fit caused pressure points for some wearers after a few hours, but their lightweight is a major selling point. The floppy case is uninspiring, just like the Holbrook's style, but the Oakley lenses are durable. These sunglasses earn a hard meh from our team of testers.
— Maggie Brandenburg