Bright and Mighty
After testing heaps of shades on road and trail and water, here's what we can tell you: Glare-cutting polarizing filters, photochromic lenses that auto-adjust to brightness, and exotic coatings are now standard-issue on high-quality sunglasses. You have to pay for them, of course. With a couple exceptions (which you'll find on the pages that follow), the too-cheap-to-be-true line now hovers around a hundred bucks. Whichif you consider that sunglasses affect both how you see the world and how the world sees youreally isn't that much.
Oakley Radar $155 oakley.com
1. The fashion statement says, more or less, "Prepare to lose, girlie man!" But over-the-top style is not new to Oakley. The main reason the Radar crushes the competition is its truly remarkable lenses, with their anti-everything-that-screws-up-the-view surface treatment (see #2).
2. Mash your thumb against the lens. No, really. The print is oddly faint, isn't it? A fast swipe with the T-shirt and it's gone: no smudge, no cloudiness, no nothin'. Credit goes to a new proprietary lens whose permanent surface treatment repels oils from your skin, sunscreen, bug dope, and even dust.
3. The bowed-in nylon temple and nosepieces, both of which are clad with a bit of hydrophilic (stickier when wet) rubber, keep the Radar secure when things get sweaty. Which is why we loved this model for any sort of fun in the sun, but flat-out adored it for cycling and running.
4. In all kinds of conditions, Oakley's standard Iridium tint shows the world in dramatic clarity, sharpening edges and detail. But if you need puddles to appearand not disappearor simply prefer a more amber view of the world, you can swap in an array of optional (and polarized) alternatives.
5. The sculpted cutout at the temple serves as both O-branding and a tiny air scoop to deliver a cooling breeze above the ears. Runners won't feel it, but cyclists will. Either way, you've got to love the declaration of speedworthiness, which the Radar delivers on, even at highway velocities.