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See clearly: How Oakley became the go-to for the great outdoors

3 January 2019By Peter Howarth

Oakley has a vision for enjoying the great outdoors, as Peter Howarth explains...

Imagine you’re on board your boat, moored in a Greek bay, and when you peer over the side the fish are remarkably discernible beneath the surface. Or perhaps you’re at the top of the famous Tortin ski run in Verbier looking down the slope, and instead of seeing an indeterminate field of white, the moguls are picked out clearly so you’ll be able to navigate your way with ease. Or maybe you’re on a golf course and the bunkers are more visible and the contours of the landscape clearer; you can determine depth better and appraise grass conditions more effectively.

Oakley's Prizm lenses are designed for a range of outdoor pursuits

Well, that’s easily done. Those clever people at Oakley have developed a lens for their sunglasses called Prizm that fine-tunes individual wavelengths of colour to enhance your vision. The result of decades of research, these lenses filter the colour spectrum to a highly specialised degree and are tuned to respond to a range of light conditions. In other words, the Oakley Sport, Snow and Everyday ranges of glasses and goggles that feature the Prizm lenses are engineered to optimise your vision for specific pursuits.

In the Sport collection, there are two lenses for aquatic use. Prizm Deep Water is a polarised lens that filters out the shades of blue that can swamp your vision in open water, boosting greens and reds so you can more easily see what’s going on down below. Prizm Shallow Water lenses are tuned for use in lesser depths, again enhancing contrast and visibility.

Frogskins LA Urban Commuter, €122; Holbrook Aero Grid, £€142; Outpace, €162

Also in the Sport collection, Road glasses are ideal for cyclists looking to read the changes in texture on tarmac, Trail models enhance reds and browns so you can spot modulations in earth, sand and rock, while Field styles help a ball stand out against blue skies, green pitches and/or brown dirt surfaces. There are other lenses dedicated to golf, motocross and cricket. The Snow range comes in different lens colours for different conditions, from bright sun to sun/clouds and snow/overcast. The coloured lenses counteract the lack of contrast in the white landscape and so bring out the texture and contours.

Obviously, one advantage to the athlete is that being able to see better means quicker reaction times – but the appeal also has to be that here is a way to simply boost your experience and enjoyment of specific land or waterscapes. And if what you really want is just an enhanced view of the world, there’s a collection called Everyday that will do just that, bringing a vibrant, vivid and detailed outlook to the wearer.

Of course, being Oakley, all Prizm lenses (with the exception of the Snow models, which come only as goggles) are available in a handsome selection of frames, so you’ll look good while you are, er… seeing good. Or something like that.

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