When the Jawbone was released in 2009, it was easily one of the most outspoken, yet fashion-forward statements in eyewear available. Flash forward to today, and little has changed - the Oakley Racing Jacket continues the tradition of the Jawbone's aggressive styling and superlative fit as still unrivaled in cycling eyewear. It seems like the only manufacturer capable of topping the bold aesthetic of the Jawbone, is Oakley themselves, and for now, they're content with simply improving on the Jawbone.
If the Oakley Racing Jacket Sunglasses look a little bit like the Jawbone, that's because they are - almost. The Racing Jacket is constructed from the same flexible but highly durable and lightweight O-Matter frame. The aggressive frame geometry is retained, along with the deep, 8.75-base curved lenses that provide an excellent neck-saving vertical periphery when you're tucked deep in the drops. The Racing Jacket also includes the same revolutionary Switchlock technology that allows you to easily swap out your lenses and quickly adapt to changing sunlight. Oakley has evolved the feature set of the Jawbone slightly though, making the Racing Jacket a slightly more comprehensive performance package. Firstly, you might notice that the earstems are now perforated, which allows for fitment with an included retention strap for extra security. This opens up a whole host of convenience in moments when your sunglasses have to come off and you can't feasibly free up both hands to tuck them into a jersey pocket or on your helmet - simply let them dangle from the security of your neck. But should you prefer perching your sunglasses on your helmet, or just don't find the strap an absolute necessity for cycling, it can be easily removed. The Racing Jacket is also slightly customizable, as you can now also change out the colored 'O' icons on the earstems with the aid of a paperclip. A simple detail, but one that shows Oakley is listening carefully to those who prefer to tailor every aspect of their kit to match perfectly - something of which we're certainly guilty as charged.
The Racing Jacket is characterized by Oakley's superlative Switchlock technology, which performs several key tasks at once. Firstly and perhaps most obviously, it allows you to change out the lens quickly and efficiently. Simply "unlock" the nose pads and the "jaw" unhinges, allowing you to remove the lenses. If you're not in a major rush and have a somewhat steady hand, you can change lenses without leaving any fingerprints. Switchlock's second and third benefits go hand-in-hand with each other. If it seems like all of the switching and hinging is over-engineered, you'd be correct. But remember that every Oakley design that leaves their Foothill Ranch factory must not only meet, but exceed the rigorous standards set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). So not only must Switchlock ensure easy lens swapping, it must also ensure the lens remains in place to protect your eyes at high impacts. To achieve a tight fit that passes the ANSI tests, the lens would be under considerable pressure and could risk flexing, thereby distorting Oakley's pristine HDO lens clarity. Oakley has engineered around the problem by creating a unique lens bumper on both contact points in the clamping channels. This Switchlock design enables the lens to inherently 'float' securely within, without compromising the optics, or your eye protection.
What good would safety standards be without near-perfect clarity? Oakley's patented High Definition Optics (HDO) boasts some of the best clarity in the industry. These optically-correct lenses are constructed from pure Plutonite, Oakley's proprietary polycarbonate that not only blocks all harmful UV-A, UV-B, UV-C, and harmful blue light up to 400nm, but is also the heart of the impact resistance of which Oakley so proud. Each lens is finished with a hydrophobic treatment that repels moisture buildup from water or sweat, and contaminants like fingerprints or smudges from sunscreen.
The Oakley Racing Jacket is available in six color and lens combinations. Each pair of lenses is essentially tailored for two kinds of lighting, bright light or low light. There's a bit more finite tuning between the contrast-enhancing Persimmon that best enhances colors on the trail, versus the G40 lens which is perfect for enhancing flat light on cloudy or winter road rides. But for the most part, you'll start with two lenses that should cover a broad light spectrum across most riding conditions. It's also worth noting that if you have already amassed a collection of Jawbone lenses, they are fully compatible with the Racing Jacket. Your color and lens choices are as follows: a Matte White frame with Fire Iridium and Persimmon lenses, Matte White Frame with Jade Iridium and Clear lenses, Polished Black frame with Black Iridium and Persimmon lenses, Polished Black frame with Black Iridium and G40 lenses, Polished Black with VR28 Blue Iridium and Light Grey lenses, or Polished White frame with Violet Iridium and Light Grey lenses.
The glasses come in a soft carry case, along with a micro fiber travel bag that has pockets for spare lenses and doubles as a cleaning cloth. The glasses also come with two sets of nosepieces to best customize fit, as well as a contrasting pair of interchangeable icons so you can precisely match the sunglasses with your race-day kit.
- O Matter frame offers a balanced, pressure-free feeling and is incredibly durable, flexible, and lightweight
- Oakley's High Definition Optics let you to experience outstanding color contrast, clarity, and depth perception
- The highly curved 8.75 base lens geometry ensures better peripheral coverage and less distortion
- Unobtainium nosepads (two sizes included) and earsocks provide a non-slip grip and comfortable feel
- Lenses ensure 100% UVA, UVB, and UVC protection, shielding your eyes from harmful rays as well as harmful blue light up to 400nm, in addition to exceeding ANSI impact standards
- Hydrophobic anti-smudge coating prevents streaks and spots from sunscreen or sweat