Oakley has been known as a leader in sports optics since its early days; now, 43 years after its founding in a garage, the company continues its history of innovation with two new sunglasses built for cyclists: the Flight Jacket and the Field Jacket.
The new sunglasses would appear to be fairly-typical athletic shades with contemporary frame designs if not for the small lever at the apex of the nose bridge. That tab is part of Oakley’s newest innovation, called Advancer. Pull that toggle down — an action that can be accomplished easily on-bike with one hand — and the lens and frame are leveraged forward and away from the face while the rubberized nosepiece stays in place. The action opens up a triangle-shaped window at the nose bridge, allowing air to flow freely between the lens and the face, preventing fogging and neutralizing the effects of sweat and moisture on the sunglasses.
The innovation behind Advancer is subtle, simple even — the mechanics rely on two pairs of hinges and some small plastic parts — and yet it has significant implications for cyclists. “When I’m on the bike, it happens a lot of times when you go uphill. When you go from high speed to a slower one, and then you start to sweat, you get hot, your body gets hot, that’s why you start to get fog on your glasses,” says Marcel Kittel, a professional cyclist who rides for Team Katusha–Alpecin. “You need the space to get enough air in between to keep your lens free.”
Riders who specialize in climbing will experience the immediate benefits of Advancer, but as Kittel explains, the foundational technology supporting the Flight Jacket and Field Jacket is paramount to all types of riding. “When you’re out there on the road in training or during a race you have so many situations when the light is constantly changing; when you go through a forest, when there are sun and clouds, it’s always a change. It’s important to always be sure that you have a good view,” he says. Oakley’s answer to that is the unhindered frameless top of the Flight Jacket and its color-sharpening Prizm lens technology.
Kittel still remembers his first pair of Oakley sunglasses — the M Frame — which he bought when he was 15 years old, years before his thoughts turned to cycling at the professional level. Now that he’s in his seventh season, Kittel’s eyes are set on upcoming races at Paris-Roubaix, the Tour of California and ultimately the Tour. And those eyes will remain unhindered by fog, thanks to the Flight Jacket.