There are a bunch of different options to consider when thinking about new eyewear, but the one name that everyone is familiar with has to be Oakley. The American company has built a reputation on not just great, distortion-free optics, but also with some pretty wild designs, especially when it comes to their sport-specific glasses. Their new EVZero lineup is as out-there as you'd expect it to be, with too many loud lens and frame color combinations available to list; what you see here is their Prizm Trail lens in a Matte Sky Blue frame.
The EVZero glasses cost between $160 and $200 USD depending on lens choice (photochromic, polarized, etc.), but it's the $170 EVZero Range Prizm Trail eyewear that is reviewed below.
The EVZero sports a barely-there frame design, and both thick and thin nosepads are included.
EVZero glasses are available with two different lens shapes; the Path option, and the Range that offers more coverage. My EVZero Range test glasses feature Oakley's Prizm lens color, which the company says is able to provide ''unprecedented control of light transmission resulting in colors precisely tuned to maximize contrast and enhance visibility.'' I mainly wear glasses to keep sharp things from blinding me, but unprecedented control of light transmission sounds like a bonus.
Oakley EVZero Details
• Frameless design
• Lens shape: Range
• Lens color: Prizm Trail
• Frame sizing: standard, Asia
• Two different nose pads included
• Weight: 23 grams
• MSRP: $170 USD
In case it wasn't obvious, the EVZero hasn't been designed as casual eyewear to be worn around town - unless you really want to be that guy - but rather as a minimalistic sports eyewear that weighs next to nothing. And they do weigh close to nothing, coming in at just 23 grams on my digital scale. That low weight is down to there not being any sort of traditional frame that envelops the lens, even along the top edge, but rather two separate frame pieces that are ninety percent arms and about ten percent corners. This also makes for a very open design that allows air to easily pass under the lens, hopefully limiting fogging and letting them clear quickly if and when that does happen.
The frame corners, which is all they really are, can be detached, and the arms can also pop out under duress, say if you sit on them by accident, which could prevent you from throwing away $170 due to a mistake that's easy to make. A plastic nose piece clips onto the lens, and then the rubber nose pad slots onto that; Oakley includes both thick and thin options that let you tune how the glasses fit your face.
Your $170 will also get you the sanctified Oakley Vault storage case, as well as an Oakley Microbag that you can use as a wipe if you don't want to scrape your dirty jersey across the pricey lens.
Eyewear can be nearly as personal as underwear; most people have their own style preference and won't entertain the thought of trying something different, while others don't wear any at all. I fall into the latter camp, normally preferring not to wear anything unless it's extremely wet and messy out, and only if I won't get more than a few hundred feet down the trail without a bunch of splatter forcing me to stop and dig mud out from under an eyelid. That's always fun.
It is, of course, incredibly stupid to not protect your eyeballs from debris and pointy things that want to make another hole in your body. But I rationalize, incorrectly, that I'd rather lose a pupil than put up with fogging eyewear during a climb, and I've just never felt comfortable on descents when I have something over my eyes. Every single pair of glasses that I've ever tried has fogged up on climbs, including pricey eyewear from Oakley or other companies who make crazy claims about their eyewear sporting so-called anti-fog technology. Mountain bike fashion in the year 2150 remains questionable.
I put about as much stock in anti-fog claims as I do in the healing power of magnetic bracelets, but to be fair, Oakley doesn't make any silly claims about the EVZeros ability to stay clear while you trek through a South American jungle. That said, they do an admirable job of remaining fog-free while slogging up a slow ascent, more so than pretty much any other eyewear that I've ever used. Yes, some condensation does build up, but it's nothing unacceptable. More importantly, they clear up extremely fast once you're moving at any speed quicker than a brisk walking pace, which is probably down to the frameless design. The also don't rattle around on my face, especially after I switched out to the thicker nose pad.
So, minimal fogging and minimal rattling. Not bad so far, but about that lens color...
I'm not sold on the odd Prizm lens, as I found it to either be not dark enough or sometimes too dark. Yes, it does take the bite out of a bright, sunny day, but it's a bit like an all-mountain bike from 2010 - passable in a lot of conditions, but not great at anything. The lens color also doesn't equalize the bright and dark spots like a yellow or orange lens can, but that's not what it's designed to do. Just the opposite, actually. The Prizm color certainly does look flashy, though, and I'd take this lens over nothing if I were riding in the desert under the blazing sun.
Looks are obviously subjective, but as functional as the EVZero glasses are, I'm not really a fan of looking as if I'm from the future. Other people that saw the EVZeros weren't as put off as I was and some even liked the styling. To each their own. Pinkbike’s Take:
|I still don't wear underwear, but I will be wearing the EVZeros when conditions call for it. The Prizm lens is peculiar, but the lack of fogging and great coverage mean that I don't mind looking like I'm from the future when the need for eyewear arises. - Mike Levy|
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