What It Is: A lightweight running- and cycling-specific pair of shades, tuned to help you better see what matters most when on the road.
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Why We Like It: When we’re out running, there are two key things we look for in sunglasses: first, that they don’t bounce or slip, and, second, that they cut glare and provide good visibility as we move quickly between bright light and shadows. The updated Flak delivers on both counts. Its sporty frame looks chunky but actually sits lightly on your face, while Oakley’s tacky grips on the nose and temples keep it locked in place — even as we bound over curbs or run sprints.
But what won us over with this update is the new lens technology Oakley calls “Prizm,” which is a sport-specific construction that tweaks colors and contrast so you can quickly ID objects that are most important for your activity. Say, in baseball or golf, you’d want to quickly recognize a white ball. In our case, on a run or bike ride along streets, we want to see potholes and debris on the road. We found the effect certainly is noticeable. When compared with some of our other favorite running lenses, the contrast appeared to be dialed up on these: Yellow lane lines seemed more vibrant (even those dusty stripes in need of another coat of paint), as did the colors of oncoming cars.
Nitpick: While the new lenses are certainly wide, extending out to cover your peripheral vision, we wish they were a little taller. They fit well on runners with smaller faces, though those of us with bigger heads found them a little short. That allowed in an annoying amount of light from the ground, as well as a bit more blowing wind and dust than we’d have otherwise preferred.