Let’s take a trip back in time – way back to the mid-80s. Now, don’t tell me you don’t remember 21 Jump Street? Or maybe you were more a Miami Vice viewer?! A-ha on your cassette tape Walkman, or perhaps Bon Jovi? Whether you were donning your MC Hammer poo-pants or your rah-rah skirt, you will remember the big, bright, bold sunglasses. The new Oakley Sutro Lite is a nod to this era. So, whilst quietly humming ‘Your love is like bad medicine …’ to yourself, go ahead and read this review.
With the trend in cycling eyewear getting bigger and bigger, the new Oakley Sutro Lite cycling glasses are holding their own in this space. Rimless, large wraparound lenses and thin arms, in a range of 80s pastel hues, this is a good-looking pair of performance glasses easily able to make the transition from bike to café. With the likes of Egan Bernal and Greg Van Avermaet sporting Oakley’s latest eyewear accessory, you are in good company whilst wearing these shades.
The inspiration for the style of these glasses comes from conversations Oakley had with the San Francisco cycle couriers who had been wearing Oakley Frogskins but wanted a street-looking pair of glasses with a performance edge. And so, the Sutro was born. Oakley paid homage to the cycle couriers with the name: Mount Sutro sits above San Francisco.
I tested out these shades on my road bike and whilst out trail running. I felt the glasses crossed easily into both sports and, if I had grabbed the other tinted lens, I am sure I would have taken them out on my mountain bike too. A very versatile pair of sunnies.
What I first noticed when putting these sunglasses on, was how light they were. Weighing in at only 32gms, these are super light glasses. For me, this is really important, as after a long day on the bike the bridge of my nose can get sore with other pairs. The frame also sat really easily within my Giro helmet and the absence of a lower frame meant I didn’t get any pressure against my cheek bones. I have read some reviews, though, saying that some riders with wider faces feel a bit of pressure at the side of their head, from the arms, after a long day wearing the glasses.
The size of the lens ensured excellent coverage around my eyes which prevented them from watering, particularly on the downhills. Despite the thin sunglass arms, I didn’t notice lateral glare or the impact of wind coming around the side of the lens.
Something I did notice while riding and running, however, was a slight bit of slippage off the bridge of my nose. Oakley Unobtanium is the material used across the nose piece. While this is not adjustable, the sunglasses do come in Sutro S for different shaped faces. Having a smaller face, I think either of these frames would have been a better fit for me. They also come with a full rim in the Sutro range, for a more full-face look.
Once I got over the sense of lightness and comfortable fit, what struck me next was the outstanding optics. These glasses have the Prizm lens, which provides incredible clarity and contrast with no distortion and 100% UV protection to boot. This made spotting potholes on the road, or trip hazards on the trail, super easy. Some shades I’ve had in the past have given me a bit of a headache due to the slight distortion of the image from the lens, but there was no sign of this with these sunglasses. I also treated these sunnies how I usually do: on my helmet, behind my neck, in the back pocket, on the ground?! And - no damage! These lenses are bulletproof! I did momentarily lose an arm (from my glasses….) when I stuffed them a little too aggressively into a cycling pack – but it easily popped back on again.
A great all-round performer from trail to tarmac, and easy on the pocket too.
Distributed by Oakley / RRP: $260
Reviewed by Philippa Friary