The distinctive and popular Oakley Jawbreakers are seemingly everywhere, but are they worth the hefty price tag?
Over the past decade, I’ve only worn two different styles of glasses, both Oakley, both now discontinued. I have hoarded several pairs of each to keep me going, but I also wanted to give the Oakley Jawbreakers a try.
At first glance, the lens shape and size reminded me of the original Factory Pilots worn by Greg LeMond 30+ years ago. The large lens provides a field of vision that is consistent with a pair of goggles. The biggest difference in lens shape is that the bottom curves and extends around the corner of the face. While wearing them, I noticed immediately how good the peripheral vision was. Being able to glance over my shoulder with minimal head turn is pretty important at 25-30mph. I was more aware of what may be coming up behind me, with less effort.
I have been riding using the base model HDO lens. I’ve used this lens before and it does very well in a variety of light conditions. I’ve also heard great things about the Prizm lens, though it is not as good in changing light conditions, but is fantastic in bright sunlight, making it a perfect lens for Florida.
The size of the single lens also minimizes the effect of sweat hitting them. With a greater surface area, I found that I don’t have to stop to clean them as frequently during a ride. Changing the lenses out is very simple. The nose piece folds up and unlocks the bottom piece of the frame and the lens slides right out. It takes thirty seconds. If you ride early in the morning and leave before dark I recommend the Photochromic lens. They start out completely clear, so you can use them before the sun comes up and they will darken up as it becomes brighter out.
I usually recommend that riders take their helmets with them when they go to buy new glasses. At times, the shape of certain helmets can push down on the frames of the glasses, or the ear stems are too long and dig into the back of it. I was concerned that the Oakley Jawbreakers were too big and would not play well with all of my helmets, but they passed the test with all five models. The ear pieces are adjustable in length, which ensures that fit is not an issue. Although the lens is very large, the glasses don’t sit any higher on your forehead, so they don’t impact the helmet at all.
I find that I am reaching for the Jawbreakers more and more, as the other shades are pushed to the back of the vault, so are they worth the price tag?
If you understand the value in a well-made pair of sunglasses that you’ll use for years, then the answer is yes! $200.00 may be high for a pair of sunglasses, but considering how well they hold up and that replacement lenses are available for as little as $60, you may hang on to your Jawbreakers for ten years. And that’s a pretty good investment.
Styling 3.5 stars
Performance 5 stars
Comfort 5 stars
Value 3.5 stars
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