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Oakley Encoder Sunglasses | Review and Ultimate Guide

Everything to know about the new Oakley Encoder sunglasses!

Background and Release

The Oakley Encoder sunglasses first leaked online in December 2020 alongside the Plazma and Savitar. Finally releasing in February 2021, this frame sits within the new Kato line, sharing a similar design with the Kato and Kato X.

We’ve already seen the Oakley Kato and Kato X on the faces of cyclists and athletes like Patrick Mahomes. Now we’ve finally gotten a look at the Encoder first hand. Keep scrolling down for our complete Oakley Encoder review. Plus where you can find the Encoder for sale!

Oakley Encoder Sunglasses Review

We got our hands on a pair of Encoder sunglasses in Matte Carbon (a matte black color) shortly after their release. While the Oakley Encoder frame is extremely similar to the Kato design there are some notable differences. Keep reading for our complete Oakley Encoder review, and why this may be one of our favorite sport pairs.

Oakley Encoder Review
Oakley Encoder Sunglasses feature a large frame with a unique design – Photo: Oakley

Frame and Design

Overall we loved this frame and think it could be the next Radar killer. The Encoder features a rimless design with a frame made of lightweight O Matter material. The rimless design of the frame isn’t just for show either. We thought we might find the frame a bit flimsy because of this design but we were wrong. The frame is strong and the lens definitely isn’t going anywhere. This frame can definitely stand up to trials of cycling, running, or just about any sport you throw at it.

As we move to the earstems, they feature large unobtanium grips (along with the nose pads), similar to most other sport Oakleys. We found the grip to be very similar compared to our Radar EV Path sunglasses. But Oakley also used this frame to address a long-standing issue with their cycling sunglasses – helmet compatibility. The Encoder solves this problem by shortening the earstems so they don’t interfere with your helmet. It’s a simple solution, but it works. Keep reading as we review the exact size of this frame and the lenses!

Be sure to check out our complete comparison of the Kato vs. Kato X vs. Encoder frames!

Encoder Earstems
The Encoder earstems feature metal icons and Unobtanium earsocks – Photo: Oakley

Size and Dimensions

The Encoder is a large frame that’s great for big and wide heads. But it also works well for medium size heads who are looking for maximum coverage. We’ve included the Encoder size and dimensions below:

  • Frame Width: 136mm
  • Lens Height: 36mm
  • Bridge: 14mm
  • Temple Length: 124mm

Prizm Lenses

Likely the first thing you notice on the Encoder is the lens! The Encoder features a large single visor lens that extends around the nose, but not completely covering it like the Kato. Instead, the lens is more open in front of the nose.

Oakley Encoder Lenses
The Encoder Lens is a large shield design for enhanced coverage and maximum field of vision – Photo: Oakley

And like its sibling sunglasses, the Oakley Encoder features Prizm lenses designed to enhance contrast in various activities. We’ve already covered how much we love Prizm lenses in our dedicated guide so we won’t go into too much detail here. But if you’re using these sunglasses for cycling your best option is the Encoder Prizm Road lens. This lens is optimized for cycling, so you can see obstacles and hazards in the road in front of you.

The pair we reviewed included Prizm 24K lenses which are designed for bright light conditions, only allowing in 11% of light. Since every pair of Encoder sunglasses features Prizm lenses you really can’t make a bad choice.

Are Encoder Replacement lenses available?

Because of its unique design, it first appeared that you wouldn’t be able to swap lenses in the Encoder, similar to the Kato. But now it appears replacement Encoder lenses are on their way to Oakley stores in various colors, including Prizm Road, Prizm Field, Prizm Dark Golf, and more. These lenses will retail for $90 each in stores and online.

This definitely makes sense considering the Encoder is billed as a cycling frame. We’ve usually seen other cycling sunglasses like the Jawbreaker marketed heavily on the ability to swap lenses for any condition.

Oakley Encoder Replacement Lenses
Oakley Encoder replacement lens options are not available so you’ll want to avoid scratching your lenses – Photo: Oakley

What Encoder Colorways are available?

Similar to the Kato and Kato X, the Encoder is available in 4 initial colorways. We’ve listed these out below for reference and included pictures. Currently, only 3 colors (Prizm Black, 24K, and Road) are available through Oakley, retailing for $236. But you can still find the fourth online if you know where to look.

We’ve included the complete colorways and links below for all 4 colorways:

Oakley Encoder Prizm Black
Matte Black / Prizm Black – Photo: Oakley
Oakley Encoder Prizm Road Sunglasses
Matte Black / Prizm Road – Photo: Oakley
Encoder Matte Carbon 24K Prizm
Matte Carbon 24K Prizm – Photo: Oakley
Encoder Polished White Prizm Sapphire
Polished White / Prizm Sapphire – Photo: Oakley

Where can you buy the Oakley Encoder?

We originally anticipated Oakley releasing the Encoder in Spring 2021 alongside several other Oakleys. However, we’ve now seen the Matte Black with Prizm Black Encoder colorway available from SunglassHut’s website (link here) for $236.

Now it appears the Encoder has officially made its Oakley debut and is available directly from their site (Product Link). Unfortunately, the Encoder isn’t part of the Oakley Custom Program yet. However, we anticipate they’ll be added in the coming weeks.

Final Thoughts

The Encoder is an interesting frame overall with tons of cycling and sports applications. But now it appears Oakley is creating a new sports line with the Kato, similar to what we’ve seen with the Flak and Radar lines. It’s also interesting that Oakley broke from the Kato and Kato X name with the Encoder. Maybe this pair will be destined for even more beyond its family name. But either way, we’re excited!

Are you a fan of the Oakley Encoder Sunglasses? Join the largest online Oakley community and let us know in the comments below.

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Darth Kato (The Plazma Priest) ©️@tidezealot
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Sarpsborg, Norway