The successor to the Flak Jacket, the Oakley Flak 2.0 Sunglasses dropped the Jacket but can it live up to the name? We put the Flak 2.0 to the test so you can find out!
Background and Initial Impressions
The Flak 2.0 builds on the legacy of the Oakley Flak Jacket, one of the most popular sport frames offered. With a classic half rim design and unobtanium ear stems, they have a classic sport design.
Oakley Link: https://www.oakley.com/en-us/product/W0OO9295
There’s been over a year of input on the Flak from many wearers on the forum, and it’s become common knowledge that it’s a certified win of a pair. Within this review we’ll offer the Radar EV in comparison, as well as the Jawbone, which is (was?) my daily beater to provide additional perspective.
Overall I enjoy the Flak 2.0 but I’m not a fan of the lens or nose pad swapping procedures. Read on with this review to find out why these both gave me challenges.
Oakley Flak 2.0 Frame
Frame Fit and Design
Firstly, the ends and orbital section of the Flak 2.0 frame close in narrower than the Jawbone. However, overall the pair doesn’t feel as tight on the head. This is likely due to the frame design at the nose. The Jawbone had a more solid “beak” sculpted in, whereas the Flak 2.0 is a bit narrow and has a bit of a relief point to allow more flex.
By no means is the hold actually loose. The stems are rigid with their box-section profiles and ribs, and the pair feels remarkably light. The Flak definitely appears lighter than the Radar EV in weight. This would make sense, given that the Radar EV runs thicker rim sections and a heavier nose piece.
I also noticed that the Flak 2.0’s earstems tilt slightly inward. This probably only applies to people with high cheek bones, but it is signficant because it sits a bit more flush with the transition from temple to cheek. For me, the Jawbone in comparison has noticeable space when I run my fingers along the top of the stems. This isn’t going to necessarily improve performance of any sort, but is a nice attention to detail.
In all, the Flak 2.0 has a pretty versatile fit that runs secure but light. I could see why people find the Jawbreaker front-heavy if pairs like this and the M-Frames were their baselines.
Nose Pad Replacement
The nose pads hook on to the frame similar to the Radar series, however unfortunately the Radar nose pads are not compatible with the Flak 2.0. While you may be able to get the Radar pads to work, it’s sloppy because they’re meant for a larger base. On that note, I found the smaller mounting points of the Flak 2.0’s nose and the smaller pads made replacing the pads more of a chore than usual.
Overall I found the nose pads to be such small pieces to grip without a safe place to secure the frame in your hand. Ultimately, smudges seem inevitable when trying to swap the nose pads. Nonethless this is an easy pair to clean since it’s a half frame. I assume Oakley didn’t reuse the “plug-in” setup from the XX and PB2 because the rubber layer is pretty thin, therefore feeling a bit hard.
Overall, I like the earsock design on the Flak 2.0. Using the hole in the frame as a locking point is very practical and user-friendly. Once the socks have been popped out of the hole, they slide off easy. In this department the Oakley Flak 2.0 is better than the Radar EV by a long shot, which is two clipping points per side via tiny nubs and then a wrestling match to get the earsocks off (in my experience).
Hopefully the locking point and larger volume of the earsocks does something about the stretch and sliding tendencies of the past pairs that used simple and short shapes (Jawbreaker, Split, Radarlock, etc).
Oakley Flak 2.0 Lenses
The lens setup on the Flak 2.0 is generally along the lines of any half-frame design. If you’re familiar with the original Flak or Half Jacket these will seem like riding a bike.
I personally find that it is a bit fussy and tight to replace the lenses on the Oakley Flak 2.0. In the first days of use, I already managed to scrape the frame where the lens feeds towards the nose bridge since it’s sharp.
Part of my challenge could just be because the frame is still fresh and new, but it does seem to be by design. I had a similar impression with my Radar EV which I discussed in that review. Seems to command a more careful feed and manipulation vs popping straight in/out. I get it, though — better lens retention, and the Oakley Flak 2.0 probably isn’t really meant for (overly) frequent lens changes.
It should be noted as well that the Flak 2.0 is available with Prizm lenses from Oakley. For athletes these should certainly be considered as they are purpose built to perform in the field. We’ve covered the background and details of Prizm technology in our complete guide here.
Lens Size and Coverage
More or less what you expect from any non-EV Oakley pair. I see gaps in the usual places, such as edges/peripheral vision. However overall I had no issues head-on and in all practical visual zones. The frame seems to sit closer to the face and therefore make the temples of the frame less noticeable. The Wind deflection is definitely sufficient for cycling. If you’re interested in additional coverage, you’ll want to look at the Flak 2.0 XL for slightly larger lenses.
Would’ve liked somewhat more of an extension on the sides (Radar Range or EV style), but I guess Oakley found that the possible interference with lens swapping, and production costs weren’t worth it.
Standalone in product pics, I thought the Flak 2.0’s looked small and simple compared to other pairs. I never took a close look in stores, but in my hand I like the subtle details that add up. The very slight flares in the nose, shaping of the orbitals to follow the eye socket, the sculpted temples and transitions, the ribs in the stems I mentioned before as well as on the earsocks — and all these features are functional towards rigidity, weight cutting, and handing convenience.
Sure enough, one doesn’t need to be so meticulous with design to make a perfectly functional pair, but Oakley went that extra mile. It’s weird as most find the brand to becoming stale, but I’ve found the recent sport pairs to incorporate “more than enough” in proper Oakley fashion. It’s just more…calculated this time. There’s art in this kind of execution.
The Flak appears to share cues and details with Oakley’s Carbon Shift sunglasses in the temple/logo area and transition to the orbital. Having that kind of aesthetic that presumably lends to casual fashion appeal, yet being capable for sport use is a major plus. Oakley really could’ve gone the Jawbone/Racing Jacket route with more dramatic cuts and slashes since this is supposed to be a sports pair foremost — and that would’ve been cool — but I really like the end product regardless.
Conclusion and Final Thoughts
The Flak 2.0 establishes itself as the main “general” sports pair with the Straight and Half Jackets pending successors. My Favorite word to use here is “execution”. Because despite my dislikes regarding the lens and pad swaps, it is easy to clean, and versatile frame. Chances are you won’t be doing too many lens swaps with the Flak regardless. It’s meant to come ready when you take it off your shelf or table to perform on the field.
I found this pair can function in just about any setting. While that’s the same case for the Jawbone / Jawbreaker, the Flak 2.0 is a bit more friendly to smaller faces. The frame can also be more fitting in casual settings if you go for the right neurtal colors. The aforementioned pairs do trump in being able to take more of a beating since the lower edge of the lenses are covered, but the Flak 2.0 comes up as the lighter alternative. Against the Radar EV, it stands as pair that could be more comfortable since it doesn’t run as tight.
Currently the Flak 2.0 is one of my favorite “driving pairs” along with my Zero EV. Especially when I know I’m not going to be removing and putting back on my sunglasses too much. If I was golfing or played baseball, this would also be the pair. The Flak 2.0 generally becomes more favorable for activities that don’t involve too much, constant rapid movement. It’ll hold regardless, the lighter fit becomes more enjoyable when you’re reading a green or waiting in the outfield.
Note: This post was originally posted by member Ventruck, and has been adapted for this article with additional details added. Credit to member Ventruck for his amazing review.