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Oakley Prizm Black Lens Review

Oakley Prizm lenses launched in 2016 and changed sunglasses forever. This contrast-enhancing technology helps to highlight every detail of your environment. And leading the Prizm Everyday lens family is Prizm Black – one of Oakley’s flagship standard lenses.

Keep reading for our complete Oakley Prizm Black review, plus everything to know about this lens.

What is Oakley Prizm Black?

Oakley Prizm Black lenses are part of the Prizm Everyday collection. These lenses are made to provide peak clarity, contrast, and color in day-to-day life.

Prizm lenses filter light in a way that enhances colors and contrast, making details easier to see.

Prizm Black is the darkest lens in the everyday collection with only 11% Visible Light Transmission (VLT)

Prizm Black Benefits

  • Grey base color keeps colors looking natural
  • Enhances color, contrast, and detail
  • Available in prescription and polarized
  • 100% UVA, UVB, and UVC protection from the Plutonite lens material
  • Excellent filtering of bright sun, with 11% VLT
Oakley Prizm Black Lens Comparison
No Lens (left) vs. Prizm Black (right) comparison

Are Prizm Black Lenses Mirrored?

Yes, Prizm Black lenses feature an Iridium coating that provides a mirrored appearance. While the coating is mainly for appearances, it does also help reduce glare.

Overall whether you want an Iridium coating or not, is a personal preference.

Prizm Black Iridium
Oakley Flak Sunglasses with Prizm Black Iridium Lenses

Prizm Black vs. Polarized – What’s the Difference?

Prizm and polarized are actually two separate technologies. And that means you can have either one or even both. But they have very different purposes.

Prizm lenses filter light and enhance color, contrast, and detail. While polarized lenses reduce glare by filtering out horizontal rays reflected off surfaces like water or car bumpers.

Prism lenses already do a great job of reducing glare, but if you’re looking for extra glare protection, polarized lenses are the way to go.

Luckily Oakley offers Prizm Black and Prizm Black Polarized lenses. Plus you can still find standard non-Prizm lenses as well.

Prizm Black Lens Review

For our review, we got our hands on a pair of Whisker sunglasses with Prizm Black lenses. This is a pretty simple pair but that works well with the Black lenses.

If you’re trying to determine if Prizm Black lenses are worth it, well the answer’s a bit complicated. We’ll explain why.

Oakley Whisker Sunglasses
Oakley Whisker Sunglasses with Prizm Black lenses – Photo: eBay

To start, Black is the most standard lens color – It isn’t an exciting choice.

Don’t get us wrong it’s definitely a go-to lens for us, but there are plenty of other awesome color options out there like Prizm Road and Prizm Sapphire.

That being said, if you’re looking for a simple, everyday lens – Black is the obvious answer. And Prizm Black takes it to the next level.

Similar to other Prizm lenses the contrast and color enhancing are definitely noticeable. Unlike standard Black lenses, it doesn’t feel like these lenses just drown out your environment.

Oakley Prizm Black Lens Review
Prizm Black Lenses in the Whisker Sunglasses – Photo: eBay

But with the 11% VLT tint, these are plenty dark. We recently reviewed Prizm Sapphire which has a 12% VLT but Prizm Black still seemed much darker.

If your eyes are sensitive to sunlight or if you live somewhere with a lot of very sunny days, you’ll want to take a look at Prizm Black lenses.

Are they Worth It?

Overall we’d recommend Prizm Black lenses for anyone looking for a standard, simple Prizm lens that isn’t making a loud statement.

These lenses will definitely protect your eyes, plus with Prizm technology, you’re getting the latest and greatest technology.

But if you prefer lenses that do make a statement and pop – you’ll want to take a look at other Prizm lenses like Violet, Tungsten or 24K Gold.

Top Oakley Prizm Black Sunglasses


Oakley Kato Sunglasses with Prizm Black Lens

The big, bold, frameless Kato (Direct Link) is one of the latest disruptive designs from Oakley. With a large frameless shield lens, the Kato offers maximum coverage for athletes. And of course, you can buy the Kato with Prizm Black lenses alongside sport-specific lenses.

Read more in our full Oakley Kato and Kato X Review.

Kato X Highlights

  • Fits close to your face for excellent coverage, protection, and visual field
  • Adjustable rake allows you to adjust the lens tilt for a customized fit
  • Comes with three Unobtainium nose pads to maximize fit and grip

Radar EV Path

Radar EV Path Sunglasses with Prizm Black Polarized

The Radar EV Path (Direct Link) provides a half-rim shield lens for great coverage. And there’s a reason this frame has made our lists of the top baseball and cycling frames. The coverage of the Radar’s lens combined with a lightweight O Matter frame makes these sunglasses great for just about any sport.

Read more in our full Oakley Radar EV Review and Guide.

Radar EV Path Highlights

  • Unobtainium nosepiece and earsocks for maximum grip when sweaty or wet
  • Extended peripheral vision thanks to the half-rim shield design
  • Available with prescription lenses through Oakley or your local eye doctor


Frogskins Prizm Black Sunglasses

If you’re looking for a casual everyday frame, the Frogskins (Direct Link) have you covered. One of the most popular Oakley frames, Frogskins provide a full-frame circle design that’s often compared to Ray-Ban Wayfarers.

Read more in our complete history and guide to Oakley Frogskins.

Frogskins Highlights

  • Comes in several sizes for different size heads and faces
  • Versatile and lightweight everyday frame available in a variety of colors
  • Available as prescription sunglasses, eyeglasses, and in Asian Fit


Oakley Savitar Sunglasses

The Savitar (Direct Link) is one of Oakley’s latest frames featuring an angular, wire lifestyle frame made of super lightweight titanium. It’s a bold look for an Oakley wire frame, with a sleek bridge, small wrap, and straight stems.

See more in our complete Oakley Savitar guide.

Savitar Highlights

  • Unobtainium earsocks to increase comfort for long periods of wear
  • Available with Oakley Authentic Prescription lenses, ideal for a lifestyle frame
  • Adjustable silicone nose pads for a comfortable fit

Eye Jacket Redux

Oakley Eye Jacket Redux Prizm Black Sunglasses

The Eye Jacket Redux (Direct Link) features a cool, retro, full O Matter frame with oval lenses. This re-release of the original Eye Jacket from 1994 brings new technology to a classic frame style. With Prizm lenses and an upgraded O matter frame, the Eye Jacket Redux is great for making a statement.

See more in our full Oakley Eye Jacket Redux review.

Eye Jacket Redux Highlights

  • Re-release of the original 1994 Eye Jacket sunglasses
  • Unobtainium earstems and nose pads for added grip even when wet or sweaty
  • Available with prescription and Prizm lenses

Where to Buy Prizm Black Sunglasses?

You can buy Prizm Black lenses in a variety of frames today through Oakleys website or your local retailer.

We’ve included direct links to all of the sunglasses mentioned in the section above. But if you’re looking to save, you may want to look beyond Oakley’s website.

Prizm Black Sunglasses on Oakley's Website
Prizm Black Sunglasses on Oakley’s Website

While Oakley runs sales that offer up to 50% off popular styles if there isn’t an active sale it doesn’t mean you’re out of luck.

You can often save 20-30% through aftermarket sites like our Oakley Forum Exchange Areas or eBay. You can see your best options in our complete guide to Never Pay Retail for Oakleys.

Looking for more?

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Oakley Collector
Really enjoy the enhanced contrast of Prizm Black, but regular Black Iridium definitely has a better mirror if you are into that sort of thing.
I think you are spot on. Prizm black polarized is great for most days, but when I need a lens for really bright sunlight I still think black iridium polarized is the way to go. Just my opinion and am glad Oakley still makes a couple frames with black iridium polarized.


Oakley Beginner
I think you are spot on. Prizm black polarized is great for most days, but when I need a lens for really bright sunlight I still think black iridium polarized is the way to go. Just my opinion and am glad Oakley still makes a couple frames with black iridium polarized.
Yep, I am glad too. I have replacement BI lenses for every interchangable glass I own; I know at some point, Oakley will eventually phase out all of the Iridium lenses and just make everything Prizm so I am making sure to stock up on the best neutral lens color they have ever made IMHO.