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Oakley Prizm Trail vs. Prizm Road Lenses

Oakley altered the landscape of sunglasses technology with the introduction of Prizm lenses. Designed to enhance color, contrast, and detail for various sports, it wasn’t long before Oakley released cycling and running specific lenses including Prizm Trail and Prizm Road options.

Keep reading as we review the real difference between Oakley Prizm Trail Torch and Prizm Road lenses. Plus which lens is better for running and cycling.

Prizm Trail Torch vs. Prizm Road

While both Prizm Trail and Road lenses are similar, there are some key differences to know before buying. We’ll highlight each lens below then compare them head-to-head to determine the best lens.

Prizm Trail Torch Highlights

Oakley Prizm Trail Torch is perfect for exactly what it says—activities on a trail.

Biking, hiking, walking, or anything you do in the mixed light of an off-road trail is made for this lens. Primarily it works to enhance browns and reds hues and boost contrast as you move through shadows.

Prizm Trail is now mostly available only in Trail Torch from Oakley. The difference is mostly cosmetic, with Torch appearing as a darker red color and 1% darker in terms of light transmission.

You can see the key features of this lens below:

  • 35% Visual Light Transmission (VLT) for overcast and medium light conditions
  • Very intense contrast enhancement with a rose base tint and red lens appearance
  • Enhances trail details like roots and rocks to avoid any accidents
  • Available with mirrored Iridium coating a

Also be sure to read our full Oakley Prizm Trail review.

Oakley Prizm Trail Torch Comparison
No Lens (left) vs. Prizm Trail Torch (right) comparison

Prizm Road Highlights

As you might imagine, Prizm Road is built for running and cycling on bright open Road conditions.

Prizm Road provides incredible contrast and works best in continuous bright light environments without a lot of changing shadows that you might find on a trail.

Prizm Road also has a darker tint than Prizm Trail, making it better for riding in exposed conditions in the bright sunlight.

We’ve highlighted the main benefits of Prizm Road here:

  • 20% VLT for medium to bright sunlight conditions on the road
  • Enhances detail and helps riders spot changes in surface conditions
  • Optimizes color and contrast of your surroundings to bring the nature around you to life
  • Available in 3 colors of varying tint and darkness: Black, Jade, and Road

See all of the color options and read more in our full Oakley Prizm Road review.

Oakley Prizm Road Comparison
No lens (left) vs. Prizm Road (right) comparison

Prizm Trail vs. Prizm Road Comparison

Oakley Prizm Trail and Prizm Road have a lot in common. Both enhance color, contrast, and detail primarily for cycling and running. But there are some key differences.

Prizm Trail is optimized for darker conditions that you’d find on canopied trails. Whereas Prizm Road is focused on bright environments like the open road.

You can find our full side-by-side comparison in the table further down.

Can You Use Prizm Trail on Roads?

Yes, you can, and some people prefer them over the darker Road lenses for low light conditions like overcast days or early evening rides. But they are truly optimized for trail conditions.

The lighter lens and intense contrast enhancement are ideally suited to the rapidly changing light on trails.

Going in and out of shadows and shade is challenging for your eyes. This is where Prizm Trail, with its enhancement of browns and reds, helps riders and runners spot terrain changes.

Oakley Sutro Lite with Prizm Trail Lens
Oakley Sutro Lite with Prizm Trail Lens – Photo: Oakley

Side-by-Side Comparison

LensLight TransmissionLight ConditionsLens AppearanceBase Color
Prizm Trail36%Medium LightLight Red / Orange Rose
Prizm Trail Torch35%Medium LightRed Rose
Prizm Road20%Medium to Bright LightRed / OrangeRose
Prizm Road Jade15%Bright Sun and LightGreen JadeRose
Prizm Road Black11%Brightest Sun and LightDark Red / BlackRose

Which Lens is Right for You?

We’d recommend Prizm Trail lenses for anyone biking, running, or hiking on outdoor trails or lower light areas that tend to have lots of shade and trees.

But if you’re off-roading in desert conditions where it’s brighter, you’ll want to go with Prizm Road for the increased darkness.

Prizm Road is definitely the winner for activities on open road conditions that are bright and sunny, thanks to its darker lens that still optimizes color and contrast.

Where to Buy Prizm Trail and Road Sunglasses?

You can buy sunglasses with both Prizm Trail and Prizm Road lenses directly from Oakley or authorized dealers or online.

Overall, there is a wide variety of sports frames with Prizm Trail and Prizm Road lenses available such as the Radar, Flak 2.0 XL, Kato, and more.

Oakley’s website currently carries Trail Torch for their sport performance styles, though you can still Frogskins with the regular Trail lens. But unless there’s a sale you may end up overpaying.

Want to learn how to save?

You can often find current Oakley sunglasses for up to 20-30% off retail prices through aftermarket sites such as the Oakley Forum Exchange Areas and eBay.

For more information check out our complete guide to Never Pay Retail Again for Oakleys.

Oakley Radar EV Path with Prizm Road Lenses
Oakley Radar EV Path with Prizm Road lenses – Photo: Oakley

Looking for more information?

Still have questions about Prizm lenses or your Oakleys? Join the largest online Oakley community and let us know in the thread below!

Created this site because of the lack of a place for the Oakley Community to talk. Feel free to Message me any time with feedback for the site, tips o...

Kuztomized

Oakley Expert
1,099
543
Southwest PA
I don't have personal experience with either lens, but based on comments here on the forum I don't think the Trail lens would be dark enough, and in addition you wouldn't be getting the benefit of the prizm color filtering designed specifically for your application.
 

prhymeate

Oakley Beginner
5
53
I don't have personal experience with either lens, but based on comments here on the forum I don't think the Trail lens would be dark enough, and in addition you wouldn't be getting the benefit of the prizm color filtering designed specifically for your application.

Thanks, I was worried they might be a bit too different. I guess I'll have to see if I can find someone who might want to swap lenses or frames.
 

prhymeate

Oakley Beginner
5
53
This post shows prizm road pretty well, in comparison to OO red. The post right after it shows prizm trail. The difference should be quite obvious:

Oakley's new Prizm Lens Line | Page 5 | Oakley Forum

oh wow, yea there is a big difference. I hadn't expected them to be so different after looking at a few photos online. Thanks for taking the time to snap the photos and digging up the link again, I really appreciate it.
 

djhyper66

Oakley Expert
1,617
723
Southern Cali
I own both lens, you can buy the replacement lens online or at the oakley store. It's good to own both!! I like road for the sunny days and trail for the overcast days!! When I first tried out the trail lens I hated it cause you can see your eyes thru the lens and it wasn't dark enough but after using the lens on cloudy or overcast days, it became my go to lens for those conditions.