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Not only new to Oakley, but to 'decent' sunglasses in general


I should Work at Oakley
West Michigan
I'm a pretty casual user and really haven't bothered with sunglasses in general mainly because as a photographer I didn't really want to have something altering my perception of areas I was photographing (and because everything I've tried were the cheapies like you might find for under 20 at a gas station or Walmart kiosk).

Two things happened that had me considering looking back into it again. Wife decided she wanted to start a regular fitness routine, in which I got her a FitBit (and myself a Fossil Gen 5), so been actively revisiting most of the places I regularly hike or walk with her to get steps in, usually by lakes and rivers. Also got a new job early this year as a merchandising specialist that has me driving around the market all day, whereas before I tended to stay indoors most of the daytime.

My wife works at the outlet mall here which just happens to have an Oakley Vault store, so over the last couple years I would pop by there and just take a look. Had my eye on the Holbrook design for over a year especially in woodgrain, saw it as pretty contemporary, not really flashy, rather practical. So about a month ago ended up getting the Holbrook XL in Woodgrain with some Prizm Shallow Water lens after doing some reading up on various options and what I'd like to see. They're also not too shabby for regular driving and just walking about when bright.

But out on the trail when I wasn't out by the lakeshore and getting into denser woods (our woods right now are just coming into spring, so it's not that dense yet) and overcast days, things got dark really fast. I recalled when I got the Holbrook XL they offered to have half off a clearance model, since it was still under a month they let me take advantage of that. There wasn't a whole lot of in my taste, and not too much of the lens options I wanted. Thought I would give some purple-ish Mercenary a try since they had some Prizm Road lens on them.

Wasn't too big a fan of the Road lens they weren't that much brighter than the Shallow Water, and I noticed that it was a tad more muted in the red/orange range (which also caused a slight lower contrast), that would have been fine if they had a higher VLT but out on the trail it just didn't look "right" and I was already using the Shallow Waters as sort of a driving lens too.

So I went back to the Vault, and mentioned my dilema, saying how I wanted to try a Trail lens. He starts pulling open a drawer full of lens, I'm standing there confused like... you can just swap em? And he just starts popping lenses out on one of the demo models and I'm just standing there surprised not knowing this whole time I could have just popped in some different lens rather than hoping they came in that combo already. I ended up getting a pair of Prizm Trail (though was curious about the Trail Torch, but glad I didn't go that route), then exchanging the Mercenary for some Sliver Edge with Prizm Sapphire Iridium lens to use as my second pair for brighter sunlight needs and polarization.

But the Sliver edge wasn't something I cared for either, they sat too close to my eyes (could feel them on my eye lashes) and they pushed out my hearing aids too much, whereas the Holbrook worked fine with them, despite being a similar thickness, but they're also flat on the sides too, so that's probably a factor. I also missed the "golden hour" feel I got from the shallow waters when using them like everyday lens and didn't want to have to pop the lens in and out every so often.

Decided that the Holbrook XL frame was what I liked, and I liked both the Trail and Shallow Water lens. Went back, asked what basic Holbrook XL frame/lens combo they had since I intended to just use my Shallow Water lens in them and keep the Trails in my woodgrain pair. He went into the back, asked if I was fine with some scuffs etc, and found some marked down Matte Black XLs with a Warm Grey standard lens, but with silver studs and silver O icons, a fair bit cheaper than the same thing I was planning on getting (which had those metal parts as black, which I would have preferred), and just installed the Shallow Water lens for me.

I think I'm pretty much going to be Team Holbrook XL for a while, and thinking maybe in a few months I'll get a translucent pair with the low light lens (or something for when the winter comes around). Just hope I don't give the sales staff a headache like I did having returned two of their clearance models, and just ending up getting a second Holbrook XL anyways. My only complaint about the design is sometimes the top edge of the lens can get a little sweaty/froggy when hiking with some warm sun bearing down, but I'm not likely to want to get some big sporty style that would mitigate that.

I'm curious what other "big head" comfortable models there are that are more casual, I noticed it seems like Gascans are pretty popular, but I'm not a fan of that look.

Surprised I didn't do this sooner, the quality of the lens are really nice, and they've definitely reduced some of that strain from a lot of the overcast days here (almost like UV was getting scattered and amplified on those days), and those Trail lens are awesome when I'm out and noticing scene details or wildlife moving about that I would have had a harder time catching when everything was kind of just a flat washed out brown, the contrast and boosted red/brown away from the foliage really helps.

Plus my wife says I look good in them, though she also says I have a sunglass "obsession" now, even though I just have 2 (but had two other pairs before finalizing on these two). I can't really blame her though, I've done the same thing with fountain pens which didn't stay at just one or two.