Another round of reviews for a new pair in my collection - the somewhat elusive Wind Jacket 2.0. To say this had a botched released is a bit of an understatement. It's been out for a while, but retail and online availability has been hit-or-miss, erring toward the miss. I ended up with a pair from Oakley.com during the end of the last Freinds and Family run. I was hoping for the black pair, but selection was limited to the green or orange (both of which are now gone and only black with two lens options are on the website as of right now). O-Review shows 6 released colorways with 80's green, Neon Retina, Neon Orange Red, Matte White, and Matte Black frames, all with black stems. Lenses so far are all Prizm Snow goggle variety with Torch, Black, Jade, and Sapphire options.
The most pleasing aspect right out of the box is that this pair comes with options.
Two nosebomb sizes, which thankfully appear to be shared with the Radar line for easy replacements. Most noticeably, however, the WJ sits MUCH wider at the nose. My pair came installed with the large nosebombs and the pair felt too perched on my face. A swap to the slimmer set and I have what is likely the best fitting nose profile to my face of any pair Oakley has produced. The frame still sits up off my cheeks, but feels extremely planted thanks to the wide stance on the nose.
That last statement brings up an interesting argument, however. With the name Wind Jacket 2.0 and considering the original Wind Jacket was a pair designed to seal to the face like a goggle in sunglasses form, the 2.0 is extremely free-flowing. So let's stop right there. This is not a Wind Jacket 2.0, but an Eyeshade 2.0 with the wrong name. You know it, I know it, I'm sure Oakley knows it, but they pressed on anyway.
Second is the ability to add a strap. A welcome addition, as the pair lacks earsocks or wrap. They fit secure enough for a pair of leisure shades, but that strap will likely be a necessity if the pair is to be used with any kind of activity. If you're a small person the strap may provide enough adjustment to wear over a hat or other winter gear, but a big head like mine with the strap pretty much all the way out is enough to add a little bit of snugness and security to keep the pair cemented in place on just the bare cranium.
That fit, however, can be comfortable when tight thanks to the foam strip on the brow of the frame. A foam strip which is, lovingly, easily removed. With the lens out the strip can be easily popped free, and is secured in the frame by acting as part of the lens channel. The lens can be installed with the foam removed, but I'm not as much of a fan of the pair in this configuration. The brow foam is quite comfortable and helps the pair feel anchored to the face, especially when used with the strap.
I do genuinely hope parts support is offered and the brow strips along with lenses are sold individually.
Speaking of lenses, the lens fitment on the sides of the frame is actually open, rather than fully enclosed, which begs the question as to whether this is intended for venting, or loose tolerance to aid in lens swaps. Which also reinforces the fact that it's an Eyeshade. I say that because the lens removal and installation is extremely simple and easily accomplished. The new flimsy nanOmatter frame material easily pulls away from the bottom of the orbital and the lens simply slides out of the brow ridge of the frame. To install, simply stick the lens in the top, and set the lens in the lower orbital channel. A little force and the lens aligns and everything clicks into place. A quick wiper for fingerprints (pretty much unavoidable) and you're off and running.
This could be my only complaint - the lens is almost TOO easy to get out of the frame. I don't see these staying in one piece if you take a spill and the frame sees any abuse.
Final verdict? A nicely styled pair that adds a layer of function not found elsewhere in Oakley's product catalog. A modernization of the Eyeshade with added function that is confused about its identity as an actual snow goggle. Long term success is a possibility, but Oakley needs to pull their head out of the sand and see the potential across a wide range of sports. With the strap system these can easily be a Water Jacket or Racing Jacket Goggle. Coverage is fantastic, comfort (for me at least) is almost plush. They're not priced out of reach, I feel that parts support and cross-sport marketing could open real potential. Does the job of the Jawbreaker in a simpler, sleeker, more versatile package without the clunky, front-heavy drawbacks and smaller coverage of the Jawbreaker.