By Joshua Cohen
Oakley continues its streak of technology-packed sunglasses with the Jawbone. The frame is shipped with 2 lens sets, one that is paired with the frame color and one for low-light conditions. Oakley also includes a Microclear bag that can be used to clean the lenses, store the frame or store additional lenses, plus a Soft Vault firm case that holds everything.
I usually wear Oakley Radar sunglasses, which have been around for a while. In comparison, the Jawbone has shorter temples that hug the sides of the face more closely and a new lens retention system that’s called SwitchLock Technology.
The Jawbone temples greatly improve the fit of the glasses while wearing a helmet. Because the temples are shorter they avoid overlapping with helmet retention systems, such as Giro’s Roc Loc. The snugger fit allows the temples to go inside or outside of helmet straps without interference. The Jawbone fits securely on my face when I wear my Giro Pneumo helmet and I’d anticipate that it will fit as well with other helmets, such as time trial helmets, that require closer-fitting temples.
The SwitchLock lens retention system works very well. By rotating the hinged nose piece outward, the lower “jaw” of the frame is free to open downward and release the lens. This simple mechanism lets lenses be removed without the user needing to touch the front or back, thus avoiding dreaded smudges or scratches. The mechanismis easy to operate and it’s secure when shut. Just remember to hold the frame upside down during this maneuver to avoid having the lenses fall out unexpectedly.
Because the Jawbone frame fully outlines the lenses, you will notice it in your peripheral vision. The hinge on the SwitchLock necessarily increases the width of that part of the frame. Compared to the Radar (shown here) and similar sunglasses that leave the lower portion of their lenses unfettered by the frame, the Jawbone can present a small blind spot when turning your head to look behind.
The Jawbone comes with interchangeable nose pads in large and small sizes. With the latter, the lower part of the frame touched my cheeks, which decreased air circulation and caused some fogging in inclement conditions. Switching to the larger pads elevated the frame and greatly improved air circulation.
A variety of vibrant frame colors is available, as noted in the specs. Oakley packs a lot of technology (and trademarked names) into all of its sunglasses. Here’s what’s included in the Jawbone:
High Eye Tech
- High Definition Optics (HDO)
- SwitchLock Technology lens retention
- Oakley Hydrophobic lens coating that repels dust while providing a smudge-resistant barrier against skin oils, fingerprints, lotions and sunscreens, and even repels water to prevent streaks
- Unobtainium stem sleeves and nose piece components designed to increase grip with sweat
- ANSI Z87.1 impact resistance
- XYZ Optics improves peripheral vision
- Plutonite lens material for 100% filtering of all UVA, UVB, UVC and harmful blue light up to 400 nm
- O Matter frame material
- Polarized lenses (optional)
- Prescription lenses (optional)
If you need prescription lenses in your sunglasses, a single-lens design (as opposed to a clip-on lens or insert) is far superior. It reduces weight, decreases fogging, improves clarity and makes cleaning easier. I have found Oakley prescription lenses to be distortion free even in the periphery of their large radius of curvature. The amount of detail and clarity is impressive when you use the correct lens tint for the appropriate light condition.
Oakley Jawbone sunglasses coordinate great with a helmet. The new SwitchLock lens retention system is well designed and offers a functional improvement over other systems by avoiding smudges and scratches when switching lenses.
Although I enjoy wearing the Jawbone, I’m going to hang on to my Radars because I prefer the seamlessness of the open lens design and its unhindered peripheral view. If Oakley could incorporate the Jawbone’s improved fit with the Radar’s open bottom, we’d be one step closer to a perfect pair of sunglasses.
Joshua Cohen is a physical therapist and designer of the Kontact Saddle. He wrote his graduate thesis on male ergonomic bicycle seat design. Then, distilling his voluminous scholarly research, he wrote Finding the Perfect Bicycle Seat and, more recently, The Illustrated Guide to Bicycle Seats. Both eBooks are available in the RBR eBookstore.