Oakley Flight Jacket Prizm Trail is a half-frame design, but unusually the missing part of the frame is at the top of the lenses and not the bottom.
The design is a brilliant stroke from Oakley because there’s nothing obstructing your field of vision, even when you’re looking right out the top of the glasses on the steepest of trails. The look might not be to everyone’s tastes but they are now the gold standard for maximum coverage, coming right up to meet your helmet but without touching it, and stretching down low enough at the sides to stop anything getting through.
The environment the Flight Jacket creates for your eyes is pretty much breeze free because of that, yet they’re very resistant to fogging up. Oakley has an innovative new feature to deal with any fogging that might occur (all glasses will fog in the right, or wrong, conditions), a lever on the nosepiece that pulls the frame away from your face a little and lets more air flow through. This is halfway between a gimmick and a useful device: it really does work to clear fog if you’re moving at more than crawling pace because of the extra airflow, but I didn’t bother using it for long because fogging disappears the moment you need it to on a mountain bike, when you point downhill. Perhaps if you live somewhere with hour long technical climbs that require clear vision it makes more sense.
The Flight Jacket only comes in one size (huge) so you might want to check your face is wide enough for them before buying, but you can tailor the fit slightly with the shorter arms the glasses come with. Comfort is first rate thanks to the oversized rubbery nosepiece and the rubbery ends of the arms that never felt oppressive and didn’t conflict with my current helmets (Troy Lee A2, Smith Forefront and Scott Vivo Plus). The Flight Jacket stays in place reasonably well, but not quite as consistently as the Adidas Evil Eye Evo Pro – on perhaps one or two occasions in the last six months I’ve felt them slide down my nose a little, but it has to be a proper head-banger moment or a rough section where you’re badly out of shape. I think the retaining arms aren’t quite stiff enough and so don’t pincer your head tightly enough to keep them in place 100% of the time.
What a lens though, the Prizm is superb for low light conditions and yet also really does help you see detail on the trail more easily when there’s strong sunlight. It works brilliantly under the trees where most glasses struggle. Great glasses then, and if it wasn’t for the couple of moments of insecurity and the high price they’d be getting a 10 rating.
I’ve tested scores of glasses over the past decade but the Flight Jacket is my go to eyewear now, and I’ll don them when in the past I’d have reached for my goggles. That really is saying something about the level of protection they offer, and the surety that you really won’t get mud in your eye. Together with the brilliant lens, unrestricted view and loud look (well I like it!) they’re the best glasses.