Review: Oakley's Titanium Frames

By STEPHEN REGENOLD

Oakley Inc. is known for its iconic, and often iconoclastic, sports-oriented sunglasses, including innovative as well as simply strange frame and optics designs. Recently, I got a pair of relatively “normal” glasses from the company. Oakley’s Deringer frame now serves as my “wear-everyday” prescription glasses for work and home life.

The Deringer is lumped into Oakley’s “lifestyle” category, meaning they are not built specifically for sports. But underneath a handsome, non-sporty look, the Deringers have features to make them usable for biking, running and other activities where a sport-specific frame might ordinarily be employed.

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Oakley Deringer frames, made of a titanium alloy

For me, the frame’s multitasking nature is perfect. The design is comfortable to wear all day, though it is solid enough on the face that the glasses will not fall off when you’re on a run. Grippy rubber on the bows make the glasses stick on your head. The nose pads adjust, and the bows have a flex to keep the frame tight and in place.

To be sure, the Deringers will not replace my dedicated sports glasses for competitive running, serious biking and other sports. They do not have side coverage for sun and protection from the wind. The design is “lifestyle” first, and made for activity secondarily.

A titanium alloy is used for the Deringer’s frame, and it adds to the glasses’ cool factor. But the metal also has performance advantages — it is lightweight, strong and flexible. Two sizes and eight Deringer frame colors give you a variety of looks to pick from. I got the “Raw Chrome” color, which offers a neat matte metal look.

The Deringer frame costs between $175 and $250 online, depending on the retailer. Prices for prescription lenses vary with your optometrist or glasses shop. My Deringer setup was a bit more money than what I usually pay for a workaday pair of prescription glasses. But the Deringers do look cool, and the glasses’ multitasking ability keeps me wearing them all day, inside and outdoors both the same.

—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com.

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