It’s been 5 years since bought my last pair of running sun glasses. When I bought those glasses, training for Chicago in 2004 I never thought I’d be running as regularly as I am today so the glasses were a splurge. Since then till this weekend I’ve worn the Native Dash SS. This weekend I bought my second pair of running glasses at Rogue, I thought after 5 more years of running this active lifestyle thing may be here to stay. The new pair is the Oakley Polarized Half Jacket XLJ.
I had a chance to use the Oakley’s at the Loop 30k trail race this weekend I liked them. The polarized lenses on the Oakley’s seem to work much better than the ones that came with my Natives. Now my natives are the gunmetal glasses with the Grey polarized lenses and the Oakley’s are the Titanium Polarized Iridium so they are different so the way colors show up varies.
When I bought my original Natives they were a great deal. They came with 4 lenses, the gray polarized, then an orange, yellow and clear set that aren’t polarized. Those have come in handy on slightly overcast days (yellow) and in the dark in cold running days in Europe (clear) to keep the frigid air out of the eyes. The Natives now only come with two pair of lenses. They are still a lower price than the Oakley’s, $110 vs $160. The Oakley’s by default only come with 1 pair of lenses, you can buy the “array” which gives 4 lenses but that’s $310 … you can get just lenses though for $60 or so.
Both of the glasses seem to have good ventilation to reduce fogging. You’ll can see the three holes on top of the frames of the Natives that found worked well. Both are made for small to medium facial profiles. I think the Native’s fit better on my face, they tend to “hold” better and not bounce at all. With the Oakley’s this weekend there were a couple of times I noticed the glasses loose contact with my nose just a little and then come back down so that is a negative for them. The clarity with the Oakley’s however was amazing, in general I’m now a believer in Polarized lenses. The Oakley’s are my third pair of polarized glasses (Natives for Running, Ray-Bans for driving, Oakley’s for running) and the crispness, clarity and lack of glare are worth the extra money.
Update 7/7/09: The Oakley’s came with two different sizes for the rubber around the nose. Changing those has made whatever bouncing there was go away.
So … should you buy the Natives or the Oakley’s. I think you’re fine either way. I’d go based on the fit, cost and how much you value the different in lenses. The other thing to keep in mind is that both of these come in different color frames which have different “default” lenses. Each of those lenses is more or less appropriate for different conditions (very sunny, overcast, etc) so based on where you live and what time of day your normally run the lens makes a difference.