Comparing Cycling Sunglasses: Oakley vs Smith

I’ve recently gotten in to cycling, and like any new activity, I’m realizing there are products out there that could make it more enjoyable.  I own more sunglasses than a person should, kind of an addiction actually, all however in the “fashion” category. I quickly realized I needed something more practical for riding and narrowed it down to two styles:  the Smith Parallel, and the Oakley Jawbone.

Smith includes three lenses with this frame – the main style lens you choose along with Clear and their Ignitor lenses which are great for overcast days –  while the Oakley’s come with two lenses – your main choice of lens along with a light grey option. Never underestimate how important it can be to be able to choose the best lens for your cycling conditions that day.

Price is another factor: the Parallel sits at $129 with just about any lens option- including polarized lenses. The Jawbones cost $200 with their base lenses while the polarized option adds another $60 to the price.

Sizing could also potentially slide someone’s decision. With Smith, you can choose among (from smallest to largest) the Parallel, Parallel Max, and Parallel D-Max. With this Oakley frame, you can choose between Oakley’s “standard” and “Asian” fits.

While both Oakley and Smith feature their own proprietary hydrophobic lens coatings which reduce smudges and repel water from the lenses, Oakley also offers their Transition® or photochromic lens option (at $260 as well) that changes the color of the lens from dark to light depending on outside light.

All in all, both are great frames for all types of cycling.  If money wasn’t a factor, my decision may have been different, but I went with the Smith Parallels this time around. I’ll give you an update on them in the near future.

What decision would you have made?

Jake White
Buyer/Assistant Manager