Oakley’s Sutro glasses have been around for a few years now, and were among the first large-lens cycling sunglasses.
There are a vast number of options in Oakley’s Sutro family, with multiple frame and arm colours, lens options and overall sizes.
On test here are Oakley’s Discover Collection glasses, with a Prizm Road lens. However, many of the findings will transfer to other lens options. As such, I won’t concentrate too much on the tinting of this particular lens.
Oakley Sutro features
The Sutro has a large 57mm-deep lens, that’s also pretty wide.
It’s surrounded by a full-circumference frame, with a metal brace connecting the top of the nosebridge to the top of the frame.
The arms are fairly long, at 140mm. My test model is the XL frame size, though, and these measurements will be slightly smaller with different-sized glasses.
The arm pivot has a very solid feel, and my experience of Oakley sunglasses is the pivot doesn’t degrade over time. Other cycling sunglasses can become a bit ‘floppy’.
The Sutro’s lenses can be popped out and replaced, though no spare lenses are included for the price. A soft bag is provided, as well as two nosepieces to alter the fit.
These glasses have the Prizm Road Jade lens, designed for bright, open conditions. It gives everything a pink/purple hue, while the mirrored finish is claimed to let 15 per cent of light through.
Oakley Sutro performance
Optically, I’ve always been impressed by Oakley’s glasses. There’s little to no distortion, and I’m comfortable wearing them all day with no eye fatigue.
Their lenses tend to be relatively scratch-resistant and the available range is impressive. I like the Prizm Road lens when riding on tarmac, though in dappled light I’m not a huge fan of the mountain bike Prizm lenses – I prefer a more standard smoke lens in the woods.
Photochromic lenses from Oakley work as well as any other I’ve used, and are great in mixed weather conditions.
The Sutro glasses feel secure on the face, resisting moving down the nose on rough terrain. This is despite the lack of arm grippers – the standard plastic arms do a good enough job of securing them to the head.
Fogging isn’t a massive issue, though if they sit close to your face it may be exacerbated slightly.
When they did fog, I found they cleared quickly.
I wasn’t overly impressed by the lens-swap process. The frame is less malleable than other cycling sunglasses I’ve tested, so you have to push quite hard on the lens to release it from the frame. This feels a little cumbersome.
Spare lenses are also pricey, starting at £66 in the UK.
While I was able to get one of the standard nosepieces to fit my face, the two-piece offering is less adjustable than others out there. I’ve also found that over time the hooked attachment area on the rubber pieces can loosen.
My biggest gripe with the Sutro is more of an issue for mountain biking. With more protective MTB helmets, where the shell extends lower down the temple, the width of the arms can interfere with the helmet’s shell, potentially pushing the glasses into the wrong position on your head.
I also found the ends of the arms quite sharp – pushing them under the shell of the helmet and over the ears, which was uncomfortable. A more rounded end would fix this.
Oakley Sutro bottom line
The Oakley Sutros remain among the best cycling sunglasses, and will appeal to the image-conscious rider.
Optically, they’re hard to beat, but the price tag is high and the lens-swap process less refined than other glasses.