The eagle-eyed kit watchers among us had noticed the unique style of Oakley sunglasses scattered in the peloton in recent months. Worn by Cavendish as he sprinted to victory in Turkey recently, and riders like Chris Froome in the Vuelta last year, the new Oakley Kato model is certainly eye-catching with a first-of-its-kind wrap around nose-shield.
After much anticipation, Oakley have finally given us a closer look at their special shades, launching them to the general public yesterday. They explain that the nose-shield and frameless design gives a wider field of vision and improved impact protection, as well as following the contours of the face much more closely than traditional sunglasses.
Oakley boasts that the Kato glasses are 11mm wider than the next widest frame in their line, the Radar EV, hence improving the side-to-side view. The new Kato glasses come in blue, red and silver Prizm lenses, all with sleek black frames.
The frame has a rake mechanism that can be used to adjust the angle, ensuring the best level of comfort for consumers. The three different nose pads also help to offset the variation of nose bridges amongst Oakley wearers.
Oakley Kato has been in development since 2019, with input from riders like Cavendish to ensure that the glasses were fit for performance at the highest level. Over 200 prototypes were developed until the glasses were optimised and Oakley invested in new cutting machines to create the perfect shape.
The attention to detail is impressive: the glasses are coated with a double-sided hydro oleo treatment that helps manage sweat, water and fingerprints. The Oakley Plutonite lens also ensures the highest level of eye protection, with the material blocking 100% of UVA and UVB rays.
Never one to shy away from radical, game-changing design, Oakley have certainly moved away from the conventional look of sunglasses with their new Kato iteration.
On first impressions, the glasses are surprisingly comfortable, very light, and predictably the optics are exceptional. Check in soon for a more in-depth look at the glasses.