Are Oakley Prizm lenses worth it? Our Honest 2023 Review

Last updated on August 17th, 2023 at 02:04 am

One of my first pairs of sunglasses were Oakley’s, and I loved it so much that I wore it until its bright yellow and green frame was no longer acceptable in the harsh environment called high school.

I never forgot about them, so it’s no wonder I went straight for Oakley again when I was looking for a pair of solid cycling sunglasses. In particular, Oakley’s PRIZM line caught my eye.

The only immediate drawback for me is their pricing – but there might be good reasons to spend a little extra if you’re getting quality shades in return.

That’s why I decided to write up my findings in this post. 

So: are Oakley PRIZM lenses worth it? 

There are clear benefits to investing in a pair of Oakley PRIZM lenses, since the proprietary technology significantly enhances your visual perception on the road by adding contrast and optimising your ability to see moving objects.

I’ll dive into the details below, by answering some frequent questions that we get about these lenses.

What are Oakley PRIZM lenses?

What are Oakley PRIZM lenses

Oakley PRIZM lenses use the brand’s proprietary technology that it has developed over the course of 15 years. 

Essentially, Oakley found that specific sports require specific sunglasses, since each sport takes place in different environments and at different speeds.

Oakley engineers mapped the entire light spectrum and determined, for each specific sport, which light waves need to be filtered out, and which light waves should reach your eye.

With this, they made a range of different lenses specifically made for certain sports and activities.

So what’s the big deal?

Well, this means that with PRIZM lenses, you get optimized vision in a broad range of different environments.

In the case of cycling on the road, this means you’ll be able to more quickly spot differences in road texture, and road signs are easier to read even at speed. 

Plus, your overall riding experience is better as colors are more vivid when seen through a pair of PRIZM lenses.

Obviously, in the case of cross country, cyclocross, and mountain biking, distinguishing textural changes is even more crucial. 

In these environments, PRIZM lenses will help you identify obstacles and set out an optimal riding course, and it will reduce the impact of sudden changes of light and shade due to canopy cover.

Are Oakley PRIZM lenses polarized?


are oakley prizm lenses polarized

No, not all Oakley PRIZM lenses are polarized. 

This is because polarized lenses are mainly useful in circumstances where you might experience bright glare, for example in water sports, or while skiing. 

In other environments, polarized lenses actually tend to negatively impact your vision. 

With polarized lenses, you may lose some perception of depth and contrast.

For example, when you’re cycling cross country, or mountain biking through the forest, low-light areas will be more difficult to navigate when you’re wearing polarized lenses.

For most types of cycling, we therefore do not recommend polarized sunglasses.

For those moments where you might experience some glare while cycling – for example a wet road when the sun breaks through – it’s usually enough to wear mirrored lenses. All PRIZM lenses have a mirror coating. 

What is the difference between Oakley polarized and PRIZM?

What is the difference between Oakley polarized and PRIZM

Oakley polarized lenses filter a specific kind of light: bright, glaring rays of light that bounce off shiny, reflective surfaces. 

These rays consist mainly of horizontal light waves.

Polarized lenses filter out this kind of bright light by only or mainly letting through vertical light waves.

PRIZM lenses have a more advanced filtering system. 

As explained above, PRIZM lenses filter out specific types of light waves depending on the type of environment they were developed for. 

Are PRIZM lenses better than polarized lenses?

Are PRIZM lenses better than polarized lenses

In some specific circumstances, PRIZM lenses are better than polarized lenses. 

This is particularly the case in situations when you’re not likely to encounter very bright light or blight glare.

Are Oakley lenses glass or plastic?

Are Oakley lenses glass or plastic

Oakley PRIZM lenses are made of Plutonite, which is a polycarbonate plastic that Oakley developed in-house.

It’s a type of plastic that starts as a solid, which is melted and mixed with specific dyes to achieve the light-filtering qualities that it provides.

Do Oakley PRIZM lenses scratch easily? 

Do Oakley PRIZM lenses scratch easily

We often get this question: are Oakley PRIZM lenses scratch-resistant?

Oakley PRIZM lenses are definitely scratch-resistant, since they are made of Oakley’s proprietary Plutonite – a very strong polycarbonate plastic.

Plutonite lenses have been checked for ANSI Z87.1 impact resistance. This is a nation-wide standard which certifies that these lenses do not shatter when impacted by most projectiles – think branches, little rocks and stones, etcetera.

Read Also : Why are Specialized bikes so expensive?

Final verdict: 

Are Oakley PRIZM lenses worth it?

We already gave it to you short and sweet in the introduction so it’s no surprise anymore: we definitely think Oakley PRIZM lenses are worth it!

There are few sunglasses on the market that provide this level of vision enhancement that is specifically developed for certain sports and environments.

You’re essentially getting two proprietary technologies when you’re buying a pair of PRIZM lenses: the PRIZM tech itself with its precision light filtering, plus the Plutonite scratch and impact resistance.

Finally, aside from everything we’ve discussed in this post, Oakley’s frames are also an excellent choice if you’re looking for increased comfort and durability.

We know it’s difficult to jump into a big multi-hundred dollar purchase, but you’re definitely getting your money’s worth.

Think of it this way: how many take-out 3$ cappuccinos can you get for a $180 pair of PRIZM shades? 

By our calculation, if you’re an every-day-coffee kind of gal or guy, you’re only two months away from saving up for an awesome pair of cycling glasses!

Hugo has been cycling for as long as he can remember, and, being from the Netherlands, he’s used to his bike being his primary mode of transport. Plus, as a lawyer, jumping on his bike is his main form of escaping from his desk duties.

3 thoughts on “Are Oakley Prizm lenses worth it? Our Honest 2023 Review”

  1. This is my first pair of Oakley sunglasses and I am quite impressed. The pair that I have is prizm and they beat the quality of the many different brands of polarized that I have had. The clarity of sight is amazing.


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