As the owner of more than 20 pairs of Oakley sunglasses, it’s fair to say I’m something of an addict. One of the reasons I’ve worn Oakley for so long is that I genuinely think the quality of the lenses is superior to most other offerings (something that’s been confirmed by others I’ve converted to the brand!). But there’s no doubting that you pay for what you get with Oakley, especially when it comes to replacement lenses, which typically cost anything from £60 to a whopping £140 in the UK.
So I was both relieved and impressed a few years ago when I came across Revant Optics, which at the time made replacement lenses for Oakley and other manufacturers, and usually at a fraction of the cost (a replacement lens for a pair of Jawbreakers from Oakley costs up to £130, the Revant Optics equivalent is about £80 with shipping). The real surprise for me was the quality of the Revant lenses, which feel very close to the Oakley originals for less than 70% of the price.
Over the years, I’ve ordered many pairs of Revant lenses for various Oakley and Ray Ban frames and even had a custom pair of lenses made for some old Tom Ford 007 Aviators.
Earlier this year, Revant Optics embarked on a new venture and launched their own range of complete sunglasses, with in-house frames that are designed and assembled in the USA.
The range currently comprises three models the F1L (designed for maximum eye protection), the S1L (designed for light weight) and the S2L (designed for maximum vision).
As a fan of single-lens sunglasses (I own more than a few pairs of Jawbreakers, Flight Jackets and Radars), I opted to test the S2L design with the attractive ‘Fire Red Mirror Shield’ lens. These were the pick of the bunch to my eyes when Revant announced the range, with a similar style to the Oakley Radars but sufficient differentiation to ensure they’re not just another clone of an already-popular style.
Price & warranties
At US $175 (UK £135 plus shipping), the S2L are about £20 cheaper than the equivalent Oakleys. Not a huge difference, but with the Revant S2L you get ‘membership’ to an owners’ club that entitles you to discounted replacement lenses, frame repairs etc. for the lifetime of the glasses. That could add up over time (I’ve already got my eye on some of Revant’s aftermarket lens colours for the S2L!).
I recorded a short video (below) of the ‘customer experience’ of receiving the Revant Optics S2L. On the whole, I think it’s great and arguably better than the packaging that comes with most rival sunglasses. The carry case feels like a quality item that will stand up well to continued use (and includes a cut-out for a spare lens… handy!).
The frame feels light but not flimsy. It’s clear that Revant have built these lenses to eliminate unnecessary heft, but still have a quality feel. Much of the frame feels slightly rubberised and I like the matte finish. The ear socks and nose pieces are a rubber-type material. The Revant logo is suitably subtle.
The frame sits very comfortably on the head. When running, I didn’t experience any slippage, with the glasses staying nicely in place even in hot sweaty conditions. The lightness was also noticeable (or not, you get what I mean!) on the run; you know you’re wearing the S2L but they are never heavy or uncomfortable.
I had enough confidence from testing Revant’s after-market replacement lenses to expect good things from the S2L’s single-piece lens. And I wasn’t disappointed. The vision is excellent, the tint is sufficiently dark for bright days and I really like the Fire Red colour.
It’s worth noting that it’s slightly easier to remove the lens from the frame than on something like Oakley’s Radar glasses (though not as easy as the Jawbreaker). The more pliable nature of the frame and a slightly different design to the nose bridge makes it easier to ‘snap’ the lens out without fear of breaking it.
There is one small downside to the shape of the nose bridge, which is that it is trickier to clean the sweat off the small bit of exposed lens between the bridge ‘legs’ after a hard workout (I don’t like to swap the lenses too often, for fear of damaging either the lens or the frame).
I’ve used the Revant Optics S2L extensively on the bike and run for the last two weeks and I have to say I am as impressed as I hoped I would be. I was a bit worried that I’ve become such an ‘Oakley snob’ that nothing else was going to make the mark, but with the S2L Revant has created a genuine quality product that rivals the market leaders.
On the bike, I rarely had to reposition them, even when down in the aero tuck on the TT bike (that top brow of the frame does slightly intrude into your vision, but it’s no worse than a pair of Jawbreakers – to escape it entirely you either need a helmet with a visor or something like the new Flight Jacket glasses). I tried the S2L glasses with a range of helmets and, while they worked better with some than others, there were none that didn’t work. My favourite combo was with the Lazer Z1 helmet, although I also tested the Giant Pursuit and Specialized Prevail.
The price gap between the Revant S2L and other more recognized brands might not quite be enough to make choosing them a no-brainer, although when you factor in the discounts in spares and replacement lenses the overall package certainly looks more appealing. But for individualists who don’t like to conform, or for those (like me, perhaps!) that already have a range of glasses and want something different, there’s no faulting the package that Revant has put together – from unboxing to wearing, it’s clear that they have not compromised on quality and have created a premium product.
I’ll be surprised if they don’t expand the range. And when they do, I’ll be first in line…
For more details, visit https://www.revantoptics.com/sunglasses