OAKLEY CLIFDEN MOUNTAINEERING GLASSES
27th January 2020 | Alf Alderson, Gear & Equipment Editor
Last modified on May 14th, 2020
We’ve been looking at sunnies. While a tad expensive these mountaineering sunglasses offer excellent eye protection and can be easily adapted for summer use.
OAKLEY CLIFDEN MOUNTAINEERING GLASSES £160 www.oakley.com
Not only does the Clifden totally look the part, it also does the job, merging the company’s ‘Prizm’ Technology, a best-in-class lens, with a best-in-class frame design engineered with side shields and a nose bridge ‘blocker’ for additional eye protection, plus an integrated leash for stowage, security and convenience.
All these add-ons can quickly and easily be removed too, so when summer comes around again you can use the Clifden as a regular pair of sunnies.
The semi-rounded shape of the frame may not appeal to everyone, although I really like it – this classic look harks back to the days of Hillary and Tenzing and is perhaps proof that good design never loses it’s ability to be both functional and stylish at the same time.
There are different lens options available depending on how much protection you need – our sample was the Prizm Snow Black which provides increased contrast and allows just 6 per cent light transmission, making it ideal for glaringly sunny high-altitude snow slopes.
Further protection comes in the form of the removable, lightweight ‘Unobtanium’ side shield and a nose bridge blocker which clip on and off easily, and there’s a useful removable and integrated 20” lightweight, highly flexible, coated woven steel leash to ensure you don’t lose the glasses in a wipeout, from a chairlift or down a crevasse; I liked the fact that it’s made from woven steel as this makes it particularly robust.
In use the Clifdens are very light and comfortable and the combination of the Snow Black lens, side shields and bridge blocker provide excellent protection in the harshest of glares; they also look great as well as doing a pretty good job of advertising to the world that you are a ‘real’ mountain man or woman.
VERDICT Expensive but highly effective and adaptable sunglasses offering excellent eye protection.
Our Gear and Equipment Editor also recommends Dragon Excursion X Sunglasses and Smith 4D MAG Goggles with Chromapop lens.