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Accessory Review


Polarized performance with style, the new Oakley Square Wire 2.0
 

Date: 6/5/03
Tackle type: Accessory
Manufacturer: Oakley
Reviewer: Zander






Total Score: 7.75

Introduction: Oakley is one of the largest most popular manufactures of ultra-stylish sunglasses. In recent months Oakley's polarized lineup has continued to grow, and now includes more feature rich versions like the new Square Wire 2.0; we take a look at these sleek optics to see how well they fare for angling.
 

Oakley Square Wire 2.0 Specifications

Frame Style Square Wire 2.0 Polarized
Frame Material C5 Alloy
Colors Available - Lens 4 (Silver-grey, Dark-blue, Platinum-brown, Silver-Orange)
Frame Color tested Platinum
Lens Color tested Brown
Case Soft Cloth
Dimensions Lens 2", Frame 5 1/4"
MSRP $200.00


About Oakley: Oakley is a powerhouse brand that has expanded their lineup beyond just stylish sunglasses. Today consumers can find goggles, watches, apparel, and even footwear sporting the Oakley logo. Oakley became famous for developing hi-tech wrap around optics that are high quality and right at home in a variety of sports. Today Oakley has 11 lines of different polarized glasses for anglers to pick from.

Impressions:
It has been over a year since I last reviewed a pair of Oakley sunglasses, and I was eager to see what advancements this manufacturer had made. The Square Wire 2.0 is a extremely hi-tech looking pair of optics. A lot of people prefer the plastic framed Oakleys but I have always been a fan of the "wire" designs which are more sleek and portable. The first thing I noticed about the SW2.0 was that they fit much better then any other Oakley Wire frame I have ever tried on, this is due to the integration of a new spring hinge that moves outward for an adaptable fit. These frames look and felt very high quality, but how well would they perform in the field?

 

We tested the Platinum frames coupled with brown lenses

 

Real World Test: What better way to test a stylish pair of new optics then to go sight fishing in some clear lakes for spawning bass? On recent trips out I have noticed bass bedded up in less then 4 feet of water, but usually I would see them when I was practically on top of their nests, at which point even bouncing baits off their backs couldn't entice a strike. I hoped that these new polarized lenses would help me see further ahead of the boat, so I would have a chance to present a lure before spooking the fish.
 

The spring hinges help provide an adaptable fit and increased comfort


Performance: 
The purpose of polarized lenses is to provide 100% UV protection, and reduce glare to improve your sight into water. There are many polarized lenses that use "drop forming" which places a polarized layer of film between two lens layers. The benefit of this is that the polarized layer cannot be scratched off, but the downside is that this sometimes results optical distortion. Oakley uses a molecular bonding process to infuse the actual lenses with
lightweight Plutonite® lens material, to create the polarized filters.

The Square Wire comes in 4 different frame/lens combinations. We chose to test the platinum frames with brown lenses. We noticed that these lenses did absolutely great in hazy overcast or lower light conditions but didn't quite offer enough protection in extremely bright conditions. When facing the mid-day sun with no cloud cover it would be a better choice to opt for the dark grey lenses. What these brown lenses are good for is enhancing visibility when close to the water. Without straining I was able to see through the light vegetation to bass hanging beside or within structure. These sunglasses enhance color so nicely that when I removed them everything actually seemed somewhat dull.

During the test we cruised into a rocky outcropping lined with tules, arching forward I could see all the way to the bank, and could make out the shapes of fish over 5 feet down near some structure. When I removed the sunglasses the glare on the surface made it considerably more difficult to spot the fish, so difficult that I would have easily missed them had I not been wearing a pair of polarized optics. I proceeded to flip a brush hog onto into the tules and retrieve it slowly in front of the fish. When the lure moved past the fish it turned to acknowledge the lure but didn't strike. I retrieved back and pitched the hog again, still no take. Then on the third try I could see with complete clarity as the bass lurched forward and slammed the hog. Since I could see the actual strike setting was immediate, and a minute later I lipped the fish.

 

The ear-socks provide a nice cushion for your head


Comfort:
Oakley sunglasses are made to stay on during the most intense sporting activities. I know there are a lot of people that think fishing is just sitting around waiting for fish to take bait, but lure fisherman are always moving...and a pair of sunglasses bouncing about or falling off is a big showstopper. The Square Wire 2.0 features a spring hinge that can extend outward to allow a better fit and absorb jolts and shocks nicely. While not held on as tightly as other Oakleys I liked the way these felt much better then the sometimes overly constricting A-Wires.

 

The newly redesigned bridge features oval pads which provide increased surface area, so there was no slippage. Soft ear-socks line the frames and feel quite comfortable pressed against the side of your head. On the downside the frames are somewhat heavy, and you can definitely feel them while fishing. The ear-socks also can rotate and slip exposing the angular edge which if pressed against your head is a bit distressing.
 

The redesigned bridge prevents slipping

Price: While some online stores sell the Square Wire 2.0 for under MSRP, most retailers ask for $210.00 for these optics. While not outrageous for a pair of premium optics this isn't cheap by any means either. Which brings me to my next point...if your an angler would you want to pay over 200 bucks for these sunglasses? There are many manufacturers these days that are building frames just for anglers, and many of these cost 25-50% less then the SW2.0. Oakley is a monster of a brand and are highly recognizable but if you consider function over form there are plenty of other choices out there that may be worth looking into if price is a major deciding factor for you.

Landing bigger bass on the spawn is a lot easier when you can see fish and toss lures before spooking them

Warranty: Anglers beat up their gear, and optics are no exception. Ideally you should always wipe your glasses with a special cloth, but many anglers, myself included, will simply clean my glasses off with the edge of my t-shirt. Not a good thing to do with these glasses, as you can easily cause damage the surface of these lenses. There is a one year warranty on the glasses, but unfortunately this doesn't cover lens scratches.

Ratings:

Oakley Square Wire 2.0 Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Good quality materials and lens technology that works. 9
Performance Great performance for sight fishing, drastically reduces glare allowing you to see further and fish more effectively, but not as good for bright light conditions...for extreme situations go for darker lenses 8
Price Somewhat expensive these days when you consider all the good competition out there building sunglasses that are made just for fishing 6
Features The spring hinges are a very nice feature that improves comfort and fit, but no other outstanding features for anglers to take advantage of 8
Design (Ergonomics) These glasses stay on but can still create a lot of pressure on the sides of your head. If the earpieces rotate they can be uncomfortable. 7.5
Application These optics can help you fish more effectively in all low-mid light conditions. Color and depth perception are excellent. The only downside is the weight of the glasses always reminds you they are there. 8

Total Score

7.75


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Good Lenses L Price
J Stylish L Weight
J Improved comfort & durability L Warrantee only 1 year


Conclusion: Oakley's new Square Wire 2.0 is a big improvement in the comfort department, and when it comes to quality of polarized lenses this pair of optics comes second to none. This would be a great pair of sunglasses to style on your drive home, or use for a wide range of applications, but anglers looking for a pair of sunglasses built for the sport we love should look elsewhere. The SW2.0 is too heavy and easily damaged for the average angler, and the 1 year warranty isn't enough to instill peace of mind. There are a lot of companies out there building optics that are perfectly suited for sportfishing, many our lighter, have lifetime warranties, and are just better suited for a full day on the water. These are not bad sunglasses, but they they just don't feel like they were made with anglers in mind, and there are many other more specialized optics that should be explored before committing to the SW2.0.

 

Until next time...Tight Lines


 

 

 

 

 

 
 





 

 



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