When it comes to product reviews, I hold myself to a similar set of standards. I do not accept money for product reviews but rather, when a company contacts me to review a product and provides me with the product for free, it is my responsibility to be truthful and honest in my review. Although what works for me may not work for you, I enjoy being a professional in the field of triathlons, health and wellness and provide the public (you) with information that may enhance your lifestyle.
Having said that, you will not see me accepting and using products that I believe don't fit within my personal philosophy or lifestyle. When I believe in something, I use it and likely, you will know it. I don't feel I need to go out of my way to talk about something that I routinely use, for I don't need to be fake just to "support" a product. I promised myself, I would never use this blog (or my business) just to receive free stuff or to give-a-way products that I don't believe in. Again, what works for me may work (or not work) for you - however, my goal is to motivate, educate and inspire you to live a more active and healthy, balanced lifestyle. When I accept a product to review, I will either write about it on my blog because I feel it can benefit you OR I will kindly communicate w/ the company to provide my feedback as I feel the product is not a good fit for my "community" of athletes and fitness enthusiasts. I have turned down many products over the last year or so, simply because I do not want you (the consumer) to be mislead, confused or overwhelmed in any way.
Dr. Rakes, my dad, is an optometrist and has worked for the VA for the past 30+ years. I don't think he will ever retire for he truely loves his job. I feel I take after him for he loves working with his residents and teaching others. We both love to learn and I suppose we both love science and medicine, a bit too much since most or phone calls are "did you read this study on....?"
I know my dad will be happy about this review since he recognizes how critically important it is to take care of your eyes. Especially as athletes, I think it is very easy to overlook how easy it is to not address eye health considering the danger in our sports as well as the time we spend outdoors.
Oakley Radarlock Path
Born and raised in Europe and riding his bike competitively since he was a very young body, I don't think anyone can talk about their love for Oakley glasses, like Karel.
Almost 19ish years ago, Karel was racing at a high level back in Europe but was not wearing Oakley shades in his hometown of Znjomo, Czech Republic....because he could not afford them. Karel wanted to look just like Greg Lemond so he got a look-a-like pair of the famous M frames from the early 90's.
At the age of 20, Karel took a quick trip to the US, with his friends, in 1996 and with money saved, he purchased his first "real" pair of Oakley sunglasses in the US. The M frames w/ blue and yellow - just like Greg Lemond.
Sadly, he lost them after he returned back to Czech and was really bummed. However, when he moved to the US back in 2000, he purchased his second pair of Oakleys around 2005 (when he could afford another pair) and found a vintage pair of Oakley's on Ebay. Once again, he lost them at a cycling event.
Ever since then, Karel has only worn only Oakley's and has been very careful as to not misplace them at cycling events. I suppose with the craziness that comes with cycling races, it's easy to lose your shades. However, Karel has never broken a bone in cycling and still has perfect eye sight.
Karel has been a long time Jawbone and Radar fan and recently received the radarlock path vented Oakley's (polished white w/ jade iridium w/ yellow lens). As soon as he put them on he said "oh, these are great!!" (wish I could insert accents in this blog so use your imagination to hear in Czech).
What we both love about Oakley sunglasses are their comfort. Many athletes avoid wearing sunglasses because they slip or feel uncomfortable on the face. A quality pair of sunglasses should protect your eyes from the sun, protect your face/eyes from flying objects (withstand force in a crash) and feel comfortable (no need for headaches). In other words, you shouldn't feel like you are wearing anything on your face.
As a triathlete, it's important that your shades fit nicely under your helmet when riding and with a visor/hat when running.
We had an exhausting training weekend (thanks to the wind from Hurricane Issac) and Karel mentioned that his glasses were really light on his face, didn't fog up in the humidity/heat w/ sweating and he really liked that he could see to the side without the edge of the glasses affecting his vision. He also likes the vents on the top of ths shades. Karel highly recommends these shades if you are interested in a great pair of sunglasses to fit your active lifestyle.
For the females, Oakley Women makes a fierce looking pair of glasses that is not too sporty. I really love the radar edge for the wide lens and I love the look when I am racing. I will admit, however, that with my longer distance training for Branson 70.3 on Sept 23rd, I have been gravitating toward my Commit SQ (I have white and brown but LOVE the breast cancer and team USA editions) for they are much lighter (although the radar edge are much lighter than my old radar pink shades) on my face and much more comfortable over time when I am training. I've noticed that after around 2 hours of training, the edge don't seem to feel as good on my face compared to the Commit, so I will likely wear the Commit at my longer races (and during training) and use the Edge for the shorter races (and training). It's always nice to have options and I love that with Oakley Women for they have a great collection of active and style sunglasses.
By now, we all know nothing beats Oakley when it comes to quality, innovation and passion. Here's more about their optic line
If there is one area in triathlons that I feel gets overlooked, it is the swim and the type of goggles you are wearing. I think athletes will notice right away if a pair of sunglasses is not the right fit for they fog up, fall off your face or give you a headache. But many triathletes/swimmers settle for a cheap pair of goggles and considering that the swim sets the stage of a triathlon event, the right pair of goggles is extremely important to fit your face. Additionally, for swimmers who are not comfortable in the water, your goggles may be preventing you from having good sight in the water or causing you to feel constricted.
I've been a long time fan of Speedo Vanquisher Women's Goggle (post sweedish goggle days from college) however, after a few years of using them, I constantly find myself having to renew my goggles because of foggy lenses. I've tried the baby shampoo trick and it works only short-term but the comfort is worth renewing, at least once a year.
When Nootca contacted me to review their 207, eleven and 5 goggles, I communicated w/ my contact a few times letting him know what I was looking for in a goggle: ANTI FOG and COMFORT!
I need nothing more than a goggle that will withstand the water at the YMCA and will feel comfortable in the pool, in a lake and in the ocean- for up to 2.4 miles at a time.
At home, I tried on each pair of goggles and I feel the 5 are perfect for the competitive swimmer, looking for a more comfortable style of "sweeds". The lenses are not firm and feel nice around the eyes.
First off, I love supporting local and small businesses. Nootca is based in Florida - which is the perfect location for all things swimming (on the East Coast).
Each of the styles have comfortable straps and come w/ different nose pieces (207 and eleven) based on your face. This is something that I think is necessary for swimmers - there's no reason why your goggles should fill with water if you have adjustable nose pieces. I had to change mine in the eleven and 207 to better fit my eyes around my nose.
The eleven and 207 are similar in comfort, however, the eleven is likely best suited for a smaller face. Although I have a small face, perhaps someone who needs smaller lenses, perhaps a child or teenager. I don't feel the eleven's will work well with me in a triathlon because I need a wider range of vision for spotting.....especially for a 1.2 or 2.4 mile open water swim.
The 207 are amazing. A little pic from post swim on Fri (one of the toughest swims, thanks to challenging myself to swim in the boys' lane)
I had several comments on my swim cap on my Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition Facebook page, it can be found here: Smiley swim cap
A little weird looking through them the first time because I could tell the lenses were not "normal". I could see some ripples on the lenses which made me believe there is a layer of an anti-fog material to preventing fogging. I guess in time I will find out but after I swam with them in the pool last week, I found them extremely comfortable and clear. I also like that they come with instructions as to how to keep the lenses in good shape over time, as well as a case to protect them.
In reference to the Nootca website, "Equipment best works when you don't know it's there. A paradox? Maybe, but when equipment fails is when it’s most noticeable. Our vision is to create unique swim equipment that works with you, integrating into your training and most of all when competing. It is the details we sit up nights thinking about. We focus on the details so you can focus on your swim."
Any questions, comments or concerns: Send me an email and I'd be happy to help you out.