As someone who both loves outdoor activities and has terrible eyesight, I am always looking for ‘the perfect’ outdoor glasses. What makes outdoor glasses perfect, you might be wondering? Well, a couple of things: great optical quality, lens treatments and the right fit to prevent fogging, and a lightweight frame that stays in place. Enter the ROKA Lockhart with prescription lenses, the latest and arguably one of the greatest options in my search for great eyewear.
ROKA Lockhart Prescription Glasses Review:
- No-slip ‘GEKO™ Pads’
- Finger print resistant
- Sweat and chemical resistant
- Ultralight nylon lenses with anti-reflective, anti-fog, hydrophobic and oleophobic coatings
- Frame + non-Rx lenses weigh 22g
- Spring-loaded hinges
- MSRP: $210 (non-Rx lenses)
Actually stylish, actually performs
The particular ROKA model that I’m testing are the Lockhart frames in ‘Bourbon’, a translucent, light brown material. The lenses are their polarized Bronze lenses, with my heavy -4.5/-4.75 prescription. I’ve been using these for a mix of driving, skiing and cycling through the early fall and now, winter. Just yesterday, I took them on an incredibly beautiful, sunny ski tour – so they are seeing a range of PNW conditions.
ROKA says that their frame material, a type of nylon, is lighter than materials traditionally used in glasses frames. I could believe that, and they quote 22g for the standard lens/frame combo. For my prescription glasses, that weight is more like 28g. Not bad for a total package.
The frames are simple and strong. ROKA advertises them as being made out of an ultra-lightweight nylon, which does weigh less than other commonly used frame materials like acetate and polycarbonate. You can probably do lighter with options like titanium, but those become exponentially more expensive.
For me, the most important part of the Lockhart frames is that they feel durable. I’ve had some lightweight glasses that have a cheap, plastic-y feel to them, even ones that cost upwards of $150. The ROKA Lockhart’s are priced like a premium pair of sunglasses, but they reward you with a commensurate level of build quality.
The frames feature some well-implemented standard features, like spring-loaded temples with a touch of outward flex; this adds durability to the frame, but the major perk is how this works in concert with the ‘GEKO™ fit’ retention system. The springs help the frame retain their fit for years, and help the frames stay on by applying gentle pressure at the ear tips on ROKA’s elastomer accents which grip your skin. These are a hydrophilic rubbery compound that actually grip slightly better when damp with sweat, making these a great choice for active use. The same compound is present on the nose bridge.
Overall, the fit of the Lockhart is excellent. I have a big ol’ head, and many glasses can feel too narrow. For me, the spring-loaded temples flex slightly to provide just the right amount of grip. Those springs also mean that the frame will accommodate a variety of different facial structures. At this price point, though, you should do your best to try these on before buying. But for me, I’ve been happy to take these things biking and backcountry skiing because they stay put but aren’t so close to my face that they fog up.
The lens quality is surprisingly good. I am a little suspicious of companies offering in-house prescription lenses because I’ve been burned before, but ROKA’s lens quality is absolutely top notch. I’m using their ‘Bronze’ lens, which is good for bright light and full sun but can adapt into shadier or dusky conditions as well, which is particularly nice for a long day of driving.
I sometimes get a little eye strain if I’m wearing this in full sun (especially visiting the Oregon or Nevada high desert where the sun is so much more intense), but for most conditions in the PNW I’ve found these to be versatile. And the quality is so so sharp: great for fast-moving pursuits like cycling in sunny weather.
I’ll touch briefly on ‘unboxing,’ too. ROKA did a great job presenting the product in a really attractive case that feels premium; the box includes a hard case, soft baggie and also two other sizes of nose pieces so that you can get just the right fit. They come with the medium-sized nose pieces installed, which turned out to be the right size for me. There’s even a little tool to pop out the old ones, too.
- The quality of the materials and build feels premium
- Excellent optical clarity in a variety of conditions
- Features are well implemented, particularly spring-loaded hinges and no-slip grips
- Spring-loaded hinges helped accommodate my big head without pinching
- I can’t think of any real negatives – maybe cost, but they are premium!
The Bottom Line: ROKA Lockhart Prescription Sunglasses
I wracked my brains for any real negatives to these frames and lenses, and I couldn’t really come to anything. You need to try them on for yourself to see if they’ll fit you well, but for my head shape and the activities I love these have been versatile, high-quality frames. I love how they can double as adventure and lifestyle sunglasses. They are expensive, it’s true, but the build quality is commensurate with the price tag. Overall, this was my first ROKA pair, and I’m hooked!
Buy now: Available from ROKA.com